With the 2024 Super DIRTcar Series season less than two months away, storylines are already building for what’s to come.
But before we turn the page to 2024 and the season-opener at Volusia Speedway Park for the 53rd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17, let’s look back at the vital moments of 2023.
The 23-race season saw Matt Sheppard grab two historic milestones while Mat Williamson earned a landmark win at Super DIRT Week. It also saw one driver earn his spot on the all-time wins list with legendary Big Block Modified names.
Here are the key moments from the 2023 season:
Money and Gators
When the season begins at Volusia during DIRTcar Nationals, everyone is aiming for the Big Gator championship trophy.
In this year’s Big Gator hunt, Max McLaughlin won the opening night and then Mat Williamson scored back-to-back wins in dramatic fashion, leading two laps between the two races.
In his first victory, Williamson dropped to fifth in the first few laps before climbing back to second with 11 laps remaining. From there, he chased down Demetrios Drellos who led 29 laps before “Money Mat” powered past him on the backstretch during the final lap to grab the checkered flag.
During Saturday’s finale, Williamson took advantage of lap traffic in the final stages of the 50-lap Feature to put the Buzz Chew Chevrolet #88 into Victory Lane a second time. But this time, he stopped Jack Lehner from earning his first career Series win.
Williamson beat the “Ginja Ninja” with another last lap pass to win the Feature and clinch his first “Big Gator” trophy.
He hopes to add another one when the Series returns to Volusia for four nights during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17. For Tickets, visit dirtcarnationals.com.
Sheppard Moves to Second
Matt Sheppard continues to add accolades in every Super DIRTcar Series season. That includes 2023 as he moved to second on the all-time wins list.
With his win at Lebanon Valley Speedway in July, Sheppard passed Danny Johnson on the all-time wins list with his 90th Series win. He added four more before the year was over, ending the season with 94 victories.
When the 2024 season kicks off at Volusia in February, the Waterloo, NY driver is six wins away from reaching 100 Super DIRTcar Series victories—a feat accomplished by only Brett Hearn, who’s at the top of the all-time wins list with 141.
Only one driver added his name to the impressive list of Super DIRTcar Series winners in 2024—Chris Hile.
The Oswego, NY driver earned his first career win at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in June during the track’s Summer Starter, leading the final 32 laps to earn the $7,500 prize. With the win, Hile became the 192nd driver to score a Super DIRTcar Series victory.
The Series returns to the “Great Race Place” in September for the Malta Massive Weekend finale on Sept. 21 for the final Capital Region stop of 2024.
Return to Canada
In 2023, the Super DIRTcar Series returned to Canada for the first time since 2019 with three jam-packed nights of action between Autodrome Drummond and Brockville Ontario Speedway.
Drummond opened the tripleheader with the two-night King of the North, boasting two memorable events.
On night one, Erick Rudolph inherited the lead from Francois Bernier after Bernier went over the Turn 1 banking. From there, Rudolph went unchallenged to win in the Bob and Randy Slack-owned #3RS.
In the $10,000-to-win King of the North finale, Mike Mahaney dove under David Hebert with 19 laps to go, winning his third career Super DIRTcar Series Feature. He also earned a spot in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 field during Super DIRT Week 51.
The final night of the Canadian swing moved to Ontario as the Series battled at Brockville. Recently inducted Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Famer Tim Fuller held off Sheppard to earn his then second victory of the season, making it three different winners in three nights of action.
The Super DIRTcar Series returns to Canada for three more nights in 2024, stopping at Autodrome Drummond on July 22-23, before returning to Brockville Ontario Speedway on July 24.
A mid-August swing through Central New York highlighted the August portion of the Super DIRTcar Series schedule with stops at Brewerton Speedway and Land of Legends Raceway.
The first night of action at Brewerton saw Williamson score another last lap victory, passing Sheppard as the field came to the white flag in the 60-lap Feature. The win was Williamson’s sixth of the season.
When the Series went to Land of Legends for its SummerFAST event, Sheppard dominated the 60-lap Feature, earning enough points to win the mini-series title for the second consecutive season.
SummerFAST returns to the 2024 schedule, kicking off at Brewerton on Monday, Aug. 12, before moving to Land of Legends on Tuesday, Aug. 13. This year’s finale will be at Fulton on Wednesday, Aug. 13, as Sheppard aims for his third SummerFAST trophy.
While those are the only stops of 2024 for Brewerton and Fulton, SummerFAST will be the season’s second stop at Land of Legends. The Shower of Big Block Power rolls into the Canandaigua, NY oval on July 4 for Stars and Stripes, a $7,500-to-win battle on Independence Day.
Super DIRT Week 51
The most prestigious event in Big Block Modified racing returned to Oswego Speedway as the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 capped off Super DIRT Week 51.
The race happened on Monday for the first time in history, but that didn’t stop the excitement. Williamson dominated the 51st edition of the event, leading the final 119 laps to score his third Billy Whittaker Cars 200 victory and becoming the winningest driver of the event at Oswego.
His win capped off a historic day for the Canadian competitor, who also won his first DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150 earlier that afternoon.
Super DIRT Week 52 returns to Oswego Speedway on Oct. 7-12, 2024, with a change to this year’s schedule. The Billy Whittaker Cars 200 will be under the lights on Saturday, Oct. 12 (at 7pm).
For tickets to Super DIRT Week 52, visit superdirtweek.com.
9S x 10
The 2023 season finished at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World of Outlaws World Finals, where Sheppard put an exclamation point on the year.
“Super” Matt won two of the three Features, earning his fourth and fifth win of the season and his record 10th Super DIRTcar Series title, more than any other driver.
The Super DIRTcar Series returns to Charlotte for the final weekend of 2024 on Nov. 6-9, along with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models.
The Super DIRTcar Series rolls into the 2024 season venturing through 18 different tracks in six states and two Canadian provinces. That includes stops at four new facilities, New Egypt Speedway, Thunder Mountain Speedway, Selinsgrove Speedway, and Atomic Speedway.
While Sheppard’s chase for 100 victories begins in Florida, his quest for an 11th Super DIRTcar Series championship begins at New Egypt on Saturday, March 30. He’ll have several drivers like Williamson, Mahaney, Peter Britten, Jimmy Phelps, 2023 Rookie of the Year Felix Roy, and more trying to knock him off the throne when the season ends at Charlotte.
The Super DIRTcar Series kicks off its 2024 season at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17, at Volusia Speedway Park. For tickets, visit dirtcarnationals.com.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.