FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ben Shelton (email@example.com) August 3, 2021 Top-5 Run in Prairie Dirt Classic for Rocket1 Racing Four Nights of WoO Wisconsin Action on Tap this Week SHINNSTON, W.Va. (08/03/21) – Brandon Sheppard and Rocket1 Racing rolled into the famed Fairbury Speedway over the weekend for the 31st edition of the Prairie Dirt Classic. Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win finale found Sheppard recording a fifth-place finish in his Valvoline No. 1 Seubert Calf Ranches/ Durham Racing Engines-powered XR1 Rocket Chassis Super Late Model. “Really late in the race when my car came to me, I was a few spots too far back,” Sheppard said. “We just had to make the most out of it and made a few passes on the restarts and just came up short. It’s disappointing because we had a better car than where we finished. We’ll head to Wisconsin this week to go after some more big checks. Thanks as always goes out to all of our marketing partners and supporters.” Taking part in one the biggest weekends of the year with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Morton Buildings Late Model Series, Rocket1Racing and Brandon Sheppard invaded Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, Ill.) on Friday afternoon for the 31st annual Prairie Dirt Classic. With the massive 74-car field split into two separate groups for time trials, Sheppard recorded the 11th fastest time in his group. Starting his $3,000-to-win preliminary feature in sixth, Brandon improved three spots in the 25-lapper to register a third-place finish. With his third-place finish in preliminary action on Friday placing him 11th on the starting grid for Saturday night’s $50,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Classic, Sheppard advanced six spots in the 100-lap affair to finish fifth. He followed Kyle Larson, Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb, and Chris Madden across the line. Brandon now sits 86 points ahead of Chris Madden atop the World of Outlaws point standings. For complete results from these events, please visit www.WorldofOutlaws.com . The upcoming week has the team set for four nights of WoO action in Wisconsin. The week opens on Tuesday evening at Outagamie Speedway with a $10,000-to-win event, which is co-sanctioned with the Dirt Kings tour. On Thursday evening three rounds of WoO action kicks off at Cedar Lake Speedway with a $6,000-to-win affair. On Friday and Saturday the 2021 USA Nationals take center stage with double heat races on Friday evening followed by B-mains and the $50,000-to-win finale on Saturday night. Rocket1 Racing would like to thank all of their marketing partners, which include Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Rocket Chassis, Ace Metal Works, Durham Racing Engines, FiveStar RaceCar Bodies, Gunters Honey, Hoosier Racing Tire, Integra Racing Shocks, Keyser Manufacturing, Petroff Towing, Slavic Custom Racing Shirts & Decals, Sweet Manufacturing, Sunoco Race Fuels, Accu-Force Shock Service, ATL Fuel Cells, Aurora Rod Ends, Barnes Dry Sump Oil Systems, Bazell Race Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Brinn Transmissions, Cometic Gasket, COMP Cams, CP Carrillo, Dohm Cycles, Edelbrock, Fibreworks Composites, Hardrock Powder Coating, Howe Racing Enterprises, Jones Racing Products, Kenny’s Components, Maxima Racing Oils, MSD, NGK Spark Plugs, Tel Tac, Performance Bodies, Peterson Fluid Systems, Powers Performance, Performance Rod & Custom, Quarter Master, QuickCar Racing Products, Rocket Pre-Owned Motors, Safecraft, Show Trucks Unlimited, Simpson, Stealth Carburetors, Strange Oval, Suave Talk, Total Power Valvoline Pro-V Racing, Walker Performance Filtration, Weld Racing, Wiles Driveshafts, Wilwood Brakes, Winters Performance Products, Wrisco Aluminum, Xceldyne Valvetrain, and MSR Mafia Marketing Services. For the latest information on Rocket1Racing please visit the team website at www.Rocket1Racing.com as well as their social media channels at www.facebook.com/Rocket1Racing, www.twitter.com/Rocket1_Racing, and www.instagram.com/rocket1racing .
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SUNDAY NIGHT SHEPP: Sheppard nets sixth win of the season at Eriez
It’s the “Rocket Shepp’s” sixth win of the season and 75th World of Outlaws triumph of his career. He’s now in sole possession of second on the all-time wins list—three wins away from tying Josh Richards for the most all-time (78).
Sheppard knew his decision could be costly later in the race if he couldn’t wrestle the lead away from Dennis Erb Jr., who took the top spot on the initial green flag.
“I wasn’t that great at restarting on the bottom I didn’t feel like, and I thought [Erb] would restart on the bottom, so I knew I needed to choose the top,” Sheppard said. “I knew getting the lead early was going to be key later because the slicker the track got, the more tire wear would come into play.”
Several cautions in the second half of the race halted Sheppard's chances of driving away from the field. Even though he wasn’t worried about his tires, the “Rocket Shepp” was nervous about how quickly his car came to life on restarts.
“It took me a few laps to really get a good rhythm going and get a good line going to get rolling there, so I really hated seeing them cautions,” Sheppard said. “I didn’t think I was taking off very good on the restarts, and it was definitely stressing me out, but we were able to pull it off.”
While Sheppard led most of the event, the hometown crowd locked their eyes on Eriez Speedway regular Dave Hess.
The Waterford, PA driver, who needed a provisional after an incident in his Drydene Heat Race, drove to second place after starting last.
It’s a finish Hess never expected, as he let the race come to him.
“The car was bad enough that we were real tempted just to load it,” Hess said. “The type of track it was when we got out there, I was just hoping to stay alive and get up through and get a top-10 out of it. Never did I believe we would get up to a podium finish.”
Hess used both lanes throughout the Feature, but a timely switch around halfway was key to his ascension through the field.
“I felt like I needed to get toward the bottom around mid-race, and then we started picking them off down there,” Hess said. “I think one more restart or maybe another 10 laps, and maybe we could’ve at least gave Sheppard some competition and made a race out of it.”
Chub Frank, a 16-time World of Outlaws Feature winner, crossed the line third. “Chubzilla” stated he had a good car but couldn’t keep pace with Sheppard because of tire wear.
“We burnt the left rear tire up on them restarts trying to get back to second,” Frank said. “Where [Sheppard] was running is probably where I was going to have to run, and I think Hess was the only one who probably had a shot at it because he saved his left rear tire.”
Dennis Erb Jr. finished fourth, and Boom Briggs crossed the line fifth, inching ahead of Chris Madden on the final lap.
The Bear Lake, PA driver felt the number of cautions prevented him from having a better finish.
“Longer green flag runs were definitely better for us; I just couldn’t get enough heat in that right rear tire,” Briggs said. “I never could get to the top where I wanted to go, but I just made that bottom work and ran around for 25 laps, and it paid off in the end.”
On the first restart, Brandon Sheppard’s choice paid dividends on his quest toward World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model history. The New Berlin, IL driver extended his points lead over Chris Madden to 158—shortening his path toward another Series Championship.
UP NEXT: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet travel to Davenport Speedway in Davenport, IA, Aug. 26-28 for the Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online or through the DIRTVision App.