Ready for Challenge of Running His Own Team in 16
By MIKE MALLETT
Sheppard has been fortunate over the course of his career
to drive for some very good car owners including his most
recent stint with Heinke-Baldwin Racing. As has been well
documented that team split nearly three weeks ago leaving
Sheppard looking for something for the upcoming 2016 season.
After mulling over his options and looking at things, Sheppard
has decided its time to start his own team.
putting my own deal together, said Sheppard. Obviously
starting from scratch so its going to take a lot of
help from a lot of different people, but so far things are
going well. A lot of people have stepped up and we are getting
closer to getting a program together. We arent quite
there but we are getting close. We need some other people
to step up. Its been a busy couple weeks with a lot
of phone calls. There is a lot of stuff to put together. Im
just trying to take it one step at time while at the same
time trying to put ten things together at once.
decision means Sheppard is starting from the ground up. He
has to acquire everything from the tools needed weekly at
the track to a truck and trailer to get his equipment to the
speedway while also putting together his cars to race. His
work on that process has already begun.
biggest deal right now, Ive told a lot of people, is
that its like a big puzzle and I need to put a lot of
pieces together to make sure I got a good program, stated
Sheppard. Basically right now Im trying to tackle
one piece of the puzzle at a time. That is the most nerve
racking point. I think once we get the program together and
I get what I need, and that isnt so much cars and motors,
as it is trucks, trailers and tools, stuff like that. Once
I can piece all that together when it gets down to racing
the stuff Im sure well be comfortable. Its
the building the stuff from scratch that is going to be the
has been fortunate that his previous car owners have let him,
for the most part, do is own thing. Hes been able to
make most of the decisions. Now hell be making all of
the decisions. Unlike in the past, those decisions will also
include dealing with the financial end of running his own
definitely excited, commented Sheppard about being the
decision maker. Ive always had the luxury of having
a lot of say in how my program is run. Through the years I
had a lot of owners that have trusted me to make decisions.
I pretty much know the ins-and-outs. Its going to be
the first time that Im financially responsible at the
end of the day. At that the same time Im kind of excited
to be able to get everything together and do a program the
way I want to do it.
has indicated hell return to Bicknell cars for the upcoming
season. Hes always had a close relationship with the
company and even though hes had major success the last
two years in Troyers, including a Super DIRTcar Series championship,
he feels more comfortable with Bicknell.
going to be back in the Bicknell cars, stated Sheppard.
Ive always had a close relationship with them.
Its not that I dont like the Troyer cars and weve
had a lot of success in them. I didnt feel as connected
with them. Randy (Williamson), (Bob) Slack, Pete (Bicknell)
and all the guys at Bicknell; Ive had a great relationship
with them throughout the years and they are willing to step
up and help me out a little bit to get me back into this deal.
I look forward to working with them again.
similar schedule is in the works for the Brewerton Speedway,
Canandaigua Motorsports Park and Utica-Rome Speedway champion.
Hell also return to defend his Super DIRTcar Serie title.
going to run a similar schedule, he said. If I
can get everything together Id like to run the same
deal I did last year with my stuff. The only difference being
Im going to run some races at other places for other
people. Other than that it is going to depend on how strong
of a program I can put together. Im definitely looking
at Canandaigua, Utica and the series again. Obviously Id
love to get back to Brewerton Friday nights too.
now has the opportunity to go on the road for other car owners
once again. He has been in contact with Pennsylvania car owner
Norm Hansell but a deal hasnt been struck to this point.
The duo had success together in the past after nearly collecting
a Race of Champions Series title. Hes also been in contact
with other car owners and possible supporters as he continues
to finalize the deals necessary to get his program off the