Brandon Sheppard continued his hot streak in Dirt Late Model racing by scoring the East Bay Winternationals finale at East Bay Raceway Park, his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the week. The win gave him the overall Winternationals title, adding to his three wins and title at the Wild West Shootout in Arizona one month ago.
While a bottom-feeder surface was in play during the 50-lap main event, Sheppard used the outside to his advantage to pull close to Devin Moran before making the pass on the inside with 12 laps to go. A subsequent yellow was no match for “Rocket Shepp,” who pulled away on the final 10-lap run to the checkered flag for his sixth win of 2020.
“I went up there early in the race and I could get a really good run down the backstretch there, but it was really tricky getting into one,” Sheppard said on the MAVTV broadcast. “I was so slow up the frontstretch on the outside, when I got to one there were a few times there my right front was headed straight towards the wall but it somehow caught and turned.”
Once again, Sheppard came from outside the top 10 at the onset of the race to take the checkered. Given the track conditions, the run to the front surprised even Sheppard himself.
“That was a heck of a race, I can’t even believe we came from 11th. That track was really tricky tonight, it got really slow,” he said. “It was totally unexpected but it’s typical East Bay; it didn’t give us the same thing twice this week. We had a different surface each night and that’s what makes it so much fun to come here.”
Devin Moran looked to bookend the Winternationals with wins, but settled for second after battling it out with Tyler Erb on the final restart. After leading the most laps in the race, he also acknowledged the drastic track change compared to the rest of the week.
“I think this is déjà vu, I think Brandon’s done this to me before. It’s all part of it, I don’t think anyone saw the racetrack going like this for the feature,” Moran said. “I don’t know what did it or why it did it, but that little bit of traction strip made it stick down there. All in all, a good night.”
Erb, multi-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley, and former World of Outlaws Late Model champion Shane Clanton rounded out the top five.
The Georgia/Florida Speedweeks for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series conclude on Sunday night at All-Tech Raceway in Lake City, FL.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Daryl Canfield