March 22, 2024 | By Matt Skipper, WOO Late Model PR

Brandon Sheppard Eager to Hunt For Fourth Illini 100 Win at Farmer City

Photo by Andy Newsome

CONCORD, N.C. — In his first two months as the Longhorn Factory Team driver, Brandon Sheppard has already picked up checkered flags and big points but knows there’s still room for improvement.

While still developing the relationship between Longhorn and Sheppard Riggs Racing, Sheppard stated Speedweeks highlighted areas they need to work on, especially with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models returning to his home state for the Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway, April 12-13.

“It honestly wasn’t the Speedweeks that we wanted it to be,” Sheppard said. “Even though we got two wins and some pretty good finishes, it wasn’t as good as we kind of hoped. It took some time for us to get established, to get what I wanted out of the car, and to get the new team and everybody together. It took us a little bit to try and get everything figured out, but now, I think we have a pretty good program established to where we can qualify good and setting the tone for our night. 

“As long as we can keep that up, we should be pretty good the whole year, honestly. I feel like we raced good every night of Speedweeks come Feature time, but we were so far behind when we got there that we had to pass a lot of cars. Overall, my confidence is pretty high. Anytime you can get a win in Speedweeks is big because there’s no lack of competition at any of the tracks we visit.”

Racing close to home is next for Sheppard, who spent most of his early career at Farmer City Raceway gaining experience aboard a dirt Late Model. With three Illini 100 wins under his belt – tied with Billy Moyer for the most Illini 100 wins – Sheppard said he’s excited to race at home where there’s a lot of energy and support from his fans.

“It’s close to home (for me),” Sheppard said. “(Farmer City) is the place that I cut my teeth on growing up and the place that I learned how to race properly at. We used to go there for weekly shows and there would be 40 to 45 cars every Friday night, and I’d have to battle it out in the B Main. I love the loyal fans there and the home fans that cheer for me, it’s a place that my family has history at through my dad and grandpa racing there throughout the years, and it’s a place that’s really good to me.

“The fact that I have three Illini 100 wins is already special, so I get excited when I go to the place, and one that is close to the heart, close to home, and it means a lot to me to get to go there still. Farmer City is very underrated because when the track is prepped, it’s one of the best places in the country. I’m super excited to get there and support them soon.”

In the first four races of the World of Outlaws season, the New Berlin, IL driver has picked up three top fives and top top-10 finishes. And while his Speedweeks win at Volusia Speedway Park wasn’t with the World of Outlaws, it was still his first golden gator trophy since 2020.

With the bulk of the 2024 season soon to commence – starting with the Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway on April 12-13 – Sheppard said he knows what’s needed from him and the team to maintain their current points lead and chase his fifth Series title.   

“It’s all about consistency,” Sheppard said. “Just putting nights together that don’t have bad luck, but consistency is the key thing. Being able to run at the front each night, getting ourselves in a position to win, or capitalize on other people’s mistakes. In my eyes, that’s what we’re concentrated on.”

He’s also working on consistency outside the track. Since departing the Rocket1 Racing team toward the end of 2022, Sheppard’s seen changes with his team year to year. But now, with Longhorn’s backing and former crew chief Randall Edwards returning to the team, Sheppard is building a consistent base.

“There's a lot of variables that go into putting a new team together,” Sheppard said. “We built a new team from scratch last year with my family and with the Riggs family. Then, combine the two of us with Longhorn (Chassis), and pretty much the only thing that stayed the same was our truck and trailer.  

“We hired Randall at the end of last year and it kind of changed things up because everybody has their own ideas of what needs to be done and how we go about things. Me and Randall worked very well together back in 2016, so I feel like I've got a really good team established as far as the full-time crew in (Randall), Justin Stehl and my cousin, Corey Lash. Everybody's very motivated right now and they want to win, along with Matt Langston, Kevin Rumley and Steve Arpin. We all have high expectations for ourselves, so until we're winning consistently, we're not going to be happy, we’re not going to be settled, and we're not going to be satisfied.”

Sheppard leads the herd of World of Outlaws CASE Late Model drivers into Farmer City Raceway for the Illini 100, April 12-13. The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota will also join the Series for the first time on both nights.

Tickets for the event can be purchased HERE. For more information about the event, visit https://worldofoutlaws.com/latemodels/schedule/.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision.

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