Brandon Sheppard drove the Rocket1 Racing, Valvoline No. 1 Seubert Calf Ranches/ Durham Racing Engines-powered Rocket Chassis to a runner-up finish in the final round of the Rumble by the River at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway Saturday.
Sheppard finished 0.499 second behind Kyle Larson in the $15,000-to-win finale, which was sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
A field of 55 entries converged at “The Speed Palace” for the opening round of the three-day program on Thursday. Sheppard laid down the second fastest time in his qualifying group to earn the pole position for his heat race.
After slipping to a third-place finish in his heat race, Brandon was locked into the 16th starting spot on the grid for the 30-lap feature. With $10,000 on the line, Sheppard rallied into the Top-10 to cross the finish line in eighth.
On Friday, the winner’s purse increased to $12,000. Brandon charged to a heat race victory earning him the third starting spot on the 40-lap feature. Unfortunately, persistent rain forced officials to cancel the balance of the program before the main event could get underway.
Returning to the half-mile oval on Saturday, Sheppard set the overall fast time and claimed a heat race victory to earn the pole position for the $15,000-to-win main event.
Larson, the outside front-row starter, grabbed the lead at the start of the 50-lapper. Sheppard held the second spot until Hudson O’Neal was able to get by on lap 11. Regaining the runner-up spot near the midway point, he began pressuring Larson for the top spot.
Brandon closed the gap as the frontrunners entered lap traffic late in the race, but never close enough to make a serious bid for the lead. Sheppard crossed the line in second behind Larson, with Gregg Satterlee, Chris Ferguson, and Tim McCreadie rounding out the Top-5.
“I was good on the longer runs. I couldn’t really take off very good on the restarts, and we had a bunch of restarts there, so that was definitely not helping me,” Sheppard said. “Congratulations to Kyle. He did a really good job. He does a good job in everything he drives, obviously. We tried our best out there. There were a few things I would’ve done different if I could go back again, but all in all, definitely I can’t hang my head with second place.”
Full results from these events can be found at www.LucasDirt.com.
This weekend, the Rocket1 team returns to the World of Outlaws Late Model Series circuit. A doubleheader kicks off on Friday, September 4 at Lavonia (Ga.) Speedway, followed by a Saturday, September 5 stop at Lancaster (S.C.) Motor Speedway. Both events pay $10,000-to-win.
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.