BRL SLM S19 R11 Recap
10 December 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 19 | Round 11
Super Late Model Series | Five Flags Speedway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports took the checkered flag and the Season 19 championship tonight with the Bootleg Racing League Super Late Model Series at Five Flags Speedway ahead of Kienny Kibbey and Justin Morton. “The car still had some decent speed, but I could tell that the front just wasn’t rotating as well as it was before… so I knew it was going to be a long night”, Shepherd shared with us regarding the damage he took early on in the night, “[I was] surprised to kind of hold guys off enough.”
J R Shepherd came into the final round of Season 19 strong with a 4-lap average time at 16.274 in qualifying getting the highest point bonus possible before gridding up for the 100-lap feature event. Donny Moore started on pole to the inside of Austin Boelke to take the green flag which unfortunately was chaotic as several drivers came together coming out of turn 2 end the evening early for both Mathew Thunhorst and Jason Menda. The field stacked back up to again take the green with Moore in the lead going into lap 7.
Kenny Kibbey quickly moved up into 3rd and was running close behind Boelke as Moore was able to defend his position in the early stages of the race. Shepherd and Justin Morton were quietly pushing up through the field running in 5th and 6th respectively getting around Joseph Snyder. In the front of the field, Kibbey was started to show some impatience with Boelke keeping the pressure high while looking both high and low as Shepherd and Morton both cleared into the top 5.
In a shocking turn of events, Boelke and Moore had contact sending both drivers spinning in opposite directions on track collecting Kibbey, Morton, and Shepherd in the mayhem. Shepherd came out the other side in the lead, but with significant damage to the left rear of his Different Path motorsports Ford Mustang while Kibbey, Boelke, and Morton were all outside of the top 10 looking in as the green flag came out on track. Shepherd had a good jump off the restart going into lap 25 ahead of Matt Hoose with Todd Liston directly behind looking to challenge for 2nd.
Hoose was able to clear Liston for 2nd as the field struggled to get single filed out around the track. Bryan Dehn got alongside Liston to the outside and was able to clear into 3rd as Liston got loose dropping back to 4th. Kibbey and Boelke were both back with the top 10 while Morton struggled in the field back in 12th while Shepherd was able to set the pace out front ahead of Hoose. Going into the 2nd half of the night, Shepherd still had a strong hold on the lead after multiple cautions and restarts with Kibbey in 3rd cautiously climbing up through the field.
Kibbey secured 2nd place and slotted in behind Shepherd with 40 laps remaining while Shepherd continued to wrestle his damaged car around the track. Morton was up to 5th and quickly closing on Dehn and Hoose ahead while trouble for Boelke has put him back in 14th. Morton had completely closed the gap to the leaders as another caution came out on lap 80 giving Morton an easy opportunity to get around Hoose for 3rd off the restart while Kibbey continued to look for a way around Shepherd.
Morton tried to get under Kibbey but couldn’t hold the line as Kibbey clear back ahead into 2nd. Morton continued to look beneath Kibbey which prevented Kibbey from getting a good run on Shepherd going into the final laps. A late caution came out going into lap 96 from contact between Dehn and Liston further back in the field and led to J R Shepherd taking the checkered flag under yellow flag conditions with Kenny Kibbey, Justin Morton, Jeffrey Hardin, and Matt Shinoski rounding out the top 5 tonight at Five Flags Speedway.
J R Shepherd claimed the season championship with tonight’s win with 513 points. Justin Morton took 2nd place with 475 points and Mathew Thunhorst fell back to 3rd after a couple a rough finishes at the end of the season with 464 points. Donny Moore finished in 4th place with 357 points, beating Joseph Snyder by 1 point rounding out the top 5. Next season, the Bootleg Racing League will be switch over to the limited late model car with the first round kicking off on January 7th at New Smyrna Speedway with all of the action broadcast live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!