Matt Sheppard Hoping for Success at Quebec Super DIRTcar Series Races
Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Racing at Drummond and Granby July 22 and 23
WEEDSPORT, N. Y. – Despite his points lead, three-time defending Super DIRTcar Series Champion Matt Sheppard is hoping to improve his performance in the Big-Block Modified tour as it travels to Quebec. Sheppard leads by just 12 points, and has yet to capture a series win.
“Hopefully we can have a little bit of luck, and hopefully we can turn the series around a little bit,” Sheppard said of the upcoming races at Autodrome Drummond and Autodrome Granby. “It’s been a little while.”
Last year’s three wins – two at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park – propelled Sheppard to the championship, but with Brett Hearn having another strong year and drivers like Stewart Friesen and Bobby Varin ready to take aim at the title, Sheppard will have his work cut out for him. Already his reign at Rolling Wheels Raceway fell to Friesen in June’s DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60, and point runner-up Hearn seems to be continuing his streak of big race wins, having taken the prize in The Big Show 5 Tuesday.
With a strong history at Autodrome Drummond and Autodrome Granby, Sheppard is aiming to expand his point lead with wins in Quebec.
“it’s a track that’s always been good to me,” Sheppard said of Autodrome Drummond, where he took the series show in July of last year. “I won my first-ever series race there, and we’ve won a lot of races there. Hopefully we go back there and have some of the same luck we’ve had in the past.”
Autodrome Drummond, in Drummondville, Quebec, hosts the Super DIRTcar Series Monday, July 22, before the Big-Block Modified tour travels to Autodrome Granby, Granby, Quebec, for a Tuesday, July 23. Both shows also feature inaugural events for the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series in the province of Quebec.
Sheppard has also seen success at Granby in the past, taking a win there in 2011, but unable to race at the track in 2012 due to inclement weather canceling both series races there.
“Granby has a really nice atmosphere, it’s a fun track,” Sheppard said of the half-mile, semi-banked oval. “Hopefully we can get back there and get a tour win.”
The trick, Sheppard said, will be qualifying well. He started 17th at Rolling Wheels, 21st at New Egypt Speedway, 12th at Cornwall Motor Speedway, and 10th at Albany-Saratoga. Yet, he claimed a spot in the top ten in each race, improving by 14 spots each at Rolling Wheels and New Egypt to claim third and seventh respectively.
“We’ve been pretty good, but we haven’t been qualifying and starting as good as we need to,” Sheppard said. “The biggest thing we need to do is work on qualifying and starting a little closer to the front. The cars have been good, but you’ve got to have the whole package. You have to qualify well, you have to draw good numbers, and you have to draw good numbers in the features.”
Sheppard said luck has played more a part in his ability to qualify well than speed. The FX Caprara/Xtreme Lubricants 9s has been among the fastest cars in the field, but continually drew into stacked heat groups. On one of his worst qualifying nights, the DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60 at Rolling Wheels, Sheppard was sixth overall in time trials, but fourth in his group.
“The cars have been good. Just, for some reason, we’ve had bad luck with the redraw and bad luck with the qualifying groups,” Sheppard said. “If we get our qualifying and our starting positions down a little better, and get the car a little better, I don’t see why we couldn’t get the 9s into Victory Lane.”
Autodrome Drummond’s Monday, June 22, event features the Super DIRTcar Series, the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, and a full show for the Lightning Sprints. For more information, visit www.autodrome-drummond.com.
The Tuesday, July 23, race night at Autodrome Granby features a 100 lap Super DIRTcar Series event, a 50-lap feature for the DIRTcar Sportsman Series, as well as a 25-lapper for Pro Stocks. For more information, visit www.autodrome-granby.com.
AT A GLANCE:
Autodrome Drummond – Monday, July 22, 2013
Divisions: Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds (100 laps); DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series; Lightning Sprints
Physical Address: 1155 Boul. St-Joseph Oest, Drummond, Quebec, Canada, J2B 6B6
About the Track: Quarter-mile semi-banked dirt oval
For more information: www.autodrome-drummond.com
When: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Divisions: Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds (100 laps); DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series; Pro Stocks
Physical Address: 1268 Cowie, Granby, Quebec, Canada, J2J 0H2
About the Track:
For more information: www.autodrome-granby.com.
Drivers to Expect – Super DIRTcar Series
Drivers to expect – DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series
Louie Jackson, Jr.