The COVID-19 crisis in the United States has affected many small race teams in each of NASCAR’s National Series, from sponsors being even harder to find, to sponsors being unable to honor previous financial commitments, a lot of teams have been affected by this global pandemic. Some teams are in a critical position financially, and one team in particular is looking for the help of its loyal fans.
Morgan Shepherd’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race team Shepherd Racing Ventures, has easily been a fan-favorite in the garage for over a decade, beginning in 2007, when Shepherd began fielding the No. 89 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
In the thirteen years since, drivers like Brad Teauge, Johnny Chapman & Brett Rowe have joined Shepherd in the driving duties of the No. 89 Racing with Jesus entry. Although it hasn’t always been easy, Shepherd has managed to keep the team on the track for over a decade, with the teams limited resources and budget.
At the end of 2018, a new era for Shepherd Racing Ventures began. Landon Cassill, a experienced driver in the NASCAR Cup Series & NASCAR Xfinity Series, made his first appearance in the No. 89 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Cassill got people’s attention extremely fast, posting a fast enough lap in qualifying to move the No. 89 into the second round for the first time.
Cassill returned to the No. 89 for ten races in 2019, continuing to turn heads to what Shepherd’s team was capable of. In those ten races, Cassill qualified no worse than 26th, accumulating an average start of 17.1 and bringing the Shepherd Racing Ventures Chevrolet to a ninth-place starting position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway [Sept.]. Unfortunately, due to funding issues, Cassill would be required to bring the car behind the wall and forfeit a potentially good finish in nine out of his ten races.
Until Cassill’s tenth start of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
One year after Cassill turned heads with a shocking qualifying run at Homestead, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-native would get the chance to run his first full event with Shepherd Racing Ventures, thanks to the increased support of Dale and Sandra Dietrich, allowing the No. 89 to purchase the allotment of tires they would need for the 200 lap event.
Cassill continued to turn heads that evening, earning an impressive 13th place starting position, and bringing the No. 89 Shepherd Racing Ventures Chevrolet Camaro home in the top-fifteen, after running no lower than P20 throughout the entire duration of the event.
The impressive result lead to the announcement that Cassill and Shepherd Racing Ventures would be partnering for a full-time season in 2020, hoping to chase the funding needed in order to run the full distance in the majority of the races throughout the 2020 season.
Unfortunately, the funding had not materialized by Daytona, forcing the No. 89 to skip the season-opener at Daytona to ensure the protection of their fleet of cars. Cassill returned to the No. 89 for the “West Coast Swing”, but the team was still not able to secure the funding to be able to run the full distance.
After Phoenix, the series was scheduled to visit Atlanta Motor Speedway, but the developing threat of COVID-19 forced NASCAR to change their plans, triggering NASCAR’s nine-week hiatus, mirrored by the shutdown of most of the United States. The effects on the economy have been substantial, affecting the financial situation of many businesses throughout the country, making it more difficult for the smaller businesses that support the Shepherd Racing Ventures team to continue to support the No. 89, making it nearly impossible for the team to make it to the track every week.
On Friday, upon the release of the entry list for the Alsco 300, Cassill took to Twitter to announce that the Shepherd Racing Ventures 89 would not be at the track in Charlotte.
I just got off the phone with Morgan. No Shepherd Ventures ride on the list this week. Hopefully she’ll be back when we can show our qualifying speed like usual.
In the meantime I’ll be a reserve driver on the Cup and Truck side, and ready with my stuff to drive anything else. https://t.co/AxyEa6HpjC
— landon cassill (@landoncassill) May 22, 2020
Since then, Shepherd Racing Ventures has posted to their website that the No. 89 Camaro needs sponsorship for the next six races of the Xfinity Series season.
“DONATE: NASCAR is back on track amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the good news. The bad news is, amidst the economy being shut down, the #89 team needs sponsorship for the next six races on the schedule. If you or your organization would like to help keep Landon Cassill on the track, please click on the button below to donate or fill out the form below to receive information on sponsorship costs. Thank you.” – Shepherd Racing Ventures
If you or your company are interested in supporting the No. 89 Shepherd Racing Ventures team, visit their website (morganshepherdracing.com) and fill out the contact forum on the front page of their website, or you can donate directly to Shepherd Racing Ventures through PayPal.