ORO STATION, ON – Sunset Speedway point leader Gord Shepherd will enter this Saturday’s NASCAR Late Model event with a 34-point lead over his nearest pursuer.
The reigning and defending champion has been able to place some breathing room between himself and the rest of the challengers for the 2017 points championship thanks in large part to the back-to-back feature wins his Ridge Road Racing outfit has logged in recent weeks.
‘’The number one thing our team wants to do this season is win this championship,’’ says Shepherd. ‘’And, because of that, the last thing we want to do is have to rely on one of these guys we’re racing against to have a bad night in order for us to make that championship happen”
“We want to be in control of our destiny,” adds the reigning Sunset Speedway champion. “We don’t want to luck into a track title. And the only way for that to happen is to stay out front”
In recent years, Shepherd has carried the reputation of a veteran with the capability of performing at his best when the proverbial lights are brightest – which is exactly what he’s done thus far in 2017.
‘’I’m not sure we’ve ever really been a team that you could call ‘fast starters’,’’ explains the longtime provincial heavyweight. ‘’If the race season started and ended in the Spring I’m not sure how many of these championships we would’ve won. But, we pride ourselves on having a way of heating up when we need to”
“The more weeks we’re out here and the more laps we lay down – the better we are,” notes the fan favourite. “We’re a long run team. We’re points racers through and through and right now we’re just starting to hit our mark”
However, despite the fact that Shepherd has spent nearly the entirety of the season atop the Sunset standings, he remains unwilling to make plans for a second-consecutive championship.
‘’These days if someone comes over to our pit area and wants to talk about our team and back-to-back titles – I won’t even entertain it,’’ notes the veteran.
‘’We can’t think that way. I don’t want that getting in our heads,” continues ‘The Smoke’. “Because, no matter what the standings say right now, we can’t assume that anything is promised to us”
“We still have a lot of time left between now and the banquet. We don’t want to trip and fall on our face coming down the backstretch of the schedule. We just have to stay hungry right now – that’s our job.”