After a hard charging weekend at three dirt tracks in two different states, one driver proved that he and his Rocket1 Racing team have what it takes to be a dominating force during the 2018 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series season. Kicking off a busy weekend at Stateline Speedway, in Busti, NY, on Thursday, Brandon Sheppard and his Rocket1 Racing machine started his first of three race features inside the top-5.
Despite this, it was not long before the New Berlin, IL late model driver used the top side of the track to race his way to the lead ahead of Chris Madden with 15 laps remaining. Following a restart, both Madden and Sheppard headed into turn two and eventually made contact, which sent the former race leader into a 180-degree spin and left Madden having to start at the tail of the 24-car field.
Following this accident Madden would have to settle for a 12th place finish, while Sheppard earned his fourth series win of the 2018 season.
“I was trying to get as many cars as I could as early as I could because I knew that the top side of the track was going to go away at some point,” said Sheppard. “I thought I was going to have to settle for second before Chris and I got together, which I hate it for him. I definitely didn’t want to win it that way, but we will take the win anyway.”
Despite starting on the pole for Friday night’s 50 lap feature at Ransomville Speedway, Sheppard came up short to Winfield, TN’s Mike Marlar on the final 10 laps of this race. Sheppard held more than a two second lead over several ongoing battles for second and third involving Madden, Marlar, Chub, and Junghans. In only two laps time, Marlar sliced Sheppard’s lead by more than half. Marlar made the move on the outside and passed Sheppard at the line on lap 40. By the time the checkers fell, Marlar had created a 2.115 second lead.
After settling for a runner-up finish on Friday, Sheppard and his Rocket1 Racing machine team put in the necessary work to ensure that the weekend’s final stop would lead to yet another win. It was obvious that whatever tweaks this team needed to make before hitting the clay at Orrville, Ohio’s own Wayne County Speedway worked, as Sheppard had a stand-out night at the 3/8-mile after collecting the PFC Brakes Fast Time Award as well as a heat win before starting inside the top three for the final 50-lap feature.
Although it seemed as if Sheppard was going to once again settle for a runner-up finish, the halfway point of this race changed the story after the young kid on fire took the lead from eighth place starter Doug Drown and never looked back for his second weekend win and fifth win of the season.
“It has been an amazing weekend and I am happy that our team is back on a hot streak,” said Sheppard. ““We have been messing around with the car a little bit after we had a motor break on us at Cherokee Speedway. Along with getting this car back where it needed to be and having a little talk this week, we got our confidence back and everything seems to be clicking. Hopefully we can continue this consistency throughout the rest of the 2018 season.”
Despite an amazing weekend, Sheppard will have to continue this hot streak to take the points lead away from Chris Madden. Sheppard’s next opportunity to do so will come at this weekend’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series 12th annual Firecracker 100, at Lernerville Speedway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all of your World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series 2018 racing action.