Morgan Shepherd

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This article is about the NASCAR driver. For the British actor, see W. Morgan Sheppard.
Morgan Shepherd
Morgan Shepherd.jpg
Morgan Shepherd
Born (1941-10-12) October 12, 1941 (age 73)
Ferguson, North Carolina, U.S.
Achievements 1980 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division Champion
Oldest driver to start a Sprint Cup Series race (72 years, 9 months, and 1 day)
Awards 2005 NMPA Man of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
517 race(s) run over 29 year(s)
Car no., team No. 93 (BK Racing)
No. 87 (Identity Ventures Racing)
No. 33 (Circle Sport)
2013 position 76th
Best finish 5th (1990)
First race 1970 Hickory 276 (Hickory)
Last race 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 (New Hampshire)
First win 1981 Virginia 500 (Martinsville)
Last win 1993 Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 (Atlanta)
Wins Top tens Poles
4 168 7
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
358 race(s) run over 29 year(s)
Car no., team No. 89 (Shepherd Racing Ventures)
2013 position 52nd
Best finish 11th (1982)
First race 1982 Mountain Dew 300 (Hickory)
Last race 2014 Dover 200 (Dover)
First win 1982 Sunkist 200 (Hickory)
Last win 1988 Kroger 200 (IRP)
Wins Top tens Poles
15 67 6
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
56 race(s) run over 8 year(s)
2013 position 114th
Best finish 24th (2002)
First race 1997 NAPA Autocare 200 (Nazareth)
Last race 2013 WinStar World Casino 350K (Texas)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of September 27, 2014.

Morgan Shepherd (born October 12, 1941) is an American stock car racing owner-driver. He competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the No. 89 Shepherd Racing Ventures Chevrolet. He is a born again Christian who serves as a lay minister to the racing community. He has been competing in NASCAR for over 44 years.

Shepherd became the second-oldest race winner (after Harry Gant) in 1993, when he won the spring race at Atlanta at the age of 51 years, 4 months, and 27 days.

Shepherd became the oldest driver to lead a Nationwide Series race at the age of 70 when he led 3 laps in the 2012 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. He was also the oldest to start a Sprint Cup race at the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 at age 72.

Racing career[edit]

Career prior to Cup[edit]

Shepherd's racing career began when he used his souped-up moonshine car to earn extra money on the weekends. He won 21 of 29 races to win the North Carolina title. In 1973, Shepherd finished second in the championship to Jack Ingram in NASCAR's Late Model Sportsman division, driving in 17 different cars. In 1980, he won the series title. He is also a well known rollerskater, dancer, and car collector.

1970s and 1980s[edit]

Shepherd made his Winston Cup debut in 1970 at Hickory Motor Speedway, driving the #93 Chevrolet for Bill Flowers. He started tenth but finished nineteenth out of twenty-two cars due to rear end failure. He made two more starts that year, his best finish a fourteenth at Hickory. He did not race in Cup again until 1977, when he finished tenth at Dover International Speedway in a Jim Makar-owned Mercury. He ran two additional races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After running two races in 1978, Shepherd moved to the Cup Series full-time in 1981, driving the #5 Performance Connection Pontiac for Cliff Stewart. He won the pole in his first race at Richmond International Raceway, and also picked up his first career win at Martinsville Speedway. Despite a thirteenth-place points finish in points, Shepherd was runner-up to Ron Bouchard for Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors. The following season, he moved over to the #98 Levi Garrett Buick for Ron Benfield. Although he did not win a race that season, he won the pole at Nashville Speedway USA and Atlanta, respectively, and had six top-fives, finishing tenth in the championship standings. That season, he also ran the Busch Series on a part-time basis for Ed Whitaker. He won his second start at Hickory Motor Speedway, then again at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Shepherd finished twelfth in points that season.

1983 racecar

Shepherd began 1983 without a full-time ride, running the Richmond 400 with Wayne Beahr and the Virginia National Bank 500 with Emanuel Zervakis, before driving the #2 ACM Equipment Sales Buick for the rest of the season for Jim Stacy, his best finish being a second-place run at the Firecracker 400. His abbreviated season left him 20th in points. He continued to run for Whitaker in the Busch Series, winning at Bristol and Richmond International Raceway, but dropping to eighteenth in the final standings. Shepherd struggled in 1984, driving for multiple teams before closing out the year with Benfield, with whom he finished sixth at North Carolina Speedway. In the Busch Series, he drove a majority of the races for Lindy White, winning at Bristol, Indianapolis Raceway Park, and Martinsville.

For 1985, he drove for multiple Cup teams, the most of which for the #00 Helen Rae Special. After failing to finish all but three Busch races in 1985, Shepherd drove for Whitaker and himself the following season, winning a career high four Busch races during the season. In the Cup Series, he won his second career race driving the #47 Buick for Jack Beebe. He ended the season driving the #75 Pontiac Grand Prix, finishing 3rd at Richmond International Raceway. The following season, he drove to the #26 Quaker State Buick for King Racing, winning the pole at Martinsville and finishing seventeenth in the standings. It was also the first time in his Cup career that he competed in every scheduled event. He won another three races in the Busch Series, including his only career road course win at Road Atlanta.

In 1988, Shepherd continued to drive for a variety of teams, beginning the year with Tom Winkle in the #97 AC Spark Plug Buick, before driving a handful of races in his own car. He then drove five races for Mach 1 Racing, finishing 2nd at Dover after leading 110 laps, then moved to the #75 Valvoline Pontiac for RahMoc Enterprises, winning the pole at Pocono Raceway. After posting two top-tens in the #88 Red Baron Pizza Oldsmobile for Buddy Baker, Shepherd finished out the year in his own #57, before his team was purchased by RahMoc for the season finale. That year, he won his final Busch race at IRP. In 1989, he returned to RahMoc, winning his final pole at Watkins Glen International and finishing thirteenth in points.

1990s[edit]

In 1990, he scored a career high season-end ranking of fifth for Bud Moore Engineering in the #15 Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird. In addition, he picked up his third career win at the season-closing Atlanta Journal 500. After failing to win and dropping to twelfth the following season, Shepherd moved to the Wood Brothers Racing #21 Citgo Ford. He finished second in the 1992 Daytona 500 to Davey Allison with a margin of victory of 2 cl. Despite dropping to fourteenth in points in 1992, Shepherd moved back up to seventh in points and won his final race to date at Atlanta in March 1993. The following season, he had sixteen top-tens, finished sixth in points, his highest finish since 1990. After finishing in the top-five four times in 1995, Shepherd left the Wood Brothers team.

1997 R+L Carriers car

He returned to the #75, now a Ford wholly owned by Butch Mock and with sponsorship from Remington Arms. He posted five top-tens and finished nineteenth in points. He left at the end of the season to drive the #1 Delco Remy America/Crusin' America Phone Card Pontiac for Precision Products Racing. He led ten laps early in the season at Atlanta, before fading back to third. Midway through the season, Shepherd moved over to the #77 Jasper Motorsports Ford. After just a handful of races with the 77, he departed and rejoined PPR, now with R+L Carriers sponsorship. His best finish for the rest of the season was a twelfth at Talladega Superspeedway.

After beginning 1998 without a ride, Shepherd brought out his own team to attempt the spring races Atlanta and Darlington Raceway, but his #05 Pontiac failed to qualify in both races. In the following race at Bristol, Shepherd drove the #46 First Union Chevy for Team SABCO, finishing 24th, before substituting for Mike Skinner for two races, finishing eleventh at Martinsville. After another race for SABCO and a one-off deal for Stavola Brothers Racing at Michigan International Speedway, where he finished 43rd, Shepherd spent most of the season with LJ Racing, his best finish 15th at the Brickyard 400. He left the team late in the season, and closed the year in the Stavola's #8 Nokia/Kendall Chevy. He ran near the top-ten during part of the race, but wrecked and finished 39th.

Shepherd attempted the 1999 Daytona 500 in a car purchased from FILMAR Racing, but did not qualify. He made his only Cup start that season the following week at North Carolina in the #90 Accu-turn/Pep Boys Ford Taurus for Donlavey Racing, where he started 39th and finished 32nd, five laps down. In May 1999, Shepherd announced he was partnering with Rhea Fain to field the #05 Wendy's Pontiac. After the team failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600, the partnership dissolved, and Shepherd failed in each of his attempts to qualify for a Cup race that season. He also had his most recent top-ten finish in NASCAR competition that season, finishing 10th in a Busch Series race at North Carolina for Xpress Motorsports.

2000s[edit]

Victory in Jesus race car was named the fourth "scariest" car in 2008 by ESPN for having Jesus on the hood.[1]

Shepherd began 2000 in the Craftsman Truck Series driving the #7 for Conely Racing, finishing seventeenth at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but a lack of sponsorship caused the deal to fall through. Shepherd attempted a pair of Busch races as well the season-finale NAPA 500 in the Cup Series for Hover Motorsports, but failed to qualify for all those events.

In 2001, Shepherd formed his own Truck team, Victory in Jesus Racing, and began campaigning the #21 Ford F-150 on a part-time basis. During this time, he served as his own one man pit crew during a truck race as he often climbed out of his truck to change his own tires and fill his own gas tank during pit stops. His best finish was eleventh at Daytona, as well as leading fifteen laps at South Boston Speedway. After making sixteen starts that season, Shepherd finished 26th in points. The following season, his best finish was a 17th at Richmond, the only race he finished that season. He also had the best points finish of his truck career, 24th. He also made his return to the Cup series in his #89 Red Line Oil Ford, beginning at New Hampshire International Speedway, where he finished 40th, his best finish that season. He also attempted a handful of races with Ware Racing Enterprises, but did not make a race.

The following season, he attempted six Cup races, but only made two, finishing last in both of them. In 2003, Shepherd failed to finish any of his truck races, his best finish coming at Darlington Raceway, where he placed 24th. He spent a majority of the season in the Busch Series driving the #0/70 Eagle Jet International Chevy for Davis Motorsports. His best finish was an eleventh at Talladega. Towards the end of the season, he switched over to his Victory in Jesus ride in the Busch Series, posting two top-40 finishes. In 2004, his Cup team switched to Dodge and attempted 32 races, qualifying for nineteen of them. His best finish was a 32nd at Martinsville, one of just two races he completed that season. In 2005, he only made four starts, and was unable to score higher than 40th.

In 2006, Shepherd brought on several Christian investors and sponsor Dutch Quality Stone, renaming the team Victory Motorsports. But after failing to qualify in every race he attempted, he sold the team to his partners. He ran part-time in the #0 for Davis in the Busch Series, with a best finish of 40th at Nashville Superspeedway. In July 2006, Shepherd and Christian businessman Dana Tomes of West Virginia formed Faith Motorsports with Shepherd driving. He made his first race of the year at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, where he finished 43rd. The following week, he qualified for the Sylvania 300 and finished 42nd.

Shepherd's #89 pushed off after failing to qualify at the 2009 Milwaukee race

Shepherd ran the full Nationwide Series schedule for the first time in 2008. While the team entered every race, it failed to qualify eight times. His best finish that season was thirteenth at the Aaron's 312, his best finish in five years. Following that race he was a surprise phone-in guest on Tony Stewart's radio talk show. During that talk show, Stewart and announcer Matt Yocum offered to pay the tire bill for Shepherd's next race. On January 30, 2009, it was announced that Shepherd would drive a Chevrolet for that season.

2010–present[edit]

Shepherd struggled in his self-owned entry for 2009 and 2010. After the 2010 summer Daytona event, Shepherd went to Richard Childress Racing and drove the #21. Johnny Chapman moved to the #89 as a start-and-park driver.

Shepherd after qualifying for 2012 Nationwide event at Road America.

In 2011 Shepherd was locked into the first 5 races due to receiving the owner's points from the #21 team. Also, Faith Motorsports announced that the team would field a second entry for driver Brett Rowe for at least the first 5 races of the 2011 season. That team acted mainly as a start and park team to help support the #89 car.

On March 1, 2011, while staying in Las Vegas between races, the 69-year-old Shepherd chased down, tackled and restrained a young shoplifter who had run out of a Walmart.[2]

In 2012, Shepherd's struggles continued. He failed to make 12 races. In most races, the team only had one set of tires and could only run the race for as long as that set of tires lasted. For this reason, Shepherd refused to believe that his team was a start and park team.

For 2013, Shepherd was forced to cut back his schedule due to lack of funding. For the races he does enter, he ran Dodge at the superspeedways. As for the rest of the races, he ran Chevrolet. Shepherd ran the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Brian Keselowski Motorsports, his first Sprint Cup race since 2006, becoming the oldest driver to race in the Sprint Cup at an age of 71 years, nine months and two days, and breaking the previous record held by Jim Fitzgerald, who ran at Riverside International Raceway in 1987 at age 65.[3] Shepherd started 41st[4] and finished in the same spot after suffering a vibration,[5] completing 92 of 301 laps.[6]

Shepherd attempted to qualify for the 2014 Daytona 500 in the No. 93 for MacDonald Motorsports with a car leased from BK Racing, but failed to qualify.[7] Had he made the race, he would have been the oldest driver in Daytona 500 history.[8] At the following race at Phoenix Shepherd drove Joe Nemechek's No. 87 Toyota, extending his record as the oldest driver to compete in a Sprint Cup Series race.[9]

Shepherd also ran the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 for Circle Sport Racing. He was the subject of a Joey Logano complaint when the 24 year-old Logano was involved in a wreck and said there should be a driving test. NASCAR defended Shepherd, saying his speed was monitored and he ran at a reasonable pace. Logano was credited with a 40th place finish while Shepherd was the last car running, albeit 27 laps behind the leaders finishing in 39th place.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGee, Ryan (November 1, 2008). "Halloween got you spooked? Get a load of these monsters". ESPN. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ Bromberg, Nick (March 1, 2011). "Morgan Shepherd catches shoplifter at Las Vegas Wal-Mart". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ Peltz, Jim (July 10, 2013). "Morgan Shepherd, 71, set to be oldest driver in NASCAR Cup race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ Spencer, Reid (July 12, 2013). "Keselowski wins Coors Light Pole award; Johnson DQ'ed". NASCAR. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Camping World RV Sales 301". NASCAR. July 14, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hembree, Mike (July 14, 2013). "Shepherd makes Sprint Cup history at New Hampshire". USA Today. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (February 5, 2014). "Shepherd in for Daytona qualifying". ESPN. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ Spencer, Reid (February 20, 2014). "KENSETH, HAMLIN PREVAIL IN THRILLING DUEL FINISHES". NASCAR. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Bianchi, Jordan (March 2, 2014). "NASCAR Phoenix 2014: The Profit on CNBC 500 viewer's guide". SBNation. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Gene Glover
NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division Champion
1980
Succeeded by
Tommy Ellis