Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – GAFFNEY, SC – October kicks off in style as the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models travel to South Carolina and Georgia for the final time this season.
The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet kick off a weekend doubleheader Friday, Oct. 1, with the Mike Duvall Memorial at Cherokee Speedway. It’s the third appearance this season at “The Place Your Mama Warned You About.” The Series will run a 40-Lap Feature paying $10,000-to-win.
Another $10,000 is on the line on Saturday, Oct. 2, as the World of Outlaws stop at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA. It’s the third appearance for the Series at the Peach State venue and the first since 2018.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.
Here are some of the storylines to keep an eye on this weekend:
Chasing 78: All eyes are on three-time and defending Series champion Brandon Sheppard and his quest for World of Outlaws history. The New Berlin, IL driver, is one victory away from tying Josh Richards for the most Series wins all-time (78).
History is on Sheppard’s side this weekend, as he’s found success at both of this weekend’s tracks. He won a 25-Lap split-field Feature at Cherokee earlier this season and won the Series’ first visit to Senoia Raceway in 2017.
The “Rocket Shepp” leads most statistical categories this season, including Morton Buildings wins (8), Drydene Heat Race wins (19), and Slick Woody’s Quick Time Awards (6).
Sheppard leads the Series standings with four races remaining—180 points ahead of Chris Madden.
Southern Comfort Zone: Chris Madden has another chance to bring his home state fans to their feet on Friday when the Series returns to Cherokee.
The Gray Court, SC driver has 27 wins at the Palmetto State track, but a World of Outlaws Morton Buildings win has eluded him throughout his career. Madden finished second during the Rock Gault Memorial earlier this month and finished second the last time the Series was in action at Volunteer Speedway.
“Smokey” also has past success at Senoia, winning the last time the Series visited the Georgia track in 2018.
Capital Momentum: Tyler Bruening has turned heads in 2021 with his consistency on the World of Outlaws Late Models tour.
The Decorah, IA driver’s 11 top-fives and 26 top-10s vaulted him into third in the standings, putting him on a fast track to win Rookie of the Year.
Bruening enters this weekend with momentum after back-to-back top-fives, including a second at Lavonia Speedway. If he can keep that momentum rolling, he may be in line for his first World of Outlaws victory this weekend.
Battling for 4th: Only four races remain on the 2021 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models schedule, and drivers are making their last push in the standings.
That includes Dennis Erb Jr. and Ricky Weiss, who are locked in a battle for fourth. Erb holds the fourth spot entering Friday’s race at Cherokee—16 points ahead of Weiss.
Erb is coming off a top-five finish at Volunteer Speedway earlier this month and sits in fourth on the strength of three wins, nine top-fives, and 20 top-10s.
Weiss is on Erb’s heels in fifth, thanks to five top-fives and 22 top-10s.
Every position matters for both of these drivers as they fight for a $35,000 prize for finishing fourth overall.
Watch Out for Winger: A trip to Senoia, GA, means the return of Ashton Winger to the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models.
The 2020 Rookie of the Year already scored a Victory with the Series in 2021, winning on the opening night of the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in August.
Winger has also found success in 2021 at Senoia Raceway, winning twice this season.
In eight starts with the Series this season, he has the one win and two top-five finishes.