Wtwfsunshine Jimdenhamerphoto
Brandon Sheppard (1) and Kyle Strickler (8) will be contenders in this weekend's World of Outlaws opener at Volusia Speedway Park. (Jim DenHamer photo)

WoO Late Models Target Volusia

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — The World of Outlaws Late Models kick off the campaign this weekend (Jan. 20-22) as part of the Sunshine Nationals Late-Model-Palooza at Volusia Speedway Park. 

Three nights of high-octane action will see the WoO late models battle for a $10,000 top prize each feature, giving one driver the chance to walk away with $30,000.

This year marks the series’ second appearance during the massive late model weekend. Home state hero Kyle Bronson picked up the inaugural Sunshine Nationals win with the World of Outlaws.

Joining the Series at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile are the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and 602 Late Models.

The Sunshine Nationals mark the start of a potential historic journey for Brandon Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL. He’s two wins away from taking the top spot on the all-time wins list and a championship at the end of the season would make him the first driver in the history of the Series to reach five titles.

Sheppard won his third consecutive title in November – fourth overall – tying Josh Richards for the most series championships all-time.

He’s had a ton of success as The World’s Fastest Half-Mile racking up six victories, including a clean sweep of DIRTcar Nationals in 2019. Sheppard was consistent on tracks a half-mile or larger in 2021 — scoring one win, five top-fives and nine top-10s.

“The Rocket Shepp” is also coming in hot. He scored two wins in New Mexico earlier this month in his family-owned car. 

Sheppard won’t be alone in the quest to claim the most World of Outlaws Late Model championships all-time. Josh Richards returns to the World of Outlaws Late Models full time behind the wheel of a car owned by fan-favorite Boom Briggs.

Like Sheppard, Richards has found success at Volusia Speedway Park, winning five times at the Florida venue.

While “The Rocket Man” hasn’t been full time with the series since 2016, that hasn’t kept him out of victory lane. His last series win came at Bristol Motor Speedway half-mile last year. 

The World of Outlaws Late Models’ rookie class is one to keep an eye on this season with impressive résumés among them. 

Max Blair, from Centerville, Pa., has the most World of Outlaws success out of the group, having already claimed three series wins. However, Tanner English, from Benton, Ky., is the only driver with an entire season of a national tour under his belt.

Joining them in the rookie battle will be Gary Dillon, from Wilson, N.C., Gordy Gundaker, from St. Charles, Mo., Jacob Ulrich, from Sand Springs, Okla., and Kyle Hammer, from Clinton, Ill. 

No driver had more success at Volusia Speedway Park in 2021 than Kyle Strickler. 

In January 2021, Strickler held off late model legend Scott Bloomquist to score his first career win at Sunshine Nationals and backed it up with a win to open DIRTcar Nationals last February.

In five races on the half-mile oval, Strickler only finished out of the top-five once — a sixth on the final night of DIRTcar Nationals.  

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