WEST PORTSMOUTH — New Berlin, IL’s Brandon Sheppard earned $100,000 Saturday night at Portsmouth Raceway Park, as he captured his fourth Dirt Track World Championship Late Model victory.
Portsmouth was again the host site for The 40th Annual General Tire DTWC presented by Optima Batteries, and over 200 race teams were on hand for the event, which was held for the ninth consecutive year at PRP.
While Sheppard claimed the top prize, Jackson’s Seth Daniels was the class of the field in the Modified Division. Colton Burdette took the checkers in the Steel Block Late Models, and Steven Partin was triumphant in the Legends Cars.
Action started Thursday evening, but the night was cut short due to rain. That set up a busy day on Friday, as the bulk of Thursday’s agenda took place on Friday along with all of Day Number Two’s regularly scheduled events. In total, fans were witness to 24 different races on Friday alone, however, it was Saturday’s 100-lap, $100,000-to-win, Lucas Oil Late Model Feature that garnered the bulk of the attention.
Thirty-one of the 63 Super Late Models in attendance started the 100-lapper. The race would witness three different leaders, see three lead changes, be halted by 10 cautions, and would take just over an hour to complete. The 31-car field represented 17 states with racers from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New Mexico, and California.
Pole sitter Tim McCreadie would lead the first 23 laps before Brandon Sheppard, who started 11th, would take the top spot on lap 24. Sheppard would pace the field until Zack Dohm edged him at the stripe while completing lap 54. Dohm and Sheppard would battle intensely for several circuits, but Sheppard would retake the lead a lap later and would hold it until the finish.
Sheppard’s fourth DTWC win gave him his first back-to-back victories in the Carl Short promoted event. Heading in to the weekend Sheppard was one of three drivers who had scored three DTWC wins along with Scott Bloomquist and the late Jack Boggs. Sheppard is now the only driver who has won it four times, just one less than Freddy Smith, who has the most career DTWC victories with five.
Finishing behind Brandon Sheppard in Saturday’s big race was Del, IA’s Ricky Thornton, Jr. Tim McCreadie placed third. Chris Madden came from ninth to fourth. Tyler Erb charged from 22nd to fifth. Zack Dohm, Billy Moyer Jr., Boom Briggs, Kyle Bronson, and Jason Feger rounded out the top 10.
Bronson moved up from 21st to crack the top 10. Feger hustled his way through the field charging from 24th to 10th. Like Feger, Jonathan Davenport also advanced 14 positions moving from 25th to 11th.
Several hopefuls struggled in Saturday’s main event. Series champion Jimmy Owens started 19th and would drop out to finish 27th. Former NASCAR regular Kyle Larson was on the scene. He has been tearing up dirt tracks all season having won 41 races on the year including The Dean Knittel Memorial Sprint Car Race earlier this season at PRP. However, the Elk Grove, CA native would have nothing but tough luck Saturday in Portsmouth pulling out of the feature on lap 15 and finishing 30th.
The Jim Dunn Memorial Late Model Non-Qualifiers Race was won by Mason Zieglar with Colten Burdette, R.J. Conley, Dustin Linville, and Scott James completing the top 5. Conley, a Wheelersburg native and four-time PRP track champ charged from 10th to finish third.
Parkersburg, WV’s Colten Burdette arguably pulled off one of the more stunning feats of the weekend. Right after winning “The Todd Galloway Memorial presented by Premier Pre-cast Products and Pickett Concrete” Steel Block Late Model Feature, he turned right around in the exact same car and finished second in The Jim Dunn Memorial Super Late Model Feature. All he did was run back to the pits and change tires.
Over 40 Steel Block Late Model drivers were in attendance over the weekend. Their 25-lap feature had some very racy moments between Burdette and Josh Rice, but Burdette would take the checkers. Rice would have to settle for second. Matt Melvin, Devin Weyandt, Audie Swartz, Pete Crum, Richie Edwards, Shawn Shoemaker, Evyian Terry, and Clint Keenan rounded out the top 10.
The largest car count of the weekend was in the Modified Division, as this class boasted 79 entries. Jackson’s Seth Daniels led every lap of the $5,000-to-win feature presented by Barbour Auto Parts as well as Ross Auto Parts & Paint. Daniels’ win was the biggest of the 21-year-old’s career.
Last year’s winner Eddie Carrier Jr. placed second. Brian Skaggs was third, and two-time winner KC Burdette finished fourth. Travis Dickson climbed from 10th to fifth. Aaron Branham charged from 15th to sixth. Jimmy Lennex moved up from 14th to seventh. JP Roberts placed eighth. Ervin Vance moved up from 17th to ninth, and David Webb climbed from 19th to 10th. Kenny Johnson won the Modified Non-Qualifiers Race.
Steven Partin was the winner of the Ohio Valley Roofers Legends Car Series Race. In winning the race, the Peebles driver also claimed the season championship. Tyler Scott, Josh Francis, Ronnie Niehaus, Alec Fields, Joe Warning, Ashley Tackett, John Gutman, Tom Partin, and Cale Maybin rounded out the top 10.
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