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August 21, 2022

BRL SLM S18 R9 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

20 August 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 18 | Round 9
Super Late Model Series | Martinsville Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman
Sim Racing Software: iRacing

J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports took his 4th win of the season tonight with the Bootleg Racing League Super Late Model Series at Martinsville Speedway ahead of Kurt Smith and Justin Morton. “Tough race tonight, extremely hard to pass at this track”, Shepherd commented as the night came to a close at Martinsville, “I used up a lot of my stuff trying to make that pass [on Smith], but it’s kind of what you got to do here” Tonight’s win gave Shepherd a 2-point lead over Morton going into the final two rounds of Season 18.

Kurt Smith was in control of the 14-car field as he took the green flag with Austin Boelke to his outside and the track roared to live with the Bootleg Racing League. Smith had a strong launch off the start and Boelke fell back to 3rd behind Donny Moore before being able to slide down to the inside line. Shepherd and Morton were running 4th and 5th respectively close behind Boelke as the drivers put the first 10 laps behind them and the field started to single file out around the track.

Shepherd jumped ahead of Boelke and got his nose to the inside of Moore taking away 2nd place with Boelke following him under into 3rd. Contact between Boelke and Moore when Moore tried to defend his position resulted in Moore getting sent around and he fell back to 10th. Smith was still in control of the field with 20 laps completed under pressure from Shepherd, Boelke, and Morton. Michael Goodman was quietly moving up through the field and closed in on Morton’s rear bumper in 5th.

Smith and Shepherd started to break away from Boelke with Shepherd looking to the inside several times keeping the pressure up with Boelke over 1 second behind in 3rd. The battle for the lead continued going into the second half of the night with Shepherd getting the better run off coming out of the corners, but Smith leaving nothing for Shepherd to take advantage of. Boelke was still holding off Morton and Goodman but had fallen back to over 2 seconds off the leaders.

Shepherd was able to get his nose to the inside of Smith on lap 50 and cleared into the lead. Smith concede the position quickly and fell in line behind Shepherd staying close behind him as the leaders were closing in on the first signs of lap traffic with 45 laps remaining. Boelke was slowly starting to reel the leading drivers in a few tenth of a second each lap with Morton still following close behind and a slight gap started to build between Morton and Goodman just as the caution flag came out and the field was restacked with 34 laps to go.

Shepherd had a strong jump off the green flag going into lap 72 as Smith was able to close the door on Boelke holding onto 2nd place. Moore had climbed back up through the field and was challenging Goodman for 5th as the field single filed back out again with 25 laps remaining. With nothing but wide-open track ahead of him, Shepherd started to run away with the lead stretching the gap between him and Smith to around 0.5 without lap traffic to contend with going forward.

With only 15 laps left, 10 cars were still running on track with Shepherd still in control of the field. Smith was able to match pace with Shepherd, but not able to make an attempt on the lead with the laps dwindling down. Boelke, Morton, and Goodman still ran in 3rd through as they broke away from Moore in 6th. In the final moments, Boelke made contact with the outside wall giving Morton an opening to take away 3rd place, but Boelke battled back from the outside with Goodman waiting to take advantage of whichever driver lost the fight. The two were still running side by side as J R Shepherd took the checkered flag with Kurt Smith coming home in 2nd place. Justin Morton took 3rd place over Austin Boelke by 0.010 at the line and Michael Goodman followed them across in 5th.

J R Shepherd regained the lead over Justin Morton in the point standings tonight with 345 points over Morton’s 343 points. Austin Boelke holds onto 3rd place with 335 points. Donny Moore stays in 4th place with 311 points and Kurt Smith moves up into the top 5 in the points with 296 points. The drivers of the Bootleg Racing League now prepare for Langley Speedway on August 27th for Round 10 of Season 18 with all of the action broadcast live at 8:55PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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