CONCORD, NC – Brandon Sheppard’s standout 2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series season officially came to a close on Nov. 5 at the annual banquet, where he was awarded the Championship title.
The 24-year-old from New Berlin, IL was rewarded with a $100,000 points-fund check, a black and red Craftsman toolbox, a championship ring, and the traditional World of Outlaws trophy for his record year.
Sheppard and the Rocket 1 Racing team were nearly unstoppable this season, totaling an impressive 18 wins, 37 top-fives, and 41 top-10 performances in 43 races, and collecting a total earning of $398,800 after the points-fund check.
“First of all, I have to thank the World of Outlaws, everyone at Craftsman, and everybody involved in the tour that makes this deal happen. This is really an awesome deal, and I hope to be involved with it for many years to come; so thank you, guys,” said Sheppard. “I also have to thank my crew. Man, what a crew. Mark [Richards], Dan [White], Austin [Hargrove], Joel [Rogers] – you all are the best group of guys I’ve ever been involved with. We’ve had a heck of a year.”
The Rocket 1 Racing team also received the Crew of the Year Award. In the past, this award has been given to the crew chief, but this year the award recognized the team effort that made this dream season happen.
“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you put good people together, good things can happen. And these guys are great guys,” said team owner Mark Richards. “Brandon has done an awesome job ever since the first day of testing this year, all the way until [the final night at World Finals]. We are really thankful for what he’s done for keeping this team going and keeping Rocket 1 up front… This has been such a year.”
Throughout the season, every time Sheppard appeared on the podium he credited his success to his hard-working crew. It was no different when reflecting on his overall season at the banquet as he gave heartfelt thank you to Richards, Crew Chief White, Hargrove and Rogers.
“The first night at Volusia, we had just a little conflict. I thought we needed to change something on the car. Mark thought it was me. It was just the heat of the moment,” explained Sheppard. “We were dang near ready to load up and call it a night after the heat race, and we ended up running the B-Main. We finished out the night and we were hooting and hollering, throwing stuff and everything else. Right then and there I knew that my crew had my back. I didn’t know any of them that well until we went to Florida.”
Devin Moran received the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series 2017 Rookie of the Year award. The young driver from Dresden, OH finished fourth in the point standings during his first-ever year on a national tour.
“Congratulations to everyone who made it through the whole season,” said Moran. “This isn’t an easy task as we found out. We definitely had our ups and our downs, but at the end of the day this is just one big family together. It’s not just my family [on the road], but everyone together… It’s really been a pleasure and been awesome racing with the Outlaw guys. I have to thank World Racing Group and The World of Outlaws just for putting this deal on for us. It’s a top-notch series, and it’s a blast to do it. We’re excited to do it again next year.”
For the 2017 season, Moran burned up the road and hit dirt tracks around the country with his family by his side, including his father – storied late model driver, Donnie – as well as his two brothers, Wylie and Tristin.
“One thing my dad has always taught me is to ride the wave, and I’ve definitely had an up and down year all year,” said Moran. “That’s one thing I really took into consideration all year, was just riding that wave and keeping my head down and straight forward and doing what I have to do.”
Moran completed his first season with the World of Outlaws tallying two wins (Atomic Speedway on May 26 and Georgetown Speedway on Aug. 17) as well as 14 top-five and 30 top-ten performances.
With 2017 in the books, the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series teams and officials are already preparing for an exciting 2018 season. A limited number of events have already been released, including the season launch on Feb. 9-10 at Screven Motor Speedway’s Winter Freeze event in Sylvania, GA before heading to the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park for four consecutive $10,000-to-win races Feb. 14-15-16-17 in Barberville, FL.
Select big-money events have also been released: the 11th annual Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway on March 23-24; The First in Flight 100 at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in Fayetteville, NC on May 11-12; the 12th annual Firecracker weekend June 21-22-23 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, PA; the 29th annual $30,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury (IL) American Legion Speedway on July 27-28; the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals Aug. 2-3-4 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI; and to wrap the season up, the annual World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Nov. 1-2-3.
For more information on all of the happenings of the 2018 season stay tuned to the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our official website.
Final World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Championship Standings
Pos. Car # Driver Earnings Points Trail By
1 1 Brandon Sheppard $398,800 5816 0
2 44 Chris Madden $222,705 5490 326
3 25 Shane Clanton $186,910 5426 390
4 9 Devin Moran $179,465 5368 448
5 7 Rick Eckert $147,910 5300 516
6 91 Tyler Erb $123,060 5286 530
7 18 Eric Wells $106,795 5138 678
8 1* Chub Frank $94,740 5048 768
14M Morgan Bagley $90,280 5048 768
10 99JR Frank Heckenast Jr. $90,695 4958 858
2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series Point Fund Awards
1. 100,000- Brandon Sheppard
2. 60,000- Chris Madden
3. 40,000- Shane Clanton
4. 35,000- Devin Moran
5. 30,000- Rick Eckert
6. 24,000- Tyler Erb
7. 23,000- Eric Wells
8. 22,000- Chub Frank
9. 21,000- Morgan Bagley
10. 20,000- Frank Heckenast Jr.
Other Special Awards
Raye Vest, Best Pill Draw: Shane Clanton
Raye Vest, Worst Pill Draw: Frank Heckenast Jr.
Crew of the Year: Mark Richards Racing
Rookie of the Year: Devin Moran
Engine Builder of the Year: Durham Racing Engines
Chassis Builder of the Year: Rocket Chassis
VP Award: Brandon Sheppard
Promoter of the Year: Rohrer Family at Eriez Speedway