Race Recap: Shepperd, White, Dixon win at Heart O’ Texas

ELM MOTT, Texas (March 15, 2024) — Veteran open-wheel racer Jeff Shepperd, ageless short track icon Paul White and stock car pilot Nate Dixon all won features in their respective divisions, as Selby Holder and his staff hosted a full card of weekly racing on Friday night at Heart O’ Texas Speedway. 

Shepperd powered to victory in the 20-lap feature for IMCA Southern SportMods; White prevailed in a talent-filled IMCA Stock Car tilt, while Dixon was triumphant in a hotly-contested affair for Factory Stocks. Benji Kirkpatrick (Outlaw Street Stocks) was also a feature winner on a nice night for racing. 

Shepperd, of Waco, started fourth on a 19-car grid, drove past Garret Rawls to take command at lap nine and hung on to earn top honors. Trevor Cogburn led the first seven laps and finished second, while Kyle Wilkins wheeled his GRC-built No. 7MK entry up from 12th to fill out the podium. 

Paul White (Waco) crossed the line in fourth, while Rawls faded to fifth in the closing laps. 

“The car felt pretty good tonight,” Shepperd said in Victory Lane. “We’re having a little bit of ignition trouble or something; it sounded like it was skipping to me. Last week, I was so slow, I was just in harm’s way. So I’m glad we bounced back from that. I’ll thank the staff here for a nice track to race on.

“We didn’t really work on this thing until late last night; we just didn’t think we were going to race. So we packed a lot of work into last night’s shop time. I appreciate the effort to get this show completed. I thank everybody who helps me in the shop, Generation Race Cars, and all of our great sponsors.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Southern SportMod feature were Jerrett Bransom, Zane Goff, Jack Bransom, James Keilly and Chris Florio. Two cautions slowed the pace (laps 11, 12), both for minor spins. Shepperd’s margin of victory over Cogburn was a mere .672 of a second. 

White, also of Waco, started third on a 13-car I-Stock grid and led all 20 laps in fine style. Benji Kirkpatrick drove up from fifth to claim the runner-up position, while Thomas Hall Jr. filled out the podium with a solid performance. 

Cody Baker (Alvarado) and Lance Hanson Jr. (Palmer) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

“I knew Benji was back there, I could hear him for a couple of laps them he showed his nose to me just as we went to caution,” White said. “I thought there might be something worthwhile up in that high line, but didn’t think I needed to move up. I just picked up the pace a bit, and was just playing it safe.

“I didn’t start driving these things (Stock Cars) until last year, and they’ve been a blast. They are a lot of fun to work on, and we’ve got some big races coming up with these things a little later in the year. I’m just trying to master it a little bit better, and hope we can have a chance at some big money up north.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the IMCA Stock Car A Main were Jimmie Helona-Heatherington, Erik Miles, Michael Wofford, Cutter Spalding and Thomas Hall. Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 7, 7, 9, 11), none for serious incident. Kirkpatrick couldn’t mount a late-race charge with the frequent yellows. 

Dixon, of Ennis, started eighth on a 18-car Factory Stock grid, inherited the lead when his brother Cody spun going through Turns 1 and 2 and pulled away to earn top honors. Hard-charging Ryan Hopkins wheeled his way up from ninth on the grid to claim second, while Waco’s Mike Land finished third. 

Jeff Blackwood powered up from 13th to finish fourth, while Cody Dixon recovered for a nice top-five.

“Man, that was so much fun,” Dixon said in Victory Lane. “I hate it for Cody; I got into him down there in Turn 2 to let him know I was there, and in the very next turn he went down low and got into the slick stuff. I nothing was tore up on his car. I couldn’t ask for a better battle or a nice track to run on.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Factory Stock feature were Michael Bowles, Dillon Kidwell, Brian Johnson Sr. (who drove all the way up from 20th), Ty Marecle and Michael Dabney. Only one caution  slowed the pace (at lap two) in this one, as the Factory Stock warriors were on their best behavior. 

This week’s championship points program drew a respectable 69 entries among four divisions. No matter the car count, there’s always plenty of side-by-side racing on the historic 1/4-mile banked oval. Officials knocked out 11 qualifying Heats and four entertaining features in less than three hours. 

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s weekly program at Heart O’ Texas Speedway with a subscription at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap in 2024 from several states. 

When you sign up today, select one of two options (OnDemand or All Access), choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.  

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer