Monday July 22, 2013
Sheppard crowned youngest champion in series history
Matt Miller looked virtually unstoppable on Saturday night as he charged from ninth to take the lead from Jeep Van Wormer on lap 23 en route to claiming the victory in the finale of the six-week-long DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” at Oakshade Raceway.
Brandon Sheppard, a 20-year-old four-time winner this season, became the youngest DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion when he took the green flag.
Casey Noonan started the feature on the pole but outside-starting Van Wormer quickly shot to the lead. Miller, of Whitehouse, Ohio, powered from row five into a battle for the top spot.
Van Wormer was forced to fend off several early charges, including one by Sheppard, who was trying to clinch the championship in style with a victory but his car eventually slowed and he settled for a 19th-place finish.
Miller caught Van Wormer by lap 20 of the 60-lap event and finally maneuvered around him on lap 23. Miller quickly expanded his lead by up to a half-track advantage as the second half of the race ran caution free as he dominated his way to the $10,000 checkered flag.
“We’ve been good all year, especially when we get in slick conditions,” said Miller, who earned his first Hell Tour victory since 2008. “We came here last week and got tore up and had to take the car to Rocket and get it clipped. My guys busted their butts, especially (car owner) Rick (DeLong) and Rodney and those guys, working till 1 in the morning every night. It feels good to pay them back. The car couldn’t have been any better.”
A 19th-place finish was a minor disappointment for Sheppard. The 20-year-old claimed the $25,000 title over 16-year-old Bobby Pierce in the 27th season of the six-week-long tour. Pierce became the youngest driver to win a DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature during this year’s tour, accomplishing the feat four times.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time and working really hard at it just trying to get to where we’re at now,” said Sheppard, of New Berlin, Ill. “It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family cause they’ve been doing it just as long.”
NOTES: Dustin Griffin was named the DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” Rookie of the Year. … Sheppard, Pierce and Griffin are the only three drivers who survived each race in the series that ran from June 12 through Saturday night. … In all, 26 events were completed over the course of the six weeks. … Shannon Babb’s six victories were the most by any driver. …Among the winners during the course of this year’s series were former champions Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Kevin Weaver, Dennis Erb Jr., and Babb.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Oakshade Raceway; Wauseon, Ohio; July 20, 2013
A-Main (60-laps): 1. Matt Miller ($10,000), 2. Jon Henry, 3. Bobby Pierce, 4. Jeff Babcock, 5. Devin Moran, 6. Jeep Van Wormer, 7. Dona Marcoullier, 8. Dustin Griffin, 9. Brian Ruhlman, 10. Doug Drown, 11. Chris Keller, 12. Dusty Moore, 13. Casey Noonan, 14. Chris Ross, 15. Rusty Schlenk, 16. Steve Kester, 17. Devin Shiels, 18. Phil Ausra, 19. Brandon Sheppard, 20. Ryan Missler, 21. Wayne Chinn, 22. Herb Reich.
2013 DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ Schedule
Day Date Track Location Winner
Wed. June 12 Brownstown Speedway Brownstown, IN Dennis Erb, Jr.
Thurs. June 13 Off
Fri. June 14 Cedar Lake Speedway New Richmond, WI Brian Birkhofer
Sat. June 15 Cedar Lake Speedway New Richmond, WI Cancelled (RAIN)
Sun. June 16 Wilmot Speedway Wilmot, WI Kevin Weaver
Mon. June 17 Off
Tues. June 18 Off
Wed. June 19 Spoon River Speedway Canton, IL Brandon Sheppard
Thurs. June 20 Belle Clair Speedway Belleville, IL Brandon Sheppard (2)
Fri. June 21 Tri-City Speedway Pontoon Beach, IL Chris Simpson
Sat. June 22 Fairbury Speedway Fairbury, IL Ryan Unzicker
Sun. June 23 I-96 Speedway Lake Odessa, MI Shannon Babb
Mon. June 24 Peoria Speedway Peoria, IL Postponed (RAIN)
Tues. June 25 Off
Wed. June 26 Clarksville Speedway Clarksville, TN Brandon Sheppard (3)
Thurs. June 27 Clayhill Motorsports Park Atwood, TN Brandon Sheppard (4)
Fri. June 28 Paducah International Raceway Paducah, KY Billy Moyer
Sat. June 29 Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 Pevely, MO Postponed/Rain
Sun. June 30 Lincoln Speedway Lincoln, IL Bobby Pierce
Mon. July 1 Off
Tues. July 2 Quincy Raceways Quincy, IL Shannon Babb (2)
Wed. July 3 Jacksonville Speedway Jacksonville, IL Shannon Babb (3)
Thurs. July 4 LaSalle Speedway LaSalle, IL Bobby Pierce (2)
Fri. July 5 Fayette Co. Speedway Brownstown, IL Ryan Unzicker (2)
Sat. July 6 Highland Speedway Highland, IL Postponed (RAIN)
Sun. July 7 Tri-State Speedway Haubstadt, IN Shannon Babb (4)
Mon. July 8 Off
Tues. July 9 Florence Speedway Union, KY Scott Bloomquist
Wed. July 10 Terre Haute Action Track Terre Haute, IN Cancelled (RAIN)
Thurs. July 11 Macon Speedway Macon, IL Shannon Babb (5)
Fri. July 12 Kankakee County Speedway Kankakee, IL Bobby Pierce (3)
Sat. July 13 34 Raceway Burlington, IA Bobby Pierce (4)
Sun. July 14 Vermilion County Speedway Danville, IL Shannon Babb (6)
Mon. July 15 Peoria Speedway Peoria, IL Brian Shirley
Tues. July 16 Off
Wed. July 17 Brushcreek Motorsports Park Peebles, OH R.J. Conley
Thurs. July 18 Off
Fri. July 19 Attica Raceway Park Attica, OH Doug Drown
Sat. July 20 Oakshade Raceway Wauseon, OH Matt Miller
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.
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