The World of Outlaws Late Model Series embarked on its final weekend of the 2018 season as it made its annual trek to The Dirt Track at Charlotte for a Friday night show that would pay $12,000 to the victor. Coming into the night, Mike Marlar, Chris Madden and Brandon Sheppard found themselves locked in a tight points battle for the overall series crown. When the dust settled on night one of the World of Outlaws World Finals presented by Can-Am, it was Brandon Sheppard who walked away with the top prize on Saturday afternoon following a Friday night curfew delay.
Qualifying for this race was held on Thursday night with Dale McDowell leading the way in Group A time-trials with a lap of 14.642 seconds around the clay oval located just outside of NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway. Scott Bloomquist, Donny Schatz, Chirs Madden and Earl Pearson, Jr. rounded out the top-5 for this group.
Shane Clanton led the way in Group B and overall with a mark of 14.620 seconds to beat out Chris Ferguson, Brandon Sheppard, Mike Marlar and Rick Eckert.
Madden won the night’s first heat race ahead of McDowell and Kent Robinson while Bloomquist took the checkered flag in the second preliminary over Don O’Neal and Justin Williams.
Tim McCreadie took the win in the third heat by beating out Casey Roberts and Tyler Bare just before Clanton garnered the win in the fourth heat ahead of Marlar and Dennis Erb, Jr.
Devin Moran grabbed the fifth heat win over Jackie Boggs and Darrell Lanigan while Sheppard took the honors in the sixth and final heat race by beating out Tyler Erb and Jason Jameson.
Clanton took the early lead when the green flag waved over the 50-lap feature with Bloomquist, Sheppard, McCreadie and Madden following. Bloomquist wasted little time as he shot to the lead on the second circuit with Sheppard also passing by Clanton one lap later.
Madden’s fortunes would take a downturn on lap 7 when the driver who came into the feature trailing Marlar by only 22 points began trailing smoke behind his car and dropped out of competition.
Sheppard dogged Bloomquist for the race lead during the early laps before finally taking the top spot prior to a lap 12 caution.
On the ensuing restart it would be McCreadie who would move forward when he took the runner-up position away from Bloomquist. Marlar also seized the opportunity and got by Moran for fourth. Five laps later Marlar would blast by Bloomquist to settle into the third spot.
By lap 21 Sheppard found himself working through heavy traffic as McCreadie closed to the leader’s rear spoiler. On lap 27 McCreadie made his bid after Sheppard was forced up the track by a slower machine. T-mac to the top spot on lap 28 but Sheppard reclaimed the lead one lap later. All the while, Marlar closed in on the front duo.
The race’s second and final caution set up a run to the finish. When the green flag was displayed Moran passed by Bloomquist to take fourth but the move wouldn’t stick as the Hall of Famer took the spot back one lap later.
Over the closing laps traffic would again be a factor as McCreadie hounded Sheppard for the lead. However, the defending WoO Late Models champion held on and proved to be the first to cruise under the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Brandon Sheppard, 2. Tim McCreadie, 3. Mike Marlar, 4. Scott Bloomquist, 5. Devin Moran, 6. Darrell Lanigan, 7. Tyler Erb, 8. Chase Junghans, 9. Kent Robinson, 10. Dale McDowell, 11. Don O’Neal, 12. Joey Coulter, 13. Max Blair, 14. Jason Jameson, 15. Casey Roberts, 16. Justin Williams, 17. Dennis Erb, Jr., 18. Shane Clanton, 19. Rick Eckert, 20. Ross Bailes, 21. Jason Covert, 22. David Breazeale, 23. Pat Doar, 24. Tyler Bare, 25. Dakotah Knuckles, 26. Jackie Boggs, 27. Boom Briggs, 28. Chris Madden