Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – GAFFNEY, SC – Brandon Overton found himself in a unique position Friday night. The Evans, GA driver, lost the lead to Daulton Wilson on Lap 1, forcing him to step back, regroup, and calculate his next move.
A caution on Lap 14 gave Overton another shot at Wilson—one he wouldn’t let slip away. “Big Sexy” used a lap car as a pick to thunder around the North Carolina driver, en route to winning the 3rd annual Mike Duvall Memorial at Cherokee Speedway.
Overton had to search to find his best option on the racetrack before he could make another attempt at the lead.
“[Wilson] was good; I just kind of got back there to see where I’m better, or I’m worse,” Overton said. “He was just slidin’ up and kind of blocking my momentum, so I couldn’t really roll past him. So, I told myself just slow down and maintain.
“I think I seen [Brandon] Sheppard underneath me one time, and I was just like if I don’t go, he’s going to pass me, and I didn’t want him to get by me if the caution come out.”
Seeing Sheppard was the catalyst of Overton’s ascension to the lead, but it wouldn’t be the last time he’d deal with lap traffic.
Sheppard started to reel in Overton during the Feature’s closing stages, but Overton’s experience at Cherokee helped him prevail for his fifth World of Outlaws win of 2021 and 18th of his career.
“I tried to pass them on the bottom a couple times, and they go in there and slide up, so I didn’t want to hang wide, so I just made sure that I didn’t make a mistake,” Overton said. “Like if I wanted to go past them, I needed to pass them or, I needed to box [Sheppard] in.”
Three-time and defending Series champion Brandon Sheppard finished second, his 32nd top-five of the season.
The New Berlin, IL driver, finished on the podium for the 24th time in 2021—a trend he hopes to keep alive through the end of the season.
“We had a pretty good car there; it’s just super hard to pass, especially that 76 car he’s been good all year,” Sheppard said. “We’ve ran second at this place quite a few times in seems like so we’re definitely itching to get a win here. But like I said, our car is really good, so hopefully, we can finish off the year strong and with a good head of steam going into next year.”
Sheppard’s runner-up finish means he’s mathematically secured his third consecutive Series championship and fourth overall, tying Josh Richards for the most all-time. He’ll officially claim that title at the NGK NTK World Finals November 4-6 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Early race leader Daulton Wilson finished third, his best finish with World of Outlaws. The Fayetteville, NC driver is confident that running up front means he’s knocking on the door for a Series win.
“I got out front and led some laps, and it’s not a matter of if it’s when here when you get into the lap traffic, and you’re the leader,” Wilson said. “You can’t get off the bottom, you know it’s coming, but to get outrun by the top two drivers in the country it says a lot for us and our program, and we’re just going to keep building on it and hopefully next time we come out on top.”
Chris Ferguson crossed the line fourth, and South Carolina driver Chris Madden rounded out the top five.
Brandon Overton’s ability to calculate his next move in the face of adversity is one of the reasons he continues to be a factor in every race he enters. It shows will take a second chance and run with it to Victory Lane.
Up Next: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet visit Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA on Saturday, October 2.
Morton Buildings Feature (40 Laps)-1. 76-Brandon Overton [$10,000]; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$6,000]; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson [$3,500]; 4. 22-Chris Ferguson [$2,800]; 5. 44-Chris Madden [$2,500]; 6. 19R-Ryan Gustin [$2,300]; 7. 16W-Ben Watkins [$2,200]; 8. 79-Ross Bailes [$2,100]; 9. 24D-Michael Brown [$2,050]; 10. 88-Trent Ivey [$2,000]; 11. 1D-Brent Dixon [$1,600]; 12. 6-Dillon Brown [$1,400]; 13. 16-Tyler Bruening [$1,200]; 14. 28-Dennis Erb [$1,100]; 15. 17B-David Breazeale [$1,050]; 16. 421-Anthony Sanders [$1,000]; 17. 7-Ricky Weiss [$1,000]; 18. 78-Thomas Robinson [$1,000]; 19. 2-Dennis Franklin [$1,000]; 20. 91-Dan Breuer [$1,000]; 21. B1-Brent Larson [$1,000]; 22. 8-Kyle Strickler [$1,000]; 23. 42-Doug Sanders [$1,000]; 24. 99B-Boom Briggs [$1,000] Hard Charger : 44-Chris Madden[+9]
Qualifying Flight-A -1. 22-Chris Ferguson, 14.697; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin, 14.749; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson, 14.849; 4. 16W-Ben Watkins, 14.948; 5. 8-Kyle Strickler, 15.095; 6. 6-Dillon Brown, 15.141; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening, 15.207; 8. 17B-David Breazeale, 15.22; 9. 7-Ricky Weiss, 15.287; 10. 70-Jeff Smith, 15.316; 11. 28-Dennis Erb, 15.357; 12. B1-Brent Larson, 15.387; 13. 57-Adam Yarbrough, 15.391; 14. 99B-Boom Briggs, 15.443; 15. 17-Tim Vance, 15.767
Qualifying Flight-B-1. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 14.868; 2. 76-Brandon Overton, 14.985; 3. 79-Ross Bailes, 15.092; 4. 1D-Brent Dixon, 15.107; 5. 88-Trent Ivey, 15.114; 6. 24D-Michael Brown, 15.167; 7. 44-Chris Madden, 15.196; 8. 78-Thomas Robinson, 15.287; 9. 11K-Austin Kirkpatrick, 15.327; 10. 91-Dan Breuer, 15.466; 11. 421-Anthony Sanders, 15.498; 12. 2-Dennis Franklin, 15.644; 13. 42-Doug Sanders, 16.091; 14. 10-Garrett Smith, 16.157