Shepard Scores Third Gumout Racing Series Victory at New 96 By Kendra Jacobs Lake Odessa, MI (July 1)-Jeff Shepard never needed a boost so much in his career as he did at New 96. The night before at Terre Haute Action Track proved to be awful...
Shepard Scores Third Gumout Racing Series Victory at New 96
By Kendra Jacobs
Lake Odessa, MI (July 1)-Jeff Shepard never needed a boost so much in his career as he did at New 96. The night before at Terre Haute Action Track proved to be awful for Shepard. After leading the early portion of Friday night's feature event, a wrong call on a red flag cost him the win. But, Shepard's mind was elsewhere, as his crewman Eric Stonesifer was in the Terre Haute hospital with back injuries. Stonesifer had accidentally been run over by Shepard's sprint car Friday night prior to qualifying.
"The lapped cars were real tough to get through tonight," Shepard stated in Victory Lane. "Last night my right hand man broke his back in the pits, so it was only me and my brother working on the car tonight. That makes [this win] even more sweet."
According to heat race and dash finishes from the previous weekend, Shepard had earned the pole position for the 30-lap feature event. Byron Reed won the Weld Race Components Dash last Saturday, earning him the outside front row starting position.
Shepard dove to the inside as the green flag dropped, allowing him to take the lead. Reed refused to give in, as he stayed close to Shepard's bumper. The Karavan Racing #7 driven by Craig Dollansky began to make his move to join the fight for the lead.
By lap four, Shepard had caught up to lapped traffic. Reed inched his way closer to Shepard's tail, as Dollansky found himself hung up in lapped traffic. Reed tried all he could to charge by Shepard, but to no avail.
Lap five saw the first red of the night. Bob Adamson in the #2A flipped down the front stretch. Adamson was ok, but was forced to quit for the night. Mike Stemler also spun during the red flag conditions, causing him to be put on the tail.
After a brief delay caused by leaking fuel, the Gumout Racing Series drivers were ready to get started. The restart saw Shepard out front, followed by Reed, Craig Dollansky, Paul McMahan, and Shane Stewart.
Race leader Shepard re-entered lappped traffic on lap nine. Dollansky, McMahan, Reed, and Stewart started a four car battle for second position. Stewart took fourth position from Reed low in turn two. Reed charged back to relinquish the position on the backstretch.
As Shepard began to struggle with lapped cars, Dollansky worked his way right to the tail of the Cat Construction/York Excavating #4J. By lap 21, McMahan and Reed had also caught up to the leaders. Dollansky checks up while working in traffic, giving Shepard a little breathing room, and allowing McMahan to take over second position.
McMahan dove low in all efforts of becoming the new race leader, but couldn't hold the position as Shepard had more momentum on the high side.
The field of cars went under caution on lap 24, as Greg Wheeler slowed to a stop on the backstretch. Following the brief yellow, Shepard led McMahan, Dollansky, Reed and Stewart to the line. Shepard again jumped out in to the lead, leaving McMahan and Dollansky to battle for second.
Ronald Laney took a wild ride through the infield when his #52 sprinter jumped the berm. Laney kept his car running, and suffered no mechanical damage.
With two laps remaining, McMahan was directly on Shepard's tail. As the two leaders worked through traffic, McMahan tagged the #84 of Kyle Poortenga. McMahan spins and stops on the racetrack in turn two. Dollansky spun as well, but managed to keep his Karavan Racing owned #7 under control. The #U2 of McMahan suffered too much mechanical damage for the series point leader to restart the event.
Now it was Shepard, followed by Dollansky, Reed, Stewart and 14th starting Jason Meyers at the restart. Shepard's front wing was visibly damaged, but he stayed strong as he pulled out into the lead over Dollansky. Shepard crossed the checkered one car length ahead of Dollansky.
Paul McMahan was the Huggins Fast Qualifier with a time of 16.078. Jason Meyers again earned the KSE Hard Charger Award by passing nine cars.
The Gumout Racing Series will compete at The Raceway at Powercom Park on Monday July 3rd, before traveling to Fargo, North Dakota to compete with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws July 6th through the 8th.