ELM MOTT, Texas (Aug. 25, 2023) — Veteran Modified hotshoe Eric Tomlinson; open-wheel phenom Jeff Shepperd and Stock car master Shannon Dulock all won features in their respective divisions, as Selby Holder and his staff hosted Championship Night on Friday at historic Heart O' Texas Speedway.
Tomlinson powered to victory in the 15-lap feature for Outlaw Modifieds; Shepperd roared to his 14th win of the year in IMCA Southern SportMods; while Dulock capped another stellar season with his victory in Factory Stock.
Chad Guest (IMCA Stock Cars); Brandon Hood (Outlaw Street Stock); and rising star Ryder Egbert (Jr. Limiteds) were also feature winners on another beautiful late-summer night for racing in Central Texas.
Tomlinson, of Robinson, started second on an eight-car grid, drove to the inside of Troy Taylor coming off Turn 2 to take command at lap five and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Taylor settled for second, while David Goode Jr. filled out the podium. Damon Hammond (Burleson) and Raymond McSpadden (Buda) completed the top five.
“It felt pretty good out there tonight,” Tomlinson said. “I got into Troy there as we got into lapped traffic; he slid up and left a little room, and I had to take it. This was for the title, we had to do what was necessary. I need to thank my Dad and all of my great sponsors for making all of this possible.”
With his win, Tomlinson clinched the 2023 Outlaw Modified division points championship.
Rounding out the finishing order in the Outlaw Modified season finale were Jeff Bauser Jr., BP White and Edward Suggs. One caution slowed the pace before an official lap was completed. Tomlinson's margin of victory was a sizable 2.476 seconds.
Shepperd, of Waco, has enjoyed a sensational year in his new Generation Race Car. He started fourth in a talent-filled 12-car field, drove to the inside of Brandon Geurin to take control at lap four and drove away to earn top honors. Geurin settled for second, while Garett Rawls was third.
Taylor Florio (Copperas Cove) and Casey Brunson (Lott) rounded out the top five.
“That was a great race,” Shepperd said in O'Reilly Auto Parts Victory Lane. “I want to thank Selby and his staff here, and all the fans for coming out, and the track crew for everything they do for us drivers. I have to thank everybody who helps me in the shop, especially Charles, who worked hard this week.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Southern SportMod feature were Jason Hubbert Sr., rising star Kayden Petty, Corbin Willett, James Keilly and Trevor Cogburn.
Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 4, 5, 10), all for minor incidents. Shepperd's margin of victory was a comfortable 1.847 seconds. With his second-place finish, Geurin clinched the 2023 SportMod points championship.
Dulock, of Axtell, started on the pole of a strong 19-car field and led all 20 laps to record his sixth win of the 2023 season. Cameron Cook was the big mover, wheeling his way up from 10th to second, while Cody Dixon filled out the podium with another solid performance.
Michael Dabney (Kaufman) finished fourth, while Ryan Hopkins (Waco) completed the top five. Dabney spun out coming off Turn 2 while running second yet did well to recover for a solid top-five.
“Starting up front gave me a little bit of an advantage,” Dulock said. “That track was slick; and had just one lane. I want to thank my sponsors for their support all year, and of course my wife and kids.”
With his victory, Dulock locked up the 2023 Factory Stock points championship.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock feature were David Dulock, Andrew Richards (who started 17th), Mike Land, Grant Wollam and Blaine Simcik. One caution slowed the pace (lap three) for minor spins. Dulock's margin of victory was a whopping 4.241 seconds, as he was simply “gone.”
Friday's Championship Night program at HOT drew an impressive 91 entries spread across six divisions. Led by the mighty Factory Stocks with 20, there was still ample talent on hand in Holder's pit area. As they were all season long, fans were treated to side-by-side action throughout the evening.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer