A Silver Dollar Nationals win is something that has eluded Brandon Sheppard for some time, that changed on Saturday.
Sheppard took the lead on lap 88 and pulled away to capture that coveted victory in the tenth edition of the annual Imperial Tile Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb.
The 27-year-old drove the Valvoline No. 1 Seubert Calf Ranches/ Durham Racing Engines-powered Rocket Chassis House Car to the $53,000 payday. It’s was Sheppard’s first-career victory in the annual Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event.
Kicking off the crown jewel weekend on Thursday, Rocket1 Racing was one of 46 entries on hand at the 4/10-mile oval for the Dirt Track Bank Go 50. After qualifying third in his time trial group, Brandon later finished second in his heat race to lock into the night’s main event.
Starting the $12,000-to-win feature in sixth, Sheppard quickly made his way into the Top-5. Tracking down the leader in the closing laps, Brandon made a charge at the top spot before crossing the finish line in third behind Jimmy Owens and Ricky Thornton Jr. Ricky Weiss and Josh Richards completed the Top-5.
“In the heat race there, everybody was hurting tires on the left rear, so I was kind of trying to save (rubber) as good as I could there in that feature,” the third-place finisher said. “There towards the end I really got going and my car felt really comfortable and maneuverable, and I passed a few cars kind of all over the racetrack there. My car is really good and balanced right now. I was hoping to shake it up a little bit there at the end, but Jimmy’s been really tough, and Ricky’s been tough too, and them guys did a really good job.”
On Friday, the field was set for two rounds of passing point heat races that would determine the line-up for Saturday’s finale. A third-place finish in the first round and a second-place outing in round two put Sheppard fourth overall in passing points, locking him into the A-Main on Saturday.
Sheppard started in fourth and raced inside the Top-5 for most of the 101-lap affair. Late in the feature, running the extreme outside line, Brandon sailed around Ricky Thornton Jr. for second on lap 82 and then Chad Simpson on lap 88 to take the lead.
“It’s so nice to start up front here finally,” Sheppard said. “Starting up front was a really big deal for us because I was able to control my own race and not worry about where everybody else was running. Those years (he came from deep in the field) I just blasted the top, just ran the crap out of the car the whole time, and by the time I’d get to second my tires are used up and you really don’t know how good your car is because it’s too late by the time you get there.”
Once in command, Sheppard went uncontested, pulling away to a 2.778 second advantage at the checkers ahead of Thornton Jr., Simpson, Tim McCreadie, and Ricky Weiss.
For complete results from the weekend, please visit www.LucasDirt.com.
This week, Rocket1 Racing returns to the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series. The tour will make a stop at Davenport (Iowa) Speedway on Tuesday for a $10,000-to-win event. On Friday – Saturday, July 31 – August 1, Kokomo Speedway hosts the WoO for a two-day, $25,000-to-win event.
To learn more about these events, please visit www.WoOLMS.com.
Rocket1 Racing would like to thank all of their marketing partners, which include Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Durham Racing Engines, FiveStar RaceCar Bodies, Gunters Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Racing Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, Petroff Towing, Slavic Custom Racing Shirts & Decals, Sweet Manufacturing, Sunoco Race Fuels, Accu-Force Shock Service, ATL Fuel Cells, Aurora Rod Ends, Barnes Dry Sump Oil Systems, Bazell Race Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Brinn Transmissions, Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, CP Carrillo, Dohm Cycles, Edelbrock, Fibreworks Composites, Hardrock Powder Coating, Howe Racing Enterprises, Jones Racing Products, Kenny’s Components, Maxima Racing Oils, MSD, NGK Spark Plugs, Tel Tac, Performance Bodies, Peterson Fluid Systems, Powers Performance, Performance Rod & Custom, Quarter Master, QuickCar Racing Products, Rocket Pre-Owned Motors, Safecraft, Show Trucks Unlimited, Simpson, Stealth Carburetors, Strange Oval, Suave Talk, Total Power Valvoline Pro-V Racing, Walker Performance Filtration, Weld Racing, Wiles Driveshafts, Wilwood Brakes, Winters Performance Products, Wrisco Aluminum, Xceldyne Valvetrain, and MSR Mafia Marketing Services.