Four-time World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series champion Brandon Sheppard does a lot of winning. As a result, he gives scores post-race interviews from victory lane. As a matter of fact, he gives so many winner’s interviews that are heard both at the track and over whichever streaming service happens to be covering that particular event that his words have become fairly predictable.
Sheppard is always quick to thank those who have helped him along the way throughout his stellar career including family members, his crew, his car builders, and then he typically rattles off the numerous sponsors that have placed their logos on the side of his car with clockwork precision. There is rarely even a twinge of anything that could be labeled as provocative or controversial in those post-race talks.
And after the New Berlin, Illinois driver captured the win on the first night of the unsanctioned Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly at New Mexico’s Vado Speedway Park, it seemed as if the 28-year-old driver’s often recounted victory lane speech was going to be much the same as always.
The win made Sheppard eligible for a $300,000 bonus should he capture all six of the Wild West Shootout features. Any driver who wins five of the schedule six races would earn an additional $100,000 while winning four would result in a $25,000 prize.
While Sheppard drives the No. 1 Rocket Chassis house car for Mark Richards Racing more often than not, he steers his family No. B5 Rocket Chassis on occasion and that was the car he drove to the win on Saturday night.
“This is a brand new car and it’s first race on it,” Sheppard pointed out to FloRacing.com after naming off his family members. “It shows just how hard that Mark Richards, Steve Baker, and everybody at Rocket Chassis have been working to get back on top. It’s definitely tough out here and we’ve definitely been putting the work in and we’ve got a really good race car. Hopefully we can keep it that way all week but I’ve been known to mess it up pretty bad. Hopefully we can just massage on it a little bit and just keep improving. It was pretty good so far.”
The “have been working to get back on top” remark was no doubt made in reference to the fact that Longhorn Chassis grabbed a lot of headlines in 2021. Even though Sheppard did in fact grab his fourth World of Outlaws title in his customary Rocket ride, Longhorn drivers such as Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport and Tim McCreadie garnered much attention for scoring numerous crown jewel wins and other high-paying victories over the course of last season.
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Sheppard then offered congratulatory words for those responsible for the preparation of the 3/8 mile clay oval located just south of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“Man, the track was awesome,” Sheppard declared. “How about that race track? You could race all over it so if we’ve got that all week we’ll be doing pretty good.”
So the ‘Rocket Shepp’ had remained pretty much on script up to this point in his post-race comments.
The driver who is just one checkered flag behind Josh Richards on the all-time win list for the WoO Late Models was then asked about his lap 14 pass of Bobby Pierce for the lead.
“I don’t think they had told him to go to the top yet at that point and I just snuck up on him there,” he explained. “I was getting good runs through one and two and I kept getting better every time. Hats off to all these drivers out here for racing clean. It was a fun race and it feels good to be a part of. I’m glad we got to come back out here again.”
But it was in his final words of the interview that Sheppard went somewhat off script by calling out the members of Longhorn Chassis driver Stormy Scott’s crew.
“I want to give a shoutout to Stormy Scott’s guys for taking pictures of this thing before we rolled off for the feature. I don’t know what they were looking at but they sure were interested in it.”
If the jabs have already begun this early in the year, it could make for an interesting 2022 on the Dirt Late Model scene.
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