Sheppard Edges Moran in East Bay Opener

TAMPA, FL – Brandon Sheppard passed Devin Moran coming off turn four on the final lap to win the opening night of the Wrisco Industries 42nd Annual Winternationals – Presented by E3 Spark Plugs.

The 30-lap, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event saw four different leaders. Moran held the top spot at two different points and finished in second, with Earl Pearson, Jr. claiming the third position. Jonathan Davenport was in contention for the win until the end when he came home fourth. Scott Bloomquist romped from his eighteenth-place starting spot to finish fifth.

“I really didn’t find anything, it was treacherous getting off the corners. I had to get off the bottom in the brown. It’s tricky. I guess I never lifted on that last lap. My dad texted Mark [Richards] before the race and told him to get on me and that I needed to get up on the wheel more,” said the former Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year.

“I knew my dad was at home watching on television. I can’t thank Mark Richards and Steve Baker enough for what they have done for me, and everybody at Rocket Chassis as well. It’s a dream come true to drive for them. My dad and my grandpa have always supported me, and I appreciate that.”

Kyle Bronson started from the pole and led the first lap of the event until Moran forged ahead. Josh Richards then picked up the pace as he took the lead for the first time on lap thirteen. Richards led three circuits until Sheppard appeared at the head of the field for the first time on lap sixteen.

Two circuits later, Moran regained the point and looked to be on his way to first career win at “The Clay by the Bay.” However, Moran was forced to battle lapped traffic entering turn three on the final lap, allowing Sheppard to go high on the track and beat Moran to the finish line by a narrow margin.

Moran was pleased with his second-place finish, but disappointed he didn’t get that first win at the 1/3-mile oval. “It was an awesome race. With all the rain they got yesterday, Al [Varnadore] did a great job with the track. It would have been better if we would have won. My dad [Donnie] and brother [Wylie] were at home tonight and I had my brother Tristan here. It was a good run. We will come back tomorrow and try to improve one more spot,” said the driver of the Tye Twarog-owned, Eddie’s Sunoco, Rocket.

The Ronnie Stuckey Enterprises, Black Diamond, Lucas Oil entry driven by Earl Pearson Jr. battled amongst the top five the entire race before crossing the finish line in third. “Those kids up front put on a good show, that’s for sure,” smiled Pearson afterwards. “For the first night here at East Bay we will take this and build from there. That was a heck of a show in front of me. They were dicing it out, back and forth, the fans had to enjoy that one.”

Sheppard’s winning Mark Richards Racing-owned, Rocket Chassis entry is powered by an Andy Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by: Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunter’s Honey, Integra Racing Shocks, Ace Metal Works, Sallack Well Service, and Sunoco Race Fuels.

Completing the top ten were Josh Richards, Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Erb, Austin Hubbard, and Corey Conley.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Monday, February 5, 2018
Wrisco Industries East Bay Winternationals – presented by E3 Spark Plugs
East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL

Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Kyle Bronson / 14.794 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Josh Richards / 14.718 seconds

Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Kyle Bronson, Tyler Erb, Brandon Sheppard, Brian Shirley, Gregg Satterlee, Austin Hubbard, Freddie Carpenter, Joey Moriarty, Rance Garlock, Bob Geiger-DNS

FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Devin Moran, Earl Pearson, Jr., Mason Zeigler, Jeff Mathews, Donald McIntosh, Coleby Frye, Carder Miller, Craig Wolford, Shane Tankersley, Byron Meeks

Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Josh Richards, Jonathan Davenport, Tim Dohm , Jonathan Rowan, Scott Bloomquist, Corey Conley , Ryan King, Hudson O’Neal, Jason Jameson, Walker Arthur

QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Bobby Pierce, Billy Moyer, Jr., Dennis Erb, Jr., Mike Benedum, Tim McCreadie, Allen Murray, Travis Stemler, Jesse Stovall, Bob Gardner, Greg Oakes

Penske Racing Shocks B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Gregg Satterlee, Donald McIntosh, Austin Hubbard, Freddie Carpenter, Rance Garlock, Joey Moriarty, Coleby Frye, Shane Tankersley, Carder Miller, Craig Wolford, Byron Meeks-DNS, Bob Geiger-DNS

Fast Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Jesse Stovall, Corey Conley , Jason Jameson, Hudson O’Neal, Ryan King, Walker Arthur, Allen Murray, Bob Gardner, Greg Oakes, Tim McCreadie, Travis Stemler

DirtOnDirt.com Strawberry Dash Finish (8 Laps): Walker Arthur, Jason Jameson, Allen Murray, Freddie Carpenter, Rance Garlock, Bob Gardner, Coleby Frye, Joey Moriarty, Ryan King, Carder Miller

Feature Finish (30 Laps):

FINISH START CAR # DRIVER NAME HOMETOWN EARNINGS
1 9 1s Brandon Sheppard New Berlin, IL $5,000
2 3 9 Devin Moran Dresden, OH $3,000
3 7 1 Earl Pearson, Jr. Jacksonville, FL $2,000
4 6 49 Jonathan Davenport Blairsville, GA $1,500
5 18 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN $1,000
6 2 1R Josh Richards Shinnston, WV $900
7 8 21JR Billy Moyer, Jr. Batesville, AR $750
8 5 91 Tyler Erb New Waverly, TX $700
9 19 11 Austin Hubbard Bridgeville, DE $650
10 22 14C Corey Conley Wellsburg, WV $600
11 24 71 Hudson O’Neal Martinsville, IN $550
12 12 28 Dennis Erb, Jr. Carpentersville, IL $500
13 4 32 Bobby Pierce Oakwood, IL $500
14 1 40B Kyle Bronson Brandon, FL $500
15 20 0 Jesse Stovall Billings, MO $500
16 17 22 Gregg Satterlee Indiana, PA $500
17 14 56 Jonathan Rowan Jackson, TN $500
18 10 6T Tim Dohm Cross Lanes, WV $500
19 21 7m Donald McIntosh Dawsonville, GA $500
20 11 25Z Mason Zeigler Chalk Hill, PA $500
21 15 33 Jeff Mathews Brandon, FL $500
22 25 22G Greg Oakes Franklinville, NY $500
23 26 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA $500
24 23 39 Tim McCreadie Watertown, NY $500
25 16 25B Mike Benedum Salem, WV $500
26 13 22* Brian Shirley Chatham, IL $500

Race Statistics
Entrants: 40
Lap Leaders: Kyle Bronson (Laps 1 – 2); Devin Moran (Laps 3 – 12); Josh Richards (Laps 12 – 14); Devin Moran (Lap 15); Brandon Sheppard (Laps 16 – 17); Devin Moran (Laps 18 – 29); Brandon Sheppard (Lap 30)
Cautions: Brian Shirley (Lap 6); Tim Dohm (Lap 14)
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal
Wrisco Industries Winternationals Provisional: Greg Oakes
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Emergency Provisionals: N/A
Wrisco Feature Winner: Brandon Sheppard
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Scott Bloomquist (Started: 18th; Finished: 5th; Advanced 13 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Josh Richards
Allstar Performance Power Move of the Race: Tim Dohm
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: Cody Mallory (Scott Bloomquist)
Fastest Lap of the Race: Josh Richards (Lap #13 – 15.9709 seconds)
Most Laps Led: Devin Moran (23 Laps)
Dirty Girl Racewear Farthest Traveler: Joey Moriarty
PFC Brakes Pole Award: Kyle Bronson
Time of Race: 13 minutes 19 seconds