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November 7, 2022

BRL SLM S19 R7 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

05 November 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 19 | Round 7
Super Late Model Series | Thompson Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman
Sim Racing Software: iRacing

J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports took the checkered flag tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Super Late Model Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and Chris Davis. “Definitely one of the tracks that you just never know what can happen”, Shepherd commented at the end of his run, “You can do everything perfect but still get taken out by someone else’s mess. It’s a really tough track and just fortunate enough that things worked out that we got in that position.”

Donny Moore was in the pole position to take the green flag for the 19-car field with Austin Boelke to his outside. Off the jump, Boelke was able to get around him for the lead as Moore went high and fell back into the field to 6th behind Kenny Kibbey. As drivers shuffled for position, and early caution came out 4 laps into the night when Mark Hertzog, Kurt Smith, and Michael Goodman came together coming down the front stretch battling over 9th. Boelke had a good jump off the restart with Chris Davis slotting into 2nd ahead of J R Shepherd.

Justin Morton and Mathew Thunhorst had climbed up to 4th and 5th respectively while Kibbey struggled to get around Joseph Snyder for 6th. With 10 laps behind them, the field had gone mostly single file around the track all running close behind the car ahead with very few gaps between drivers. Davis made a move to the inside of Boelke for the lead but wasn’t able to hold the momentum which allowed Shepherd to get to his outside. Shepherd cleared into 2nd as Morton tried to follow him through, but contact was made with between himself and Davis sending Morton high up the track falling back to 9th.

Kibbey moved up to 5th directly behind Thunhorst who was still searching for a way around Davis ahead. 30 laps into the run, Shepherd was keeping the pressure high on Boelke in the lead and Thunhorst and Kibbey were still looking for an opportunity to get around Davis who was falling off the lead pace. Thunhorst became impatient and dove below Davis on lap 33, but again wasn’t able to complete the pass allowing Kibbey to clear ahead into 4th. Boelke and Shepherd had extended the gap between themselves and Davis to over 1 second and Shepherd started looking to the inside of Boelke.

Going into lap 45, Davis and Kibbey had door-to-door contact down the front stretch sending Davis wildly low across the grass and sliding back up the track in turn one narrowly avoiding contact with Thunhorst. The field shuffled while Davis recovered from the slide and continued running from 5th. Boelke continued to lead as the top 4 quickly started to pull away from the field with Davis holding onto 5th ahead of Goodman. The pace difference again separated the lead battle by over 1 second ahead of the rest of the field going into the second half of the night.

With 40 laps remaining, Boelke reached the first signs of lap traffic with Shepherd, Kibbey, and Thunhorst still tight on his bumper. The field started to spread out around the track into several smaller groups as the green flag run stretched out. With 28 laps remaining, Kibbey went high coming out of turn four making hard contact with the outside wall and spinning into the infield ending his night early. The race stayed under the green flag for another lap until Davis had contact while trying to get around lap traffic. Davis was able to continue running in 4th, but Chris Wolfson had to stop his car on the track to avoid further contact bringing out the caution flag.

Boelke took the green with 21 laps remaining, but Shepherd was able to use the highline to clear ahead into the lead. Thunhorst and Davis followed him around and Boelke dropped back to 4th slotting in ahead of Jeffrey Hardin. The battle for the lead was now between two drivers as Shepherd and Thunhorst quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. As the laps counted down, J R Shepherd was able to hold off Mathew Thunhorst to take the checkered flag with Chris Davis, Austin Boelke, and Jeffrey Hardin rounding out the top 5 tonight at Thompson Speedway.

J R Shepherd holds onto the lead in the point standings tonight with 319 points. Mathew Thunhorst sits in 2nd place with 318 points over Justin Morton with 300 points. Joseph Snyder moved up to 4th with 237 points and Donny Moore rounds out the top 5 with 225 points. Next week, the drivers of the Bootleg Racing League head out to Southern National Speedway for the 8th round of Season 19 on November 12th with all of the action broadcast live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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