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BUSINESS AS USUAL: Matt Sheppard Looks Ahead to Super DIRTcar Series Title Defense

Matt Sheppard

Matt Sheppard had a memorable start to the 2024 season, picking up two Super DIRTcar Series wins at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park – his first at the track in five years. 

But when it comes to defending his 10th Super DIRTcar Series title, the Sunshine State is already in the Waterloo, NY driver’s rear-view mirror.

“I don’t think it’s important at all,” Sheppard said. “I typically run pretty miserable in Florida and usually come home with zero wins and still manage to have good seasons up here. It’s great for the team, it’s great momentum-wise, it’s great for morale, and it’s great for the pocketbook. But as far as how it related to the season up here, I have to say it’s unrelated.”

Even though he’s putting his Florida success behind him, “Super Matt” celebrated another career milestone, earning his 500th career Feature victory.

Matt Sheppard
Matt Sheppard prior to the opening night of DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park/Tom Stevens

The next milestone on his list is 100 Super DIRTcar Series victories. He has 96 wins and needs four more to join Brett Hearn as the only two drivers in Series history to accomplish that feat.

However, as he approaches another significant milestone, he’s taking things one step at a time.

“It’s just a matter of trying to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Sheppard said. We’ve had a really good run going here for quite a number of years, and it’s just not easy in any sport to maintain that level for as long as we have. That’s what we strive for the most. To try and maintain the level we’re at. We’re already performing at a high level, winning a lot of races and championships.

“But it’s trying to stay ahead of the competition and maintain that level year-in and year-out that’s the tough part.”

One reason Sheppard has maintained that level through the years is the dynamic between himself and Crew Chief Randy Kisacky. The two earned their seventh Super DIRTcar Series championship together in 2024.

Sheppard said his relationship with Kisacky, who also has 10 Series titles, is different than what you’d usually see with a driver-crew chief combination.

“It’s probably a more interesting dynamic than most driver-crew chief relationships,” Sheppard said. “I’ve kind of been my own crew chief before Randy, and it kind of takes the pressure off of both of us. I’m not relying on him to put a setup in this thing, and I’m not relying on myself, either. We can bounce ideas off of each other and put our heads together and come up with what we both think is most logical. 

“That’s been a really good formula. It’s like a two-headed approach to everything.”

Sheppard’s quest for an 11th title begins at New Egypt Speedway on March 30, where he’s found plenty of success through the years. He won the track’s Dirty Jersey 9 event last season and found Victory Lane the last time the Series raced at the Garden State venue in 2014.

He also won a track championship at New Egypt in 2007, driving the Randy Ross-owned #44.

“New Egypt is a place I’ve been fortunate to grace Victory Lane a lot of times,” Sheppard said. “I’ve won some Super DIRTcar Series races there, I won a race there last year. It’s been really good to me in the past. I’m really looking forward to getting the season started there. 

“It’s always tricky this time of year with the weather and the track conditions, and we’re just hoping for the best all-around.”

Sheppard and the Super DIRTcar Series kick off the championship season on Saturday, March 30, at New Egypt Speedway for Power in the Pines, the series’ first stop at the track since 2014.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.