Jeff Shepard Wins Pike County Speedway Feature By Richard Day MAGNOLIA, MS (March 21) – Jeff Shepard became the seventh driver in seven 2003 O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series events to win an “A” Feature Friday at Pike County Speedway. Seven different winners at the beginning of a season tied the record the series set in 2001. Shepard, who last won an O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series race during his Rookie of the Year season in 2001, led the first five laps from the pole and regained first place when Joey Saldana’s engine lost power with 11 laps remaining.
“I’d rather be lucky than good, and we were definitely lucky tonight,” Shepard admitted. “We just had to keep this car in position to win. I tried Joey’s line, and I wasn’t any good there and Steve (Kinser) got by me, and then we kind of just hung out there in third for a while. “This is what we needed with this team. I ran the World of Outlaws once before in the #5 car (owned by Guy Forbrook). It took us a while to get going, so whenever you can get a win this early in the season it’s always a confidence builder. My guys did a great job tonight. Goodyear Tires, Charlie Garrett Engines, Maxim Chassis, and VRP Shocks, all of them got us here. Luck’s always a big part of racing, and it was definitely on our side tonight.”
Shepard, who joined Dave Helm’s Vivarin team during the off-season, was the 11th-fastest qualifier – .818 seconds off Jason Johnson’s track-record pace. He earned the privilege of starting the 35-lap “A” Feature on the pole by winning the First Dash Race. Shepard drove the #11H Vivarin Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in the main event. He was opening a comfortable advantage when Craig Keel hit the berm in turn two and turned over early in the second lap.
Saldana, who started outside the front row, raced wheel-to-wheel with Shepard through the first and second corners as the green flag replaced the yellow, but was unable to surge ahead. Defending and 17-time O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series champion Steve Kinser drove his #11 Quaker State Maxim past Daryn Pittman and Johnny Herrera during the third and fifth laps to take over third place. Gary Wright, driving the #15 Parker Stores J&J while Donny Schatz raced in the Copper World Classic, spun in the fourth corner late in lap six and retired to the pit area. Saldana took the lead as the race resumed, steering his family’s #17 Eagle Raceway MCI into the low groove between turns one and two to pass Shepard. Saldana was a straightaway ahead of his closest pursuers when he entered lapped traffic early in the 12th lap.
Kinser rode the rim through the third and fourth corners to pass Shepard several seconds later. “B” Feature winner Curt Trainer’s turn-two spin took the leaders out of lapped traffic early in lap 16. Saldana controlled the ensuing restart and was two car-lengths ahead of Kinser when he caught the back-markers five laps later. Disaster struck for Kinser and Saldana during lap 25, however. “The King of the Outlaws” stopped in the second corner with a flat right rear tire and Saldana’s engine suffered a broken rocker arm, allowing Shepard to restart ahead of the field. Craig Dollansky, who started outside the seventh row, drove Karavan Racing’s #7 VMAC Maxim past seven cars during the first 24 laps. The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion passed Brooke Tatnell and Terry McCarl during laps 25 and 26 to claim fifth place. Johnson and Second Heat Race winner Shane Stewart exchanged eighth place during the 27th and 29th laps, Stewart using an inside move through turns one and two and Johnson coming back with a high move in the same spot. Jason Sides, who started inside the ninth row, drove the Aramark Uniform Services Maxim past Stewart in the low groove between the first and second corners to claim ninth place.
Shepard was eight car-lengths ahead of Pittman when he took the checkered flag for the third “A” Feature victory of his O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series career. Johnny Herrera’s third-place finish was his fourth in the top four in five races. Mark Kinser, who leads the series with four “A” Feature victories at Pike County Speedway, finished in fourth place, ahead of Dollansky, McCarl, Tatnell, Johnson, Sides and Stewart. Johnson sliced .086 seconds off the qualifying standard Mark Kinser set at Pike County Speedway on April 9, 2001, circling the high-banked, 3/8-mile oval in 13.391 seconds, an average speed of 100.814 M.P.H.
The $51,600 event served as a family reunion for four families. Steve and Mark Kinser are cousins, as are Jason and Todd Johnson. There were also two sets of brothers racing with the O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series at Pike County Speedway – Jason and Paul Sides and Shane and Darren Stewart.
2003 O’Reilly World of Outlaws Series Pike County Speedway, Magnolia, MS Friday, March 21, Feature Program #7
Qualifying: 1. Jason Johnson, Harrison 22, 13.391 (new single-lap record); 2. Steve Kinser, Kinser 11, 13.895; 3. Terry McCarl, McCarl 24, 13.928; 4. Craig Dollansky, Karavan Racing 7, 13.967; 5. Danny Lasoski, Stewart 20, 14.000; 6. Brooke Tatnell, Grandstaff 66, 14.084; 7. Mark Kinser, Kinser 5M, 14.113; 8. Brian Brown, Parsons 6, 14.115; 9. Johnny Herrera, Wilburn 2W, 14.139; 10. Daryn Pittman, Sher-Don Motorsports 21, 14.146; 11. Jeff Shepard, Helm 11H, 14.209; 12. Joey Saldana, Saldana 17, 14.212; 13. Gary Wright, Schatz 15, 14.219; 14. Shane Stewart, Chilcutt 4M, 14.223; 15. Jac Haudenschild, Forbrook 5, 14.301; 16. Randy Hannagan, TH Racing 1x, 14.307; 17. Jason Sides, Sides Motorsports 7S, 14.352; 18. Jeremy Campbell, Campbell 10C, 14.523; 19. Aaron Berryhill, Walden 97, 14.549; 20. Curt Trainer, Trainer 36, 14.691; 21. Craig Keel, Pottorff 9, 14.718; 22. Bob Bennett, Acme 3, 15.008; 23. Darren Stewart, Sparks 91, 15.033; 24. Tom Busch, Busch 4B, 15.084; 25. Paul Sides, Sides Motorsports 11J, 15.226; 26. Matt Clevenger, Clevenger 31, 15.747; 27. Todd Johnson, Johnson 49, 15.857; 28. Terry Vidrine, Vidrine 68, no time.
First Heat Race (10 laps): 1. Jeremy Campbell, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Joey Saldana, 4. Brooke Tatnell, 5. Mark Kinser, 6. Jason Johnson, 7. Aaron Berryhill, 8. Paul Sides, 9. Bob Bennett. (first six qualified for the “A” Feature)
Second Heat Race (10 laps): 1. Shane Stewart, 2. Jason Sides, 3. Steve Kinser, 4. Jeff Shepard, 5. Brian Brown, 6. Danny Lasoski, 7. Darren Stewart, 8. Curt Trainer, 9. Matt Clevenger. (first six qualified for the “A” Feature)
Third Heat Race (10 laps): 1. Jac Haudenschild, 2. Randy Hannagan, 3. Daryn Pittman, 4. Johnny Herrera, 5. Terry McCarl, 6. Craig Dollansky, 7. Craig Keel, 8. Tom Busch, 9. Todd Johnson. (first six qualified for the “A” Feature)
First Dash Race (seven laps): 1. Jeff Shepard, 2. Johnny Herrera, 3. Mark Kinser, 4. Danny Lasoski, 5. Terry McCarl, 6. Jason Johnson, 7. Jac Haudenschild, 8. Gary Wright. (finish determined the inside starting positions in the first eight rows in the “A” Feature lineup)
Second Dash Race (seven laps): 1. Joey Saldana, 2. Daryn Pittman, 3. Steve Kinser, 4. Brooke Tatnell, 5. Brian Brown, 6. Shane Stewart, 7. Craig Dollansky, 8. Randy Hannagan. (finish determined the outside starting positions in the first eight rows in the “A” Feature lineup)
B Feature (10 laps): 1. Curt Trainer, 2. Aaron Berryhill, 3. Darren Stewart, 4. Craig Keel, 5. Paul Sides, 6. Bob Bennett, 7. Tom Busch ($200); 8. Todd Johnson ($180); 9. Matt Clevenger ($150). (first six qualified for the “A” Feature)
A Feature (35 laps): 1. Jeff Shepard  ($10,000); 2. Daryn Pittman  ($5,500); 3. Johnny Herrera  ($3,200); 4. Mark Kinser  ($2,800); 5. Craig Dollansky  ($2,500); 6. Terry McCarl  ($2,300); 7. Brooke Tatnell  ($2,200); 8. Jason Johnson  ($2,100); 9. Jason Sides  ($2,050); 10. Shane Stewart  ($2,000); 11. Randy Hannagan  ($1,500); 12. Danny Lasoski  ($1,200); 13. Jeremy Campbell  ($1,100); 14. Steve Kinser  ($1,050); 15. Brian Brown  ($1,000); 16. Aaron Berryhill  ($920); 17. Craig Keel  ($820); 18. Jac Haudenschild  ($800); 19. Joey Saldana  ($800); 20. Curt Trainer  ($820); 21. Darren Stewart  ($820); 22. Bob Bennett  ($820); 23. Gary Wright  ($800); 24. Paul Sides  ($820). Lap leaders: Jeff Shepard 1-5, 25-35; Joey Saldana 6-24 WoO
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