29 Jan 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 9 | Round 4
Grand National Series | Five Flags Speedway
Mathew Thunhorst got his second win of the season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series event at Five Flags Speedway ahead of Kenny Kibbey and J R Shepherd. Mark Hertzog led the first 64 laps until Thunhorst was able to get to the inside and pull ahead leading the remainder of the race and able to build a gap of over one second ahead of Kibbey and Shepherd by the final lap. Thunhorst and Shepherd have now each won two of the four races this season.
“There was a lot of good racing up front, there was a lot of tough racing. My heart was pounding the whole time and it’s just one of those that, it’s quite the intense race.”, Thunhorst commented about the battles happening toward the front. “There’s a lot on the line. One mistake can be the difference between leading and not leading the championship or, you know, getting a win and just being able to take advantage of the moments when they’re there and making sure you save up enough through the race that you can take advantage of them.”
With his win tonight, Thunhorst has taken the lead away from J R Shepherd with a total of 158 points, 1 point ahead of Shepherd. Kibbey holds his third-place position in the point standings only 5 points from the lead himself. Justin Morton and Austin Boelke are now tied for 4th place, both drivers with 145 points. The battle for the championship is still closely contested between all five drivers going into the next round.
22 Jan 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 9 | Round 3
Grand National Series | Langley Speedway
Mathew Thunhorst showed his skill around Langley Speedway as he led every lap to his first win of the season in the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series 100 lap event holding off J R Shepherd and Kenny Kibbey. A late race caution forced a three-lap shootout and Shepherd was able to take advantage of the restart to get 2nd place away from Kibbey, who had held it up to that point. “Just got lucky that the caution came out when it did and there were just a few laps in the end and I got a good restart.”, Shepherd commented about getting around Kibbey.
With his first season win under his belt, Thunhorst now sets his sights to Five Flags Speedway for next week. “It’s one of those places that feels pretty good. I know [Kibbey’s] going to be starting in front of me there… I know he’s going to be pretty strong there.” Thunhorst, a strong driver each week, knows the competition is going to be tough, “You hope things go good, but you still have to prove it week in and week out and a lot of these guys are pretty strong. So, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Shepherd is still holding onto the lead in the point standings with two wins and a total of 119 points after the first three races. Thunhorst trails behind Shepherd by only 1 point after his win tonight and Kibbey holds onto 3rd place 5 points off the lead. Justin Morton and Austin Boelke are still 4th and 5th in the standings with 110 and 108 points respectively, both drivers still very much in contention for the championship battle themselves.
15 Jan 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 9 | Round 2
Grand National Series | Hickory Motor Speedway
J R Shepherd of Different Path Motorsports won for the second week in a row tonight at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series at Hickory Motor Speedway ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and Kenny Kibbey. Thunhorst challenged Shepherd all the way to the finish, but didn’t have the run in the end take the lead away from the reigning champion as the checkered flag came out.
Back to back wins keeps Shepherd in the lead with a total of 80 points in the point standings, but that position is anything but safe with Thunhorst trailing behind by only 2 points. Kibbey holds onto 3rd ahead of Justin Morton in 4th. Austin Boelke is tied for 5th place with James Lowe 9 points off the lead. With the top six positions within 10 points altogether, this is still very much any driver’s championship as the season gets going.
“This is a tough, tough track”, Shepherd told us about his win tonight. “There was a lot of luck that went into it. I was in the right place on some of the restarts and got me some track positions.” Going forward, the drivers head out to Langley Speedway. “Langley’s a really tough facility and we haven’t been there in a several seasons, maybe a couple years. It’s going to be a lot about track position. I think if you get caught on that outside with these grand national cars you’re not going to be able to make a whole lot stick.”
by Ryan Senneker
08 Jan 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 9 | Round 1
Grand National Series | Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
J R Shepherd of Different Path Motorsports claimed the first win of the season at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series 100 lap event at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway beating out Mathew Thunhorst and Kenny Kibbey. The intense battle for the lead never let up as the top 4 drivers crossed the finish line within .3 of a second. It was such a close finish between Shepherd and Thunhorst, crossing the line within .004 of each other, that there was some confusion over who had actually won, as Shepherd told us, “I didn’t even realize that I’d won it until the cool down lap and everybody told me. I thought I’d finished second.”
Tonight at Nashville was a great start to the new season showcasing how competitive the drivers in the series have become over the years. Last season, several drivers were in the battle for the championship with Shepherd taking it in the last event. This season is shaping up to be another tight battle in the point standings going forward.
“Matt ran me extremely, extremely clean. He definitely could’ve shoved me up the track at any point and he didn’t do that”, Shepherd commented with us as he celebrated his win. “Being able to win at Nashville, this is a track I’ve been wanting to win at for a very, very long time because it’s so close and I’ve raced at this track before in real life on the short track inside so it’s really cool and if I don’t get to race anymore this season I’d be okay with that.”
18 Dec 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 11
Grand National Series | New Smyrna Speedway
J R Shepherd took his Different Path Motorsports Ford to victory lane beating out Justin Morton and James Lowe tonight at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series season finale at New Smyrna Speedway. Shepherd wasted no time getting to the front and controlling the field throughout the race after starting in 6th place. Morton and Lowe stayed close, but couldn’t manage to challenge for the lead as Shepherd maintained a sizable gap ahead of the rest of the field.
With the completion of this 100 lap event, Shepherd officially became the season champion over Mathew Thunhorst who wasn’t able to attend. Thunhorst’s absence tonight also allowed Justin Morton to take away 2nd place in the point standings, knocking Thunhorst back to 3rd. Kenny Kibbey and Austin Boelke finished 4th and 5th respectively in the points as the 8th season of the BRL Grand National Series concludes to close out racing in 2021.
Shepherd spoke with us after claiming his win, “Just wish that [Thunhorst] had been here tonight so [I] would’ve been able to race him because you never know what could happen. It could’ve went really bad tonight. There’s a lot of guys here and a really competitive field. So, it’s nice to get this, but just wish it’d been a little different circumstances.”
by Ryan Senneker
11 Dec 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 10
Grand National Series | The Bullring at Las Vegas
Austin Boelke of Different Path Motorsports took the checkered flag tonight ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and J R Shepherd at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series at the Bullring at Las Vegas. At a track that is notoriously easy to make mistakes around, Boelke drove to perfection not presenting Thunhorst and Shepherd with the opportunity they were looking for to take away the inside line. A late race caution re-stacked the field with Shepherd in 2nd and Thunhorst to the inside, behind Boelke, in 3rd and that was exactly what Thunhorst needed to get around Shepherd.
Austin Boelke celebrated his second win of the season, but unfortunately is not in the running for the championship as he is currently in 5th place in the point standings. Shepherd still holds the top spot over Thunhorst by 6 points. In a surprise upset, Thunhorst told us that he will not be competing in the final round and will be spending time with family through the upcoming holidays which makes Shepherd the unofficial season champion. Justin Morton is 3rd in the standings, but trails behind the lead by 22 points. Shepherd shared with us that he is disappointed that they won’t have a chance for a final battle together.
“There was a lot of pressure from behind from Justin [Morton] especially at the start.”, Austin Boelke tells us. “Huge pressure from behind and honestly it just feels really gratifying to hold [Shepherd] off again… two or three weeks ago he passed me at Lanier.” Next week, the Bootleg Racing League heads to New Smyrna Speedway for the final round of the season. “It’s not one of my best tracks. I like the track. It’s fun to drive, but usually whenever I go there I just have the worst luck because I can’t gain any spots, I can’t really lose any spots, and if there’s any luck to be had it’s usually bad luck.”
by Ryan Senneker
04 Dec 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 9
Grand National Series | Martinsville Speedway
Kenny Kibbey drove his Nocturnal Gaming Chevrolet all the way to victory lane after leading every lap at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series 100 lap event around Martinsville Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. Kibbey started in 2nd place behind Donny Moore and wasted no time securing the lead for himself and maintained a comfortable gap ahead of the competition even through a restart after a caution in the second half. Shepherd and Thunhorst had a titanic battle over 2nd place, but Shepherd never allowed Thunhorst the opportunity to take away the inside line.
Securing his second win of the season, Kibbey moves into 3rd place in the point standings and closes his gap to 18 points behind J R Shepherd who is the current leader. Thunhorst still holds onto 2nd only 7 points behind Shepherd. Justin Morton finished tonight in 7th place and drops back to 4th in the points now 2 points behind Kibbey. With only two events remaining to determine the season champion, there is a mere 20 point split between these top 4 drivers as we head to The Bullring in Las Vegas next weekend and finally crowning our new champion at New Smyrna Speedway the following weekend.
“We’ve had a few rough weeks last couple, a few races that kind of got away from us. It’s a great shot in the arm to be back in victory lane.”, Kenny Kibbey told us about dominating the entirety of the event ahead of such a competitive field of drivers. “The challenge each week has been to kind of get used to the setup that’s been made for us and sometimes it works out for me and sometimes it doesn’t.”
by Ryan Senneker
20 Nov 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 8
Grand National Series | Lanier National Speedway
J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports fought hard against his teammate, Austin Boelke, and secured his second win of the season ahead of Mathew Thunhorst at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National event at Lanier National Speedway. Boelke, Shepherd, and Thunhorst had a race all to themselves as they left the rest of the field behind, Shepherd and Thunhorst stalking Boelke lap after lap waiting for him to make a mistake. Tragically, that moment came with only 7 laps remaining in the event as Boelke got loose coming out of the corner just enough to let Shepherd and Thunhorst take away the inside line and Boelke was shuffled back to 3rd after leading every lap up to that point.
Shepherd holds the lead in the point standings with a 6 point advantage over Thunhorst. Justin Morton, who finished tonight’s race in 4th, is still in contention for the championship following behind Shepherd by 15 points. Kenny Kibbey came home in 6th tonight and holds onto 4th in the standings 19 points off the lead. With three races remaining in the season, any of these drivers could potentially walk away with the season championship title in December.
“That was a very, very stressful race. Just took a lot of patience.”, Shepherd told us while his crew celebrated the win. “I have tons of respect for Austin [Boelke] and he ran a tremendous race tonight and in my opinion he’s one of the best drivers who is out here.” Going into the next event at Martinsville, Shepherd is feeling the pressure. “It’s going to be extremely tough. You’ve seen this year, we’ve had so many different winners, so many guys that have been up front on a consistent basis. The racing’s really hard, there’s nothing easy about trying to making a pass on somebody out here.”
by Ryan Senneker
13 Nov 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 7
Grand National Series | Myrtle Beach Speedway
James Lowe took home his first win of the season tonight at the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series 100 lap event around Myrtle Beach Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. Lowe took the lead from Jeffery Hardin early in the race quickly getting into a comfortable groove and out pacing the rest of the field as the other championship drivers fought among themselves for the best possible finishing position they could secure. Thunhorst made a strong charge for the front after being involved in an incident on the first lap that essentially made him start the race from the back of the field.
J R Shepherd holds onto the points lead with a total of 273 points only 5 points ahead of Mathew Thunhorst and 12 points ahead of Justin Morton. Kenny Kibbey is still in 4th place in the standings sitting just 2 points behind Morton. With his win today, James Lowe now trails behind Shepherd by 66 points, still within reach of the championship battle if he continues to put on strong performances in the last 4 rounds of the season. Each of these driver have won one race this season with the exception of Thunhorst who took the checkered flag twice, once at Hickory Motor Speedway and again at Five Flags Speedway.
“Got a lot of good competition out there so it’s hard to get a win. So when you get one, you gotta feel good about it.”, Lowe commented with us while celebrating his win tonight. Thunhorst held no hard feelings with Justin Morton after contact sent him to the back of the field early in the race. He made an impressive run back to the front and finished in 3rd place in the end, “Can’t complain too much from that on lap 2 to sitting on the podium here on lap 100. So, a little rough, a little adversity, but you know, still a good day.”
by Ryan Senneker
06 Nov 2021
Bootleg Racing League | Season 8 | Round 6
Grand National Series | Southern National Speedway
Justin Morton with Total Downforce Racing took the checkered flag for the first time this season beating out J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst with the Bootleg Racing League Grand National Series 100 lap event around Southern National Speedway. As the race went on with an 82 lap green flag run to the end, the leaders spread out away from each other as Morton showed his pace to be the dominate one crossing the finish line with more than a second gap ahead of Shepherd.
With his first victory for the season, Morton takes 3rd place back from Kenny Kibbey by 1 point in the standings. Shepherd still holds onto the lead, finishing 2nd in the race, with Thunhorst, who finished 3rd in the race, only 4 points behind and 10 points ahead of Morton. Now half way through the season, the race for the championship is still within reach of any of these four drivers as they continue to put on strong performances.
Justin Morton made his way to the front early and stayed there for the remainder of the event. “Once I got up there I sort of just settled into a groove, felt pretty good. I was a little worried I was killing my stuff a little bit but it seemed I was getting that right balance.” As the Bootleg Racing League prepares to head to Myrtle Beach Speedway next weekend, Morton is confident going back. “I love Myrtle Beach. It’s probably my favorite short track on the service right now.”