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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BACK FOR MORE: David Gravel Begins Knoxville Nationals Title Defense with Wednesday Win
Giovanni Scelzi Earns High Point Man Honors Following First of Two Prelims
KNOXVILLE, IA - August 11, 2021 - The 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals pres. by Casey's is beginning to look a lot like the 59th edition.
In 2019, when The Granddaddy of 'Em All was last held, the week started with a Capitani Classic victory and a preliminary win for David Gravel. He ultimately drove the Jason Johnson Racing #41 to his first Nationals title worth $150,000 on a day that came exactly two years ago yesterday.
In 2021, Gravel's Nationals has started exactly the same way, except this time he's piloting the Big Game Motorsports, Huset's Speedway #2 owned by Tod Quiring. An equally potent machine that the Watertown, CT native is shining aboard.
Conquering Wednesday's prelim at the Iowa 1/2-mile, Gravel's victory was far from a surefire thing as Tea, SD native, and weekly Knoxville racer Justin Henderson led 21 of 25 laps in the A-Main before fading to 4th. Gravel's saving grace was a car set up for the late stages, the timing of lap traffic, and a pitch-perfect slide job in turn one with four to go.
When it was all said and done, though, 19-year-old Giovanni Scelzi of Fresno, CA is who walked away as the Knoxville Nationals high point man following the first of two preliminary shows. The kid they call "Hot Sauce," who just aced the 360 Nationals last week, was outstanding with a 410 under the hood of the KCP Racing #18. He racked up 487 points by qualifying second, finishing fourth-from-eighth in his Heat Race, and charging from eighth-to-second in the A-Main.
However, the talk of town remains 29-year-old Gravel and his ever-growing prowess on Knoxville's black zook clay. He walked away from the night sitting third in the point standings, signs of a Saturday starting spot in rows two, three, or four.
"Knoxville has always been good to me," Gravel noted in the post-race press conference. "I've always felt comfortable here. Obviously winning on Sunday gives you that bit of extra confidence and that is huge at a place like this. My car felt great everywhere I went, so that's a good sign for Saturday."
For the locals, the story of the night was Justin Henderson, who ultimately finished fourth. He started outside pole aboard the Morton Buildings #7 and paced the opening 21 circuits before Gravel cleared him with a turn one slidejob in lap traffic. He leaves Wednesday night sitting seventh in the points with a strong chance to make his fifth Knoxville Nationals A-Main.
"I just needed to be smarter, or maybe more aggressive," Henderson admitted. "David drove by us really because he was just better, but I gave those spots away to Gio and Donny by searching around when I didn't need to. I've got to make better decisions in that aspect next time."
Capitalizing on Henderson's mistake to claim podium positions was Scelzi in second and Donny Schatz in third.
For Giovanni, who is hot off a 360 Nationals title on Saturday and currently holds high point honors, it's only more momentum for him heading into the biggest race of his life on Saturday.
"I feel like I'm ten times the racer that I used to be," Scelzi said. "Knoxville is a huge confidence track and I have all the faith in the world in my car and my team right now when we unload here. I just love this place. I can't wait for Saturday."
Closing out the podium was ten-time Knoxville Nationals champion Donny Schatz aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance, Carquest #15. He leaves Wednesday second in the points with his 23rd consecutive A-Main appearance waiting for him on Saturday.
"This was a rewarding night," Schatz noted. "We have speed again. We're in a better spot than we've been all season long, I think. I'm looking forward to Saturday and hopefully competing for another title."
Closing out the top five on Wednesday night was Justin Henderson in fourth and Justin Peck in fifth, who pilots "The Pink Panther" Kramer Williamson throwback design for Buch Motorsports.
Rounding out the top-ten at Knoxville was Sheldon Haudenschild in sixth aboard the Krypto-NOS throwback, Logan Schuchart in seventh driving the Bobby Allen Shark throwback, James McFadden in eighth with his Kasey Kahne Racing #9, Cory Eliason with a new look Rudeen Racing #26 in ninth, and Spencer Bayston in tenth for Sam McGhee Motorsports.
Another headline on Wednesday was the story of 18-year-old Zeb Wise, who hadn't even planned on racing this week. A last-minute call from CJB Motorsports landed him in the #5XX and the rookie put it on the pole position. He led the opening lap of the A-Main and was running a solid fourth before the rear end broke on Lap 9 and shattered a dream run.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will be back at Knoxville Raceway on Thursday night for the second preliminary show of the 60th NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals pres. by Casey's. If you can't be here, you can watch Every Lap LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps): 1. 2-David Gravel ; 2. 18-Gio Scelzi ; 3. 15-Donny Schatz ; 4. 7-Justin Henderson ; 5. 73-Justin Peck ; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart ; 8. 9-James McFadden ; 9. 26-Cory Eliason ; 10. 11M-Spencer Bayston ; 11. 17X-Josh Baughman ; 12. O-Brooke Tatnell ; 13. 3-Ayrton Gennetten ; 14. 56N-Davey Heskin ; 15. 40-Clint Garner ; 16. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 17. 49J-Josh Schneiderman ; 18. 7S-Jason Sides ; 19. O7-Skylar Gee ; 20. 1X-Jake Bubak ; 21. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 22. 1M-Don Droud ; 23. 21W-Riley Goodno ; 24. 5XX-Zeb Wise . Lap Leaders: Justin Henderson 1-21, David Gravel 22-25. KSE Hard Charger Award: 1S-Logan Schuchart[+14]