Sheppard crowned youngest champion in series history
WAUSEON, Ohio — July 20, 2013 — Matt Miller looked virtually unstoppable on Saturday night as he charged from ninth to take the lead from Jeep Van Wormer on lap 23 en route to claiming the victory in the finale of the six-week-long DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” at Oakshade Raceway.
Brandon Sheppard, a 20-year-old four-time winner this season, became the youngest DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion when he took the green flag.
Casey Noonan started the feature on the pole but outside starting Van Wormer quickly shot to the lead. Miller, of Whitehouse, Ohio, powered from row five into a battle for the top spot.
Van Wormer was forced to fend off several early charges, including one by Sheppard, who was trying to clinch the championship in style with a victory but his car eventually slowed and he settled for a 19th-place finish.
Miller caught Van Wormer by lap 20 of the 60-lap event and finally maneuvered around him on lap 23. Miller quickly expanded his lead by up to a half-track advantage as the second half of the race ran caution free as he dominated his way to the $10,000 checkered flag.
“We’ve been good all year, especially when we get in slick conditions,” said Miller, who earned his first Hell Tour victory since 2008. “We came here last week and got tore up and had to take the car to Rocket and get it clipped. My guys busted their butts, especially (car owner) Rick (DeLong) and Rodney and those guys, working till 1 in the morning every night. It feels good to pay them back. The car couldn’t have been any better.”
A 19th-place finish was a minor disappointment for Sheppard. The 20-year-old claimed the $25,000 title over 16-year-old Bobby Pierce in the 27th season of the six-week-long tour. Pierce became the youngest driver to win a DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature during this year’s tour, accomplishing the feat four times.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time and working really hard at it just trying to get to where we’re at now,” said Sheppard, of New Berlin, Ill. “It means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family cause they’ve been doing it just as long.”
NOTES: Dustin Griffin was named the DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” Rookie of the Year. … Sheppard, Pierce and Griffin are the only three drivers who survived each race in the series that ran from June 12 through Saturday night. … In all, 26 events were completed over the course of the six weeks. … Shannon Babb’s six victories were the most by any driver. …Among the winners during the course of this year’s series were former champions Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Kevin Weaver, Dennis Erb Jr., and Babb.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Oakshade Raceway; Wauseon, Ohio; July 20, 2013
A-Main (60-laps): 1. Matt Miller ($10,000), 2. Jon Henry, 3. Bobby Pierce, 4. Jeff Babcock, 5. Devin Moran, 6. Jeep Van Wormer, 7. Dona Marcoullier, 8. Dustin Griffin, 9. Brian Ruhlman, 10. Doug Drown, 11. Chris Keller, 12. Dusty Moore, 13. Casey Noonan, 14. Chris Ross, 15. Rusty Schlenk, 16. Steve Kester, 17. Devin Shiels, 18. Phil Ausra, 19. Brandon Sheppard, 20. Ryan Missler, 21. Wayne Chinn, 22. Herb Reich.
2013 DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ Schedule
|Wed.||June 12||Brownstown Speedway||Brownstown, IN||Dennis Erb, Jr.|
|Fri.||June 14||Cedar Lake Speedway||New Richmond, WI||Brian Birkhofer|
|Sat.||June 15||Cedar Lake Speedway||New Richmond, WI||Cancelled (RAIN)|
|Sun.||June 16||Wilmot Speedway||Wilmot, WI||Kevin Weaver|
|Wed.||June 19||Spoon River Speedway||Canton, IL||Brandon Sheppard|
|Thurs.||June 20||Belle Clair Speedway||Belleville, IL||Brandon Sheppard (2)|
|Fri.||June 21||Tri-City Speedway||Pontoon Beach, IL||Chris Simpson|
|Sat.||June 22||Fairbury Speedway||Fairbury, IL||Ryan Unzicker|
|Sun.||June 23||I-96 Speedway||Lake Odessa, MI||Shannon Babb|
|Mon.||June 24||Peoria Speedway||Peoria, IL||Postponed (RAIN)|
|Wed.||June 26||Clarksville Speedway||Clarksville, TN||Brandon Sheppard (3)|
|Thurs.||June 27||Clayhill Motorsports Park||Atwood, TN||Brandon Sheppard (4)|
|Fri.||June 28||Paducah International Raceway||Paducah, KY||Billy Moyer|
|Sat.||June 29||Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55||Pevely, MO||Postponed/Rain
|Sun.||June 30||Lincoln Speedway||Lincoln, IL||Bobby Pierce|
|Tues.||July 2||Quincy Raceways||Quincy, IL||Shannon Babb (2)|
|Wed.||July 3||Jacksonville Speedway||Jacksonville, IL||Shannon Babb (3)|
|Thurs.||July 4||LaSalle Speedway||LaSalle, IL||Bobby Pierce (2)|
|Fri.||July 5||Fayette Co. Speedway||Brownstown, IL||Ryan Unzicker (2)|
|Sat.||July 6||Highland Speedway||Highland, IL||Postponed (RAIN)|
|Sun.||July 7||Tri-State Speedway||Haubstadt, IN||Shannon Babb (4)|
|Tues.||July 9||Florence Speedway||Union, KY||Scott Bloomquist|
|Wed.||July 10||Terre Haute Action Track||Terre Haute, IN||Cancelled (RAIN)|
|Thurs.||July 11||Macon Speedway||Macon, IL||Shannon Babb (5)|
|Fri.||July 12||Kankakee County Speedway||Kankakee, IL||Bobby Pierce (3)|
|Sat.||July 13||34 Raceway||Burlington, IA||Bobby Pierce (4)|
|Sun.||July 14||Vermilion County Speedway||Danville, IL||Shannon Babb (6)|
|Mon.||July 15||Peoria Speedway||Peoria, IL||Brian Shirley|
|Wed.||July 17||Brushcreek Motorsports Park||Peebles, OH||R.J. Conley|
|Fri.||July 19||Attica Raceway Park||Attica, OH||Doug Drown|
|Sat.||July 20||Oakshade Raceway||Wauseon, OH||Matt Miller|
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” is brought to fans across the country by many important partners including: Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Racing Electonics (Official Communication), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to these fine Contingency Sponsors: Beyea Headers, Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Chevy Performance Parts, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Lubricants, MSD Performance, Petroff Towing, Quartermaster, Superflow Dynos, UNOH (University of Northwestern Ohio), and Wrisco Aluminum.
n Ohio), and Wrisco Aluminum.