The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series headed to the Portsmouth Raceway Park to contest their final event of the 2019 season in the 39th annual RhinoAg Dirt Track World Championship. Prior to the start of the Saturday night feature Jonathan Davenport was crowned as the season champion for the season while Tyler Erb was also named as the Rookie of the Year.
On this night it would be Brandon Sheppard who would come away from the Portsmouth, Ohio facility with the lucrative $100,000 payout and the accolades that accompany collecting a crown jewel checkered flag. This race combined with the Dirt Late Model Dream and the Dirt Million gave B-Shepp and the Rocket Chassis house car team their third win of the season in races that paid at least $100,000-to-win.
The Dirt Track World Championship uses a system that takes points earned during qualifying and heat races to set the first 16 spots on the starting grid for the feature.
Chris Ferguson earned the pole position for the main event with Shane Clanton, Josh Richards, Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Tyler Erb, Bobby Pierce, Shanon Buckingham, Dennis Erb Jr., Scott James, Kyle Bronson, Jason Covert and Hudson O’Neal also locked into the 100-lapper via preliminary action.
Scott Bloomquist and Don O’Neal won the two B-main races used to set the remainder of the field for the main event.
At the start of the 100-lap feature it was Clanton who bolted to the early lead with Richards, Marlar, Owens and Ferguson trailing. Marlar and Owens quickly passed by Richards to assume the second and third positions respectively. Sheppard also entered the top-5 in the early going as he moved around Ferguson.
The action came to a sudden halt when a red flag was displayed on lap 4 as a result of crash that resulted in the Stormy Scott car ending its race on its top. Scott was eliminated from competition but he was reported to be uninjured in the accident.
Owens went to second on the lap 4 restart then took the top spot away from Clanton just two laps later. Further back in the top-5 Sheppard slipped by Richards to take fourth on lap 7. However, a caution for the stalled car of Steve Casebolt would slow the pace on lap 16.
Sheppard continued his march forward on lap 21 to assume the runner-up position behind Owens. He then began an assault on Owens in an attempt to take the lead before a caution flag waved for the spinning car of Bloomquist on lap 28.
Sheppard was not done as he took the lead from Owens on lap 36 with Marlar, Richards and McCreadie battling furiously for the remaining spots in the top-5. But again a caution would slow the action when Davenport slowed on lap 40.
At the halfway mark the racing settled a bit as many competitors took to the bottom side of the track before a caution for a flat tire on the Devin Moran just past the halfway point of the feature. At that point Sheppard led Richards, Owens, McCreadie and Marlar.
The top-5 running car of McCreadie suffered what appeared to be a broken shock mount after a spin on lap 54. On the ensuing restart the third place Owens fell back through the field leaving Richards, Marlar, Scott James and Tyler Erb to chase Sheppard.
Richards passed by Sheppard for the lead in a battle of two-time DTWC winners on lap 68. However, Sheppard would retake the top spot pulling Marlar by Richards as well on lap 71. The car of early leader Owens slowed to bring out a caution with a flat tire on lap 73.
Richards and Marlar swapped second place during multiple restarts that were required because of multiple cautions for flat tires over the closing laps. Tyler Erb and Dennis Erb Jr. also each made moves to come up through the top-5 late in the going.
But later in the going there was no match for Brandon Sheppard who cruised under the checkered flag for yet another six-figure payout in 2019.
Feature Finish- 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Mike Marlar, 3. Tyler Erb, 4. Josh Richards, 5. Dennis Erb Jr., 6. Bobby Pierce, 7. Scott James, 8. Scott Bloomquist, 9. Jonathan Davenport, 10. Hudson O’Neal, 11. Kyle Bronson, 12. Devin Moran, 13. Jason Covert, 14. Billy Moyer Jr., 15. Shanon Buckingham, 16. Chris Ferguson, 17. Jimmy Owens, 18. Jacob Hawkins, 19. Earl Pearson Jr., 20. Don O’Neal, 21. Steve Casebolt, 22. Shannon Thornsberry, 23. Tim McCreadie, 24. Ricky Weiss, 25. Shane Clanton, 26. Stormy Scott