Brandon Sheppard Pops The Question & Champagne At Year-End WoO Late Model Series Banquet

Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – Wrapping up what will forever be engrained as one of the greatest seasons in World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series history, Brandon Sheppard and Rocket1 Racing owner Mark Richards held their championship trophies high on Sunday night as they and their fellow competitors were all honored at the World of Outlaws awards banquet.

A season of blood, sweat, tears and lots of dirt was exchanged for a wonderful night of suits and ties, social gatherings and ceremonial presentations as each driver took the stage at the Great Wolf Lodge Conference Center for a bit of recognition and words of reflection on their accomplishments this season.

For Sheppard, 2019 was a season of many titles, including what might now be the sweetest title of them all. No, not another racing title. The 26-year-old driver from New Berlin, IL, has never before held the title of husband, but as the evening’s festivities began Sheppard was posing for pictures outside the banquet hall with his crew when he took a knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend Mikala Grandfield, placing the cherry atop the sweetest sundae of the young driver’s career.

Across 41 races, the Rocket house car bagged an incredible 18 wins, 31 podiums, 37 top-five’s, 39 top-10’s, 12 PFC Brakes Fast Time Awards, 27 Drydene Heat race wins, four new track records (Farmer City, Williams Grove, Plymouth, Red Cedar) and 691 laps led — topping each one of those categories. All of this goes to compliment his 2017 World of Outlaws title that also reached the 18-win mark.

In the marquee race department, there were no shortages there, either. From another Illini 100 title, to a jaw-dropping finish in his second Prairie Dirt Classic victory in three years, to a clean sweep of the DIRTcar Nationals for his first Big Gator trophy and a $125,000 check in Eldora’s Dirt Late Model Dream, this was truly a season nobody will soon forget.

Collecting the $100,000 points fund check, Sheppard has now compiled a grand total of $416,625 in World of Outlaws race earnings. And that’s only a slice of the whole pie from three 18-win seasons in the last four years for Rocket1.

“What’s incredible about this whole thing is Brandon has drove this car for the past three seasons, and this team’s won close to two million dollars in three seasons,” Richards said. “With Josh in the 2016 season, we’re over 2.5 million dollars with this team in four years. It’s just incredible what Danny White’s done, and Austin, Joel, everybody back at the shop that makes sure this thing keeps rolling.”

2019 marks the sixth World of Outlaws title for Rocket1 since 2009. The first four with Mark Richards’ son Josh behind the wheel, and the second now with Sheppard.

For their efforts, the Shinnston, WV-team was presented with two traditional bronze driver and owner trophies, the Team of the Year Award, a prize pack from VP Racing Fuels for the Series-high 18 Morton Buildings Feature victories, and Sheppard’s championship ring.

And yet, the awards headed back to Rocket Chassis headquarters didn’t stop there. Rocket Chassis co-owners Steve Baker and Mark Richards were also presented with the Chassis Builder of the Year Award.

For the first time in Series history, the Rookie of the Year title will be sitting in a race shop north of the border. Ricky Weiss topped the Rookie points standings by 278 points over runner-up Cade Dillard and finished third in the overall standings, making him the highest-finishing Rookie in World of Outlaws Late Model points history. With seven second-place finishes, six third-place finishes, two PFC Brakes Fast time Awards, 11 Drydene Heat wins and 82 laps led, Weiss was congratulated by every other driver that took the stage on Sunday for his achievement and clean and competitive nature, both on and off the track.

Along with the custom plaque to commemorate the accomplishment, Weiss also received a set of custom ear molds from Racing Electronics. Earlier in the evening, Series Director Casey Shuman took the stage to first announce his return to the head of the Outlaws for 2020, and to present the Raye Vest Award for best and worst pill draw average to Darrell Lanigan and Shane Clanton.

Scott Childress, head of both Cherokee Speedway and Lavonia Speedway, took the stage with Shuman to be honored with the Promoter of the Year Award. Both visits to Cherokee (May, October) and the one race at Lavonia this year were in front of packed crowds, and likely will be again when the Xtreme DIRTcar Series invades Cherokee in less than two weeks on Nov. 24 for the 29th annual Blue Gray 100. Lavonia will also host on Dec. 15 before a second stop at Cherokee on Jan. 18.

The 2019 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing World Champion Blake Matjoulis was also in attendance to receive his championship trophy, one he earned over a 10-race series on the iRacing simulator platform. Matjoulis, 17, of Swindell SpeedLab eSports, credited watching his heroes like Sheppard on the real track as inspiration to continue his eSports career and one day cash in his skill on the game for a seat in a real Dirt Late Model.

Now that all is said and done in 2019, each team heads back to the shop to gear up for 2020. Some drivers will swap rides, some will move locations and others will explore new ventures in the wide world of motorsports. But one thing will remain the same for the Outlaws – the competitive spirit and exciting nature of full-throttle, high-speed, mud-slinging action that each and every fan has come to enjoy since 1988.

2020 kicks off with the brand-new event, Jan 2-5 – the inaugural Battle at the Border at Vado Speedway Park in Vado, NM. Tickets are on sale now; get yours today and become a part of World of Outlaws history!

As always, DIRTVision is the place to watch every race live in 2020. Get your Late Model Fast Pass today to see “The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet” all season long!

Final Points Standings and Payout

1 – Brandon Sheppard/ Rocket1 Racing/Mark Richards Racing, Inc., $100,000

2 – Shane Clanton/Skyline Motorsports, $60,000

3 – Ricky Weiss/Weiss Racing, $40,000 + Rookie Bonus = $50,000

4 – Chase Junghans/Junghans Racing, $35,000

5 – Darrell Lanigan/Darrell Lanigan Racing, $30,000

6 – Dennis Erb Jr./Dennis Erb Racing, $24,000

7 – Cade Dillard/Cade Dillard Racing, $23,000

8 – Boom Briggs/Briggs Transport, INC, $22,000

9 – Brent Larson/ Larson/Ranta Motorsports, $21,000

10 – Blake Spencer/ Revolution Racing/Bozard Ford, $20,000

2019 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Awards and Statistics

Raye Vest Award – Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton
Rookie of the Year – Ricky Weiss
Engine Builder of the Year – Durham Racing Engines
Chassis Builder of the Year – Rocket Chassis

VP Racing Fuels – Brandon Sheppard
Racing Electronics – Ricky Weiss
Promoter of the Year – Scott Childress

There were 41 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Feature events completed this season.

MORTON BUILDINGS FEATURE WINNERS (14 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – Wins

1 – Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 18

2 – Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 4

– Brandon Overton, Evans, GA – 4

4 – Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 3

– Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 3

6 – Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL – 1

– Ross Bailes, Clover, SC – 1

– Michael Norris, Sarver, PA – 1

– Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 1

– Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 1

– Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA – 1

– Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA – 1

– Max Blair, Titusville, PA – 1

– Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 1

PFC BRAKES FAST TIME AWARD WINNERS (24 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – Quick Times

1 – Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 11

2 – Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 3

3 – Ross Bailes, Clover, SC – 2

– Ricky Weiss, Headingley, Manitoba – 2

– Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV – 2

6 – Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 1

– Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN – 1

– Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA – 1

– Jason Covert, York Haven, PA – 1

– Kent Robinson, Bloomington, IN – 1

– Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 1

– Tanner English, Benton, KY – 1

– Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 1

– Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX – 1

– Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA – 1

– Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI – 1

– Don Shaw, Ham Lake, MN – 1

– Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 1

– Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 1

– Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA – 1

– Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL – 1

– Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, PA – 1

– Max Blair, Titusville, PA – 1

– Cade Dillard, Robeline, LA – 1

DRYDENE HEAT RACE WINNERS (45 different winners)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – Wins

1 – Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 26

2 – Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 12

3 – Ricky Weiss, Headingley, Manitoba – 11

4 – Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 10

– Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 10

– Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 10

7 – Brandon Overton, Evans, GA – 5

– Scott Bloomquist – Mooresburg, TN – 5

– Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV – 5

10 – Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL – 4

– Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL – 4

– Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA – 4

13 – Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, PA – 3

– Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 3

– Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL – 3

– Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI – 3

– Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA – 3

– Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 3

19 – Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, VA – 2

– Chris Ferguson, Mt. Holly, NC – 2

– Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA – 2

– Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, IA – 2

– Jason Covert, York Haven, PA – 2

– Ross Bailes, Clover, SC – 2

25 – Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA – 1

– Devin Moran, Dresden, OH – 1

– Kent Robinson, Bloomington, IN – 1

– Tanner English, Benton, KY – 1

– Ben Watkins, Lancaster, SC – 1

– Johnny Pursley, Clover, SC – 1

– Michael Norris, Sarver, PA – 1

– Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA – 1

– Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, MN – 1

– Chad Simpson, Mount Vernon, IA – 1

– Mike Marlar, Winfield, TN – 1

– Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL – 1

– Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX – 1

– Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL – 1

– Max Blair, Titusville, PA – 1

– David Scott, Garland, PA – 1

– Cade Dillard, Robeline, LA – 1

– Zack Mitchell, Enoree, SC – 1

– Cory Hedgecock, Loudon, TN – 1

– Steven Roberts, Sylvester, GA – 1

– John Blankenship, Williamson, WV – 1

LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN WINNERS (42 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – Wins

1 – Brandon Overton, Evans, GA – 3

– Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 3

3 – Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA – 2

– Devin Moran, Dresden, OH – 2

– Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KY – 2

– Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 2

– Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, MN – 2

– Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX – 2

– Hudson O’Neal, Martinsville, IN – 2

10 – Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 1

– Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV – 1

– Steve Casebolt, Richmond, IN – 1

– Mike Marlar, Winfield, TN – 1

– Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA – 1

– Kent Robinson, Bloomington, IN – 1

– Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, VA – 1

– Tanner English, Benton, KY – 1

– John Ownbey, Cleveland, TN – 1

– Cory Hedgecock, Loudon, TN – 1

– Tommy Kerr, Maryville, TN – 1

– Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, IL – 1

– Ryan Unzicker, El Paso, IL – 1

– Bob Gardner, Washington, IL – 1

– Blake Spencer, St. Augustine, FL – 1

– Donald Bradsher, Burlington, NC – 1

– Anthony Sanders, Spartanburg, SC – 1

– Dan Stone, Thompson, PA – 1

– John Kaanta, Elk Mound, WI – 1

– Brody Troftgruben, Grand Forks, ND – 1

– Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, PA – 1

– Ashton Winger, Hampton, GA – 1

– Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND – 1

– Terry Casey, New London, WI – 1

– Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL – 1

– Gary Stuhler, Greencastle, PA – 1

– Bryan Bernheisel, Jonestown, PA – 1

– Andy Haus, Hamburg, PA – 1

– Jake Finnerty, Niobe, NY – 1

– Coleby Frye, Dover, PA – 1

– Trent Ivey, Union, SC – 1

– Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 1

– Ricky Weiss, Headingley, Manitoba – 1

PODIUM FINISHES (32 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – # of podiums

1 – Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 31

2 – Ricky Weiss, Headingley, Manitoba – 13

3 – Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 10

4 – Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 8

5 – Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 7

6 – Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 6

– Brandon Overton, Evans, GA – 6

8 – Jimmy Mars, Menomonie, WI – 4

9 – Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL – 3

– Don O’Neal, Martinsville, IN – 3

– Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL – 3

– Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN – 3

– Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 3

14 – Ross Bailes, Clover, SC – 2

– Mike Marlar, Winfield, TN – 2

– Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 2

– Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA – 2

– Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA – 2

19 – Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, VA – 1

– Josh Richards, Shinnston, WV – 1

– Tanner English, Benton, KY – 1

– Michael Brown, Lancaster, SC – 1

– Michael Norris, Sarver, PA – 1

– Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA – 1

– Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL – 1

– Cade Dillard, Robeline, LA – 1

– Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, IA – 1

– Tyler Bruening, Decorah, IA – 1

– Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL – 1

– Max Blair, Titusville, PA – 1

– Dave Hess Jr., Waterford, PA – 1

– Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA – 1

HARD CHARGERS (32 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – # of merits

1 – Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 4

2 – Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA – 3

3 – Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 2

– Cade Dillard, Robeline, LA – 2

– Blake Spencer, St. Augustine, FL – 2

6 – Frank Heckenast Jr., Frankfort, IL – 1

– Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL – 1

– Mike Marlar, Winfield, TN – 1

– Morgan Bagley, Longview, TX – 1

– Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 1

– Spencer Diercks, Davenport, IA – 1

– Brent Larson, Lake Elmo, MN – 1

– Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 1

– Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL – 1

– Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, IA – 1

– John Kaanta, Elk Mound, WI – 1

– Brody Troftgruben, Grand Forks, ND – 1

– Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, PA – 1

– Rick Hanestad, Boyceville, WI – 1

– Mike Fryer, Freeport, IL – 1

– Brad Mueller, Random Lake, WI – 1

– Nick Anvelink, Navarino, WI – 1

– Tyler Erb, New Waverly, TX – 1

– Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN – 1

– Gary Stuhler, Greencastle, PA – 1

– Ross Robinson, Georgetown, DE – 1

– Brandon Thirlby, Traverse City, MI – 1

– Tyler Dietz, Pittsburgh, PA – 1

– Chad Valone, Jamestown, NY – 1

– Michael Smith – 1

– Derrick Ramey – 1

– Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 1

TOTAL LAPS LED (25 different drivers)

Rank – Driver, Hometown – Laps

1 – Brandon Sheppard, New Berlin, IL – 691

2 – Shane Clanton, Zebulon, GA – 232

3 – Brandon Overton, Evans, GA – 156

4 – Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN – 142

5 – Darrell Lanigan, Union, KY – 89

6 – Chris Madden, Gray Court, SC – 85

7 – Ricky Weiss, Headingley, Manitoba – 82

8 – Chase Junghans, Manhattan, KS – 76

9 – Bobby Pierce, Oakwood, IL – 74

10 – Jonathan Davenport, Blairsville, GA – 62

11 – Cade Dillard, Robeline, LA – 60

12 – Ross Bailes, Clover, SC – 50

– Max Blair, Titusville, PA – 50

14 – Tanner English, Benton, KY – 32

15 – Mason Zeigler, Chalk Hill, PA – 29

16 – Michael Norris, Sarver, PA – 25

17 – Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY – 24

18 – Brian Shirley, Chatham, IL – 20

19 – Ben Watkins, Lancaster, SC – 19

20 – Cory Hedgecock, Loudon, TN – 16

21 – John Blankenship, Williamson, WV – 5

22 – Chris Simpson, Oxford, IA – 3

23 – Brian Birkhofer, Muscatine, IA – 2

24 – Boom Briggs, Bear Lake, PA – 1

– Scott Bloomquist, Mooresburg, TN – 1

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