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Sheppard Scores Castrol FloRacing Night in America Spoon River Win

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By Ben Shelton (Banner, IL) -- Racing to his second-careeer Castrol® FloRacing Night in America victory, Brandon Sheppard raced to the $22,022 triumph on Wednesday night at Spoon River Speedway in the opening round of the inaugural FloRacing Illinois Speedweek.

Sheppard grabbed the lead from polesitter and race-long leader Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., on the 22nd lap and led the rest of the 50-lap Castrol FloRacing Night in America feature at the 3/8-mile oval for a $22,022 victory.


“It's awesome. And we're having a lot of fun,” said the Rocket Chassis house car driver, who will head to Lincoln Speedway, Farmer City Raceway and Fairbury Speedway for three more lucrative nights of action on the Castrol and MARS tours. “I felt like this was my worst track personally of this four-race swing, so I guess we're all just looking up from here.”

The third-starting Sheppard took the checkers 2.609 seconds head of fifth-starting Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., while Tanner English of Benton, Ky., rallied from his 13th starting spot to finish third. Outside front-row starter Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., was fourth and 14th-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., rounded out the top five on a night when 56 drivers representing more than 20 states packed the pits for Spoon River’s opener.

Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., appeared to be Sheppard’s worthiest challenger, but he had a scrape with Winger on a lap-36 restart, then slipped over the narrow high groove eight laps later while running second to spin out of contention. He finished 15th.

Winger led the first 21 laps before slipping back to fourth and then running into trouble on the lap-36 restart when Pierce swung too high exiting turn four heading for the green and made contact with Winger on the frontstretch. Winger’s turn-one spin ended his hopes for a top-five run.

The 29-year-old Sheppard struggled to keep up with Winger and Scott early in the race, but finally found his groove before the halfway point.

“For whatever reason — I think it's just me — I'm not very good at running around the top here,” Sheppard said. “But the past few times we've been here, we've been able to momentum really well. And that's what I was able to find out there. When I was in third, (I found a) good momentum line that I could really come off of turn four real nice and straight and just excelled me to get up there to the lead.”

Sheppard never felt pressure from Pierce, but the his fellow twentysomething was tracking him down before a lap-36 caution appeared when Brian Shirley slipped over the banking.

“(Pierce) does a really great job, and when he's in second you know he's up there ripping the lip,” Sheppard said. “So definitely, you know, when the first caution come out, (crew members) told me I need to go the top (in turns one and two) and I just I didn't feel like I was carrying enough speed up there and I could really cut across this bottom in (turn) one better.

“And once I got a few laps under my belt, then I moved back down and I felt really good. So I don't know if it was just the tires coming back to me or what it was, but it was just a great night, man. Another great night and our car has been really good lately.”

After Pierce’s lap-44 spin, Marlar grabbed second from Scott on the restart but couldn’t keep up with Sheppard.

“Bobby, I (barely) missed him when he went off the edge there. That was really close,” Marlar said. “So yeah, just zigged when I should’ve zagged a couple times, and got second. But no, Sheppy had me covered, that’s for sure.”

English drove his Riggs Motorsports entry from sixth to third on the lap-44 restart to complete a solid rally.

"I hit that bottom right one time and I knew it was fast. I didn't really pass anybody, but I just I knew that it was there,” English said. “So I tried to do it when I got on restarts and I could pass a few cars here and there. This car kept getting better and better.

“I thought, you know, we had a softer tire on there than a few people, and I thought it might have been going away, but it just kept on going and really had a lot more left. It's a great run for us for right now and I can't thank Rocket Chassis enough.”

Castrol® FloRacing Night in America now rolls into Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway on Thursday, May 12 with a $22,022-to-win / $1,000-to-start event, which marks the second round of the inaugural FloRacing Illinois Speedweek.

Following the two Castrol® FloRacing Night in America point’s races, there will be a pair of Mid-America Racing Series (MARS) Super Late Model sanctioned events on May 13-14 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway ($15,000-to-win) and Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway ($30,000-to-win). The latter two races will not be point’s events for Castrol® FloRacing Night in America, but a stout miniseries point fund makes it lucrative for drivers to enter all four programs.

The four-race swing includes a $22,500 point’s fund for the Top 5 in the FloRacing Illinois Speedweeks standings with $10,000 going to the champion followed by: 2)$5,000 3)$3,000 4)$2,500 5)$2,000.

Castrol® FloRacing Night in America
Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.)
May 11, 2022 Feature Results

A Feature 1 (50 Laps): 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard[3]; 2. 157-Mike Marlar[5]; 3. 81E-Tanner English[13]; 4. 2S-Stormy Scott[2]; 5. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[14]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[8]; 7. 9-Devin Moran[23]; 8. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[4]; 9. 71-Hudson O'Neal[6]; 10. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[11]; 11. 24-Ryan Unzicker[10]; 12. 89-Ashton Winger[1]; 13. 97-Cade Dillard[18]; 14. 1T-Tyler Erb[22]; 15. 32-Bobby Pierce[7]; 16. (DNF) 3S-Brian Shirley[20]; 17. (DNF) 21B-Rich Bell[12]; 18. (DNF) 15-Kolby Vandenbergh[9]; 19. (DNF) 11H-Jeff Herzog[17]; 20. (DNF) 89S-Mike Spatola[19]; 21. (DNF) 11-Spencer Hughes[16]; 22. (DNF) 21N-Logan Nickerson[21]; 23. (DNF) 4G-Bob Gardner[15]; 24. (DNF) 56-Tony Jackson Jr[24]

B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 21N-Logan Nickerson[3]; 2. 89S-Mike Spatola[1]; 3. 9-Devin Moran[4]; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening[2]; 5. 33-Rickey Frankel[7]; 6. 32S-Chris Simpson[11]; 7. 212-Josh Putnam[9]; 8. 19-Ryan Gustin[10]; 9. 25-Jason Feger[5]; 10. 44-Blaze Burwell[8]; 11. 51-Dean Carpenter[12]; 12. 98-Cole Swibold[15]; 13. 15B-Bob Sidener[17]; 14. (DNF) 40C-Mike Chasteen Jr[14]; 15. (DNF) 74-Russ Adams[16]; 16. (DNF) 42-Mckay Wenger[6]; 17. (DNS) 51B-Brandon Carpenter; 18. (DNS) 42F-Chad Finley; 19. (DNS) 32M-Cody Maguire

B Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 3S-Brian Shirley[1]; 2. 1T-Tyler Erb[2]; 3. 56-Tony Jackson Jr[3]; 4. 48-Tim Lance[5]; 5. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[7]; 6. 58-Garrett Alberson[4]; 7. 14M-Morgan Bagley[15]; 8. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[8]; 9. 28M-Jake Miller[13]; 10. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[17]; 11. 18B-Shannon Babb[14]; 12. B12-Kevin Weaver[18]; 13. (DNF) 21-Billy Moyer Jr[11]; 14. (DNF) 36-Logan Martin[6]; 15. (DNF) 51F-Matt Furman[16]; 16. (DNF) 84-Myles Moos[10]; 17. (DNF) 14-Corey Conley[9]; 18. (DNF) 49-Jake Timm[12]; 19. (DNS) 02-Kent Rosevear

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 89-Ashton Winger[1]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 3. 81E-Tanner English[3]; 4. 89S-Mike Spatola[8]; 5. 9-Devin Moran[6]; 6. 33-Rickey Frankel[7]; 7. 19-Ryan Gustin[4]; 8. 42F-Chad Finley[5]; 9. 74-Russ Adams[9]; 10. 32M-Cody Maguire[10]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 2. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh[2]; 3. 4G-Bob Gardner[3]; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening[5]; 5. 25-Jason Feger[8]; 6. 44-Blaze Burwell[7]; 7. 32S-Chris Simpson[6]; 8. 40C-Mike Chasteen Jr[4]; 9. 15B-Bob Sidener[9]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 157-Mike Marlar[2]; 2. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[1]; 3. 11H-Jeff Herzog[7]; 4. 21N-Logan Nickerson[3]; 5. 42-Mckay Wenger[4]; 6. 212-Josh Putnam[6]; 7. 51-Dean Carpenter[5]; 8. 98-Cole Swibold[9]; 9. 51B-Brandon Carpenter[8]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 2S-Stormy Scott[1]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[2]; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 5. 58-Garrett Alberson[5]; 6. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[8]; 7. 84-Myles Moos[7]; 8. 28M-Jake Miller[9]; 9. 51F-Matt Furman[6]; 10. 02-Kent Rosevear[10]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[1]; 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker[3]; 3. 11-Spencer Hughes[7]; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb[2]; 5. 48-Tim Lance; 6. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[8]; 7. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[5]; 8. 18B-Shannon Babb[6]; 9. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[9]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 71-Hudson O'Neal[1]; 2. 21B-Rich Bell[2]; 3. 97-Cade Dillard[3]; 4. 56-Tony Jackson Jr[5]; 5. 36-Logan Martin[9]; 6. 14-Corey Conley[4]; 7. 49-Jake Timm[7]; 8. 14M-Morgan Bagley[8]; 9. B12-Kevin Weaver[6]

Qualifying 1: 1. 89-Ashton Winger, 00:13.270[1]; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 00:13.401[18]; 3. 11G-Gordy Gundaker, 00:13.404[3]; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:13.481[7]; 5. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh, 00:13.504[4]; 6. 157-Mike Marlar, 00:13.552[16]; 7. 81E-Tanner English, 00:13.632[11]; 8. 4G-Bob Gardner, 00:13.767[27]; 9. 21N-Logan Nickerson, 00:13.779[14]; 10. 19-Ryan Gustin, 00:13.908[6]; 11. 40C-Mike Chasteen Jr, 00:13.914[28]; 12. 42-Mckay Wenger, 00:13.987[25]; 13. 42F-Chad Finley, 00:13.988[20]; 14. 16-Tyler Bruening, 00:14.044[2]; 15. 51-Dean Carpenter, 00:14.064[19]; 16. 9-Devin Moran, 00:14.100[24]; 17. 32S-Chris Simpson, 00:14.116[8]; 18. 212-Josh Putnam, 00:14.126[10]; 19. 33-Rickey Frankel, 00:14.143[23]; 20. 44-Blaze Burwell, 00:14.174[9]; 21. 11H-Jeff Herzog, 00:14.188[17]; 22. 89S-Mike Spatola, 00:14.208[21]; 23. 25-Jason Feger, 00:14.226[26]; 24. 51B-Brandon Carpenter, 00:14.506[15]; 25. 74-Russ Adams, 00:14.725[5]; 26. 15B-Bob Sidener, 00:14.849[13]; 27. 98-Cole Swibold, 00:14.937[12]; 28. 32M-Cody Maguire, 00:15.091[22]

Qualifying 2: 1. 2S-Stormy Scott, 00:13.607[1]; 2. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:13.624[11]; 3. 71-Hudson O'Neal, 00:13.634[9]; 4. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 00:13.640[4]; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb, 00:13.769[6]; 6. 21B-Rich Bell, 00:13.803[12]; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:13.810[14]; 8. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:13.833[17]; 9. 97-Cade Dillard, 00:13.884[19]; 10. 48-Tim Lance, 00:13.903[10]; 11. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 00:13.903[3]; 12. 14-Corey Conley, 00:13.932[15]; 13. 58-Garrett Alberson, 00:13.957[16]; 14. 21-Billy Moyer Jr, 00:13.965[7]; 15. 56-Tony Jackson Jr, 00:14.021[27]; 16. 51F-Matt Furman, 00:14.052[26]; 17. 18B-Shannon Babb, 00:14.075[8]; 18. B12-Kevin Weaver, 00:14.087[21]; 19. 84-Myles Moos, 00:14.173[2]; 20. 11-Spencer Hughes, 00:14.235[20]; 21. 49-Jake Timm, 00:14.236[18]; 22. 11T-Trevor Gundaker, 00:14.318[25]; 23. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr, 00:14.406[23]; 24. 14M-Morgan Bagley, 00:14.435[22]; 25. 28M-Jake Miller, 00:14.511[28]; 26. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck, 00:14.606[24]; 27. 36-Logan Martin, 00:14.683[13]; 28. 02-Kent Rosevear, 00:14.795[5]

FloRacing Illinois Speedweek Points (After 05/11/22)
1)Brandon Sheppard – 87 points
2)Mike Marlar – 81 points
3)Tanner English – 78 points
4)Stormy Scott – 75 points
5)Ricky Thornton Jr. – 72 points
6)Dennis Erb Jr. – 69 points
7)Devin Moran – 66 points
8)Frank Heckenast Jr. – 63 points
9)Hudson O’Neal – 60 points
10)Gordy Gundaker – 57 points

Castrol FloRacing Night in America Points (After 05/11/22)
1)Brandon Sheppard – 228 points
2)Ricky Thornton Jr. – 201 points
3)Mike Marlar – 180 points
4)Bobby Pierce – 177 points
5)Jonathan Davenport – 168 points
6)Stormy Scott – 165 points
7)Hudson O’Neal – 165 points
8)Kyle Larson – 159 points
9)Brandon Overton – 153 points
10)Tyler Erb – 138 points



(Canton, IL) -- Returning to the driver's seat of his No. 2 Elite Chassis Modified, Nick Hoffman was dominant on Wednesday night at Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.).

Forty-seven entries were on hand for the event, and Nick hit the ground running with a heat race win, which positioned him sixth on the feature grid. In the 30-lap feature he wasted little time working his way forward. In fact, he took the lead on lap 4 and never looked back on his way to the victory, which was worth $3,000.

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