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March 5, 2023

BRL LM S21 R9 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

04 March 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 9
Late Model Series | Hickory Motor Speedway

J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports claimed his 2nd win of the season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at Hickory Motor Speedway ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and Michael Goodman. “I was hoping we’d have a lot more green flag racing… A little bit lucky after last week not being able to finish the race for sure this is a better week”, Shepherd shared with us. When asked about the car change coming next week, he commented, “I’m excited that we’re getting the new body, the new car it’s got a few different specs on it a little bit more power. We’ll have to see how it is, I’m optimistic about it for sure but this has been a great car at least for league racing.”

J R Shepherd continued his streak taking the top spot again in qualifying putting down a 14.567 taking the 10 bonus points and starting in 10th place with Joe Segalla of Segalla Motorsports taking the pole from the Bootleg Racing League grid invert. Segalla came out of turn 4 to take the green flag and quickly cleared ahead of Stephen Spies who started to his outside. Spies was able to slot in behind Segalla off the jump with Joseph Snyder holding onto 3rd.

Lowell Jewell was on the outside trying under pressure from Jeffery Hardin running side by side for 4th as the two drivers came together bringing out an early caution and collecting several other drivers in the chaos to include Shepherd, Kenny Kibbey, and Aiden Young while Donny Moore and Mathew Thunhorst were able to weave through mostly untouched jumping far up through the running order. As racing resumed, the leaders again quickly single filed out with Segalla still in control of the field with the first 10 laps completed.

Spies was pressuring Segalla for the lead and similar to the earlier incident, the two made contact sending both drivers around giving control of the field to Snyder. The green flag came back out going into lap 17 with both Shepherd and Thunhorst closing in on the front of the field. Moore was up into 3rd with Jason Menda running in 2nd behind Snyder as the drivers started to get spread out for the first time of the night. Shepherd continued his charge to the front quickly overtaking Moore and set his sights on Menda with the first 25 laps behind them.

Shepherd made short work of Menda and Snyder taking the lead and running away with it as they came up on lap traffic while Thunhorst was back in 5th feeling the pressure with Shepherd having open track ahead of him to stretch out his lead going into the 2nd half of the night. The laps were quickly counting down with everyone spaced out around the track as Shepherd extended the gap ahead of Hoose to over 2 seconds with Thunhorst running in 3rd. A caution came out with 32 laps to go giving Thunhorst exactly what he needed closing the gap to Shepherd and giving him a perfect chance to get around Hoose into 2nd off the restart.

“[Shepherd’s] going to have to make a mistake which, well, I’d rather get a lottery number and see how that goes instead.”, Thunhorst shared with us briefly under the caution regarding how to get to the lead. As the race went back green, Thunhorst cleared around Hoose, but Shepherd had a great jump off the start and pulled out to a strong lead. Going into the final stretch, Shepherd was outpacing the rest of the field pulling away from Thunhorst as a late race caution came out on lap 98 bringing the race to an early end. J R Shepherd paced the field around to take the checkered flag with Mathew Thunhorst, Michael Goodman, Matt Shinoski, and Lowell Jewell rounding out the top 5 tonight at Hickory Motor Speedway.

J R Shepherd seems to have to the season championship locked in currently with 421 points, now 85 points ahead of Michael Goodman in 2nd place. Lowell Jewell holds onto 3rd place with 309 over Mathew Thunhorst 1 point behind. Donny Moore rounds out the top 5 drivers going into the final 2 rounds of the season. Next week, the Bootleg Racing League is going to tackle South Boston Speedway in the all-new Late Model Stock with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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