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Brandon Sheppard Leads All 30 Laps to Capture Friday Night Gopher 50 Feature

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WIPED CLEAN: Brandon Sheppard Leads All 30 Laps to Capture Friday Night Gopher 50 Feature 

B-Shepp recovered from a flat tire from the Feature race earlier in the afternoon to win $7,000 at Deer Creek Speedway

SPRING VALLEY, MN (July 5, 2024) – Brandon Sheppard didn’t miss a beat in the second NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 Feature on Friday at Deer Creek Speedway.

Bouncing back from the Feature race earlier in the day that saw the New Berlin, IL driver finish 17th after suffering a flat right-rear tire, Sheppard led flag-to-flag to win his third World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models Feature race of the season at Deer Creek Speedway.

Beginning the Feature from the front of the field after drawing the Bilstein Pole Award, Sheppard took command of the race from the drop of the Gorsuch Performance green flag. However, he couldn’t run away from the competition.

Ryan Gustin, who won the first Feature of the night, hounded the No. B5 Dude Wipes Longhorn Factory Team Late Model throughout the duration of the 30-lap race.

Once Sheppard caught the back of the field, the slower cars created a new obstacle for the leader every lap and opened the door for Gustin, and third-place Bobby Pierce, to pounce.

Pierce ripped the high line with a clear lane in front of him while Sheppard and Gustin had to find creative ways to slide by the slower cars using both the high and low lanes.

But once Sheppard cleared the minefield of traffic, he was able to run away and score the win while Gustin and Pierce were trapped in the pack.

“It was definitely tricky,” Sheppard said. “We had to figure out how to maneuver through (the traffic). Sometimes, when you’re leading and you’re in a bad spot, you don’t know which line to take or what will be faster for you, what’s slower and where you can pass them at. I had to make my best guesses and keep the speed up.

“I knew if I broke momentum, it was going to kill me, so I needed to keep momentum and keep rolling so they didn’t get a big run on me… This team has never given up on me and I’ve never given up on them, they never quit trying to be better, so we’ll keep plugging away and see what we can do.”

Pierce finished his charge by throwing a haymaker at Gustin on the final lap and claiming second by the checkered flag.

“We were terrible at the beginning and came up there at the end,” Pierce said. “Definitely wish we could have had more laps, but I’m pretty happy to come home with second. It gives us a good spot for tomorrow, we’ll have to see what they do to the track. The longer the race is, the better I’m getting to be.”

Gustin took the final step on the podium after a day that saw him edge out Nick Hoffman by 0.009 seconds to win Thursday’s makeup Feature race.

“This was a great day for us,” Gustin said. “I felt like we were in contention in that last (Feature), we weren’t as good as (Sheppard) was, he zigged and I zagged through the lapped traffic, and it all worked out for him. Then Bobby got us there at the end when we got held up behind a lapped car. That’s how it goes, though. Hopefully, we can take home $50,000 tomorrow night.”

Finishing fourth was New Waverly, TX driver Tyler Erb, and Brandon, FL driver Kyle Bronson completed the top five finishers of the night.

Here are the top-16 drivers locked into Saturday’s $50,000-to-win finale Feature: Ryan Gustin, Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Nick Hoffman, Shannon Babb, Tyler Bruening, Dennis Erb Jr, Kyle Bronson, Tyler Erb, Tyler Stevens, Cade Dillard, Chad Simpson, Chase Junghans, Brian Shirley, Brent Larson and Jake Timm

RECAP NOTES:

Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap: Kyle Bronson

Simpson Quick Time Award: Ryan Gustin

Heat Race Winners: Ryan Gustin, Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Bruening, Kyle Bronson

Last Chance Showdown Winner: Blair Nothdurft

Bilstein Pole Award: Brandon Sheppard

Fox Factory Hard Charger Award: Nick Hoffman

Up Next: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models finish the NAPA Gopher 50 weekend at Deer Creek Speedway with Saturday’s $50,000 finale Feature on the line. The top-16 locked in through points will compete in two Dash races to set the starting lineup, while the rest of the field will battle in the Last Chance Showdown. Those that do not transfer will compete in a $3,000-to-win non-qualifiers Feature.

For more information about Saturday night’s program and the full 2024 Series schedule, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to Deer Creek Speedway, you can watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

CASE Late Model Feature (30 Laps): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[5]; 3. 19R-Ryan Gustin[3]; 4. 1-Tyler Erb[10]; 5. 40B-Kyle Bronson[4]; 6. 9-Nick Hoffman[13]; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening[2]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard[7]; 9. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 10. 18C-Chase Junghans[16]; 11. 3S-Brian Shirley[8]; 12. 19-Dustin Sorensen[19]; 13. 22*-Max McLaughlin[9]; 14. 76-Blair Nothdurft[17]; 15. 11H-Lance Hofer[12]; 16. 49-Jake Timm[14]; 17. 97JR-Cody Overton[11]; 18. B1-Brent Larson[18]; 19. 55C-Chad Mahder[22]; 20. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[15]; 21. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[23]; 22. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[21]; 23. 43-Derrick Stewart[20]; 24. 14W-Dustin Walker[24]

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