Brandon Sheppard wins wild DTWC; Hudson O’Neal claims Lucas Oil title

Brandon Sheppard

Brandon Sheppard survived a crazy and attrition-filled night in the rain-delayed Dirt Track World Championship on Sunday in that event’s first appearance at Eldora Speedway. After battling weather all weekend the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and track officials were eventually able to get the race in and it proved to be a wild one.

It was Sheppard’s fifth DTWC victory which tied the number of Freddy Smith, who recently passed away.

The Longhorn Chassis driver from New Berlin, Illinois earned $100,000 for his efforts on the track located in Rossburg, Ohio.

Hudson was crowned as the 2023 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion after just edging Devin Moran with a last lap pass for second place.

Hudson O’Neal

A total of 61 cars were signed in for competition

Qualifying Results:

Group A Results- 1. Jimmy Owens(15.165), 2. Brian Shirley, 3. Ricky Thornton Jr., 4. Devin Moran, 5. Tim McCreadie, 6. Jon Hodgkiss, 7. Bobby Pierce, 8. Garrett Alberson, 9. Carson Ferguson, 10. Tanner English

Group B Results- 1. Garrett Smith(15.370), 2. Daulton Wilson, 3. Mason Zeigler, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Mike Marlar, 6. Hudson O’Neal, 7. Jonathan Davenport, 8. Ross Bailes, 9. Mike Spatola, 10. Brandon Overton

Heat 1 Results: 1. Devin Moran, 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Bobby Pierce

Heat 2 Results: 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Brian Shirley, 3. Dale McDowell

Heat 3 Results: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., 2. Carson Ferguson, 3. Tyler Carpenter

Heat 4 Results: 1. Jonathan Davenport, 2. Brandon Overton, 3. Brandon Sheppard

Heat 5 Results: 1. Mike Marlar, 2. Daulton Wilson, 3. Ethan Dotson

Heat 6 Results: 1. Hudson O’Neal, 2. Mason Zeigler, 3. Chris Ferguson

B-main 1 Finish: 1. Nick Hoffman, 2. Tanner English

B-main 2 Finish: 1. Garrett Smith, 2. Tyler Erb

B-main 3 Finish: 1. Ricky Weiss, 2. Mike Spatola

Feature Re-cap: The 100-lap feature began with Davenport leading Moran, Marlar, McCreadie and O’Neal. Several drivers would look like potential winners in a race that featured high attrition due to rough track conditions that had been brought on by weather conditions in the days that led into the event. 

Numerous cautions were a part of the story with some of those involving the four championship contenders. Ricky Thornton Jr. was the first contender to suffer misfortune when his car appeared to hook a rut then veer into the outside wall. His crew was able to repair the damage but not until he had fallen multiple laps behind.

Tyler Carpenter added excitement to the show when he took to the high side of the track the track and moved up the leaderboard until claiming the lead at the race’s quarter mark. He would remain competitive until dropping out with mechanical issue just before halfway.

The number of leaders was also part of the drama. A total of eight drivers paced the field aside from Davenport and Carpenter. Marlar, Shirley, Pierce and O’Neal would also take turns showing the way.

As the race wore on, several cars began to fall out as Davenport, O’Neal and Moran remained in contention for the championship. However, with less than 20 laps to go, Davenport fell off the pace and ultimately dropped out of the event and out of title contention.

With very few cars remaining on the track, there was a race within the race taking place. At the front of the pack, Sheppard and McCreadie fought for the lead while O’Neal and Moran battled for the championship.

Pierce ran out of gas to bring out a caution on lap 95 setting up a late run to the finish. Thornton then slowed on lap 97 officially ending his night.

Sheppard jumped out ahead on the final restart as both Moran and O’Neal got by McCreadie. The championship duelists exchanged sliders over the final two circuits with O’Neal finally claiming second on the last lap.

Coming to the checkered flag, Sheppard ran out of fuel and barely coasted across the line ahead of O’Neal.

Feature Results: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Hudson O’Neal, 3. Devin Moran, 4. Tim McCreadie, 5. Dale McDowell, 6. Bobby Pierce, 7. Jimmy Owens, 8. Ricky Thornton Jr., 9. Garrett Smith, 10. Jonathan Davenport, 11. Tyler Erb, 12. Garrett Alberson, 13. Daulton Wilson, 14. Carson Ferguson, 15. Ricky Weiss, 16. Chris Ferguson, 17. Spencer Hughes, 18. Brandon Overton, 19. Tyler Carpenter, 20. Brian Shirley, 21. Mike Marlar, 22. Tanner English, 23. Max Blair, 24. Earl Pearson Jr., 25. Ethan Dotson, 26. Nick Hoffman, 27. Mike Spatola, 28. Mason Zeigler

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