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The Story from Eldora – Sheppard breaks bank in memorable Dirt Late Model Dream

2019-06-08 Eldora DLM Dream Dale  McDowell Brandon Sheppard PAUL ARCH PHOTODSC_6159 (4)a (1).jpg
Photo Courtesy of Paul Arch

ROSSBURG, Ohio – Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., made history on Saturday night by becoming the first-ever driver of the Rocket house car to win a major event at the Eldora Speedway by taking $125,000 in the 25th-running of the Dirt Late Model Dream.  The night was memorable for many different reasons, but Sheppard held off a late-race charge by Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who made contact with Sheppard as they crossed the finish line and spun across the line battling for the lead.  The victory was not only the first for the Rocket house car despite many years of trying, it was also Sheppard’s first crown jewel victory at Eldora.

The night started with Jonathan Davenport picking up the win from his fifth place starting position in the first heat race.  Davenport won the event over Tyler Erb and McDowell.  The second heat went to John Blankenship over Ricky Weiss and Jimmy Owens who went to a backup car after warm ups and had to start the heat from the rear.  Heat three went to Tim McCreadie over Chad Simpson and Brandon Sheppard.  Heat four was won by Kyle Bronson over Earl Pearson Jr. and Andrew Reaume.  The next heat that finished was heat six which was won by Kyle Strickler over Ross Bailes and Chase Junghans.

The biggest drama of the night was in heat five.  Scott Bloomquist, who was making his first start of the season after a motorcycle wreck put him out of action for several months.  Bloomquist led early, but a mid-race restart saw a caution wave for Jimmy Mars.  Bloomquist was penalized one row for jumping the restart.  Bloomquist would regain the lead.  With a restart with ten laps to go a heavy rain shower soaked the track only in turn one.  As the field entered the turn Bloomquist slid to the wall and contact was made sending him to the pits as well as Shane Clanton and Dennis Erb Jr.  It was decided that due to the rain shower, the sixth heat would be run then they would restart the fifth heat on lap ten with the running order as it was prior to the wreck during the rain shower.  Bloomquist would go on to win the heat race, but trouble struck Bloomquist at the scale once again as he missed weight by two pounds.  Bloomquist turned the wheels back and forth on his machine and the scale would jump into the green a few times, but he was deemed light and was disqualified from the heat race.  Dennis Erb Jr. would win the heat over Clanton and Ricky Thornton Jr.,

The first B-Main was won by Mason Zeigler over Donald McIntosh, Bobby Pierce and Zack Dohm.  The second B-Main went to Kent Robinson over Brandon Overton, Brian Shirley and Shannon Babb.

When the green waved on the third-highest paying feature in Dirt Late Model racing history, Late Model rookie Kyle Strickler would take the lead, but it would not last long as Kyle Bronson took the lead on lap three and set a torrid pace pulling away from the field.  On lap 15 a yellow flew.  Strickler would take the lead on the restart from Bronson.  Jonathan Davenport made his way to the front and while battling with Strickler for the lead contact was made and Davenport would have to go pitside.

With 52 laps to go Earl Pearson Jr. took the lead from Strickler and would begin to pull away from the field, but on lap 71 Pearson would suffer a flat tire while leading.  Brandon Sheppard would inherit the lead and it was a lead he would not relinquish for the rest of the event.  Several restarts towards the end of the event would keep the race close and with five laps to go Dale McDowell began to charge and would reel in Sheppard.  He was not able to make the pass for the lead as he dove under Sheppard in turn three on the final lap.  Contact was made crossing the finish line between the two with Sheppard coming out on top.

 

Feature finish

  1. Brandon Sheppard
  2. Dale McDowell
  3. Shane Clanton
  4. Chase Junghans
  5. Tyler Erb
  6. Chris Ferguson
  7. Ricky Weiss
  8. Mason Zeigler
  9. John Blankenship
  10. Darrell Lanigan
  11. Shannon Babb
  12. Tim McCreadie
  13. Ross Bailes
  14. Kyle Strickler
  15. Brandon Overton
  16. Kyle Bronson
  17. Andrew Reaume
  18. Jimmy Owens
  19. Earl Pearson Jr.
  20. Donald McIntosh
  21. Bobby Pierce
  22. Zack Dohm
  23. Jonathan Davenport
  24. Kent Robinson
  25. Brian Shirley
  26. Dennis Erb Jr.
  27. Chad Simpson
  28. Ricky Thornton Jr.

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