FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
PHENIX CITY, AL (March 24, 2018) – Brandon Sheppard piloted the Mark Richards Racing, Rocket Chassis House Car to his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season on Saturday night. Sheppard held off a hard-charging Scott Bloomquist en route to Victory Lane in the 21st Annual Bama Bash at East Alabama Motor Speedway.
Sheppard bolted to the lead at the start of the 50-lap main event before Don O’Neal took over the point on lap two. O’Neal maintained the lead until Sheppard forged ahead again on lap nine. Bloomquist moved ahead of O’Neal for second on lap 12.
Several restarts made the racing action wild and exciting as two, three, and four-wide battles ensued throughout the field. In the midst of the excitement, O’Neal managed to hold off Bloomquist until ten laps to go when Bloomquist retook the runner-up position. Bloomquist was gaining on Sheppard late in the race before a caution thwarted his efforts. Bloomquist’s New Direction Ag, Sweet-Bloomquist Race Car finished second for the second consecutive night as the three-time LOLMDS National Champion continues to gain valuable points.
“There is a lot of great competition on the Lucas Oil Series,” said the 25-year-old Sheppard who is a former series rookie-of-the-year. “I have only followed it once before, and that was two years ago. I was driving harder than I probably should have been. The track developed a black streak and that helped as I was leading. Overall, I can’t thank Mark Richards, Steve Baker and everybody at Rocket Chassis enough for giving me this opportunity. It’s a dream come true for me.”
“At the start of the race I knew the track was real slippery and the tire wear was no big deal. Once I felt it latch up a little bit in three and four I knew to back down out of it. Luckily it worked out for us. I want to thank my crew. They work hard all of time on the car, so I can stay at home with my family. I really appreciate their help it means a lot.”
Bloomquist was hoping for a longer stretch of green-flag racing near the end of the race. “Sometimes it goes fine and sometimes not. It kind of rubbered in three and four just enough where you couldn’t move much. I don’t think Don [O’Neal] picked up on that soon enough, but he [O’Neal] had some serious restarts no doubt. We’ve got our program going good right now. We are just going to keep on trucking and see what happens when we head to Batesville in two weeks.”
O’Neal had his best finish of the season with a third in the Peak Antifreeze and Coolant, Club 29 entry for Bowyer Dirt Motorsports. “That was a good race. Those restarts were something else. All-in-all it was good night for us. We struggled during Speedweeks and last night. But I think after tonight we know we can run up there with these guys. I wish we would have won this race. On the restarts at times, the bottom would be better and other times the top would be.”
Sheppard’s ninth-career LOLMDS victory came aboard the Andy Durham-powered Rocket Chassis is sponsored by: Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunter’s Honey, Ace Metal Works, Sallack Well Service, Keyser, Integra, and Sunoco Race Fuels.
Completing the top ten were Bobby Pierce, Hudson O’Neal, Darrell Lanigan, Josh Richards, and Earl Pearson Jr.,
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
21st Annual Bama Bash
East Alabama Motor Speedway – Phenix City, AL
Miller Welders Fast Time Group A: Josh Richards / 14.373 seconds
Miller Welders Fast Time Group B: Jimmy Owens / 14.385 seconds
Eibach Springs Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Don O’Neal, Josh Richards, Earl Pearson, Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Ryan King, Jeff Mathews, Kyle Bronson, Jason Jameson, Zach Leonhardi
FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Tim McCreadie, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Darrell Lanigan, Chris Madden, Austin Tyler Smith, Jonathan Davenport, Michael Maresca, Jason Hiett-DNS, Jimmy Sharpe, Jr.-DNS
Simpson Performance Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Brandon Sheppard, Billy Moyer, Jr., Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton, Ross Bailes, Mason Zeigler, Boom Briggs, Dalton Cook, Gregg Satterlee
QA1 Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Ricky Weiss, Bobby Pierce, Joey Coulter, Dennis Erb, Jr., Dale McDowell, Bubba Pollard, Blake Spencer, Justin Duty-DNS
Penske Racing Shocks B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Michael Maresca, Austin Tyler Smith, Ryan King, Jeff Mathews, Kyle Bronson-DNS, Jason Jameson-DNS, Zach Leonhardi-DNS, Jason Hiett-DNS, Jimmy Sharpe, Jr.-DNS
Fast Shafts B-Main #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): Dale McDowell, Dennis Erb, Jr., Ross Bailes, Mason Zeigler, Boom Briggs, Dalton Cook, Gregg Satterlee, Bubba Pollard, Justin Duty, Blake Spencer