Sheppard Takes Wrisco Industries Winternationals Finale at East Bay

Brandon Sheppard came from his 11th starting position passing race leader Devin Moran with 12 laps to go as he then pulled away to win Saturday Night’s Wrisco Industries Winternationals race at East Bay Raceway Park.  It was Sheppard’s third win of the week in the annual Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event.

Moran in the Tye Twarog Longhorn finished second to Sheppard with Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley and Shane Clanton completing the top five finishers.

Moran, who started on the pole took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Clanton hot on his heels.  Moran and Clanton ran one-two for the first 12 laps of the race until Clanton passed Moran for the top spot on lap 13.  Clanton would hold the point for six circuits until Moran was able to repass the Georgia veteran to go ahead again.

Meanwhile Sheppard was patiently working his way through the field as he moved by Clanton for second  on the 21st lap.  Sheppard then started working the top groove off of turn two as he closed the gap on Moran.  But Moran kept his car glued to the bottom of the 1/3rd mile oval as he continued to hold the top spot until Sheppard was able to rapidly cut into Moran’s lead as he rocketed by him on lap 38.

Sheppard then expanded his lead in the final ten laps as he went on to record his sixth career win at East Bay and his 18th in the LOLMDS.  Sheppard also continued the trend of Saturday Night East Bay finale winners as the 27-year-old Illinois native became the 12th different winner in the last 12 years.

It was Sheppard’s sixth overall in of 2020 after a spectacular season last year where he won 28 races. “I went up there a little bit earlier in the race, and I could really get a good run down the backstretch there. But it was really tricky getting into (turn) one. I was so slow up the frontstretch on the outside. When I got to (turn) one, there was a few times there where I was right-front headed straight towards the wall and somehow it caught and turned. Man, it was a heckuva race. I can’t even believe we came from 11th.”

The track, it was really tricky tonight. It got really slow. It was totally unexpected. But it was typical East Bay: it didn’t give us the same thing twice this week. We had a different surface every night and that’s what makes it so much fun to come here. It’s a shame it’s going to be gone before long. Man, it was a lot of fun out there. I can’t thank my guys enough,” said Sheppard who will maintain the LOLMDS points lead as he will carry the Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler into All-Tech Raceway on Sunday Night.

Moran concluded a successful week at East Bay after scoring his first-ever win at “The Clay by the Bay” on Monday Night with second-place finish in the finale. “I think this is deja vu. Brandon’s done this to me here before. Just all part of it. I don’t think anyone’s seen the racetrack like this for the feature … I don’t know what did it or why it did it, that little bit of traction strip made us stick down there (on the bottom).”

“We aren’t the biggest or brightest team, but we had a great Speedweeks, and hopefully we can cap it off tomorrow at All-Tech.

Erb, who won twice last year at East Bay is still winless in the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks but recoded a solid point finish as he rounded out the podium. “The track was a little bit crazy. You couldn’t get the top going, so just congrats to Shepp and Devin and everybody. It’s been a long week here and we got every race in.”

“I really enjoy racing here. It wasn’t the final night we were all kind of hoping for, but it was a good night for us, and we’ll go on to All-Tech.”

The winner’s Mark Richards Racing Rocket 1 House Car is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunters Honey, Ace Metal Works, Integra, Sunoco, Keyser and Rocket Pre-Owned Motors.

Completing the top ten were Rick Eckert, Tim McCreadie, Shanon Buckingham, Jonathan Davenport and Billy Moyer Jr.