Sheppard in His Own League at Merrittville Speedway
Captures fourth Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial title
By Mandee Pauch
THOROLD, ONT. - Aug 1, 2016 - 'Super' Matt Sheppard from Waterloo, N.Y. took an early lead and never looked back at Merrittville Speedway Monday night for the Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature event.
"It mean's so much what they do here. When you walk out of here you know you're going to have a pretty good night. They worked really hard with the lap sponsors and it doesn't go unappreciated," Sheppard said about the effort put into the nights Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial.
Tim Fuller and Pat Ward took the 31-car field to the initial green.
An early battle began between Fuller and Sheppard for the top spot as they ran side-by-side for several laps.
Fuller held on to the middle groove as Sheppard ran up on the outside to take a run on
Fuller. Sheppard was able to takeover the top spot from Fuller on lap 18.
Sheppard soon caught heavy lapped traffic by lap 23.
On lap 25 Sheppard lead Fuller, Larry Wight, Brett Hearn and Pat Ward.
Seventh place starter, Brett Hearn was running high on the cushion and moved into third on lap 38.
Wight took advantaged of the lap 48 restart and dove to the outside of Hearn as he took over third spot.
Sheppard continued to show the way at the halfway mark over Fuller, Wight, Hearn and Chad Brachmann.
21st starter Pete Bicknell was a man on the move as he slipped into eighth position on lap 52.
Sheppard once again caught the back of the field on lap 58 as he began to battle his way through tight lapped traffic.
Chad Brachmann then took third from Wight on lap 59 and drove away to chase down Fuller.
Fuller tried to hold off Brachmann as Brachmann tiptoed around the bottom for several laps and was able to close in and take over second spot from Fuller on lap 75.
Fuller didn't give up too easily as they battled back-and-forth for that second spot.
The seventh restart on lap 79 saw Friesen charge into third place as he worked the outside groove to chase down Brachmann.
Sheppard carried the momentum and the bite around the outside of the track as Brachmann hugged down low hoping to make ground on Sheppard.
28th starter Mike Bowman made a late race charge as he snuck into fourth position by lap 81.
The final caution of the night was brought out on lap 94 causing Sheppard to form back in line, erasing his straightaway lead.
Sheppard once again brought the field back to the green with just six laps remaining.
Sheppard tucked down to the bottom to hold his position and slowly pulled away form second place runner, Brachmann.
As Sheppard pulled away from the field Bowman and Friesen battled back and forth for the third spot but it was Bowman who crossed the line to take third over Friesen.
Sheppard went on to capture his fourth Bob St. Amand Memorial title at Merrittville Speedway over Brachmann, Bowman, Friesen and Bicknell.
"The thing wouldn't turn. This thing was tight. We didn't free up enough and I kind of just found a groove where I could drive straight up all the way across the track and finally the thing would hook and turn left and away she'd go," Sheppard said in victory lane.
"Stew's been red hot too but it seems like the only way we can gain points on him is to win races and thank god we've been doing that and hopefully we can keep that going here," Sheppard said about the tight points battle between him and Friesen.
Chad Brachmann, one of Merrittville's local favorites was pleased with his podium finish against the Super DIRTcar Series boys.
"Matt was in a league of his own like every other race he's at," Brachmann said. "We were decent. I think I could have been a little bit better forward drive wise. To hang on up front and to finish second to Matt, that's a good accomplishment we did tonight."
28th starter Mike Bowman was in complete shock as he stood on the front straightaway celebrating his advancement all the way up to third position.
"The car was really good. I bent the steering wheel in the wreck early on. I'm really surprised to be standing up here. The guys put a heck of a lot of effort into tonight. We really needed this," Bowman said.
Race Notes: 37 modifieds attempted to qualify and 32 started the field. Tim Fuller set fastest time overall in time trials with a 15.763. Eight cautions were brought out during the 100-lap main event. Three of the top five finishers in the feature were Small-Block Modifieds.
The Super DIRTcar Series returns to action in Ransomville, N.Y. on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at Ransomville Speedway.
Follow the series on Twitter @SuperDIRTcar, or click www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.com.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; Aug. 1, 2016; Merrittville Speedway; Thorold, Ont.
A-Main (100 Laps) - 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 3B-Chad Brachmann; 3. 71-Mike Bowman; 4. 44-Stewart Friesen; 5. 42-Pete Bicknell; 6. 19-Tim Fuller; 7. 3rs-Chris Steele; 8. 62-Erick Rudolph; 9. 28z-Gary Lindberg; 10. 20-Brett Hearn; 11. 6m-Mat Williamson; 12. 99L-Larry Wight; 13. 33-Mike Mahaney; 14. 91-Billy Decker; 15. 37s-Tommy Flannigan; 16. 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 17. 42p-Pat Wardl 18. 27j-Danny Johnson; 19. 19c-Ryan Susice; 20. 18h-Peter Britten; 21. 15j-Tim Jones; 22. 6h-Max McLaughlin; 23. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 24. 88-Shayne Pierce; 25. 96-Fred Carleton; 26. 43-Keith Flach; 27. 26-Rick Richner; 28. 7m-Michael Maresca; 29. 35-Frank Cozze; 30. 96c-Jean-Francois Corriveau; 31. 93-Gary Tomkins; 32. 08-Mark D'Ilario
Last Chance Showdown 2 (8 laps) - 1. 35-Frank Cozze; 2. Max McLaughlin; 3. 96-Fred Carleton; 4. 71-Mike Bowman; 5. 96c-Jean Francois Corriveau; 6. 28z-Gary Lindberg; 7. 165-Rex King Jr; 8. 38-Scott Wood
Last Chance Showdown 1 (8 Laps) - 1. 42-Pete Bicknell; 2. 43-Keith Flach; 3. 33-Mike Mahaney; 4. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 5. 28-Todd Gordon; 6. 41-Boyd MacTavish; 7. 7m-Michael Maresca; 8. 27j-Danny Johnson; 9. 108-Bill Bleich
Heat 4 (8 Laps) - 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen; 3. 20-Brett Hearn; 4. 19c-Ryan Susice; 5. 88-Shayne Peirce; 6. 71-Mike Bowman; 7. 38-Scott Wood; 8. 35-Frank Cozze; 9. 28z-Gary Lindberg
Heat 3 (8 Laps) - 1. 3b-Chad Brachmann; 2. 6m-Mat Williamson; 3. 18h-Peter Britten; 4. 93-Gary Tomkins; 5. 15j-Tim Jones; 6. 6h-Max McLaughlin; 7. 96-Fred Carleton; 8. 165-Rex King Jr.; 9. 96c-Jean-Francois Corriveau
Heat 2 (8 Laps) - 1. 99L-Larry Wight; 2. 91-Billy Decker; 3. 08-Mark D'llario; 4. 3rs-Chris Steele; 5. 26-Rick Richner; 6. 43-Keith Flach; 7. 28-Todd Gordon; 8. 7m-Michael Maresca; 9. 41-Boyd MacTavish
Heat 1 (8 Laps) - 1. 19-Tim Fuller; 2. 42p-Pat Ward; 3. 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 4. 37s-Tommy Flannigan; 5. 62-Erick Rudolph; 6. 42-Pete Bicknell; 7. 33-Mike Mahaney; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 9. 108-Bill Bleich; 10. 27j-Danny Johnson
Group 4 Qualifier - 1.9s-Matt Sheppard, 16.012; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen,16.069; 3. 20-Brett Hearn,16.096; 4. 38-Scott Wood,16.343; 5.19c-Ryan Susice, 16.356; 6. 88-Shayne Pierce,16.423; 7. 35-Frank Cozze, 16.482; 8. 28Z-Gary Lindberg, 16.491; 9. 71-Mike Bowman, 16.643
Group 3 Qualifier - 1. 3-Chad Brachman,15.996; 2. 6m-Mat Williamson, 16.008; 3. 93-Gary Tomkins, 16.243; 4.18H-Peter Britten, 16.262; 5. 6h-Max McLaughlin, 16.348; 6. 15J-Tim Jones,16.424; 7. 96-Fred Carlton, 16.525; 8. 165-Rex King Jr.,16.533; 9. 96c-J.F. Corriveau, 16.546
Group 2 Qualifier - 1. 99L-Larry Wight, 16.026; 2. 91D-Billy Decker, 16.149; 3. 08-Mark D'Ilario,16.225; 4. 3RS-Chris Steele,16.237; 5. 26-Rick Richner,16.242; 6. 7M-Mike Maresca, 16.251; 7. 28-Todd Gordon, 16.470; 8. 43-Keith Flach,16.561; 9. 41-Boyd MacTavish,16.714
Group 1 Qualifier - 1. 19-Tim Fuller, 15.763; 2. 42p-Pat Ward, 15.868; 3. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 15.912; 4. 37s-Tommy Flannigan, 16.138; 5. 62-Eric Rudolph, 16.198; 6. 33-Mike Mahaney, 16234; 7. 42-Pete Bicknell, 16.241; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 16.327; 9. 27j-Danny Johnson, 16.556; 10. 108-Bill Bleich, 16.625
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including: Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), Chevy Performance Parts and NAPA Auto Parts; in addition to contingency sponsors, including: ASI Race Wear, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Fox Shocks, Henry's Exhaust Systems, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mike's Racing Heads, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD, Pole Position Raceway, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors, including: Beyea Headers, Racing Electronics and TNT Rescue.