latemodelamerica.com - June 4 - I-55 Raceway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Brandon Sheppard at I-55 Raceway NALMS

Brandon Sheppard has stormed his little corner of the midwest of late, and the 18-year-old won his third out of five NALMS events at I-55 Speedway during the last of the "Tri-Track Challenge" series of events.. (Drew England)

Brandon Sheppard Victory Lane at I-55 Raceway

Brandon Sheppard stepped into Victory Lane at I-55 Raceway after racing to the most lucrative win of his young career. (Drew England)

NALMS: Teenager Sheppard Manhandles I-55 For Third Series Win

Track report

PEVELY, Mo. – June 4. Brandon Sheppard’s biggest career victory was big in several ways. He won big money, built a big lead, and had big smile in victory lane Saturday at I-55 Raceway.

The 18-year-old from New Berlin, Ill., blitzed the field in the Tri-State Challenge finale, reeling off a flag-to-flag victory in 11 minutes at the third-mile oval and lapping all but five competitors. The $5,000 payday was the

Billy Moyer Sr and Billy Moyer Jr at I-55 Raceway

Billy Moyers, junior and senior, race for the lead early on at I-55, but neither in the potent father-son duo - or anyone else - could stop Brandon Sheppard from making the pass and racing away to a dominant win in the final leg of the "Tri-State Challenge". (Drew England) 

richest of his career and continued a hot streak that’s given him three Northern Allstars Late Model Series victories in the last five tour events.

“It felt awesome,” said Sheppard, who raised his left hand in triumph as he took the checkered flag. “All the people that have helped me through the years. (Fellow driver) Jason Feger is the main guy that’s helped me. I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for my dad and grandpa supporting, and all my uncles and everything growing in racing.”

Shannon Babb and Randy Korte at I-55 Raceway

Illinois veterans Shannon Babb and #00 Randy Korte race for position before Korte scooted away to a fourth place showing at I-55. (Drew England)

Sheppard started fifth but quickly ducked into the low groove, running third early behind the son-and-father duo of Billy Moyer Jr. and Billy Moyer. Sheppard slipped under dad, then went past son and never looked back. He routed the field, taking the checkers nearly a half-lap ahead of 15th-starting Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., drivers used the entire racing surfacing in futilely trying to chase down the leader.

After Unzicker, Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., was third while Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., rounded out the top five in the caution-free 40-lapper. The elder Moyer, who won the Tri-State Challenge opener on Thursday at Highland Speedway, was sixth.

Will Vaught - Randy Korte - Ricky Frankel - NALMS at I-55 Raceway

Will Vaught (#1) and #00 Randy Korte try to settle up for third place as they roll under #33 Rickey Frankel at Pevely. (Drew England) 

Sheppard was so far ahead that Unzicker wasn’t sure where he was in the running order.

“We gambled on some tires. We started 15th and we knew we had to do something to get up front, and we knew there was some traction in the bottom. We put four soft tires on and we just ate that bottom up, and it worked for us,” the runner-up said. “Honestly there, with about five laps to go, I really thought I was in the lead. But hat’s off to Brandon. … he needs that.”

Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., winner of Friday’s Tri-State Challenge event in Paducah, Ky., missed the I-55 main event. He was leading the first heat race when his car’s broken rear end ended his night.

June 4 - NALMS at I-55 Raceway
1) Brandon Sheppard, 2) Ryan Unzicker, 3) Will Vaught, 4) Randy Korte, 5) Dennis Erb, Jr., 6) Billy Moyer, 7) Jason Feger, 8) Shannon Babb, 9) Michael Kloos, 10) Mike Spatola III, 11) Kevin Weaver, 12) Mark Voigt, 13) Rickey Frankel, 14) Jason Crump, 15) Donny Walden, 16) Dillan White, 17) Dewayne Kiefer, 18) Tim Manville, 19) Roger Brickler, 20) Ron McQuery, 21) Jeff Johns, 22) Greg Kimmons, 23) Paul Roider, 24) Billy Moyer, Jr.
Fast Time (30 entries): Moyer (Sr.) (12.202); Heat winners: Brickler, Moyer, Moyer; Semi-Feature winner: Kloos.

Mike Ruefer photo

 

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