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January 15, 2023

BRL LM S21 R2 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

14 January 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 2
Late Model Series | Myrtle Beach Speedway
Photograph by: Michael Goodman

Kenny Kibbey with Nocturnal Gaming claimed his 2nd series win in a row tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series presented by Gargamel’s Kitchen at Myrtle Beach Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. “This one was a little less luck and a lot more of just hard work. I mean, that was a gritty race”, Kibbey was able to comment at the end of the night, “It’s tough making passes in these cars and we just had to not make any mistakes and take any advantage we could and just work for it.”

J R Shepherd took claimed the bonus points going into the evening by setting the fastest time at a 19.675 4-lap average in qualifying starting the feature event from 10th place with the Bootleg Racing League grid invert. Bryan Dehn qualified 10th and started on the pole to lead the 18-car field around to take the green flag with Joseph Snyder to his outside. Dehn quickly cleared out ahead as Tim Shinoski dove under Snyder for 2nd. Several other drivers saw the opportunity and Snyder found himself stranded on the outside and falling back fast.

With 5 laps completed, familiar names were slowly working their way toward the front with Austin Boelke leading Kenny Kibbey and Shepherd through traffic. Dehn continued to hold the lead ahead of Shinoski with most of the field going single file for the moment to put some laps behind them. 25 laps into the run, Dehn was extending his lead over Shinoski out to over 0.7 as Lowell Jewell started to pressure Donny Moore for 3rd. Kibbey and Shepherd felt it was time to go and went around to the outside of Boelke clearing around into 5th and 6th respectively.

Kibbey got his nose under Jewell with Shepherd still in tow and started challenging for 4th as Jewell battled back holding them off for several laps before conceding back in line from 7th ahead of Boelke. Mathew Thunhorst had quietly climbed up through the field and was running in 6th behind Shepherd as the train of cars still led by Kibbey cleared around Moore into 3rd. Dehn was maintaining his gap ahead of Shinoski with Kibbey, Shepherd, and Thunhorst closing the distance quickly.

The caution flag came out on lap 45 from contact between Rubin Altice and Joe Segalla restacking the field and placing Kibbey, Shepherd, and Thunhorst all within reach of the lead going into the 2nd half of the night. Off the jump, Shinoski was quickly being overtaken falling back 5th while Dehn defended the lead from Kibbey. After looking to the inside several times, Kibbey went wide and got around to the outside of Dehn and was able to get a nose ahead with Thunhorst slotting in behind him.

With 35 laps remaining, Kibbey, Thunhorst, and Shepherd were all clear of Dehn and battling amongst themselves for the lead. As Boelke tried to clear under Dehn the two drivers came together in the middle of the corner and fought to catch his car from a slide before coming to a stop sideway on the track bringing out another caution. Kibbey led the field around to take the green flag with Thunhorst to his outside and Shepherd directly behind him in 3rd. Off the jump, Shepherd got under Thunhorst, and they ran side by side for a brief moment before another caution came out on the track.

Kibbey again took the green flag going into lap 76 and Shepherd was again able to get under Thunhorst to challenge for 2nd place. Lap after lap, Thunhorst and Shepherd continued to run side by side with Lowell Jewell stuck behind them waiting for an opening as the caution came out again to restack the field to resume racing going into lap 84. Again, Shepherd dove under Thunhorst off the start and their battle continued as before. With the laps quickly counting down, Kibbey was able to extend out his lead of the battle for 2nd until a late race caution came out with 10 laps remaining.

With 4 laps remaining, Kibbey took the green flag for the final time with the battle for 2nd again raging between Shepherd and Thunhorst without either driver having a clear advantage when a caution came out on lap 99 ending the race under caution. Kenny Kibbey took the checkered flag with J R Shepherd taking 2nd place over Mathew Thunhorst by inches when the caution came out, with Lowell Jewell and Jason Menda rounding out the top 5 tonight at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings with 97 points. Kenny Kibbey moved up to 2nd place with 88 points. Mathew Thunhorst jumped up to 3rd with 74 points with Lowell Jewell in 4th only 2 points behind. Michael Goodman rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 70 points going into the 3rd round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to USA Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on January 21st with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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