BRL LM S21 R5 Recap
04 February 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 5
Late Model Series | North Wilkesboro Speedway
J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports claimed his first win of the season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and Austin Boelke. “There were some guys who had a ton of speed, and it was really important to try to get that lead and try to get clean air early”, Shepherd commented at the end of the night, “When you’re at a track like this, it’s very line sensitive especially getting into the corner. If you’re just a few feet to the left or to the right of the line getting in you’re going to be slower through the center and not able to get that run.”
J R Shepherd continued his streak jumping to the top of the timing and scoring boards in qualifying with a 4-lap average time put down at 19.136 with Joseph Snyder securing the pole for the feature event with the Bootleg Racing League grid invert. Lowell Jewell had a good jump from the outside line to take the lead away as the green flag came out. Joe Segalla followed Jewell around the outside moving up into 2nd taking advantage of Snyder’s slow start. Austin Boelke saw the opportunity and tried to follow Segalla through but contact between Boelke and Snyder resulted in both drivers running up into the outside wall and falling to the rear of the field.
Jewell continued to hold the lead ahead of Segalla as the field started to get settled in. Shepherd was up to 3rd early making good use of the chaotic start putting pressure on Segalla with bad luck striking Donny Moore in the middle of the field with contact between Moore and Mike Allen sent Moore to the rear of the field for a restart with the first 10 laps completed. As racing resumed, Shepherd took 2nd place away from Segalla with Segalla finding himself stranded on the outside line.
Michael Goodman saw the door open and closed up on the rear bumper of Shepherd to clear around Segalla into 3rd. Boelke had climbed back up through the field and had gotten under Segalla with Mathew Thunhorst directly behind him while Shepherd took the lead away from Jewell. Goodman had closed the gap to the leaders and was pressuring Jewell for 2nd place as Boelke and Thunhorst started to reel the battle in.
Goodman cleared around Jewell for 2nd as Boelke and Thunhorst reached their battle and Jewell fell back to 5th before slotting back in line behind Thunhorst while Shepherd used the battling to stretch his lead out to over 1 second ahead of Goodman. As the drivers started to get spread out around the track everyone seemed to settle in to put some laps behind them with a few select battles happening. Thunhorst continued to pressure Boelke for 3rd trying to force a mistake as both drivers were gaining on Goodman ahead of them.
Thunhorst was able to take 3rd away from Boelke as they closed in on the rear bumper of Goodman with Thunhorst instantly looking to make the pass as Shepherd further extended his lead out to over 2 seconds. Going into lap 39, Thunhorst completed the pass with Goodman shutting the door on Boelke holding onto the last podium position. Going into the 2nd half of the night, the field had completely spread out around the track with Shepherd still leading by 2.4 seconds over Thunhorst. Boelke was up to 3rd with Goodman running in 4th ahead of Jewell.
The long green flag run continued as Shepherd was outpacing his competitors leading ahead of Thunhorst by over 3 seconds while cautiously negotiating through lap traffic with the majority of the field still spread out. Matt Hoose had reeled Jewell in and was pressuring for 5th, but Jewell was not leaving any opening for Hoose to take advantage of going into the final laps. Coming out of the final corner, J R Shepherd took the checkered flag with Mathew Thunhorst coming home in 2nd unable to close the gap. Austin Boelke, Michael Goodman, and Lowell Jewell round out the top 5 finishers tonight at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings with 242 points. Mathew Thunhorst jumped up to 2nd place with 190 points. Michael Goodman takes away 3rd with 179 points with Lowell Jewell moving up into 4th with 174 points. Kenny Kibbey rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 160 points going into the next round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on February 11th with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!