New team, same hard charging Shepard 6 May, 2003 - After his sudden departure from the O'Reillys World of Outlaw Championship Jeff Shepard return to the scene of his many successes in 2002, the All Star Circuit of Champions. The 32-year-old ...
New team, same hard charging Shepard
6 May, 2003 - After his sudden departure from the O'Reillys World of Outlaw Championship Jeff Shepard return to the scene of his many successes in 2002, the All Star Circuit of Champions.
The 32-year-old Maryland native joined the Miller Rigging number 2 car to compete in the All Star events at Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedways last Friday and Saturday night.
When joining a new team it is not easy to achieve an good result on the first night but the determined Shepard proved that no matter how long he has been with a team he always wants to move to the front of the pack.
After qualifying a lowly 22nd on Friday night Shepard qualified through his heat race for to start the A-Main event from 20th position.
Showing glimpses of a fresh lease on life Shepard charged his way through the field to cross the line within striking distance of the leading pair.
"The guys were working real good on the car tonight," said Shepard after his hard-earned third place finish in his first time in the Miller Rigging/CAT Constructions supported J&J.
"We didn't start off real good tonight, we were kind of behind the eight ball and it was a guessing game.
"I said, 'we can't get much worse than we were in the heat race, so lets just try something' and we did. We still have a lot to work on here being our first night together.
"Where we started (20th) to third was pretty good. I've made a couple of laps around here (Williams Grove) and I'm happy to be up here. I needed to pass two more cars. But we'll take it from 20th."
Continuing along the All Star Circuit of Champions Shepard and the Miller team competed at Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night.
Setting the 4th fastest time the team was well ahead of last night's qualifying performance and after making the transfer through his heat race Shepard diced with the leaders for the majority of the A-Main.
At one stage he claimed second spot only to drop to third where he would take the chequered with a deflating right rear tyre.
"Jason Johnson pulled up beside me and I thought mine was going flat," said Shepard what went on during a late race caution.
"I told him his was going flat, and I thought 'Awe (shoot), we're trying to get out there and keep our tires spinning' and they kept holding the yellows, and the yellows, and the yellows, and I was, like, 'Come on, I don't want to blow a tire.'"
On his performance the first two nights in the Miller No.2 sprinter Shepard said, "Our car wasn't bad tonight...we were a little tight in the dash, but we have a lot of room to work on this car.
"Two nights...two top-three finishes. We'll take it. The car's still in one piece...we're happy. I got the call (to drive this car) when I was in Florida, and I figured 'Well, I don't get to come back home too often, especially when I get a chance to run at Lincoln for the fans.
"I like to come here and race, and we don't get a chance to run here often. We'll get 'em here next time."
Shepard and the Miller Rigging team will head to 81 Speedway in Witchita, KS on Friday night and the Jetmore Motorplex in Jetmore, KS on Saturday night with the All Star Circuit of Champions.