March 14, 2015 - After a long hard battle Buddy crossed the finish line to win his first career Open Late Model race on the short track at Madera Speedway Saturday night!
His team was unable to attend practice on Friday night, but proved that they were ready for the 125 lap LoanMart Open Late Model $5,000.00 to win race. His third place qualifying efforts earned him a top 10 starting position in the feature. He drew a two, starting him on the outside of the front row (the best starting position in his history at Madera Speedway). Buddy motored into the lead early in the first 50 lap segment and was enjoying the ride until he was passed around lap 40. He maintained his respectable second position when crossing the finish line. After a few adjustments in the pits, he again started on the outside of the front row, battling again for the lead, until he relinquished it and settled into second for the remaining second 50 lap segment. In hopes that he saved enough of his tires (a car has to race the feature on the same tires that it qualified on) for the third and final 25 lap segment, Buddy went into it knowing that it was going to be a 25 lap shootout to the finish. His prediction didn't disappoint him. He started again on the outside of the front row, drag racing to each corner, side-by-side action, Buddy crossing each lap in first but only be a few feet ahead of second place on each lap. Then, the car on the inside, lost his brakes and drove deeper and deeper into each corner on the inside while using Buddy up. On lap 119 the car on the inside slid into Buddy, knocking Buddy into the wall coming out of turn four, took himself out and collecting the third place car along the way. Buddy somehow managed to continue on and maintained the lead. Under the yellow he radioed to the crew that something wasn't quite right, did a little maneuvering to check on his hot rod and decided to continue on. He was in a side-by-side battle for the lead on the restart then broke away with some breathing room from the second place car. As he was motoring around the track in first place with two laps to go, a yellow flag was thrown. The field was restarted with Buddy choosing the outside line. His car was on just about on it's last leg, when the green was thrown and had to work extremely hard to maintain his position. On the last turn of the last lap the second place car tried to use Buddy up by sliding into him coming out of turn four. Buddy kept cool and crossed the finish line for the win by a slim margin!
A HUGE celebration followed in the winners circle with MANY fans, sponsors, friends, crew and family. The race will be televised on MAVTV in a few weeks. An update will follow on this website and Buddy Shepherd facebook page. Also, it will be posted on YouTube possibly within the next few days, search Madera Speedway March 14, 2015.
Thanks to all my continued partners: H & M MOTORSPORTS, D'ANGELOS Automotive and Industrial Coatings, AXALTA, Cow-Boy Bail Bonds, Advanced Distribution, H & S Body Works and Towing, RTS, Crystal Pools, HONDO, Inc., Schaeffer's Racing Oil, RaceHard and Ron's Rear Ends.
Thanks to my crew at and away from the track: Mike Keen, Derek Thorn, Travis Thorn, Brian Brown, Joel, Tom, Gary, John, Bo, Andy, Travis, Joe, my mom and dad.
Next Race: March 28, 2015 @ Kern County Raceway Park