By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
NASCAR Pinty’s Series regular Pete Shepherd III will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Iowa Speedway. Shepherd will drive the No. 55 National Exhaust / Connell Construction / driven4communications Toyota Camry for JP Motorsports.
Shepherd last competed at Iowa Speedway in 2006 in the USAC Silver Crown Series. Saturday’s US Cellular 250 will also be his first start in the top three levels of NASCAR since the 2007 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Shepherd’s best finish was a 15that Memphis Motorsports Park for Roush Fenway Racing.
“The opportunity arose when Michael from JP Motorsports contacted me Sunday while my wife and I were watching the Cup race on TV,” Shepherd explained. “The seat was open, and it was an opportunity that I was more than happy to accept. Michael has been a great resource and very helpful in this time crunch situation.”
Shepherd joins full-time JP Motorsports driver Josh Bilicki at Iowa. He is also the fifth driver to pilot the team’s No. 55, following Stephen Leicht, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Brandon Hightower, and most recently Bayley Currey.
“I can’t thank Jerry Hattaway enough for this opportunity,” Shepherd continued. “He has made this whole process seamless and I can’t wait to get in the car for Friday’s practice. The goal for this weekend is to get more laps under my belt and to maximize points for the 55 team. I have always run limited schedules and I took a few years off of racing, so I want to get as much seat time as possible this year.”
In 27 Pinty’s Series starts, Shepherd has five victories with the most recent coming in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. He also has 13 top-fives, 21 top-10s, and two pole positions. Shepherd has not competed full-time in stockcars since 2004 in the CASCAR Super Series that preceded today’s Pinty’s Series. He finished 10thin the Championship Standings that year.