FARMER CITY, Ill. — Brandon Sheppard worked forward from 14th starting position to win the Farmer City 74 on Monday night.
Sheppard took the lead on lap 47 led the rest of the way for the $25,000 payday in the first appearance at the track by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
Sheppard became the 11th different winner in 16 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races this season. The Illinois native crossed the finish line ahead Gordy Gundaker and 18th-starting Brian Shirley. Gundaker had led the first 46 laps after starting second.
Rounding out the top five were 21st-starting Ricky Thornton Jr., and Hudson O’Neal, who recovered from a lap-seven flat tire to race his way into the top.
For the first half of the race Gundaker ran virtually unchallenged as Shirley and Sheppard were making their way through the field. Sheppard was able to overtake Shirley for second and set his sights on the high-flying Gundaker. Sheppard closed the gap on Gundaker in traffic as he slipped by the Missouri driver with 27 laps remaining.
Sheppard pulled away to win by 1.251 seconds over Gundaker, who recorded his best career finish with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
“I don’t even know honestly how I did it,” Sheppard said after his 29th career Lucas Late Model triumph. “That was Farmer City at its best right there. That’s the Farmer City that I am used to. Put it up against the wall and it got slick where you can race all over it. It was right on, hats off to the track crew. Hats off to my team as well they have been working their tails off all year, we’ve been up-and-down a lot.”
Gundaker, who was looking for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win and the biggest of his career came home in second.
“I can’t hang my head on running second to Brandon and this group of cars. I got tight there for like five laps and just really screwed up,” Gundaker said. “I am not much of a cushion banger as most of you know. I just made a few mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against these guys. I saw Brandon down there creeping. I was just trying to fight him off and doing everything I could. Yes, I’m bummed, but you can’t hang your head running second.”
Shirley finished third.
“The track started to give way a little bit. We probably didn’t have the setup good enough for 74 laps. I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. It was good race.”
Brandon Sheppard, Gordy Gundaker, Brian Shirley, Ricky Thornton Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., Daulton Wilson, Max Blair, Devin Moran, Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Mckay Wenger, Shannon Babb, Brandon Overton, Spencer Hughes, Garrett Alberson, Tyler Bruening, Boom Briggs, Tyler Erb, Tanner English, Ross Robinson, Jason Feger, Frank Heckenast Jr., Kevin Weaver.