Rocket1 Racing and Brandon Sheppard continued their early season success with three Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories during the Wrisco Industries Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla.
During the course of the weeklong affair, Sheppard not only won three races but also six podium finishes along the way in the Valvoline No.1 Seubert Calf Ranches/ Gunters Honey/ Ace Metal Works/ Durham Racing Engines-powered XR1 Rocket Chassis.
“What a week it’s been here,” said Sheppard. “It was typical East Bay, where it didn’t give us the same thing twice this week. We had a different surface every night and that’s what makes it so much fun to come here. Man, it was a lot of fun, I can’t thank my guys enough.”
Sheppard’s first victory of the week came on Tuesday night. After winning his heat race to earn the outside front row starting spot for the feature, Sheppard went on to his fourth-career East Bay victory and the $5,000 payday.
Sharing the front-row with Tim Dohm, Sheppard and Dohm had a spirited battle for the lead in the early going. Sheppard led the first circuit before Dohm assumed the point a lap later. Sheppard then regained the lead and never looking back, crossing the finish line ahead of Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie, Dohm, and Jonathan Davenport.
On Thursday, struggles in qualifying positioned Sheppard starting fourth in his heat race. A second-place finish would lock him into the 12th position on the $7,000-to-win feature grid. Brandon charged from his sixth row starting spot to take the lead on lap 14 and never look back, finishing 1.7 seconds ahead of Josh Richards, Billy Moyer Jr., Jimmy Owens, and Devin Moran at the finish line. He earned $7,000 for his efforts.
Saturday’s Wrisco Industries Winternationals finale boasted a $12,000 top prize. A second-place finish in his heat race earned Brandon the 11th spot on the grid for the 50-lap main event. Sheppard patiently worked his way through the field, moving into second on the 21st lap.
Brandon rocketed by race long pacesetter, Devin Moran on the 38th circuit and expanded his lead in the final ten laps to record his third victory of the week at the “Clay by the Bay.” Moran finished second, followed by Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley, and Shane Clanton rounding out the Top-5.
Full results from the week are available at www.LucasDirt.com.