Sheppard Scores Repeat Victory in $15,000 One for the Road

Ledford Holds off McKinney & Steffens for $2,000 Modified Win

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

On a rare Monday night of racing, the second annual “One for the Road” saw New Berlin’s Brandon Sheppard score the repeat victory and a $15,000 payday. Pontiac’s Michael Ledford held off track champion Mike McKinney and Kyle Steffens to take the $2,000 Modified win.

sheppard lm31 Late Model drivers, many who competed in last weekend’s World 100, went under the clock in qualifying. One of the hottest drivers in the country, no matter what he is racing, Kyle Larson took fast time at 12.727 seconds. Larson, Shane Clanton, and Sheppard won their respective heat races. The semi-feature went to Dennis Erb Jr. Following a lap 20 caution, Sheppard overtook Garrett Alberson for the lead and moved out to a straightaway lead as Alberson raced Gordy Gundaker for second, and 12th starter Tanner English raced side by side with 21st starter Jonathan Davenport for fourth. A yellow flag waved on lap 27 for debris. During the caution, Alberson went to the infield pit area to change a tire and had to go to the rear of the field.

larson lm2Sheppard raced out to a five-car length lead as English and track champion Mike Spatola, who started 15th, ran side by side for second. In the closing laps, English, Spatola, and Gundaker put on a battle for second before Spatola took the runner-up spot with eight laps remaining. Sheppard, the current World of Outlaws Series points leader, crossed the line at the end of the 50-lap race $15,000 richer. Spatola got crossed up on the last lap and fell back to fourth, with English and 17th starter Bobby Pierce taking second and third. “I was hoping the top side was going to be there at the end of the race, because that is where we win most of our races here,” explained Sheppard. “We were pretty good on the bottom, but I blazed the top for a long time before I went to the bottom. My left rear tire was overheating. It was shaking so hard I couldn’t even go down there. When the tire cooled off, the caution came out on lap 20, and I had to go to the top on the restart.” Gundaker finished in fifth. Early race leader Larson recovered from a flat tire and finished sixth, followed by Davenport, Clanton, Frank Heckenast Jr., and Ryan Unzicker.

ledford mdForrest’s Austin Friedman continues to turn heads as his lap at 14.188 seconds gave him fast time over 18 other Modified drivers for their 25-lap, $2,000 to win race. Alan Stipp, Kyle Steffens, and Michael Ledford captured the heat race wins. Ledford moved past Steffens after a caution on the fifth lap and put his new MBR race car on the treacherous Fairbury cushion, beating the right-side quarter panel relentlessly. Ledford turned up the wick and pulled away to take his second Fairbury feature win of the year and sixth overall. “I was just trying to drive the car as hard as I could without getting into the wall,” said Ledford. “With the competition tonight, this is probably my biggest win.” Mike McKinney got by Steffens on the last lap to take second. Stipp finished fourth, followed by 13th starter Brandon Bollinger, Dylan Woodling, Travis Kohler, Bob Pohlman Jr., Adam Pockrus, and Dave Lilja.

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