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Haers Holds off Sheppard and Claims DIRTcar Nationals Victory


Haers Holds off Sheppard and Claims DIRTcar Nationals Victory

Brings home the first gator of the week for the Super DIRTcar Series

By Mandee Pauch

BARBERVILLE, F.L – Feb. 25, 2017 – The hot shoe out of Phelps, N.Y., Justin Haers, picked up his second career DIRTcar Nationals victory after holding off the 22nd starter, Matt Sheppard in Friday night’s 30-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature event at Volusia Speedway Park.

“We had a really good car from the drop of the green,” Haers said in Victory Lane. “It seemed like I’d get in the wrong part of the restart wanting to be on the bottom but kept restarting on top. I just found the [bottom groove] in turn three and four and I could just hook it really good. The car was was unbelievable, top, bottom, it didn’t matter where I wanted it.”

Mario Clair and Alan Johnson led the 26-car field to the green flag. Clair showed a dominant lead early on until Jimmy Horton started to put pressure on the No. 96c. Clair and Horton battled back-and-fourth for several laps until Clair suddenly fell off the pace, forfeiting the top spot to Horton on lap 21 due to a broken right-rear shock.

It wasn’t long until Haers was knocking on Horton’s back bumper. As Haers closed in on Horton, the No. 43 machine started to smoke tremendously with just five laps remaining.

Horton’s night expired after coming to a stop on the track on lap 27 due to a loose oil line, giving Haers the top spot.

“I give [Horton] credit. He ran the hell out of that thing,” said Haers. “The smoke was so bad I didn’t want to get behind him and have something break on the motor and come back and hit me or something. So I was trying to just stay below him a little bit.”

Sheppard, the defending Super DIRTcar Series champion, worked his way through the last chance showdown and started 22nd in the feature. With three laps remaining in the feature, Sheppard made his presence known and was soon knocking on Haers doors threatening for the win.

Haers was able to hold off Sheppard and pulled away to take home the first Super DIRTcar Series victory of 2017 during the DIRTcar Nationals.

“This is probably the coolest trophy that’s out there,” Haers said. “I’ve got [one gator] and now I’ve got another one to bring home.”

“These racecars are a matter of just getting some laps,” said runner-up finisher, Matt Sheppard. “Trying to get the track to slow down a little bit, it wasn’t looking good there for a long time. It seemed like the longer the race went the better we got. I thought I may have had a shot at Justin at the end but he was really good and we kind of ran out of tear-offs there but it was nice from where we started to come from the back and get second.”

The 2016 Super DIRTcar Series Rookie of the Year, Max McLaughlin showed his skills as he capped off the night with a podium finish.

“I kind of made a mistake setup wise but I’ll take the blame,” McLaughlin said. “The car was really good all night. I ran out of tear-offs with about five to go so I was driving blind. Luckily we ended up third and will go at it again tomorrow.”

The Super DIRTcar Series will be back in action at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals on Saturday, Feb. 25th. Follow the series on Twitter @SuperDIRTcar, or click


Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; Feb. 24, 2017; Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, F.L.

Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 3-Justin Haers, 2. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 3. 6h-Max McLaughlin, 4. 99l-Larry Wight, 5. 25r-Erick Rudolph, 6. 20-Brett Hearn, 7. 27j-Danny Johnson, 8. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 9. 5-Billy Vaningewen, 10. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 11. 85-H.J. Bunting, 12. 19-Tim Fuller, 13. 30-Jamie Mills, 14. 14j-Alan Johnson, 15. 43-Jimmy Horton, 16. 88-Mike Mahaney, 17. 96c-Mario Clair, 18. 13-Steve Davis, 19. 22-Brandon Walters, 20. 7-Rick Laubach, 21. 30m-Joseph Watson, 22. 21a-Peter Britten, 23. 71-Mike Bowman, 24. 1g-Dawrin Greene, 25. 1-Billy Pauch, 26. 49-Billy Dunn

Last-Chance Showdown No. 1 (10 Laps): 1. 99l-Larry Wight, 2. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 3. 85-H.J. Bunting, 4. 109-Billy Whittaker, 5. 118-Jim Britt, 6. 28p-Eldon payne, 7. 48t-Dave Rauscher, 8. 27-David Hunt, 9. 96-J.F. Corriveau, 10. 19m-Jessy Mueller, 11. 6d-Dillon Steuer

Last-Chance Showdown No. 2 (10 Laps): 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 2. 13-Steve Davis, 3. 21a-Peter Britten, 4. 27a-Ryan Anderson, 5. 54-Steve Bernard, 6. 14-C.G. Morey, 7. 7m-Mike Maresca, 8. 44r-Russell Morseman, 9. 32c-Vic Coffey, 10. 21k-Randy Chrysler

Heat 1 (8 Laps) – 1. 43-Jimmy Horton, 2. 14J-Alan Johnson, 3. 28p-Eldon Payne, 4. 20-Brett Hearn, 5. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 6. 1g-Darwin Greene, 7. 109-Billy Whittaker, 8. 85-H.J. Bunting, 9. 118-Jim Britt, 10. 48t-Dave Rauscher

Heat 2 (8 Laps) – 1. 6h-Max McLaughlin, 2. 96c-Mario Clair, 3. 22-Brandon Walters, 17.238, 4. 27-David Hunt, 5. 25r-Erick Rudolph, 6. 99l-Larry Wight, 7. 49-Billy Dunn, 8. 6d-Dillon Steuer, 9. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 10. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 11. 44r-Russell Morseman

Heat 3 (8 Laps) – 1. 7-Rick Laubach, 2. 19-Tim Fuller, 3. 71-Mike Bowman, 4. 30-Jamie Mills, 5. 1-Billy Pauch, 6. 9s-Matt Shepperd, 7. 32c-Vic Coffey, 8. 21-Peter Britten, 9. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 10. 21-Yan Bussiere

Heat 4 (8 Laps) – 1. 3-Justin Haers, 2. 88-Mike Mahaney, 3. 5-Billy Vanigewen, 4. 30m-Joseph Watson, 5. 27j-Danny Johnson, 6. 27a-Ryan Anderson, 7. 13-Steve Davis, 8. 7m-Mike Maresca, 9. 54-Steve Bernard, 10. 14-C.G. Morey

Group 1 Qualifier – 1. 43-Jimmy Horton, 17.888; 2. 14J-Alan Johnson, 17.902; 3. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 17.985; 4. 1g-Darwin Greene, 18.054; 5. 20-Brett Hearn, 18.127; 6. 96-J.F. Corriveau, 18.221; 7. 109-Billy Whittaker, 18.250; 8. 28p-Eldon Payne, 18.296; 9. 118-Jim Britt, 18.427; 10. 85-H.J. Bunting, 18.642

Group 2 Qualifier – 1. 6h-Max McLaughlin, 17.556; 2. 96c-Mario Clair, 17.595; 3. 49-Billy Dun, 17.784; 4. 22-Brandon Walters, 17.956; 5. 27-David Hunt, 17.959; 6. 19m-Jessey Mueller, 18.005; 7. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 18.021; 8. 25r-Erick Rudolph, 18.093; 9. 99l-Larry Wight, 18.454; 10. 6d-Dillon Steuer, 18.724

Group 3 Qualifier – 1. 7-Rick Laubach, 17.342; 2. 19-Tim Fuller, 17.478; 3. 30-Jamie Mills, 17.562; 4. 71-Mike Bowman, 17.621; 5. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 17.639; 6. 1-Billy Pauch, 17.659; 7. 21-Yan Bussiere, 17.665; 8. 21-Peter Britten, 17.847; 9. 32c-Vic Coffey, 17.848; 10. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 18.036


Group 4 Qualifier – 1. 88-Mike Mahaney, 17.411; 2. 3-Justin Haers, 17.572; 3. 5-Billy Vaninwigen, 17.601; 4. 30m-Joseph Watson, 17.680; 5. 5m-Mike Maresca, 17.680; 6. 271-Ryan Anderson, 17.857; 7. 27j-Danny Johnson, 17.893; 8. 14-C.G. Morey, 17.994; 9. 13-Steve Davis, 18.205; 10. 54-Steve Bernard, 18.219