Rocket1 Racing with driver Brandon Sheppard entered the annual Illini 100 over the weekend with their Valvoline No. 1 Seubert Calf Ranches/ Durham Racing Engines-powered XR1 Rocket Chassis Super Late Model.
At a track, where Sheppard has turned hundreds of laps in his young career, the Illinois competitor raced to a pair of Top-5 finishes including an 18th-to-3rd run in Saturday night’s finale.
“On Saturday night I feel like we had one of the fastest, if not the fastest car on the track, but starting back in 18th didn’t leave us enough time to get to the front. Man, our cars have been really good, but we’ve just been getting behind in qualifying, and with competition this tough it’s hard to get to the front, when you start that deep,” Sheppard said. “We definitely wish we would’ve finished a few spots better, but we’re not going to hang our heads. If we can start qualifying better, the wins and another championship will come.”
On Friday night, Rocket1 Racing and Brandon Sheppard followed the World of Outlaws (WoO) Morton Buildings Late Model Series to the Land of Lincoln for the two-day Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway (Farmer City, Ill.). With 46 Late Models entered, Sheppard came one spot shy of transfer position in his heat with a fifth-place finish, sending him into the B-Main for another shot at qualifying for the $6,000-to-win preliminary feature.
Streaking to a 10-lap victory, Brandon locked into the 18th-starting position for the A-Main. Breaking into the Top-10, Sheppard passed 13 cars in the 25-lapper to register a fifth-place finish, trailing Mike Spatola, Ryan Unzicker, Bobby Pierce, and Tanner English across the line.
Falling just short of transferring out of his heat race again on Saturday, Brandon needed a third-place finish or better in his B-Main to make the show. Cruising to a consolation win, Sheppard would roll off 18th for the $20,000-to-win Illini 100.
The pilot of the Valvoline No. 1 wasted no time working his way into the Top-5 in the mega finale. In fact, Brandon put himself in contention for the win after a lap-70 restart but fell short, marking him third on the rundown when the checkered flag flew. He followed Bobby Pierce and Cade Dillard to the checkers with Chris Madden and Rick Eckert completing the Top-5 finishers.
With a pair of Top-5 finishes over the weekend, Sheppard shrunk Kyle Strickler’s lead in the latest WoO point standings to just 24 markers.
For complete results from these events, please visit www.WorldofOutlaws.com.