Despite the setbacks of 2020, it was still an action-packed year for Dirt Late Models. Both national tours worked tirelessly to put together complete seasons after losing time during the spring, and several marquee events carried on or reimagined to deal with the obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Which Dirt Late Model stars shone the brightest during the 2020 season? Here is our top 10 ranking.
#1) Brandon Sheppard – “B-Shepp” scored his third World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship in the last four years in 2020, taking 14 wins on the tour. Perhaps more impressive, however, was Sheppard’s consistency. Whether it was with the Outlaws, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, the “Hell Tour,” in the Rocket1 Racing No. 1 or the Brandon Sheppard Racing No. B5, Sheppard was in the top 10 with alarming frequency.
#2) Jimmy Owens – Not to be outdone, the Newport Nightmare had a career year in 2020, which is saying something when you’re discussing a driver who was already a three-time LOLMDS champion. Owens put the competition on notice with three wins at Volusia during Speedweeks and rattled off another 16 wins during the year. Owens walked away with this year’s LOLMDS title to cap off the stellar year.
#3) Tim McCreadie – Teamed up with Donald and Gena Bradsher in 2020, McCreadie knocked off several big wins while finishing second in LOLMDS points to Owens. McCreadie also scored big-money wins in the Dirt Late Model Stream Invitational at Eldora, the North/South 100 at Florence Speedway and the I-80 Nationals.
#4) Brandon Overton – “Big Sexy” had no problem stacking up victories, going to victory lane 26 time. Overton scored a $50,000 in the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway for his biggest win of the year. That win was part of a ummer stretch where Overton finished on the podium 13 times in 15 races, including eight wins. Overton is now a three-time Schaeffer’s Southern Nationals Champion.
#5) Jonathan Davenport – It was a down year by “Superman” standards, with just five wins on the year. However, Davenport picked up steam in the second half of the season, including a $50,000 at Eldora’s Intercontinental Classic.
#6) Brian Shirley – Shirley started the season as hot as anyone in the country, with three wins during the Wild West Shootout at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway in January. Of course, no one has been hotter than “The Squirrel” on the Hell Tour, where Shirley once again claimed top honors this summer.
#7) Josh Richards – Richards won five times in the 2020 season, including prelim night victories for the Jackson 100 and the Intercontinental Classic. Richards finished fourth in LOLMDS points, with only Owens and McCreadie scoring more Top 10 finishes.
#8) Ricky Weiss – Ricky Weiss finished second to Brandon Sheppard in the 2020 WoOLMS points chase, one of just five multi-race winners with the series this year. While victory eluded him in the month of July, Weiss scored nine top-five finishes in 12 races that month.
#9) Chris Madden – It wasn’t a repeat of last year, but eight wins for “Smokey” was nothing to sneeze at. Four of those wins have come since October, giving Madden momentum entering the 2021 season.
#10) Cade Dillard – Dillard made his first trip to WoOLMS victory lane in 2020 at Vado Speedway Park during the Battle at the Border, then backed it up with a win at Lernerville in the Firecracker 100. Dillard finished his second full-time season with the tour with a third-place points finish.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit; Speed51 Photo