Matt Sheppard Scores in Return to Williams Grove
Scores first full-points Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season
By Mandee Pauch
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – June 22, 2016 -Tim Fuller led early at Williams Grove Speedway on Wednesday night, but it was Matt Sheppard who battled to the lead and was dominant through much of the 100-lap Modified Mayhem at the Grove Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds feature.
In the series’ first return to the track in a decade, Sheppard became the sixth different winner in six Super DIRTcar features run at the track since 1989. The defending series champion was able to lead the last 47 circuits to score the Modified Mayhem $6,000 top prize.
“The track started locking down a little bit there early. I just tried to ride it out and drive it nice and straight,” explained Sheppard in victory lane. “The guys in front started to get slower in the long runs and we maintained. I think that’s what won us the race tonight. Once we got up front I just wanted to hit my marks and take it easy.”
Wednesday night marked the first full-points series win in the books for Sheppard and his new team. “It’s definitely big for us. It’s a special win. To put a place like Williams Grove on our resume, it really means a lot.”
Once the green flag dropped for the feature, Fuller rocketed out to an early lead as third place starter, Matt Sheppard, put early pressure on second place runner, Ryan Watt.
As Fuller pulled away, it was Danny Johnson who was making moves through the back of the pack. Johnson advanced from his 17th starting spot and was up to seventh place by lap 26. Bad luck plagued Johnson on lap 37 though as he pulled to the pits due to brake line problems.
Sheppard was able to advance to second place by lap 33 and was able to show speed as he was closing the gap fast on Fuller.
At the halfway mark the top grid showed Fuller, Sheppard, Watt, Dave Blaney, and Billy Decker as the top five. Sheppard battled to the lead after diving underneath Fuller coming out of turn four.
By lap 76, Blaney, who started eighth, moved into the second position. Blaney was slowly closing in on Sheppard but Sheppard was able to pull away as the track was getting faster.
“These guys have a great team. The whole team is strong and gave me a good car to run tonight,” said Blaney about his podium finish. “My car was good and I got fortunate to finish second.”
Sheppard once again drove off; taking his first full-points series win of the season. Second went to Blaney, followed by Fuller, Wight, and Decker. Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Stewart Friesen, Frank Cozze, Mike Mahaney, Brett Hearn, and Keith Flach.
Friesen was able to come from the rear of the field after an early pit stop on lap seven to finish in sixth with Mike Mahaney advancing late as well to finish eighth from 18th.
Thirty-three Big-Block Modifieds attempted to qualify for the Modified Mayhem race. Thirty cars started the field. Nine cautions were brought out during the feature. Watt, outside pole-sitter, slowed down with a left front flat while running in the top five. Sheppard scored his 36th-career win and first ever win at Williams Grove.
The Big-Block Modifieds return to action this Sunday, June 26, at Cornwall Motor Speedway, the 1/4 mile high-banked oval.
Follow the series on Twitter @SuperDIRTcar, or click www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.com.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; June 22, 2016; Williams Grove Speedway; Mechanicsburg, Pa.
A-Main (100 Laps) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 18b-Dave Blaney; 3. 19-Tim Fuller; 4. 99L-Larry Wight; 5. 91-Billy Decker; 6. 44-Stewart Friesen; 7. 35-Frank Cozze; 8. 88m-Mike Mahaney; 9. 20-Brett Hearn; 10. 43-Keith Flach; 11. Xp-Chad Phelps; 12. 32c-Vic Coffey; 13. 18H-Peter Britten; 14. 6H-Max McLaughlin; 15. 33-Ryan Arbithnot; 16. 66-Duane Howard; 17. 42p-Pat Ward; 18. 14w-Ryan Watt; 19. 21-Yan Bussiere; 20. 25R-Erick Rudolph; 21. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 22. 13-Rick Regalski Jr.; 23. 27J-Danny Johnson; 24. 1-Tyler Dippel; 25. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 26. 28p-Eldon Payne; 27. T3-Tom Sheetz; 28. 51m-Dominick Buffalino; 29. 43H-Jimmy Horton; 30. 27R-Mat Williamson
Last Chance Showdown 1 (10-laps – Top 6 Finishers Transfer) – 1. 66-Duane Howard; 2. 32c-Vic Coffey; 3. 43H-Jimmy Horton; 4. Xp-Chad Phelps; 5. 6H-Max McLaughlin; 6. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 7. 51m-Dominick Buffalino; 8. 13-Rick Regalski Jr.; 9. 28p-Eldon Payne; 10. 48T-Dave Rauscher; 11. 66m-J.R. McGinley
Heat 1 (8 Laps) – 1. 20-Brett Hearn; 2. 99L-Larry Wight; 3. 91-Billy Decker; 4. 42p-Pat Ward; 5. 27J-Danny Johnson; 6. 66-Duane Howard; 7. 32c-Vic Coffey; 8. 51m-Dominick Buffalino; 9. 6m-Mat Williamson
Heat 2 (8 Laps) – 1. 44-Stewart Friesen; 2. 19-Tim Fuller; 3. 18b-Dave Blaney; 4. 21-Yan Bussiere; 5. 88m-Mike Mahaney; 6. 43H-Jimmy Horton; 7. 6H-Max McLaughlin
Heat 3 (8 Laps) – 1. 35-Frank Cozze; 2. 43-Keith Flach; 3. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 4. 1-Tyler Dippel; 5. 33-Ryan Arbithnot; 6. Xp-Chad Phelps; 7. 66m-J.R. McGinley; 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta
Heat 4 (8 Laps) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 18H-Peter Britten; 3. 14w-Ryan Watt; 4. T3-Tom Sheetz; 5. 25R-Erick Rudolph; 6. 48T-Dave Rauscher; 7. 28p-Eldon Payne; 8. 13-Rick Regalski Jr.
Qualifying Group 1 – 1. 20-Brett Hearn, 20.893; 2. 99L-Larry Wight, 20.894; 3. 91-Billy Decker, 20.985; 4. 6m-Mat Williamson, 21.124; 5. 42p-Pat Ward, 21.232; 6. 27J-Danny Johnson, 21.387; 7. 51m-Dominick Buffalino, 21.482; 8. 32c-Vic Coffey, 21.635; 9. 66-Duane Howard, 21.644
Qualifying Group 2 – 1. 44-Stewart Friesen, 20.998; 2. 19-Tim Fuller, 21.226; 3. 18b-Dave Blaney, 21.254; 4. 21-Yan Bussiere, 21.362; 5. 43H-Jimmy Horton, 21.605; 6. 88m-Mike Mahaney, 21.638; 7. 6H-Max McLaughlin, 21.768; 8. 7-Mark Flick, 22.422
Qualifying Group 3 – 1. 98H-Jimmy Phelps, 21.282; 2. 43-Keith Flach, 21.454; 3. 35-Frank Cozze, 21.507; 4. 1-Tyler Dippel, 21.557; 5. Xp-Chad Phelps, 21.687; 6. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 21.931; 7. 33-Ryan Arbithnot, 22.099; 8. 66m-J.R. McGinley, 22.482
Qualifying Group 4 – 1. 18H-Peter Britten, 21.508; 2. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 21.522; 3. 14w-Ryan Watt, 21.752; 4. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 21.845; 5. 13-Rick Regalski Jr., 22.397; 6. 48T-Dave Rauscher, 22.536; 7. 28p-Eldon Payne, 22.789; 8. T3-Tommy Sheetz, NT; 9. X-Ed Kitchell, NT
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, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mike’s Racing Heads, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD, Mobil 1, Pole Position Raceway, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors, including: Beyea Headers, Racing Electronics and TNT Rescue.