BShep claims Illinois Speedweek opener at Spoon River
To kick off the inaugural Illinois Speedweek, Rocket1 Racing and Brandon Sheppard invaded Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.) on Wednesday afternoon for the third round of the Castrol FloRacing Night in America mini-series. (Josh James Artwork)
With 56 Late Models amassed, Sheppard came in second-fastest in his group before placing first in his heat. Earning third-starting position for the main event, Brandon overtook early pacesetter Ashton Winger on the 22nd circuit and led the remainder of the 50-lapper to capture Rocket1 Racing's sixth win of the season and a $22,022 prize. He finished 2.609 seconds of Mike Marlar with Tanner English, Stormy Scott, and Ricky Thornton Jr. rounding out the top-five.
In a field of 55 cars on Thursday at Lincoln Speedway (Lincoln, Ill.), Brandon secured his spot into the $22,022-to-win A-Main with a 10-lap heat race victory. Rolling off fourth, Sheppard made a late-race charge in the final 15 laps but came up short on the final circuit after tagging the backstretch fence. He trailed Dennis Erb Jr. to the checkers with Garrett Alberson rounding out the podium.
On Friday night at Farmer City Raceway (Farmer City, Ill.) for the MARS Racing Series-sanctioned Farmer City 74 presented by Douglas Dodge, Sheppard’s second-place finish in his heat race placed him on the fourth row for the main event. With $15,000 on the line, Brandon inched forward three spots to finish fifth.
For the weekend finale on Saturday, Rocket1 Racing headed to Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, Ill.) for the Titan Industries FALS Spring Shootout. Drawing 50 Late Models, Sheppard outdueled Frank Heckenast Jr. in his heat race to pick up the win. Earning the third-starting position for the $30,000-to-win A-Main, Brandon tracked down race-long pacesetter Bobby Pierce in the closing laps but fell short at the line to place second.
With four events in the books in the 12-race mini-series, Rocket1 Racing leads the Castrol FloRacing Night in America point standings.