FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ben Shelton (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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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RED CLAY REDEMPTION: Watkins scores first career World of Outlaws win at Lavonia
Watkins started on the outside pole next to Rookie of the Year contender Tyler Bruening, searching for his first World of Outlaws win. When the green flag dropped, the two thundered into Turns 1 and 2 side by side before Watkins carried his momentum around the 16 car, rocketing to the top spot down the back straightaway.
That wasn’t the last time Watkins saw Bruening, as the Decorah, IA driver peeked underneath him, pulling even with him in lap traffic on Lap 19. A caution on Lap 24 gave Watkins some breathing room, allowing him to take the race one lap at a time.
“When we caught lap traffic, they were two wide, and they were racing,” Watkins said. “With the dirty track, it kind of upset my car a little bit, and it was hard to maneuver through them. The way the cautions played out, I was not upset.”
Three cautions plagued the second half of the 40 lap Feature, but they couldn’t have come at a better time for Watkins. He knew he had just enough laps to avoid dealing with traffic and another potential battle with Bruening.
“We had that restart with 11 [laps] to go, I believe it was, and I was hoping that was just enough time we wouldn’t catch lap traffic too bad,” Watkins said. “Right at the end, we caught them and had just enough of a lead to kind of settle in there, and it played out perfectly for us.”
Bruening, the top Rookie of the race, finished second, his best finish of the season. The Decorah, IA driver, knew he had his work cut out for him on the initial start since he was on the bottom.
“It was just a little slimy on the bottom, and you really just wanted to be on that outside groove,” Bruening said. “We put a whole night together, just one spot short in the end. We were really good all night long, and I’m really proud of the effort to come back from [Thursday].”
Three-time and defending champion Brandon Sheppard crossed the line third, his 22nd podium finish of 2021. The New Berlin, IL driver, thought he might have had a chance if Watkins spent more time battling traffic.
“I felt like we had a strong car, and once we got strung out there, it was hard to pass,” Sheppard said. “I was hoping for more time in lap traffic than what we had, just to be able to dice things up a little bit, but all in all, we’re happy with a top three.”
One night after winning $40,000 Cherokee Speedway, Brandon Overton finished fourth, and Zack Mitchell rounded out the top five.
Ben Watkins earned his redemption Friday at Lavonia Speedway. It’s an opportunity he thought may never happen again and one he’ll cherish for the rest of his career.
“I didn’t really think I’d ever get another chance at it; these opportunities come few and far between,” Watkins said.
UP NEXT: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet travel to Tennessee for the fourth time in 2021 for a stop at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN.
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.