PDT Sports Report
Fans and drivers from all around the country resided in Portsmouth over the weekend as Portsmouth Raceway Park hosted the 33rd annual Red Buck Dirt Track World Championship.
Seventy-nine Late Model race teams, 94 Modified teams, 322 motor homes and a grandstand full of fans flocked into PRP to witness 20-year-old Brandon Sheppard of Berlin, Ill. become the youngest driver to ever win the DTWC.
Sheppard passed Tennessee veteran Scott Bloomquist on lap 43 to take the lead. Bloomquist, who led the first 42 laps, fell off the pace a lap later.
Sheppard held off several challenges from Jackie Boggs throughout the duration of the 100-lap race, which took only 47 minutes to complete. Sheppard was driving the Mark Richards-owned Rocket Chassis in a fill-in roll for Richards’ son Josh. Sheppard pocketed $50,000 for winning the event.
Of the nearly 80 Late Model drivers in attendance, 15 states and Canada were represented. After a weekend filled with six 20-lap heat races, three 20-lap B-Mainsn and the Jim Dunn Memorial Non-Qualifiers Race, the DTWC itself started a 28-car field and featured several charges to the front from drivers who started deep in the pack.
Steve Francis, the 2013 Lucas Oil series runner-up, battled from 15th to finish second. Francis won $15,000 for his efforts.
Jackie Boggs started sixth and fought his way up to second. The two-time PRP Track Champ made multiple bids for the lead before eventually placing third to win $10,000.
Jason Feger advanced from 14th to fourth. The 2013 Lucas Oil Series champion Jimmy Owens came from 12th to finish in fifth.
Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer, Dennis Erb, Jr, Eric Wells and Steve Shaver rounded out the top 10. The 2013 PRP Track Champion, Rod Conley,came up from the 14th row to finish 15th. His brother, R.J. Conley, won the Jim Dunn Memorial non-qualifiers race and opted to pass on the $3,000 worth of prize money and instead tag the tail of the DTWC. The four-time track champion worked his way up to 12th in the big show but wound up placing 18th.
While the Late Model feature was the marquis event of the weekend, the Modified A-Main brought an overwhelming amount of entertainment in what many fans later said was the best modified race they had ever seen.
After a couple of early yellow flags, which took place prior to the first lap being scored, the race went 30 laps caution free. The event witnessed three leaders and five lead changes, as Greggie Oliver fended off Wayne’s Jeff Babcock and Devin Gilpin to claim the checkers.
For most of the race Oliver and Gilpin battled side-by-side, pulling off slide jobs, cross-over moves and splitting lapped traffic.
Babcock, who was the Custom Suspensions fast qualifier on Lemley Motorsports Night two days earlier, got by Gilpin for second with two laps to go. Gilpin finished third, while 2013 PRP Track Champ Todd Robinson came from 19th starting position to place fourth. Jason Montgomery rounded out the Top 5.
Taylor Cook, a 19-year-old from North Carolina, battled his way up from 18th to finish sixth. Dan Ebert, Doug Adkins, former NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Kenny Schrader and Jim Barnett rounded out the Top 10.
The DTWC Weekend concluded PRP’s 2013 season, as well as The Lucas Oil season. It was announced Saturday that the DTWC will return to Portsmouth Raceway Park in 2014.