Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – SPRING VALLEY, MN – Chris Madden snuck by Brandon Sheppard and Jonathan Davenport with five laps to go to win the 25-lap preliminary feature on Thursday night at Deer Creek Speedway.
It was Madden’s first race back after winning last month’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Mountain Moonshine Classic at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Tennessee.
Madden came from the eleventh starting spot using the low line around the 3/8-mile high-banked oval. Sheppard came home in second followed by Davenport, Tim McCreadie, and Mike Marlar.
Sheppard took the lead at the start of the main event. He and Davenport ran one-two in the race trading sliders in an exciting battle for the top spot. Madden was utilizing the very bottom of the racing surface as he from third to the lead in a single lap to take the win.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the third time in 2022, Madden still showed signs of recovering from a bout with pneumonia the last few weeks. “I just figured out a good line right there where I didn’t have to stop entering to get off the corner on the bottom. My car was good enough to lay out and turn and go back to the bottom and leave the bottom as fast as the top where they were running. In one and two I think we were about even with those guys in three and four I was better.”
“I am still down on my strength. We are still working on it. I’ve got a great family at home and a great wife who took care of me while I was home,” said the 47-year-old South Carolina native who is the midst of the best season of his racing career.
Sheppard, who led more laps than anyone during the feature saw his battle with Davenport upstaged by Madden’s late race run to the front. “Our car was really good there. I felt like I was going a little bit hard there early. I think it got my tires hot there. I could take off really good on the restarts and get rolling there and after that last one me and JD started sliding each other and that was a lot of fun. Then Madden sneak attacked us there. It was a good race. We were right there with them at the end. After I started hustling there at the end, I thought I should have been doing that the whole time.”
Davenport, the 3-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion rounded out the podium in third. “He [Madden] snookered us on the bottom. I felt I had a really good car especially the longer we ran the better we got. I felt like I really got a run-on Sheppard there, so I was going to try and break his momentum and I didn’t really realize Chris was quite that close to us.”
The winner’s Rocket Chassis is powered by a Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by Drydene Performance Products, Henderson Amusement, Franklin Enterprises, Penske Racing Shocks, Millwood Plumbing, VP Fuels, Worley Monument, DirtCar Lift, Davis Diesel Service, and Swift Springs.
Completing the top ten were Brandon Overton, Ricky Weiss, Johnny Scott, Ricky Thornton, Jr., and Jimmy Owens.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 – Prelim Night 1
Thursday, July 7th, 2022
Deer Creek Speedway – Spring Valley, MN
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Brandon Sheppard / 14.241 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Chris Simpson / 14.669 seconds
Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 2. 76-Brandon Overton; 3. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 4. 20-Jimmy Owens; 5. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 6. 58-Garrett Alberson; 7. 49T-Jake Timm; 8. 77-Jared Hawkins; 9. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 10. 16-Tyler Bruening; 11. 78S-Steve Stultz
Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 157-Mike Marlar; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie; 3. 44M-Chris Madden; 4. 97-Cade Dillard; 5. 25-Chad Simpson; 6. 19-Dustin Sorensen; 7. 7-Ross Robinson; 8. 10-Paul Parker; 9. 76B-Blair Nothdurft; 10. 29-Larry Grube
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 32S-Chris Simpson; 2. 2S-Stormy Scott; 3. 0-Scott Bloomquist; 4. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 5. 8-Kyle Strickler; 6. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 7. B1-Brent Larson; 8. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 9. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck; 10. (DNF) 55C-Chad Mahder
Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 3. 18J-Chase Junghans; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb; 5. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 6. 25C-Shane Clanton; 7. 11-Spencer Hughes; 8. 7X-Jesse Glenz; 9. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 10. 90-Lance Matthees
Fast Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 25-Chad Simpson; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 3. 58-Garrett Alberson; 4. 77-Jared Hawkins; 5. 76B-Blair Nothdurft; 6. 49T-Jake Timm; 7. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 8. 78S-Steve Stultz; 9. 10-Paul Parker; 10. 16-Tyler Bruening; 11. 29-Larry Grube; 12. 7-Ross Robinson; 13. (DNS) 19-Dustin Sorensen
UNOH B-Main #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 3. B1-Brent Larson; 4. 7X-Jesse Glenz; 5. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 6. 25C-Shane Clanton; 7. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 8. 90-Lance Matthees; 9. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck; 10. 11-Spencer Hughes; 11. 8-Kyle Strickler; 12. 55C-Chad Mahder
NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 – Prelim Night 1 Feature Finish (25 Laps):
Lap Leaders: Brandon Sheppard (Laps 1-19); Chris Madden (Laps 20-25)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Chris Madden
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 0.391 seconds
Stop-Tech Cautions: Scott Bloomquist (Lap 6)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisionals: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Chris Madden, Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Penske Shocks Top 5: Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Chris Madden (Advanced 10 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Brandon Sheppard
Hot Rod Processing Most Laps Led: Brandon Sheppard (19 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Brandon Sheppard
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Garrett Alberson
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Brandon Sheppard (Lap 3– 15.252 seconds)
Feature DirtonDirt.com Tough Break of the Race: Chad Mahder
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Ricky Arnold (Chris Madden)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Durham Race Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Jonathan Davenport (14.614 seconds)
Time of Race: 11 minutes 00 seconds