Brandon Sheppard rules Friday night at the World Finals

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Brandon Sheppard

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series ventured to The Dirt Track in Charlotte for its season ending, two-race weekend. Friday night’s action saw Brandon Sheppard do what Brandon Sheppard does as he came away from the Concord, NC facility that sits in the shadow of NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway with the $12,000 win after an electric late race charge that saw him grab the lead with just three laps remaining.

Mike Marlar set the pace in Group A qualifying on Thursday night with a time of 14.385 seconds, topping the field of 75 cars entered in the event. Josh Richards, Brandon Kinzer, Scott Bloomquist and Hudson O’Neal followed Marlar in time-trials for this group.

Dale McDowell was quickest in Group B qualifying with a lap of 14.628 seconds to beat out Dennis Erb, Jr., Tim McCreadie, Chris Madden and Chase Junghans in this group.

Marlar, Richards, Jimmy Owens, McDowell, Erb and Sheppard were the heat race winners and were sent to the series redraw to determine their starting positions on the feature grid.

Marlar drew the pole for the main event with Erb, Owens, Richards, McDowell and Sheppard slated to start behind him.

Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden and Brent Larson won the three B-main races used to set the remainder of the starting lineup.

Marlar immediately shot to the front of the pack when the green flag waved to start the 50-lap feature with Owens, Erb, Richards and McDowell trailing in the early laps. Just behind the top-5 runners, Sheppard went on the move as he passed by Hudson O’Neal to claim the sixth spot.

With the race running its first 17 circuits without a yellow flag, Marlar and Owens broke away and began to encounter slower traffic. That, in turn, allowed Erb and Richards to draw closer to the lead duo. Meanwhile, Sheppard continued to move forward as he slipped by McDowell to grab the fifth position on lap 15.

A lap 23 restart provided a shakeup in the running order as Erb took the runner-up spot away from Owens and McDowell seized fourth away from Richards.

With the race covering its final 27 laps without a yellow flag, Marlar again encountered slower traffic which allowed Erb, Owens, McDowell and Sheppard to close right onto his rear spoiler. At the same time, Madden and Brandon Overton waged a battle for seventh.

Sheppard’s final move to the front began on lap 40 when he moved his car high on the track to take fourth away from McDowell. Meanwhile, Erb was offering a strong challenge on Marlar for the race lead.

Lap 45 saw two-by-two racing as Erb moved inside of Marlar for the lead while Sheppard took to the high road in an attempt to take third away from Owens. Not only did Sheppard grab third as a result but he also swept by Erb to take second.

With just three laps remaining the soon-to-be-crowned WoO Late Models champion again went to the topside to wrest the lead away from Marlar. At that point, the New Berlin, Ill. native would not be stopped as he roared away from the pack to sail under the checkered flag and collect his 18th series victory of the season.

Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Dennis Erb, Jr., 3. Mike Marlar, 4. Jimmy Owens, 5. Dale McDowell, 6. Brandon Overton, 7. Chris Madden, 8. Josh Richards, 9. Brian Shirley, 10. Devin Moran, 11. Tim McCreadie, 12. Shane Clanton, 13. Scott Bloomquist, 14. Don O’Neal, 15. Steve Casebolt, 16. Hudson O’Neal, 17. Brent Larson, 18. Eric Wells, 19. Chase Junghans, 20. Brandon Kinzer, 21. Nick Hoffman, 22. Morgan Bagley, 23. Rick Eckert, 24. Tyler Erb, 25. Steven Roberts, 26. Chub Frank, 27. Benji Hicks, 28. Jason Covert, 29. Casey Roberts, 30. Zach McMillan, 31. Jonathan Davenport

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