Perfect weather welcomed by Gopher 50 fans
Three inches of rain on Friday night further soaked the race track at the Deer Creek Speedway, but it did not deter from the action enjoyed by 3,200 fans on Saturday night, July 6.
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill. won the 40th annual Gopher 50 charity Late Model race.
Sheppard earned his 11th World of Outlaws Late Models Series feature victory of the year and his first-ever Gopher 50 win. He earned $10,000 with the victory. Prior to the Gopher 50 race, his earnings total was at $136,250.
The Gopher 50 race is sanctioned by the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series.
A touch of Blooming Prairie could be found throughout Deer Creek Saturday night.
Lions Dean Zilm and Dave Goodnature sold $3,000 in t-shirts emblazoned with the 40th annual Gopher 50 label on them. Lions Paul Fiebiger, Paul Dale and Howard Lestrud helped out with the will call tickets.
Bob, Bruce and Tim Wolf shuttled race fans from the front gate to the main entrance.
Doug and Kristi Miner of Miner's Outdoor Sports supplied 20 golf carts to be used to transport guests across the grounds. Ten Blooming Prairie Lions helped with race activities on Saturday afternoon and evening.
Doug Miner provided a support vehicle for the pace vehicle before the feature race.
The Blooming Prairie connection also included local race drivers Doug Hillson (#72) and Mark Noble (#74) driving in a modified class race.
The Blooming Prairie Lions benefited from the 50/50 raffle drawing, which brought in over $9,000. Dave Wradislavsky, a Blooming Prairie firefighter, won the main prize of over $4,600. He helped raise a huge American flag with the help of a Blooming Prairie ladder truck.
In the USRA Modifieds division, Rochester's Dustin Sorensen also continued his torrid start to this season. Sorensen earned his fourth win of the year at Deer Creek, and his biggest paycheck to date. He took the lead seven laps into the 35-lap A Main and led the rest of the way to earn $5,000.
Veteran stock car driver Sheppard won five consecutive World of Outlaws Late Models Series races between Feb. 13 and March 22. Sheppard is a veteran driver at age 26. He finished fourth in the Gopher 50 each of the past two years.
Sheppard drives for one of the top teams in dirt track racing, Rocket1/Mark Richards Racing. He has 52 feature wins in 167 starts, a 31.1 winning percentage. He won 13 times last year while finishing as the series runner-up and won 18 times in 2017, when he won his first and only WoO series championship.