Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Brandon Sheppard closed out Illinois Speedweek with another score for the home-state drivers, besting Gordy Gundaker with 28 laps to go and driving away to the Farmer City 74 win Monday night (May 15). The feature had originally been scheduled for Friday but was rescheduled due to rain.
Gundaker took the lead from the pole and led the majority of the event, but eventually fell to Sheppard’s pressure after having several bad laps where he didn’t hit the cushion right, according to his post-race interview on MAVTV.
Again, an Illinois bullring wreaked havoc on the points standings and contenders in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series ranks, with Hudson O’Neal retaking the lead with a top-five run after Brandon Overton faded in the late laps.
Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: The two most recent LOLMDS champions made hard contact on lap 30, with Tim McCreadie suffering a flat left-rear tire, turning into traffic and tearing up Jimmy Owens’s passenger side like a can opener.
McCreadie endured another rough finish as a result and remained a distant fifth in the series standings, while Owens soldiered on to a top-10 finish.
What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning
Let’s recap Illinois Speedweek. Yes, the racing on the black-dirt bullrings was very good, with the additions of Farmer City and Fairbury to the Lucas Oil tour worthy changes to the slate (and Farmer City was confirmed during Monday’s stream to be returning for 2024).
While the racing was excellent on the merits, the chaos that these events caused among the LOLMDS regulars should not be expected to repeat itself in 2024. This time next year, all the LOLMDS that don’t call Illinois home will return with an actual notebook for these tracks and will immediately be more competitive for it.
Away from Monday’s rescheduled program, Flo Racing was again in the news with the American Sprint Car Series announcing that their broadcast deal with the streamer had been put on pause.
As of this writing there’s nothing official that’s been reported as to the cause of the outage, though combing through social media the most plausible theory I’ve heard posited was an issue over finding talent to actually handle the call from the track for Flo to carry. This is a major story for arguably the biggest 360 sprint car series in the country, as the loss of Flo coverage is a major reduction in visibility for the tour.
Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day
Owens scoring a top-10 finish is story enough the way his 2023 season has gone. Doing it with a car that had the passenger-side door literally hanging off the side was more impressive. But doing it in a Rocket chassis might have been the story of the night at Farmer City.
The 2020 Lucas Oil champ has been all but invisible driving for upstart Koehler Motorsports this season, but having switched back to Rockets from the Longhorn chassis he started the year in produced consecutive top 10s at Fairbury and Farmer City. The Newport Nightmare may be awakening.
Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night
Pontiac, Ill.’s Michael Ledford charged from 16th to second in the modified support feature at Farmer City Monday night, only to have a late-race caution trigger an overheating issue that parked his car for good less than a handful of laps from the finish.
Number of dirt tracks to run an oval-track program in the U.S. Monday night.
The nation’s largest purse Monday night, paid to the Farmer City 74 winner (Sheppard)
Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Wednesday morning (May 17) with coverage of both the Flo Racing Night in America tour from Marshalltown and the High Limit Series from Wayne County in Ohio. Coverage of both events can be found on Flo Racing.
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