OCALA, FL (February 19, 2017) – The former Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year, Brandon Sheppard took the lead on the final lap from Scott Bloomquist to win Sunday night’s Lucas Oil Winter Nationals - presented by GEICO at Bubba Raceway Park. The exciting finish brought the packed grandstand to its feet as Sheppard charged from his 11th starting spot to take the win.
Bloomquist finished in second, followed by Dennis Erb Jr. in the Vomac Trucking, Clements Racing Engines, Black Diamond Chassis. Earl Pearson Jr. came home fourth in the Dunn-Benson Ford, Larry Wallace Racing Engines, Longhorn Chassis. Frank Heckenast Jr. completed the top five in the St. Louis-U-Pic-A-Part, Capital Race Car.
Sheppard ended the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks with his second win in the Mark Richards Racing, Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunter’s Honey, Sallack Well Services, Sunoco, Durham-powered Rocket House Car.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the sixth time in his career, the 24-year-old racer was at a loss for words; “Anytime you can pass Scott [Bloomquist] for the lead, it’s pretty big. He is probably one of the greatest in our sport. I guess you could say it was an honor to pass him on the last lap for the win.”
“It was crazy out there. Turns three and four and down the front stretch were pretty slippery. You had to make sure you hit the little bit of brown on the bottom of three and four,” said Sheppard.
“The caution with two laps to go, let us pack the top of one and two and made it so we could roll around on the top better. Scott was running on the top before that caution come out. I kind of expected him to go to the top and then he went to the bottom on the restart. I guess I just grinned a little bit and got on the gas and went right by him on the outside.”
At the start of the race Josh Richards and Bloomquist led the field to the green flag. Bloomquist led the first lap and Richards took over the point on lap two. Richards then started to receive heavy pressure from Don O’Neal who had moved by Bloomquist into second place.
As Richards and O’Neal exited off turn four on lap 20, a car spun directly into front of them, leaving those two drivers with nowhere to go and they came to a halt with heavy damage to both cars. Richards went pit-side and made repairs to re-join the field on the tail while O’Neal was done for the night.
Bloomquist inherited the lead, which he held until a caution with two laps to go for a slowing car in turn two, which bunched the field for a green-white-checker finish. Erb, who had been all over Bloomquist in the final five laps of the race charged to the bottom trying to get by Bloomquist as Sheppard swung out wide and went by both to take the win.
Bloomquist crossed the line in second even though it wasn’t the result he was looking for. “We were pushing badly at the end, especially in three and four. The tire was starting to give-up a little bit. The crew guys pointed to get to the bottom on the restart. I didn’t expect him [Sheppard] to get a run like that, and the car didn’t feel as good at the end, it was just one of those things. We had a good race and I am sure that everybody enjoyed watching that one.”
Erb took third, and commented on his podium finish, “We had a good car all night long. From the time we hot lapped, qualified, ran the heat, this car stayed good and to be running up front near the end, we are real pleased with that. We worked on this car all week-long and finally brought it out tonight, we made a lot of changes on this car, but at least we are going in the right direction.”
Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Chub Frank, Boom Briggs, Jonathan Davenport, and Josh Richards.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Sunday, February 19th, 2017
Lucas Oil Winter Nationals – presented by GEICO
Bubba Raceway Park – Ocala, FL
Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Josh Richards / 14.290 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Scott Bloomquist / 14.171 seconds
Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Josh Richards, Don O'Neal, Boom Briggs, Chub Frank, Jonathan Davenport, Gregg Satterlee, Tim McCreadie, Steve Casebolt , Morgan Bagley, Darrell Lanigan, Austin Rettig-DNS
FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson, Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Donald McIntosh, Kenny PettyJohn, Dale Hollidge, Jared Miley, Corey Conley , Brent Larson, Steve Francis, Larry Baer-DNS
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jason Fitzgerald, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Bob Gardner, Doug Drown, John Gardner, Jason Jameson, Timothy Culp, Pancho Lawler, Austin Kirkpatrick
QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Hudson O'Neal, Tyler Erb, GR Smith, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Kyle Bronson, Austin Hubbard, Coleby Frye, Shan Smith, Colton Flinner, Freddie Carpenter, Tyler Clem-DNS
Penske Racing Shocks B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Kenny PettyJohn, Dale Hollidge, Gregg Satterlee, Morgan Bagley, Brent Larson, Corey Conley , Jared Miley, Austin Rettig, Steve Casebolt-DNS, Darrell Lanigan-DNS, Steve Francis-DNS, Larry Baer-DNS
Fast Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Kyle Bronson, Austin Hubbard, Bob Gardner, John Gardner, Coleby Frye, Shan Smith, Jason Jameson, Doug Drown, Pancho Lawler, Timothy Culp, Colton Flinner, Freddie Carpenter-DNS, Austin Kirkpatrick-DNS, Tyler Clem-DNS
Feature Finish (50 Laps):
|FINISH||START||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN||EARNINGS|
|1||11||1S||Brandon Sheppard||New Berlin, IL||$10,000|
|2||2||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN||$6,700|
|3||6||28E||Dennis Erb, Jr.||Carpentersville, IL||$4,700|
|4||7||1||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL||$4,050|
|5||16||99JR||Frank Heckenast, Jr.||Frankfort, IL||$2,250|
|6||19||39||Tim McCreadie||Watertown, NY||$3,000|
|7||13||1*||Chub Frank||Bear Lake, PA||$1,500|
|8||9||99B||Boom Briggs||Bear Lake, PA||$1,800|
|9||17||49||Jonathan Davenport||Williamson, SC||$2,000|
|10||1||1R||Josh Richards||Shinnston, WV||$2,400|
|11||10||7F||Jason Fitzgerald||Middleburg, FL||$1,075|
|12||23||14||Darrell Lanigan||Union, KY||$1,750|
|13||20||11||Austin Hubbard||Bridgeville, DE||$1,025|
|14||14||21L||Ivedent Lloyd, Jr.||Ocala, FL||$1,000|
|15||3||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN||$2,250|
|16||8||91||Tyler Erb||New Waverly, TX||$925|
|17||18||40B||Kyle Bronson||Brandon, FL||$900|
|18||15||7m||Donald McIntosh||Dawsonville, GA||$875|
|19||4||71||Hudson O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||$1,350|
|20||12||22*||GR Smith||Statesville, NC||$825|
|21||21||38||Kenny PettyJohn||Millsboro, DE||$800|
|22||22||4G||Bob Gardner||Washington, IL||$800|
|23||24||15||Steve Francis||Bowling Green, KY||$2,000|
|24||25||75||Colton Flinner||Allison Park, PA||$800|
|25||5||5||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||$1,600|
Lap Leaders: Scott Bloomquist (Lap 1); Josh Richards (Laps 2 – 20); Scott Bloomquist (Laps 21 – 49); Brandon Sheppard (Lap 50)
Cautions: GR Smith (Lap 8); Josh Richards, Don O’Neal, Bob Gardner (Lap 20); Tyler Erb (Lap 25); Hudson O’Neal (Lap 48)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Darrell Lanigan; Steve Francis
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: Colton Flinner
Wrisco Feature Winner: Brandon Sheppard
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Tim McCreadie (Started: 19th; Finished: 6th; Advanced 13 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Josh Richards
Allstar Performance Power Move of the Race: Brandon Sheppard
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Brandon Sheppard
Hot Rod Processing Rookie of the Race: n/a
COMP Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Racing Engines
Ohlins Shocks Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Heather Lyne (Dennis Erb Jr.)
Fastest Lap of the Race: Scott Bloomquist (Lap #21 – 14.1926 seconds)
Safecraft Most Laps Led: Scott Bloomquist (30 Laps)
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Josh Richards
Time of Race: 37 minutes 42 seconds
Wrisco Speedweeks Championship Chase Standings:
|3||1||Earl Pearson, Jr.||1290|
|5||28E||Dennis Erb, Jr.||1210|
Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER NAME||HOMETOWN||POINTS||EARNINGS|
|1||1R||Josh Richards||Shinnston, WV||870||$30,850|
|2||0||Scott Bloomquist||Mooresburg, TN||855||$26,300|
|3||49||Jonathan Davenport||Williamson, SC||825||$12,700|
|4||39||Tim McCreadie||Watertown, NY||820||$21,800|
|5||20||Jimmy Owens||Newport, TN||715||$12,150|
|6||1||Earl Pearson, Jr.||Jacksonville, FL||710||$13,450|
|7||28E||Dennis Erb, Jr.||Carpentersville, IL||655||$10,825|
|8||5||Don O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||650||$11,075|
|9||14||Darrell Lanigan||Union, KY||630||$7,550|
|10||1S||Brandon Sheppard||New Berlin, IL||625||$20,675|
|11||99B||Boom Briggs||Bear Lake, PA||600||$4,200|
|12||15||Steve Francis||Bowling Green, KY||595||$7,400|
|13||71||Hudson O'Neal||Martinsville, IN||590||$5,650|
|14||38||Kenny PettyJohn||Millsboro, DE||570||$5,225|
|14||240||Doug Drown||Wooster, OH||570||$3,625|
|16||11||Austin Hubbard||Bridgeville, DE||525||$5,975|
|17||22*||GR Smith||Statesville, NC||495||$2,925|
|18||75||Colton Flinner||Allison Park, PA||495||$3,650|
*Points are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*
For the latest breaking news concerning the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, including the latest series standings, 2017 tour schedule, driver information, and more visit the official website at: www.lucasdirt.com.
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