CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Brandon Sheppard has accomplished a lot during his relatively short but extremely prolific career.
He recently locked up his fourth World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship in the last five years while also scoring countless victories across the country in the Rocket Chassis house car as well as his own dirt late model.
Add to that several other accomplishments, including the 2013 DIRTcar Summer Nationals championship, a victory in the 2019 Dirt Late Model Dream at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, four victories in the Dirt Track World Championship at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park, two Prairie Dirt Classic wins at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway and countless more accolades, and you have the makings of a Hall of Fame résumé.
He’s accomplished all that before his 30th birthday.
“It’s pretty amazing honestly,” said the 28-year-old Sheppard. “Looking back, honestly, I didn’t think I’d be at this point. I had hoped to be, but something like this is really hard to do. I’ve got a great team that backs me, that’s behind me 100 percent of the time and gives me a great race car night in and night out.
“Our consistency and the car staying together, everything the team does to give me a good car night in and night out is what wins championships.”
Sheppard was successful before he became the full-time driver of the Rocket Chassis house car fielded by Mark Richards, but his success went into overdrive once he landed the Rocket Chassis seat.
His first year in the Rocket car resulted in 18 World of Outlaws wins and his first series championship. In the last five years, Sheppard has garnered 71 World of Outlaws victories, far more than anyone else on the tour.
For Sheppard, it’s been an honor to add his name to the legacy of success that has made Rocket Chassis one of the top chassis companies in all of dirt late model racing.
“It’s really huge for me because I’m building my own (legacy) while I’m at it,” Sheppard said. “I’m building on his (Mark Richards’ legacy) and building my own at the same time. It really means a lot to me to have the opportunity to drive for these guys. It’s a great group of guys. Great car owners. They take really good care of me.
“It’s a huge deal for me and my family. That’s always been the goal when I started racing was to try to find a ride and make the most out of a racing career. Thanks to Mark and Steve (Baker) at Rocket Chassis, we’ve been able to do that.”
Despite his accomplishments, Sheppard isn’t satisfied. There are still more races he wants to win and more championship trophies he wants to collect.
“The championships are huge, but there are still a lot of races I want to win,” Sheppard said. “We’ve won a lot of races and I’m very grateful for the races I have won, but at the end of the day we’ve been really close at Knoxville quite a few times. We want to win that one. We want to continue our good championship runs. We want to win the World 100.
“There are a lot of races on the bucket list we still want to win. We’re going to keep digging until we get them.”
In order to accomplish those personal goals, Sheppard will have to battle the likes of Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden, Tim McCreadie, Devin Moran, Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Jimmy Owens and so many more.
It’s not lost on Sheppard how tough the competition is getting in dirt late model racing. It just means he and the Rocket Chassis team will have to step up their game.
“The competition has grown year in and year out,” said Sheppard, who won eight World of Outlaws Late Model Series races this year. “There are a lot of good cars out there right now. We’re working really hard to try and find the edge again.
“I’m really excited to build some new stuff this winter and, hopefully, go into Florida really fast.”