2014 Stats

  • Total Events: 18
  • Total Starts: 17
  • Wins: 1
  • Top 5s: 7
  • Top 10s: 5

Brandon earns “Driver of the Year” Award

Courtesy of Fans of Midwest Speed Expo & Terry Young

“Since losing my mother to a battle with lung cancer in 2007, we have annually awarded a Driver of the Year Award in her memory.

This year, it was my pleasure to award this to Brandon Sheppard, a young man that I have known since not only he was a baby, I have known his Dad since he too was just a toddler! Makes me feel old!

Brandon has become a national name on the late model scene and has a stellar future ahead of him!

Brandon claimed the 2013 National UMP Late Model Championship, the 2013 UMP Summer National Hell Tour title and topped it all off with the 2013 Dirt track World Championship!

The Driver of the Year award is sponsored by Dave Poske Performance Parts, Wick Oil and Radical Race Gear.

Brandon was awarded a check for $500.00 along with a beautiful 5 ft. trophy and contingency awards from Radical Race Gear for some sublimated crew shirts and a fuel certificate from Wick Oil!”

Sheppard celebrates National Titles

 

Contact: Kevin Kovac
World of Outlaws Late Model Series PR Director/DIRTcar Racing PR
kkovac@dirtcar.com | 704-254-7929

Sheppard & Gilpin Celebrate National Titles At 30th Annual DIRTcar Racing ‘Night of Champions’ Awards Banquet

Distribution Of Over $350,000 In Points-Fund Cash Brings Down Curtain On 2013 DIRTcar Season

BShepp - 2014UMPBanquet - 1.11.14SPRINGFIELD, IL – Jan. 13, 2014 – Two of the Midwest’s brightest young stars celebrated their spectacular 2013 seasons during Saturday night’s 30 th annual DIRTcar Racing ‘Night of Champions’ Awards Banquet inside the Springfield Crowne Plaza Hotel’s ballroom.

Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind., shared the spotlight on a gala evening that saw over $350,000 in points-fund awards distributed to drivers who raced under the DIRTcar banner in 2013.

Sheppard, 20, made history in ’13, becoming the youngest driver ever to win the DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ and Late Model national weekly series championships. He also emerged as the fourth driver to win both of the organization’s marquee full-fender titles in the same season – a sweep that earned him the lion’s share of the $46,135 in points-fund checks he collected on Saturday evening.

The 23-year-old Gilpin, meanwhile, captured the DIRT UMP Modified weekly series national championship for the second consecutive year, making him just the fourth driver since 1984 to secure back-to-back crowns. He won a circuit-leading 31 features – just five less than his 2012 total despite entering 25 fewer races – and pocketed a points-fund payout of $22,435.

Nearly 900 attendees from more than a dozen states and Canada attended the banquet, which feted the accomplishments of drivers in DIRTcar UMP’s eight weekly divisions.

Sheppard’s points-fund take was the second-largest for a Late Model driver over the past five years, surpassing the $45,200 earned by 2013 Summer Nationals/national champ Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., but falling just short of the $51,400 that Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., accumulated primarily for sweeping the two points titles in 2008.

“It feels awesome,” said Sheppard, who joined Shirley, Erb (2007-08) and John Gill of Mitchell, Ind. (1986) on the short list of drivers with same-season Summer Nationals/national title sweeps on their resumes. “UMP is the big thing around us – has been since I was little kid, really. I’ve been around it my whole life, so it’s real special for me personally to win both championships.

“We’ve been working really hard for a lot of years to get where we’re at right now and it was a long season, but it was all worth it.”

The son of former DIRTcar UMP Late Model regular Steve Sheppard Jr., ‘B-Shepp’ grabbed his first career Summer Nationals championship by a 75-point margin (1,675-1,600) over 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill. He beat Pierce by 47 points (2,549-2,502) to top the national weekly series points standings, which were determined using drivers’ best 35 finishes/points nights in sanctioned events.

Sheppard, who turns 21 on Jan. 27, drove his family-owned cars to 14 feature wins at nine different tracks in 2013, including four Summer Nationals triumphs. He picked up $25,000 for the ‘Hell Tour’ title; $20,000 for the national crown; $1,000 for finishing second in the Southwest States standings; and $135 for eighth in the Northeast States points.

Gilpin continued to run roughshod over the UMP Modified division, storming to his second straight national title with a campaign that was arguably better than his standout effort in ’12. He reduced his DIRTcar UMP workload from 82 starts in 2012 to 57 in ’13 but significantly improved his winning percentage – from .440 in ’12 to a startling .544 in ’13.

“The goal was to race less and win more,” Gilpin said of his 2013 assault. “We won more than 50 percent of the races we ran, so it all panned out almost perfect.”

Driving the same car 2012 Impressive Chassis machine owned by his grandfather, Don Fleetwood, that he piloted to his first title, Gilpin was victorious in 18 of his first 23 starts in ’13 – including a sizzling streak of 13 consecutive wins from May 3 through June 13 – on his way to capturing 31 features at 13 tracks in four states. He beat Jacob Poel of Spring Lake, Mich., by 77 points (2,314-2,237) for the championship, which was determined using drivers’ best 30 finishes/points nights.

Gilpin, who also won once in a handful of DIRTcar UMP Late Model starts in 2013, joined a list of back-to-back UMP Modified national champions that includes Danny Yanders (1995-96), Jimmy Owens (2000-02) and Mike Harrison (2010-11).

“Winning two championships in a row means everything to me as far as my career,” said Gilpin, who has been competing in the division since 2005. “I just wanted to win one, let alone two. This puts you in a category up there with Jimmy Owens (record four national championships) and Harrison (three titles). If your name’s on paper with those guys, you must be doing pretty well.”

Gilpin’s ’13 points-fund take include $20,000 for the national title; $2,000 for winning the Indiana State points crown; $300 for finishing 13th in the Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modified Nationals standings; and $135 for eighth in the Southeast States battle.

The Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modified Summer Nationals championship was claimed by three-time UMP Modified national titlist Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., who edged Rusty Griffaw by 38 points on the strength of four victories while following the series that primarily ran in conjunction with the Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ for Late Models.

Harrison, 39, earned $2,000 for championship and another $600 for finishing 23rd in the national points standings.

The night’s third-largest national championship check was presented to Aaron Heck of Mt. Vernon, Ill., who pocketed $10,000 for capturing the DIRTcar UMP Pro Late Model title. The 22-year-old driver, who recorded 24 wins in 2013, also collected $500 for winning the Southern States standings.

Jon Ripperda, 29, of Bartelso, Ill., was honored as the national champion in the DIRTcar UMP Sportsman class. The 15-time ’13 winner fabricator received $3,200, including $200 for capturing the Western States points title.

Josh Frye of Coopersville, Mich., became a first-time national champion, rolling up 20 feature wins en route to the Stock Car crown. He earned $3,200, including a $200 check for winning the Eastern States points standings.

Brad DeYoung of Wheatfield, Ind., accepted accolades for winning the DIRTcar UMP Limited/Pro Modified national crown. He topped nine features en route to his $1,000 champion’s check.

Adam Webb of Decatur, Ill., won 15 times on his way to clinching the DIRTcar UMP Sports Compact division national crown. He earned $1,200, including $200 for topping the Western States points.

Jason Worley of St. Genevieve, Mo., emerged as the DIRTcar UMP Factory Stock national champion, winning 11 times to secure the $1,000 title.

State champions recognized during the banquet included:

* Late Models ($2,000 each): Alex Ferree (Eastern), Trevor Glaser (Northwest), Michael Kloos (Southwest), Scott Lewis (West), Scott Schmitt (Northeast), Chris Shelton (South), Eric Spangler (North) and Justin Wells (Deep South).

* UMP Modifieds ($2,000 each): Gilpin (Indiana South), Nick Allen (Illinois East), Jerry Bowersock (Northeast), Erik Bruce (Illinois West), Rusty Griffaw (Southwest), Josh Harris (South), Derek Losh (Indiana North), David Mielke (Michigan), Scott Mooers (Deep South) and Weasel Rhodes (Southeast).

* Pro Late Models ($500 each): Heck (South) and Nick Lyons (North).

* Sportsman ($200 each): Ripperda (West) and Steve Peeden (East).

* Stock Car ($200 each): Frye (Eastern), Josh Griffith (Illinois South), Don Hilleary (Illinois North) and Mike Hodges (South).

* Sport Compact ($200 each): Webb (West), Greg Garrison (East), Kenny Butterfield (North) and Jamie Casteel (South).

Other DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned series titlists recognized during Saturday’s festivities were Brandon Thirlby of Traverse City, Mich. (American Late Model Series National and East), Rich Neiser of Fruitport, Mich. (Michigan Dirt Cup for Late Models), David Mielke of Gladwin, Mich. (Michigan Dirt Cup for UMP Modifieds) and Bryan Barber of Greensburg, Ky. (American Modified Series).

McKay Wenger of Fairbury, Ill., received a $1,000 check for winning the 2013 DIRTcar UMP Late Model Rookie of the Year award. He finished 38th in the national standings.

A number of special awards determined by a vote of the DIRTcar UMP membership were handed out:

* Chris Shelton of Paducah, Ky. (Late Models) and Steven Brooks of New Lenox, Ill. (Modifieds) received Sportsman of the Year trophies.

* Blake Kemp Irvin, who turns wrenches on Sheppard’s Late Models, and Don Fleetwood, Gilpin’s grandfather, car owner and crew chief, were presented the Mechanic of the Year awards.

* Tom and Loris Helfrich’s Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., was announced as the DIRTcar UMP Track of the Year.

* Tony Izzo of LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway was presented the DIRTcar UMP Promoter of the Year award.

Morey Denney, who built Spoon River Speedway in Banner, Ill., and promoted the track for 27 years, was the recipient of the prestigious ninth annual Bob Memmer Achievement Award, which honors the memory of the circuit’s late founder. Denney’s son, Brad, now promotes the oval, but the well-known Midwesterner is still involved with the track.

Rocket Chassis of Shinnston, W.Va., earned two special nods during the evening, receiving recognition as the 2013 Late Model national champion chassis builder and the division’s Chassis Builder of the Year. Rocket machines won 132 DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned features in ’13.

In the UMP Modified division, Donnie Jumper of Impressive Race Cars was honored as the 2013 national champion chassis builder while Bob Pierce Race Cars, with 111 features wins in ’13, was named the Chassis Builder of the Year.

Brad Mullins of Mullins Racing Engines doubled up, winning the Late Model national champion engine builder honor and the UMP Modified Engine Builder of the Year Award. Mullins-powered UMP Modifieds won 114 features in 2013.

Bill Schlieper’s Pro Power Engines in Sullivan, Wis., meanwhile, earned billing as the 2013 DIRTcar UMP Late Model Engine Builder of the Year (42 wins) while Mike Shell was honored as the UMP Modified national champion engine builder.

DIRTcar UMP Sponsor of the Year awards were presented to Rocket Chassis (Sheppard’s backer) in the Late Model class and A-1 Pallets (Gilpin’s sponsor) in the UMP Modified division.

The banquet began for the sixth consecutive year with an awards ceremony for the top drivers in the Kid Modz division, a four-cylinder version of a UMP Modified that car builder Bob Pierce launched to help bring youngsters into the sport. Zane Ulmer of Vandalia, Ill., was hailed as the division’s 2013 champion.

The 2014 DIRTcar UMP season begins with UMP Modified events on Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. Sanctioned UMP Modified racing in the Sunshine State is also scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala; Feb. 7-9 at North Florida Speedway in Lake City; and Feb. 11-18 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., as part of the DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

The DIRTcar UMP Late Model division will also jump-start the 2014 season in Florida, running a $5,000-to-win special on Sun., Feb. 9, at North Florida Speedway before competing as part of the DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit at Volusia Speedway Park. Six nights of full-fender action at Volusia includes three under the DIRTcar UMP banner (Feb. 17-19) and three co-sanctioned World of Outlaws Late Model Series programs (Feb. 20-22).

For more information on DIRTcar Racing and to see the complete final points standings for all DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned divisions, visit www.dirtcar.com.

2014 Race Party Details

2014 Race Party Details

sheppardflyerJoin us on Friday night, January 31st, 2014 to celebrate the awesome season that Brandon Sheppard had. The party will be held at Shepp’s Bar & Grill in New Berlin, Illinois. Party starts at 6pm with the Auction starting at 7pm. The party will offer Free Food, 50/50, Raffle Boards & DJ service by A to Z Music.

Brandon Sheppard Ascends To Superstar Status With Spectacular 2013 Season On DIRTcar UMP Circuit

For Sweeping Summer Nationals & National Weekly Series Titles, Young Driver Will Receive Nearly $50,000 At Organization’s Awards Banquet

CONCORD, NC – Nov. 22, 2013 – Brandon Sheppard came of age in 2012. In 2013, he became a star.

After bursting onto the national dirt Late Model scene in ’12 during his stint driving the Rocket Chassis house car, the 20-year-old driver from New Berlin, Ill., returned to his family-owned team this season and promptly made DIRTcar UMP history. He captured the DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ and national weekly-racing Late Model championships, becoming the youngest racer to win each title and just the fourth to sweep both points crowns in the same season.

For a driver who hails from the heart of DIRTcar UMP country and grew up watching his father, Steve Sheppard Jr., race a dirt Late Model across the Midwest, grabbing the circuit’s two biggest prizes is an accomplishment to savor.

“It feels awesome,” said Sheppard, who joined Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill. (2012), Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ind. (2007-08) and John Gill of Mitchell, Ind. (1986) on the short list of drivers with Summer Nationals/national title sweeps on their resumes. “UMP is the big thing around us – has been since I was little kid, really. I’ve been around it my whole life, so it’s real special for me personally to win both championships.

“We’ve been working really hard for a lot of years to get where we’re at right now and it was a long season, but it was all worth it.”

The stage was set for Sheppard’s spectacular campaign in the spring of 2012 when he made headlines as Rocket Chassis house car owner Mark Richards’s hand-picked replacement for his son, World of Outlaws Late Model Series star Josh Richards, who left the dirt-track wars to pursue a pavement career with a NASCAR Nationwide Series ride. Sheppard steered Richards’s familiar blue No. 1 to just a single Summer Nationals feature last year and finished a distant third in the points standings, but he authored plenty of head-turning outings throughout the season (including his first-ever WoO LMS triumph) and, perhaps most important, received an education from an established team that put him in position for future success.

Indeed, when Sheppard was pushed back to driving his family’s Rocket No. b5 machines this season by Josh Richards’s return to dirt racing, he had a new perspective.

“Mark and his guys taking me in did so much for me career,” said Sheppard, who not only drove the Rocket house car but also worked on the team’s equipment at their shop in Shinnston, W.Va. “They really helped me set my whole program up the right way. My hauler and stuff might not be as clean and tidy as theirs is because I don’t have as much help as they do, but as far as my car and my whole program – well, it’s on a whole other level now because of what I learned from them. Preparation, maintenance – all that is where it needs to be now.”

Sheppard used all the lessons learned during his march to the championship on the grueling Summer Nationals series, which featured 26 races at 25 tracks in eight states over a 39-day period in June and July. He bagged a modest four wins (Spoon River Speedway and Belle-Clair Speedway in Illinois, and Clarksville Speedway and Clay Hill Motorsports Park in Tennessee), but consistent performance (19 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes) propelled him to the title by 75 points (1,675-1,600) over 16-year-old Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill.

Clinching the $25,000 Hell Tour crown brought a sense of Mission: Accomplished to Sheppard, who began traveling the circuit with his father before even reaching high school and has been a fixture in Summer Nationals fields for most of his seven years behind the wheel.

“My dad worked hard a lot of years trying to win it and he was never able to,” said Sheppard. “I guess me winning it kind of fulfilled both of our dreams. I was always there when he was doing it and he’s there helping me now, so it meant a lot to both of us.”

Despite the joy that accompanied the Hell Tour title, Sheppard and his crew barely paused to celebrate. Even with fatigue overtaking them upon completion of the Summer Nationals on July 20 at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio, there was no time for a break.

“Honestly, after the last night at Oakshade, we were like, ‘Well, I guess we gotta load up and go to Quincy (Ill.) on Sunday so we can start running for national (DIRTcar UMP weekly) points,’” said Sheppard. “Summer Nationals kind of put me in position to go for the national deal, so we decided to keep going and do as many nights as we could. It was never-ending this year.”

With Sheppard in the driver’s seat for the circuit’s national weekly-racing points crown after the Hell Tour, he threw his focus into chasing that honor for the first time. Twenty-eight of his 86 DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned starts came during the two-plus months of racing after the Summer Nationals ended; with a driver’s best 35 finishes/points nights used to determine the national champ, he had the volume of race appearances necessary to ensure his worst runs of the season were scratched from his ledger.

While Pierce made a late push to close the gap, Sheppard beat his teenage rival for the $20,000 national title by 47 points (2,549-2,502). On the strength of a season that saw him lead the DIRTcar UMP Late Model ranks with 14 feature wins (at nine tracks) and record 47 top-five and 66 top-10 finishes, B-Shepp found himself standing as a national champ before even reaching the legal drinking age.

“In the beginning, you never think you’d do something like win a national championship that young,” said Sheppard. “But we’ve been improving as a team and I’ve been improving as a driver every year. I can see myself getting better every year, driving harder and driving better. It all came together this year.”

When the 2013 DIRTcar UMP awards banquet is held on Jan. 11 in Springfield, Ill., Sheppard’s total earnings for his championships and other awards will near the $50,000 mark. Thrown in the $50,000 first-place check he collected for winning the prestigious 100-lap Dirt Track World Championship event on Oct. 19 at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park in a return engagement with the Rocket Chassis house car team, and it’s abundantly clear that Sheppard has become one of dirt Late Model racing’s titans.

*****

For ticket information on the annual DIRTcar UMP ‘Night of Champions’ Awards Banquet on Jan. 11, 2014, at the Crown Plaza in Springfield, Ill., call the DIRTcar UMP office at 618-450-2072.

Sheppard will be one of eight DIRTcar UMP national champions honored during the gala, joining Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind. (UMP Modifieds), Aaron Heck of Mt. Vernon, Ill. (Pro Late Models), Jon Ripperda of Bartelso, Ill. (Sportsman), Brad DeYoung of Wheatfield, Ind. (Limited Modifieds), Josh Frye of Coopersville, Mich. (Stock Cars), Jason Worley of St. Genevieve, Mo. (Factory Stocks) and Adam Webb of Decatur, Ill. (Sport Compacts).

For more information on DIRTcar Racing and to see the complete final points standings for all DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned divisions, visit www.DirtCar.com.

Final 2013 DIRTcar UMP Late Model National Points Standings (rank/driver/races counted/points):

1. Brandon Sheppard 35 2549

2. Bobby Pierce 35 2502

3. Rusty Schlenk 35 2357

4. Eric Spangler 35 2273

5. Scott Schmitt 35 2259

6. Alex Ferree 35 2252

7. Kevin Weaver 35 2229

8. Shannon Babb 35 2221

9. Ryan Unzicker 35 2161

10. Rich Neiser 34 2124

11. Randy Korte 35 2087

12. Scott Bull 35 2063

13. Michael Kloos 35 2048

14. Brian Shirley 35 2025

15. Brandon Thirlby 35 1956

16. Mark Burgtorf 35 1948

17. Michael Norris 35 1872

18. Jesse Stovall 31 1847

19. Rickey Frankel 35 1846

20. Dona Marcoullier 29 1833

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