Shepard finds All Star/NCRA events to his liking. JOPLIN, MO (September 28, 2002) - Racing with the National Championship Racing Association seems to bring out the best in All Star Circuit of Championships competitor Jeff Shepard. In eleven ...
Shepard finds All Star/NCRA events to his liking.
JOPLIN, MO (September 28, 2002) - Racing with the National Championship Racing Association seems to bring out the best in All Star Circuit of Championships competitor Jeff Shepard. In eleven co-sanctioned All Star/NCRA shows this season Shepard has won five times. Saturday Shepard made it six of 12 at Joplin 66 Speedway.
Shepard inherited the lead on lap seven and went the distance to win the 30-lap A feature ahead of Danny Smith and Friday night winner Brooke Tatnell.
"It definitely is a good luck thing for us," smiled Shepard who won for the first time since August 17 when he won at Tulsa Speedway. "For the last month we struggled and were good enough to win about every race. We have been running second, third and fourth except for last night. We just could not pull one off."
Shepard recalls his last win because his luck changed right afterwards. "My last win was on the NCRA swing at Tulsa then we blew a tire," recalled Shepard. "Then the next race we were leading and crashed with five to go. All the other races were second and third then we crashed again. Last week we ran third then last night we ran seventh from twenty fourth."
A rush of flat tires plagued the field forcing the yellow to wave four times and Shepard was hoping it would not be his turn. "Everybody that was getting flats was sliding across the track so I just tried to stay in one groove and hope that problem was not up there," Shepard said. "We were ok. We were not a rocket ship but we were good enough to win the race."
The feature got underway with Kenny Jacobs charging out front followed by Shepard and Greg Wilson. The first yellow waved on lap six for Jon Agan who stalled on the front straight. During the yellow Jacobs ducked to the pits with a flat right rear. Shepard took over the lead but a lap later Jerrod Wilson flipped out of turn two and the race was stopped. Shepard again drove out front ahead of Greg Wilson, but it only lasted one lap as third place Kelly Kinser spun with a left rear flat in turn four. Lap 12 saw the next yellow as Derek Beckman cut his right rear tire. After a lap 15 fuel stop that saw second place Wilson go in for a right rear tire, Shepard raced through one more yellow and stayed out front for the win over Smith and Tatnell. Chad Kemenah and defending NCRA champion Gary Wright finished fourth and fifth. With a 102 point lead over Kenny Jacobs, Kemenah has all but wrapped up his first All Star sprint championship. Kemenah will clinch the title just by signing into the pits next Saturday in the season finale at Florence (KY) Speedway.
Tatnell's third place finish in the Phillips Trop Artic 66 earned him and car owner Court Grandstaff their first O'Reilly/NCRA championship ending Gary Wright's nine year reign.