The deal to drive the No. 15 dirt late model came together over a few beers
The Gateway Dirt Nationals is just around the corner. The indoor dirt race takes place on December 19-12, 2019 in downtown, St. Louis, Missouri.
Under the dome, sits a 1/4-mile oval. The unique event welcomes dirt late models, dirt modifieds and dirt sprint cars.
Donny Schatz is a sprint car legend. With lots of time left in his career, he’s already collect 10 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series titles.
Brandon Sheppard is on a similar path on the dirt late model side of the dirt racing ladder. At his young age, he won all the biggest races and picked up series titles in dominating fashion along the way.
Sheppard claimed the 2019 World of Outlaws Late Model Series title. Of the 41 races, Sheppard won 18 of them. He collected more than double the race earnings of any driver on the tour.
Now, Brandon Sheppard is set to pilot the Donny Schatz dirt late model.
Brandon Sheppard to pilot the Donny Schatz late model
“We were at Volusia in February and after the races one night, Sheppard was over and we were having a few beers. I was saying how I wanted to go to the dome this year, but I don’t want to race it myself. I want to go watch it one year first,” Donny Schatz explained. “He said, ‘Well hey, I’ll drive your car.’”
“I told him you’re probably going to get the body tore up a little bit,” said Brandon Sheppard. “He was like, ‘Oh, I’m not worried about that. Let’s go do it.’ “
“It’s definitely an honor to drive for him. I’ve looked up to him for a long time. It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to hopefully make something happen.”
“I think we can get everything changed over to my liking pretty quick. I don’t think what Donny has been running lately is too far off from where we are at. He and Mark (Richards) keep in touch on a lot of things. I don’t think it’ll be too much of an adjustment.”
“His motors are a little bit different than what I run, but truthfully, as small as that track is, you just have to take all the power away from it and go,” Sheppard added.
Donny Schatz on Brandon Sheppard
Schatz dominates in the dirt sprint car world. He missed yet another World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series title this year by just 4 points.
Yet, he’s still somewhat new to the dirt late model world as he’s been running a few crossover events in recent years.
“Brandon is one of the best late model drivers there is and I’m pretty fortunate to have him in the car,” said Schatz, who owns 10 career Northern Late Model Racing Association (NLRA) wins. “I’m sure he’s going to be in a position to battle for a win and be competitive.”
“It’s a cool event. There is nothing else going on at that time of year. We hear about the Chili Bowl and all of these indoor Midget races, but to be able to put the Late Models and Modifieds indoors is huge. It’s great for our sport.”
“It’s just one of those things I haven’t experienced yet, but I’m looking forward to experiencing it this year,” Schatz concluded.