Port Royal – World of Outlaws Late Model star Brandon Sheppart of New Berlin, Illinois, wired the field for a 40-lap, $10,000 victory at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night in the series first return to the track since 2008.
In the 410 sprint car main, Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown started 11th and weaved through the field in front to pick up his third oval win of the season.
Zearfoss took home $3,500 including a $300 bonus for winning from the 11th starting spot.
The racing program was delayed more than three hours thanks to rains that hit the track just as initial warm ups were being held at 6:30 pm.
Brandon Sheppard claimed his 13th win of the season with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series at Port Royal.
“Hats off to my guys,” said Sheppard. “They work really hard on this thing to give me a good car. It started getting black there in the groove and we stayed a little bit freed up in the cushion there, so I think a little bit of an adjustment would’ve been better.”
“It was a little treacherous out there but nothing fell off of the car so good job to the team. I owe it all to them guys.”
Sheppard started on the outside of pole sitter, Tyler Erb, for the feature but quickly found his way around his fellow Rocket Chassis XR1 driver on the first lap.
A total of four caution flags and one red flag hampered Sheppard’s pace throughout the distance on the tacky track as the cushion built all around the oval.
Erb was able to hold on to second for a few laps early before a caution fell on lap 3 for Matt Cosner who slowed on the track. The dixie double-file restart placed Jason Covert, who was running in third at the time, on the bottom and Erb on the top of the half-mile speedway as the field went back to green.
Covert then made his move and successfully claimed second from the Outlaw young gun.
Erb was holding a steady third position on the track while fending off charges from Devin Moran and Chris Madden for multiple laps. Unfortunately, bad luck continued to follow the No. 91 First Class Septic machine as he shredded his right rear tire on lap 26 which sidelined him for the remainder of the show.
Due to Erb’s retirement from the shootout, Madden inherited the final podium position and began to work on catching Covert and Sheppard.
During the last 10 laps of the feature, things began heating up between Sheppard and Covert as Sheppard’s advantage of 1.336 seconds was cut down to half a car length by lap 36.
In fact, every time the pair would compete under extended green flag runs, Covert would steadily narrow the gap only to see his progress set back by another caution flag.
On lap 37 as Covert honed in on Sheppard amid lapped traffic on the frontchute, the machine of Nick Dickson became collateral damage in the race while going a lap down.
With Covert to his inside and Sheppard just ahead, Dickson was sent careening up and over the cushion in the first turn where he promptly dug in and flipped completely over before coming to rest against the top side guardrail.
Although his ride took a toll, Dickson walked away uninjured from the red flag incident.
After the restart, Sheppard pulled away from Covert and Madden’s grasp as he created a 1.836 difference between himself and the field before the finish.
“Half-miles haven’t been my best tracks but my team has stuck behind me and they are really good support for me,” said Sheppard.
“They put it all on me to get the job done and it’s been a big learning curve this year. I feel like we have made leaps and bounds on the half-miles so that’s good for me. Josh [Richards] was always good at [half-miles] so I had some big shoes to fill but I am getting better and I am hoping for a good rest of the season.”
Heats went to Jeff Rine, Chris Madden, Sheppard and Covert with twin consolations going to Jared Miley and Dan Stone.
Overall fast time in the 36-car field was set by Sheppard with a time of 17.589 seconds.
Jeff Rine lowered the eight-lap track record in the first heat race before Chris Madden lowered his mark in the second heat, setting the new mark at 2:21.563.
Although some drivers chose to give up on the sprint car event before it got started, Brock Zearfoss proved that passing was no problem in the 25-lap sprint car feature as he zipped from his sixth row starting spot to the win.
Second starter Daryl Stimeling took the lead at the start as Nicole Bower gave chase with both Mike Wagner and Zearfoss moving through the field.
Wagner raced into third from the ninth starting spot with eight laps complete but Zearfoss overtook him for the position just two laps later.
With 13 tours completed Zearfoss blasted around Bower for second and set his sights on leader Stimeling and the battle for the lead unfolded.
Zearfoss made an attempt underneath Stimeling in the first and second turns with 11 laps to go but Stimeling was stout on the cushion and pulled back in front as the pair raced onto the backchute.
Zearfoss was regrouping for another stab at the lead with 10 to go when Sammy Swindell stopped on the frontstretch, bringing out the races only caution flag.
“The Jonestown Jet,” Zearfoss struck for the lead on the restart when he blasted the bottom as the leaders entered the first corner to come up with control as the field shot off of the second corner.
And then once in front, Zearfoss checked out on the field, opening up a half-lap advantage of 6.671 seconds over Stimeling by the finish.
Mike Wagner wrestled third away from Bower during the last two laps with Bower settling for fourth and 16th starter and point leader Dylan Cisney finishing in fifth.
Sixth through 10th went to Logan Wagner, Blane Heimbach, TJ Stutts, Joey Hershey and Trenton Sheaffer.
Heats went to AJ Flick, Jared Esh and Stimeling.
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