SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — Reigning World of Outlaws Late Model champion stormed to a $13,000 triumph in dominant fashion by wiring the field in Sunday night’s 50-lap Super Late Model feature that put the finishing touches on the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout presented O’Reilly Auto Parts at the 1/3-mile FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway clay oval.
Joining the New Berlin, IL, ace in Hoker Trucking Victory Lane in the finale of the six-race mini-series were Dustin Strand in Modifieds and Cole Searing in X Modifieds.
Coming away with Wild West Shootout crowns were Mike Marlar in Super Late Models, Johnny Scott in Modifieds and Searing in X Modifieds.
In the 50-lap Black Diamond/Club 29 Super Late Models presented by M&W Transportation Wild West Shootout finale, Sheppard gunned into the lead at the outset and slipped away from the field after some early challenges from Marlar.
Even after the race’s first caution erased Sheppard’s substantial lead with just seven laps to go, he took off again and flashed under the checkered flag with a 1.884-second advantage despite losing power at the stripe.
“As soon as I took the white flag, it started vibrating pretty bad,” Sheppard explained. “It was a good thing I had a pretty lead. I eased it around and it shut off at the line.”
In Sheppard’s wake, Marlar outdueled two-race series winner Ricky Weiss to finish off the Wild West Shootout title with a runner-up finish. It was Marlar’s fifth finish among the top four in the six-race series.
“I was eyeballin’ that trophy when we got here, thinking to myself that I’d like to that home,” Marlar said after securing the title.
Weiss settled for the show position with Don Shaw and Cade Dillard rounding out the top five while Ryan Gustin was the final car on the lead lap in sixth.
Dustin Strand emerged atop the 25-lap MVT/Border International USRA Modifieds presented by Arizona Differential winner in as many events by taking the finale as Las Cruces’ Johnny Scott edged Shane Sabraski by just three points for the Wild West Shootout title.
Strand took the win in the finale from the fourth position ahead of pole starter Alex Stanford, 21st-starter Stormy Scott, 18th-starter Sabraski and 17th-starter Lucas Schott.
Johnny Scott rebounded from an early incident to salvage a ninth place finish that proved just enough to edge Sabraski for the crown.
Cole Searing put an exclamation point on his Wild West Shootout championship by edging Jason VandeKamp at the line for his third RHRSwag.com X-Mods presented by Barnett Harley-Davidson feature win of the series.
Working the top side of the track, Searing surged past VandeKamp exiting the final corner to take the win by just .046-seconds ahead of VandeKamp with Cole Haugland, Dewayne Tesch and Steve Muilenberg among the top five.
Dates for the 2019 Wild West Shootout have been set for January 5, 6, 9, 11, 12 and 13.
“A” Main (50 Laps): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 2. 157-Mike Marlar, 3. 7w-Ricky Weiss, 4. 42s-Don Shaw, 5. 97-Cade Dillard, 6. 2T-Ryan Gustin, 7. 32p-Bobby Pierce, 8. 7mm-Michael Maresca, 9. 0-Jake O’Neil, 10. 15-Justin Duty, 11. 17-Billy Franklin, 12. 16-Austin Siebert, 13. 18-Chase Junghans, 14. 98-Jason Rauen, 15. 75-Terry Phillips, 16. 20-Rodney Sanders, 17. 32b-Clay Daly, 18. 37w-Scott Ward, 19. 44x-Clint Smith, 20. 20rt-Ricky Thornton, Jr., 21. 15v-Colby Vandenbergh, 22. 91T-Tony Toste, 23. 86-Kyle Beard, 24. 54x-David Breazeale.
-Wild West Shootout Press Release
-Photo Credit: Lonnie Wheatley