by Ryan Senneker
16 Oct 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 3
Grand National Series | North Wilkesboro Speedway
J R Shepherd absolutely dominated the evening with his Different Path Motorsports Ford at North Wilkesboro Speedway claiming his first win of Season 8 with the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series and his 51st career win overall. Justin Morton and James Lowe finished 2nd and 3rd while Kenny Kibbey secured the pole position for next week’s race at Five Flags Speedway by finishing 8th.
With his win, Shepherd also claims the points lead over Mathew Thunhorst and Austin Boelke with a gap of only 5 points between the three season winners. Just behind them, Justin Morton and James Lowe are tied for 4th place just 8 points behind the lead. It is still very much any driver’s championship at this point as this season has had 3 different winners for the first 3 races.
Out pacing the rest of the field lap after lap through the evening, J R Shepherd crossed the finish line over 3 seconds ahead of his competition. Besides simply having a preference for this track, Shepherd had some tricks up his sleeves going into the event. “I just tried something new with the brakes tonight and how I was using them and it seemed to pay off in the long run for sure.” Going into Five Flags Speedway next weekend, Shepherd looks to put some distance between himself and the other championship drivers in the standings.
by Ryan Senneker
09 Oct 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 2
Grand National Series | Hickory Motor Speedway
Mathew Thunhorst took the checkered flag at the first running of the Hickory Motor Speedway for the Bootleg Racing League’s Grand National Series. Taking the lead on lap 27, Thunhorst held off J R Shepherd and James Lowe for the remainder of the race showing himself to be the dominate driver at the end of the night.
With the night’s victory, Thunhorst and Shepherd are now tied for first place in the point standings, each with 78 points. Austin Boelke trails behind by only 2 points, Kenny Kibbey by 4 points, and James Lowe by 6 points. The tight competition means no mistakes for the drivers competing for the BRL Season 8 championship.
Asked about next weekend’s race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Thunhorst is cautiously optimistic. “Definitely have my work cut out for me, a lot of fast guys in front of me or in between me and that number one spot. I’m going to be positive about it. You know, feeling good, but I know I got a lot of strong competitors that I got to try to beat too. It’s one of those thing, just going to have to see how it plays out.”
by Ryan Senneker
02 Oct 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 1
Grand National Series | Stafford Speedway
Austin Boelke started on the pole because of a technicality, but left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he deserved the position as he led the entire 100 lap event ahead of J R Shepherd. This was Boelke’s first career win in the Bootleg Racing League’s Grand National Series and a strong start for him in the new season.
Mathew Thunhorst was able to capitalize on lap traffic to get by Kenny Kibbey on lap 91 taking 3rd place away and holding it to the finish. Justin Morton couldn’t manage to get around Kibbey and finished in 5th ahead of Tim Shinoski.
Boelke commenting on his progression over the years in the league, “It just shows how tight of a group we are here at BRL. How you can come into the league and not know what you’re doing and then gradually build up as you get more and more speed in the car and confidence in yourself. We’re just a great group of guys here. A bunch of friends just having a good time.”
by Ryan Senneker
18 Sept 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 7 | Round 11
Grand National Series | New Smyrna Speedway
With a close points race through the season, J R Shepherd went into New Smyrna feeling the pressure from Justin Morton who was trailing by only 5 points. Shepherd and Morton, starting in 7th and 6th respectively, wasted no time getting to the front and breaking away from the rest of the field to battle it out over the 100 lap event. The two championship competitors stayed within .3 of each other almost the entire way to the checkered flag, but Morton couldn’t manage to get around Shepherd in the end.
Austin Boelke had a rough first half, getting caught up in two separate incidents early in the race, but was still able to fight his way back up to 5th place in the end and 3rd in overall season points. Kenny Kibbey made his return to the BRL Grand National Series with a dominant 3rd place finish, hungry for another championship this winter.
With his 5th win of the season and 50th career win overall, J R Shepherd became the season 7 champion while still staying humble giving a shout out to Morton’s skill on the track, “The biggest thing was just trying to have fun tonight and that one restart had me on the edge of my seat. Justin ran me extremely hard, but extremely clean. It’s hard to run someone that hard and, you know, not have contact and stuff going on so hats off to him.”