Brandon Sheppard kicked off the Castrol FloRacing Night in America-sanctioned Illinois Speedweek in a big way by scoring a victory on Wednesday night at the Spoon River Speedway. The Rocket Chassis house car took over the lead of the race just before the halfway mark then fought off all challenges to claim the winner’s trophy.
The Rocket Chassis driver from New Berlin, Illinois collected $22,022 for his efforts at the 3/8 mile Banner, Illinois track in a race shown live by FloRacing.com.
A total of 56 cars were signed in for competition.
Group A Results- 1. Ashton Winger(13.270), 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Gordy Gundaker, 4. Bobby Pierce, 5. Kolby Vandenbergh
Group B Results- 1. Stormy Scott(13.607), 2. Frank Heckenast Jr., 3. Hudson O’Neal, 4. Dennis Erb Jr., 5. Tyler Erb
Heat 1 Results: 1. Ashton Winger, 2. Bobby Pierce, 3. Tanner English
Heat 2 Results: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Kolby Vandenbergh, 3. Bob Gardner
Heat 3 Results: 1. Mike Marlar, 2. Gordy Gundaker, 3. Jeff Herzog
Heat 4 Results: 1. Stormy Scott, 2. Dennis Erb Jr., 3. Ricky Thronton Jr.
Heat 5 Results: 1. Frank Heckenast Jr., 2. Ryan Unzicker, 3. Spencer Hughes
Heat 6 Results: 1. Hudson O’Neal, 2. Rich Bell, 3. Cade Dillard
B-main 1 Finish: 1. Mike Spatola, 2. Logan Nickerson, 3. Devin Moran
B-main 2 Finish: 1. Brian Shirley, 2. Tyler Erb, 3. Tony Jackson Jr.
Feature Re-cap: When the 50-lap feature took the green flag it was Winger who went to the lead with Scott, Sheppard, O’Neal and Pierce trailing. On the second circuit, Marlar and Heckenast moved by Pierce to take fifth and sixth on the race track. One lap later, Heckenast took fifth away from Marlar.
Pierce began making a come back as he got around Marlar for sixth on lap 4 while Heckenast took fourth away from O’Neal one lap later. Scott reeled in leader Winger on lap 11 as those two battled in close formation as the leaders began to catch slower traffic.
O’Neal spun from a top-5 position on lap 12 but got the car going quickly enough avoid bringing out a caution. One lap later, Sheppard took second away from Scott as Winger continued to show the way. Sheppard caught Winger on lap 20 and began working on the leader. On lap 22, Sheppard’s efforts paid off as the No. 1 Rocket grabbed the top spot on the leaderboard.
Further back, Pierce was beginning to climb as he took to the high side of the track to pass Heckenast for fourth on lap 24. A fierce battle for second through fourth then was engaged between Scott, Pierce and Winger with Pierce taking third away from Winger on lap 30.
Pierce quickly closed in on Scott and wrested the runner-up position away on lap 33. The No. 32 car then closed in on the leading car of Sheppard and began to apply pressure until a caution flag waved on lap 36 for the slowing car of Shirley.
On the ensuing restart, Pierce moved very high off of turn four allowing cars to move inside. Contact between him and Winger then sent the No. 89 for a spin to bring out another yellow flag. On the second lap 36 restart, Marlar rose to fourth as Pierce continued to run high in hopes of catching Sheppard. However, the high line caught up to Pierce with six lap remaining as the No. 32 car spun in turn one.
On that final restart, Marlar moved into second as Sheppard asserted control of the race before driving on to claim his eighth feature win of 2022.
“He was pulling away from me there at the beginning, him and Stormy was,” Sheppard said of Winger and Scott in his post-race interview. “I knew at some point I was going to have to start moving around and changing my line up and seeing if I could figure out what was fitting me the best. For whatever reason, I think it’s just me, I’m not very good at running around the top here but the past few times we’ve been here we’ve been able to momentum really well and that’s what I was able to find out there.”
Feature Results: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Mike Marlar, 3. Tanner English, 4. Stormy Scott, 5. Ricky Thornton Jr., 6. Dennis Erb Jr., 7. Devin Moran, 8. Frank Heckenast Jr., 9. Hudson O’Neal, 10. Gordy Gundaker, 11. Ryan Unzicker, 12. Ashton Winger, 13. Cade Dillard, 14. Tyler Erb, 15. Bobby Pierce, 16. Brian Shirley, 17. Rich Bell, 18. Kolby Vandenbergh, 19. Jeff Herzog, 20. Mike Spatola, 21. Spencer Hughes, 22. Logan Nickerson, 23. Bob Gardner, 24. Tony Jackson Jr.
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