by David Smith, Jr. WAKEENEY, KS (Aug. 19) - Luck plays a part in everyday life. Sometimes luck is good and sometimes it's bad. In sprint car racing when circumstances involve lapped cars and 360 spins, the luck is usually bad. Jeff Shepard...
by David Smith, Jr.
WAKEENEY, KS (Aug. 19) - Luck plays a part in everyday life. Sometimes luck is good and sometimes it's bad. In sprint car racing when circumstances involve lapped cars and 360 spins, the luck is usually bad. Jeff Shepard proved you can have good luck in that instance as he survived a brush with a lapped car and a spin to win the Wednesday night at Wakeeny Speedway, his second win of the week.
ButlerBuilt HotSeat pole winner Rocky Hodges, aboard the Holbrook Motorsports Eagle and Dean Jacobs started on the front row of the 30-lap feature with Jacobs taking the early lead. The green lasted one lap. The night's only caution appear dwhen Keith Kauffman took his United Expressline/Warren Johnson owned Doemelt for a spin in turn two. During the caution Hodges went to the pits to change a flat tire sending him to the back of the field.
On the restart Jacobs jumped out front with Shepard, who started sixth, up to second. Frankie Kerr, tenth starting Brooke Tatnell and Joey Saldana were the top five after three laps. Lap four saw the first of several lead changes as Shepard moved to the lead with a move down low coming out of turn two. Kerr followed the next lap, took second from Jacobs and set his sights on the leader. Entering turn three on lap eight Kerr made a hard move to the bottom stick and took the lead with Shepard no more than three car lengths behind for two laps.
Lap eleven saw Shepard fight back to take the lead up high in turns one and two. Shepard led the next seven laps when near disaster struck on the backstretch on lap eighteen. While approaching the lapped car of NCRA rookie of the year contender Bill Roberston, Robertson suddenly slowed to exit the track in front of the leader causing Shepard to make contact and spin. Shepard stood on the gas only to lose the lead back to Kerr and settle for second.
Kerr looked to have his Shoff Motorsports Eagle headed for victory lane with eight laps to go after building up an eight car length lead. The advantage quickly disappeared with five to go as Shepard began reeling in the leader as he approached heavy traffic.
With two laps remaining the capacity crowd was on its feet when Shepard made the winning pass around Kerr in turns three and four, taking the checkered in his Les & Lynda Stewart Kriner-Chevrolet powered Maxim by three car lengths ahead of Kerr. Joey Saldana and his Steve Mox Stealth/Gaerte started seventh and finished a strong third. Jacobs Kriner powered Schnee and Tatnells Kele & Associates sprinter rounded out the top five.
Current NCRA points leader Gary Wright struggled in time trials. Wright could only manage the twenty-first quick time. The Texan used that starting spot in the feature to pass thirteen sprinters for an eighth place finish. Current All Star points leader Kenny Jacobs started eleventh and worked his Hughes Wheel & Axle sprinter up five positions for a sixth place finish.
TIME TRIALS: 1. Jeff Shepard, 15.280; 2. Danny Smith, 15.634; 3. Frankie Kerr, 15.650; 4. Scott Whitworth, 15.661; 5. Dean Jacobs, 15.713; 6. Rocky Hodges, 15.727; 7. Joey Saldana, 15.785; 8. Keith Kauffman, 15.835; 9. Randy Hannagan, 15.837; 10. Brooke Tatnell, 15.849; 11. Kenny Jacobs, 15.850; 12. Brad Furr, 15.935; 13. Kevin Gobrecht, 15.954; 14. Larry Neighbors, 16.123; 15. Jason Dukes, 16.152; 16. Jason Statler, 16.167; 17. Bill Roberson, 16.248; 18. Shane Carson, 16.280; 19. Mike Peters, 16.308; 20. Brian Smith, 16.324; 21. Gary Wright, 16.351; 22. Billy Vielhauer, 16.412; 23. John Bankston, 16.440; 24. Brian Paulus, 16.505; 25. Dan Oswalt, 16.725; 26. Steve King, 16.758; 27. Terry Reilley, 16.761; 28. Rich Bubak, 16.771; 29. Jason Johnson, 16.879; 30. Earnest Jennings, 17.019; 31. C.J. Johnson, 17.272; 32. Joe Houck, NT; 33. Scott Jones, NT.
UNITED EXPRESSLINE HEAT (8 laps) - Gary Wright, Kevin Gobrecht, Jeff Shepard, Randy Hannagan, Dean Jacobs, Jason Johnson, Bill Robertson, Dan Oswalt.
SOUTHWEST EXPRESSLINE HEAT (8 laps) - Shane Carson, Billy Vielhauer, Brooke Tatnell, Rocky Hodges, Danny Smith, Larry Neighbors, Steve King, Earnest Jennings.
UNITED SPECIALTIES HEAT (8 laps) - Mike Peters, Joey Saldana, Kenny Jacobs, Frankie Kerr, Jason Dukes, John Bankston, C.J. Johnson, Terry Reilly.
SOUTHWEST GLASS HEAT (8 laps) - Brian Paulus, Brad Furr, Keith Kauffman, Scott Whitworth, Jason Statler, Brian Smith, Rick Bubak, Joe Hauck.
UNITED EXPRESSLINE B FEATURE (12 laps) - 1, Bill Robertson. 2, Brian Smith. 3, Larry Neighbors. 4, John Bankston. 5, Steve King. 6, Rich Bubak. 7, Jason Johnson. 8, Terry Reilly. 9, C.J. Johnson. 10, Earnest Jennings. 11, Joe Hauck. 12, Dan Oswalt.
A FEATURE (30 laps) - 1, Jeff Shepard. 2, Frankie Kerr. 3, Joey Saldana. 4, Dean Jacobs. 5, Brooke Tatnell. 6, Kenny Jacobs. 7, Brad Furr. 8, Gary Wright. 9, Randy Hannagan. 10, Kevin Gobrecht. 11, Larry Neighbors. 12, Keith Kauffman. 13, Jason Statler. 14, Mike Peters. 15, Rocky Hodges. 16, John Bankston. 17, Jason Dukes. 18, Scott Whitworth. 19, Danny Smith. 20, Shane Carson. 21, Billy Vielhauer. 22, Bill Robertson. 23, Brian Paulus. 24, Brian Smith.
Big All Star Race Added at Selinsgrove on Sun., Aug. 30
SELINSGROVE, PA - The Selinsgrove Speedway has just been added to the 1998 All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car schedule for 1998. The event, slated for Sunday, Aug. 30 will be the only appearance this year for the All Stars on the Snyder Co. half-mile oval.