KNOXVILLE, IOWA – From nineteenth on the grid, Brandon Sheppard charged through the field to win Friday night’s portion of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store.
Sheppard used a late-race restart to take the top spot from Frank Heckenast Jr. and then sprinted away for his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of 2018 and his first-ever win at Knoxville.
Heckenast led from the onset of the 25-lap main event as he looked for his third victory of the season. A restart with six laps remaining was the ticket for Sheppard, who had climbed through the field for the second night in a row. Sheppard dove to the inside of the race track entering turn one and powered by Heckenast down the back straightaway to grab the lead from his fellow Illini driver.
Sheppard pulled away in the closing laps to clinch the $7,000 victory. Heckenast finished second followed by Don O’Neal in third. Jonathan Davenport came home in fourth after running as high as second in the race. Tim McCreadie, who started tenth, rounded out the top five.
“I can’t believe it,” said the 25-year-old in Lucas Oil Victory Lane. “My crew has been working so hard this week. We have had a really fast car the whole time. We qualified good the last two nights, but we started so deep in the heat races. The earlier heat races it’s hard to pass, but the later heats it’s a lot better once the track slicks off. The feature tonight I hope it’s a lot like tomorrow night, because it’s a lot of fun. This is the Knoxville I love coming to.”
“My car was a little tight there for a while, but I made up good time on the bottom. I had a good restart one time and I hit one-and-two just right and I went around a couple of guys. I got to third and then I was hoping on the restart to start on the bottom. I learned from Josh [Richards] here in 2013 about getting the lead. When Frankie [Heckenast] entered turn one on that last restart he drifted up high and that just opened the door on the bottom for me.”
Heckenast, who was seeking his first career Lucas Oil win, held on for the second spot at the finish. “We had a really car tonight. We have been good all weekend. We had a fifth here last night. We are kind of parked over there by ourselves. We were really close tonight. I can’t thank everyone enough. I gave the race away on the restart. On the restarts they would get such a run on me into one. I thought I could hang out there on the top and get a run off of two, but Brandon obviously had a lot of traction. His car was good. I guess if we are going to have one taken away I would rather have it tonight than tomorrow night.”
O’Neal, who won the main event at Knoxville in 2011, finished in third to earn the fourth-starting spot for Saturday night’s finale. “All-in-all it was good run for us tonight. We had a good race there at the end with Davenport and we were able to get by him. We are getting better this week, we just need to get a little better for tomorrow night. We would have liked to have won tonight, but tomorrow night is what really counts.”
Sheppard’s, Mark Richards Racing Rocket Chassis House Car is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by: Valvoline, Seubert Calf Ranches, Gunter’s Honey, Ace Metal Works, Sallack Well Service, Sunoco Race Fuels, Keyser and Integra.
Completing the top ten were Jimmy Mars, Tyler Bruening, Jimmy Owens, Chad Simpson and Kyle Bronson.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Marketing Partners Include: Allstar Performance, Andy Durham Racing Engines, AR Bodies, ASi Racewear, Bad Boy Mowers, Black Diamond Chassis, Sweet-Bloomquist Race Cars, Boyd Bilt Fabrication, BRODIX, CatSpot, COMP Cams, CV Products, DirtonDirt.com, Dirty Girl Racewear, Dunn-Benson Ford, E3 Spark Plugs, Earnhardt Technologies Group, Eibach Springs, Fast Shafts, FK Rod Ends, GEICO, General Tire, Heath Lawson Photography, Hoosier Tire, Hot Rod Processing, JRi Shocks, Keyser MFG, K&N Engineering, Lucas Oil Products, Lucas Oil Racing TV, Longhorn Chassis, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welders, MSD Performance, Öhlins Shocks, Optima Batteries, Outerwears, Performance Bodies, PFC Brakes, Pierce Race Cars, Pro Power Racing Engines, Protect The Harvest, QA1, Rhino AG, RockAuto.com, Rocket Chassis, Rugged Radios, Schoenfeld Headers, Simpson Race Products, STEEL-IT, Sunoco Race Fuels, Super Clean, Wrisco Aluminum, 5150 Race Trailers
About Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Founded in 2005, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is the nation’s premier dirt late model sanctioning organization. In 2018, the LOLMDS will sanction 60 events in 22 states. The series is owned by the parent company Lucas Oil Products Inc. and receives national exposure through a TV package filmed, produced and edited by Lucas Oil Production Studios. LOLMDS events will be broadcast on four TV Networks including CBS, NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network and the MAVTV Motorsports Network. For more information about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series visit the official website at: www.LucasDirt.com.
About Lucas Oil Racing TV
The Future of Motorsports is HERE! Get Lucas Oil Racing TV and experience racing excitement like you’ve never seen! Lucas Oil Racing TV is the online app for all your favorite devices like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android Devices and more! No matter where you are or when you want to watch, you can stream the best and most exciting motor racing on the planet!
Lucas Oil Racing TV has all your favorite motorsports – from grass roots to international competition, as well as exclusive LIVE EVENTS and behind the scenes interviews and footage that you won’t see anywhere else! But that’s just the beginning! Lucas Oil Racing TV brings you some of motorsports greatest broadcasters and build specialists… from Dave Despain to the mechanics of Two Guys Garage, as well as all the latest news, reviews, and interviews from every genre of racing.
Lucas Oil Racing TV is the Exclusive, Unlimited, 24/7 All-Access Motorsports App and it’s available NOW! For more information or to sign up, go to: www.LucasOilRacing.TV.
About MAVTV Motorsports Network
Owned and operated by Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV is a television network with its roots deep in the automotive world. MAVTV offers an unparalleled line-up of exclusive motorsports, that includes prestigious events such as the Chili Bowl, The AMA Pro Motocross series, the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup and NHRA Drag Racing. But MAVTV goes far beyond the national mainstream events and also covers multitudes of grassroots series’ from across the globe: Drag boats, sprint boats, drag racing, pro pulling, rally racing, drifting, dirt racing, ice racing and everything in between.
MAVTV also knows you don’t have to be a race fan to be an automotive enthusiast, which is why we have developed a package of automotive reality and custom build shows that is truly second to none. If it has a motor, it’s on MAVTV…MAVTV is THE motorsports network. To learn more about MAVTV go to: www.MAVTV.com.
About Lucas Oil Products
Founded in 1989 by Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, Lucas Oil Products, Inc. has established itself as one of the fastest-growing lubrication product lines in the consumer automotive aftermarket, featuring a line of engine oils, greases, gear lubes, problem-solving additives, and car-care products. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil has established itself as a worldwide leader in the lubrication industry. Motorsports has always been part of the Lucas Oil culture and the cornerstone of the company’s marketing strategy. Such passion for motorsports has inspired Lucas Oil to sponsor many race teams, events and series at all levels, including, NHRA, IRL, ASCS, NASCAR, IHRA and many more. Lucas Oil has also taken ownership and operational control of a number of high profile racing properties, such as: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Lucas Oil Modified Series, Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. and the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway in Blythe, CA.
In 2007 Lucas Oil founded its own production house, Lucas Oil Production Studios, dedicated to producing high action motorsports television. Currently Lucas Oil Production Studios produces over 300 hours of original programming for networks such as CBS, CBS Sports, NBC Sports and MAVTV. More information about Lucas Oil Products, Inc. visit the company website at: www.LucasOil.com.