Brandon Sheppard and Mark Richards Racing, Inc. have been a lethal combination since linking-up in 2012, on a part-time basis, with Sheppard filling in for normal driver, Josh Richards, as Richards focused on an opportunity in NASCAR's Xfinity Series. During that 2012 season, Brandon was able to pilot the Rocket1 entry on 18-occasions, delivering his first World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series victory on September 9th, at Belle-Claire Speedway.
In 2017, Sheppard and the Rocket1 team hooked up, once again, to chase the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series championship title, full-time on the tour, with Brandon aboard the Richards' family No. 1. This was only half of a very interesting deal between Rocket1 Racing and Ohio's Best Performance Motorsports, which saw Josh Richards head to the Rocket Chassis No. 1 for BPM, competing full-time on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour, completing a ride-swap between Richards and Sheppard, giving Rocket Chassis the ability to chase both premier late model series titles during the 2017 season.
Over the course of the next three seasons, from 2017, through 2018 and into 2019, Sheppard and MRRI/Rocket1 Racing continued to add to their historic World of Outlaws Late Model Series resume, adding two championship titles, in 2017 and 2019 along with a close second-place point finish in 2018, to veteran Mike Marlar. During this three year run, Brandon and his Rocket Chassis team took part in 124-World of Outlaw event, tallying 49-victories, 106-top five finishes, 114-top ten results, and an astonishing 39.5% win percentage. The team obviously hasn't missed a beat whether it has been Josh Richards or Brandon Sheppard behind-the-wheel, as they commit to yet another season with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series tour in 2020, looking for a sixth team championship and a third for drivers title for Sheppard.
In 2020 Scott Bloomquist Racing will pivot from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, to take on the WoOLM tour, full-time, for the first time since 2004, with Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden behind-the-wheel of their two bullets, as well as major #TeamZERO technical support for young Ricky Weiss, who was the 2019 World of Outlaws Late Model Rookie of the Year. This added competition, as well as the performance of other series regulars expected to take the next level, if Brandon Sheppard and Mark Richards Racing can replicate even half of what they have been able to do the last three seasons, in 2020, the team will undoubtedly rise to the top dirt late model team and driver, in all of the sport, surpassing the likes of Jonathan Davenport and Scott Bloomquist. Yes, there run of the past three years has been very, very impressive, but with the added competition level committed to the tour this season, the time is now for Sheppard to show that he is not just the best the WoOLMs have to offer, but the best the entire form of racing has to offer.
With the 2020 campaign getting underway last weekend at Vado Speedway, Brandon Sheppard and Mark Richards continued the momentum they have built over the past three seasons, leading a number of laps en-route to three consecutive runner-up feature finishes, in as many races. Sheppard watched as Chris Madden, Rickey Weiss, and Cade Dillard celebrated their first victories of the season, while his Rocket1 team built a narrow four-point championship standing lead over Weiss, to begin the year. Brandon and Richards will take there championship defense tour to Florida and the Volusia Speedway for the World of Outlaws DIRTcar Nationals, February 12-15, which marks the traditional start to the season and the beginning of a grueling 10-month continuous season, one of the longest in all of major national touring racing.
2020 is Brandon Sheppard's time to shine and surpass Jonathan Davenport as the best in the world, are you ready for the ride?
- Jim Adams Photo