Newly inducted into the Northeast DIRT Modified Hall of Fame, Tim Fuller scores first Super DIRTcar Series win in two years
Several months before receiving the prestigious honor of being inducted into the Northeast DIRT Modified Hall of Fame, Tim Fuller was asked why he still continues to race after 30 years in the sport.
“Because I can still get it done,” Fuller said.
He “got it done” Wednesday night at Land of Legends Raceway winning the 70-lap, $7,500-to-win, Super DIRTcar Series event at the Canandaigua, N Y track, six days after attending his induction ceremony.
The tide was in Fuller’s favor for the Feature after claiming the SRI Performance/Stock Car Steel Pole Award in the redraw. To his outside was Kyle Coffey and starting directly behind him was nine-time and defending Series champion Matt Sheppard.
Fuller shot ahead of the field at the drop of the green flag, but behind him Sheppard made quick work of passing Coffey for second, setting up another “Super Matt” versus a Hall of Famer battle within the month.
The Watertown, NY driver put a healthy lead between he and Sheppard in the early stage of the race with a clear track. But once he hit lapped traffic, Sheppard inched closer and closer.
The first of three cautions dropped on Lap 21, giving Sheppard a chance to overtake the lead. He looked high in Turns 1 and 2 on the restart, but Fuller successfully overpowered him. With clean air again, Fuller continued to show speed on the straightaways and meticulously navigated through traffic.
Twenty more laps ticked off the counter before Sheppard’s second opportunity came through another caution. Lined up side by side, Fuller fired hard on the restart, succeeding again at fending off Sheppard’s advances on the high side going into Turns 1 and 2.
Fuller showed no signs of fatigue, holding his lead with a steady hand. Sheppard found himself caught up in lapped traffic several times after the race’s halfway point, reducing his ability to challenge the race leader.
But as fate would have it, there was one more opportunity for the race to end in dramatic fashion, with a third caution being dropped on Lap 49. The newly minted Hall of Famer and the future Hall of Famer lined up on the front row, ready to battle for the win.
Fuller was spot on and hit his marks for a third time in a row, finding clean air once again. He never lost his lead for a moment and drove his way to Victory Lane for the first time in a Series matchup since 2021. He was also the fifth different Series winner in five races.
“We had to concentrate, so hard,” Fuller said. “I don’t think I looked at the lap counter twice, just because you had to focus on hitting your marks every time. You could never get up too high going into Turn 1 and 2 or [Sheppard] was going to have you. If you moved up, you were done.”
Sheppard held steady behind Fuller, finishing in second for the third race in a row. The Waterloo, NY driver had his perspective on the restart opportunities.
“I really thought if I could beat him to [Turn 1] on the outside, I could get the lead, but I did it three times and I couldn’t get the lead,” Sheppard said. “He could get stuck faster than I could in (Turn) 1and (Turn) 2. My weakest spot on the whole track was getting into Turn 1, and I think that was his strongest part on the whole track. He had a really good car all night… When it’s your night, it’s your night.”
Peter Britten notched his fifth top-five finish of the season, landing in third place at his home track to round out the podium. The Brisbane, QLD native came into the Stars and Stripes third in both Series and track points, hungry for a win on his home turf.
“I felt like on the restarts I had a shot at them,” Britten said. “I figured if maybe, if I got in front of them, I could hold them off. They didn’t seem to really want to fire on the top. There was enough up there that if you hit it just right, it gave you a hell of a run, especially on the first lap of the restart. The one time down in (Turn) 1 and (Turn) 2, I almost had Sheppard, but he took the line away from me just enough.”
Max McLaughlin, the 2022 Stars and Stripes winner, had his own stellar performance. In one of his best showings of the year, so far, McLaughlin charged from 17th to fourth – his first top five of the season. His Heinke-Baldwin Racing teammate Jimmy Phelps rounded out the top five.
With Mat Williamson finishing 9th, Sheppard now leads the Canadian by 63 points going into the Series’ return to Canada at the end of the month.
UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series heads north of the border for the first time in four seasons. They’ll head to Autodrome Drummond on Monday, July 31, for a 60-lap, $7,500-to-win, showcase followed by a 75–lap, $10,000-to-win, Super DIRT Week Qualifier on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Then, the Series will venture to Brockville-Ontario Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 2, for another $7,500 to win match up.
If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Stars and Stripes 70 Results
1. 19-Tim Fuller; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard; 3. 21A-Peter Britten; 4. 8H-Max McLaughlin; 5. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 6. 28-Jordan McCreadie; 7. 2-Jack Lehner; 8. 25R-Erick Rudolph; 9. 88-Mat Williamson; 10. 99L-Larry Wight; 11. 3-Justin Haers; 12. 70A-Alex Payne; 13. 4-Anthony Perrego; 14. 39C-Kyle Coffey; 15. 35-Mike Mahaney; 16. 5H-Chris Hile; 17. 27J-Danny Johnson; 18. 54-Steve Bernard; 19. 7Z-Zachary Payne; 20. 83X-Tim Sears Jr; 21. 91-Felix Roy; 22. 37M-Mathieu Desjardins; 23. 215-Adam Pierson; 24. 42P-Pat Ward; 25. 12-Darren Smith; 26. 14J-Alan Johnson