Kings: Jeff Shepard race report

22 February, 2003 - Competing in his first weekend back on the O'Reilly World of Outlaws trail Jeff Shepard found the running challenging to say the least. In his first night of competition for the Helm Motorsports Vivarin team at Kings Speedway...

22 February, 2003 - Competing in his first weekend back on the O'Reilly World of Outlaws trail Jeff Shepard found the running challenging to say the least.

In his first night of competition for the Helm Motorsports Vivarin team at Kings Speedway in Hanford, California Shepard qualified 23rd fastest. The 31-year-old then went on to take out his heat race ensuring a start in the opening A-Main event of the 2003 O'Reilly World of Outlaws Season.

Starting from 22nd position Shepard battled throughout the event to cross the line in 14th position.

"We were behind the 8-ball after qualifying so badly and struggled to find a consistent set up on the Vivarin Maxim which hampered my performance in the A-Main," commented Shepard.

"After testing the Goodyear tyres the other week we though we would be good but with this new minimum weight rule for the Outlaws need to sort the weight balance of the car."

Last night the former World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year competed at Perris Auto Speedway in Lake Perris, California.

After making some changes to the Vivarin Maxim between events Shepard qualified in a better position than the night prior setting the 13th fastest qualifying time.

Once again this meant that Shepard would start from the front row of his heat race in which he went on to claim second position and in the process make his first dash of the 2003 season.

Competing in the second dash race that determined the outside row starting positions from the outside third row Shepard maintained his position to earn the 12th starting position in the 30-lap A-Main event.

Unfortunately for Shepard and the Vivarin team he was unable to make any real progress on the front-runners battling with a "tight" racecar that was hampering his performance. During the event there were two caution periods and Shepard crossed the line in 11th spot.

"We were better than last night but nowhere near perfect, as can be seen by the results," said Shepard.

"It's all about getting a balanced racecar and at the moment we haven't got one. The engine feels good, the Goodyear tyres feel like they are working well now we just have to sort the chassis set up out."

After the first 2 of 99 races in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Championship Shepard is just outside the top 10 in points.

Shepard will next be in action aboard the Vivarin Maxim at the next round of the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series on Friday night in the opening night of the Outlaw Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.

-jsr/otgp-

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Series World of Outlaws