As detailed in the team’s recent blog post, Shepherd Racing Ventures is seeking a sponsor to allow them to resume competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season.
The single-car operation – owned by Morgan Shepherd — has participated in at least one NASCAR Xfinity Series event in 25 of the series’ 38 full seasons. With no plans to compete in the series this year, Shepherd Racing Ventures will end their 15-year streak of competing in at least one event each season, dating back to 2006.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the single-car operation was forced to retreat from the track, as the sanctioning body decided to eliminate all practice and qualifying sessions, increasing the field from 36 to 40 cars. The adjusted purses for the series did not cover the costs of a start-and-park effort, without sponsorship.
The organization announced in November 2020 that Morgan Shepherd – the patriarch of the Shepherd Racing Ventures team — was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; however, despite the diagnosis, the team spent the next couple of months searching for sponsorship to return in 2021, but was unable to secure and adequate amount.
As a result of this unfortunate diagnoses, Shepherd Racing Ventures has taken the opportunity to make a difference, forming a partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation. The foundation will not provide monetary assistance to Shepherd Racing Ventures, but the two parties are beginning to implement fundraising programs to benefit the nonprofit.
Under the assumption that qualifying is expected to return for many – if not all — NASCAR Xfinity Series events next season, Shepherd Racing Ventures is searching more than ever before for a company willing to support the organization’s return.
“We do have one sponsorship company assisting us in our search,” Cindy Shepherd told TobyChristie.com. “We have two individuals searching as well. There is some interest, but it is in the very early stages at this time.”
Shepherd Racing Ventures still maintains that they can make a competitive return to NASCAR Xfinity Series, even given the challenges they have encountered as of late.
As demonstrated by Landon Cassill in 2019 and 2020, the team has shown itself to be capable in the past, with eight top-20 qualifying runs in his 15 starts so far. Adding in the top-15 finish Cassill earned when the team obtained the funding to run the full race at Homestead in 2019 and the possibility of the team coming back consistently inside the top-25 isn’t out of the question.
It is clear that the organization’s past success and their outlook for next year are greatly different due to the driver, as Landon Cassill is currently running full-time for JD Motorsports. When it comes down to it, Shepherd Racing Ventures may have to find a replacement driver if Cassill chooses to return to JD Motorsports in 2022.
At this point, the organization is not concerned with that, as its main focus is now just finding the sponsorship it needs to return to the track, rather than pursuing a driver. Granted, the door wasn’t completely shut on a reunion between Shepherd Racing Ventures and Landon Cassill.
“As far as a driver goes, we want to find the funds to race full time in 2022 before we approach a driver.” said Shepherd. “Landon and Morgan do have great chemistry and we welcome him at any time, but he has another commitment right now and we would never interfere with that.”
While it is yet to be seen if the sponsorship will be found for the single-car organization, the team has proven that there has been no lack of determination for Shepherd Racing Ventures to return to the racetrack once again.