Sheppard wins Illinois Speedweek opener at Spoon River
Rocket1 Racing and their trusty pilot, Brandon Sheppard enjoyed a great week of racing in the Land of Lincoln during the inaugural FloRacing Illinois Speedweek. (Josh James Artwork image)
In four starts, Sheppard bagged a win, three Top-5 finishes, and four Top-5 finishes. In addition to winning the top prize in the $22,022-to-win opener at Spoon River Speedway, he also pocketed the $10,000 top prize for the overall FloRacing Illinois Speedweek point title.
With the victory the team increased their 2022-win total to six with their Valvoline / Seubert Calf Ranches No. 1 Ace Metal Works / XR1 Rocket Chassis / Durham Racing Engine Super Late Model.
“Our team had a great week in Illinois. Anytime you can run that good you are going to be happy, but it was really special to get to spend a week racing close to home with my family and friends there every night,” Sheppard said. “It was a little ironic to win at Spoon (River Speedway) because that’s honestly probably my worst of the four tracks, but everything worked out for me there on Wednesday. I had a heck of a race there late at Lincoln (Speedway) with Dennis (Erb Jr.) and came up a little short, and then the same on Saturday at Fairbury (Speedway) on Saturday with (Bobby) Pierce. All-in-all a great week for us.”
To kick off the inaugural FloRacing Illinois Speedweek, Rocket1 Racing and Brandon Sheppard invaded Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.) on Wednesday afternoon for the third round of the Castrol FloRacing Night in America mini-series.
With 56 Late Models amassed, Sheppard qualified second-fastest in his group before placing first in his heat. Earning the third-starting position for the main event, Brandon overtook early pacesetter Ashton Winger on the 22nd circuit and led the remainder of the 50-lapper to capture Rocket1 Racing's sixth win of the season and a $22,022 prize. He finished 2.609 seconds ahead of Mike Marlar with Tanner English, Stormy Scott, and Ricky Thornton Jr. rounding out the top-five.
In a field of 55 cars on Thursday at Lincoln Speedway (Lincoln, Ill.), Brandon secured his spot into the $22,022-to-win A-Main with a 10-lap heat race victory. Rolling off fourth in the feature, Sheppard made a late-race charge in the final 15 laps but came up a few feet short on the final circuit after tagging the backstretch fence. He trailed Dennis Erb Jr. to the checkers with Garrett Alberson rounding out the podium.
On Friday night at Farmer City Raceway (Farmer City, Ill.) for the MARS Racing Series-sanctioned Farmer City 74 presented by Douglas Dodge, Sheppard’s second-place finish in his heat race placed him on the fourth row for the main event. With $15,000 on the line, Brandon inched forward three spots to finish fifth.
For the weekend finale on Saturday, Rocket1 Racing headed to Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, Ill.) for the Titan Industries FALS Spring Shootout. Drawing 50 Late Models, Sheppard outdueled Frank Heckenast Jr. in his heat race to pick up the win. Earning the third-starting position for the $30,000-to-win A-Main, Brandon tracked down race-long pacesetter Bobby Pierce in the closing laps but fell short at the line to place second.
Sheppard’s consistency propelled him to the $10,000 FloRacing Illinois Speedweek title. Additionally, with four events in the books in the 12-race mini-series, Rocket1 Racing leads the Castrol FloRacing Night in America point standings.
Complete results from the week can be found at www.FloSeries.com .