Rocket1 Racing entered the Valvoline Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket Chassis XR1 #Rocket1 in the 23rd annual Dirt Late Model DREAM at Eldora Speedway this past weekend with a great finish to cap off the 3 day event. The team improved its finish each night to capture 2nd place in the $100,000 to win dirt late model crown jewel event.
The format for the DREAM had two preliminary events on Thursday and Friday before the $100,000 to win event on Saturday. The event on Thursday was worth $5,000, Friday's event was worth $10,000 to win. A new twist this year for the DREAM was a tire rule that prevented "siping" and "grooving" tires. Those techniques applied to the tires give them more traction which helps the handling of the car. This was Sheppard's first time at Eldora with that rule, so it some adjusting to his driving style to become comfortable with the car.
The first night out Sheppard timed in 4th fastest of the 79 cars entered. He started fourth in the heat race and ultimately fell to 6th. After assessing the first time racing with the new tire rule, Sheppard and crew decided on what chassis changes needed to made for the B-Feature qualifier. Between the handling adjustments and Sheppard becoming more familiar with the tire's handling paid off. He won the B-main in a dominating performance. In the A-Feature, Sheppard started Rocket1 21st and climbed to 13th in a quickly ran 25 laps.
The following night, the team took what they learned and improved their on-track results. Brandon was the third to last car to qualify, putting him a disadvantage. By the time he took the track, the racing surface slowed down, decreasing his chances for a top five time. Sheppard drove the car to a respectable 18th fastest time of the 79 cars. The Rocket1 won heat race 2 and went on to finish fifth in the A-Feature, improving his finishing position by eight positions from the previous night.
The following day, June 10 was the $100,000 to win Dirt Late Model DREAM. This year's format lined up the heat races by points earned from the Thursday & Friday preliminary events, which started him 5th in heat six. He immediately went forward finishing 2nd in the heat. That performance earned him a 12th starting spot in the $100,000 to win event. At the drop of the green flag, it was evident that Brandon had a car that could compete for the win. He advanced immediately in the running order to battle with eventual race winner Scott Bloomquist for the 2nd and 3rd positions over the next 40 laps. Halfway through the race, Sheppard settled into third place until the final stages. Through out the closing stages, Sheppard passed second place Brandon Overton to secure the runner-up finish.
“That was a fun race there with Brandon (Overton). We always race each other clean, so it was fun racing with him. Once me and Brandon (Overton) got the line figured out that we wanted to run, we were already too far behind and congratulations to Scott. He was pretty good, "Sheppard, 24 years old of New Berlin, Illinois said. "I just need to thanks Mark, Steve, Danny, Austin, Joel, Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis and all of our other partners. This season has been amazing and can't wait to come back here for the World 100,”
Sheppard and Mark Richards' Rocket1 Racing team will return to the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series this weekend to defend their points lead. The series travels north of the border to Canada's Brighton Speedway (Brighton, ONT) and Cornwall Motor Speedway (Cornwall, ONT) then returns back to the states on June 20 to compete at McKean County Speedway (East Smethport, PA)
Rocket1 Racing’s 2017 marketing partners: Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Ace Metal Works, Sallack Well Service, Gunter’s Honey, Petroff Towing, Andy Durham Racing Engines, Keyser Mfg., Integra Racing Shocks, Hoosier Racing Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sweet Mfg., Five Star Bodies, Slavic Corp, Accu-Force Shock Services, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Aurora Rod Ends, Barnes Dry Sump Systems, Bazell Race Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, Braswell Competition Carburetors, Brinn Transmissions, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Butler Built Professional Seat Systems, Dohm Cycles, Edelbrock, Hardrock Powder Coating, Howe Racing Enterprises, Jones Racing Products, Kenny’s Components, Maxima Racing Oils, MSD Ignition, Performance Bodies, Performance Rod & Custom, Peterson Fluid Systems, Powers Starters, Quick Car Racing Products, R2C Competition Series Filters, Show Trucks Unlimited, Simpson, Snap-On Tools – Paul Greenwood, SRI, Strange Oval - Kera Axle Tuning, Tel Tac Oval Track Pro, Weld Racing, Wiles Racing Driveshafts, Wilwood Brakes, Winters Performance Products and Wrisco Aluminum.
Valvoline™ is a leading worldwide producer and distributor of premium-branded automotive, commercial and industrial lubricants, and automotive chemicals. In 2016, it ranks as the #2 quick-lube chain by number of stores and #3 passenger car motor oil in the DIY market by volume brand in the United States. The brand operates and franchises more than 1,050 Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM centers in the United States. It also markets ValvolineTM lubricants and automotive chemicals; MaxLifeTM lubricants created for higher-mileage engines, SynPowerTM synthetic motor oil; and ZerexTM antifreeze. For more information, please visit Valvoline.com.
About Mark Richards Racing, Inc. dba Rocket Chassis
Based in Shinnston, W.V., Mark Richards Racing, Inc. dba Rocket Chassis is a dirt late model manufacturer founded in 1991 by business partners Mark Richards and Steve Baker. It's a group of talented individuals who strive to make Rocket Chassis the winningest dirt late model manufacturer in dirt oval racing. For more information on Rocket Chassis, please visit rocketchassis.com.