Fifth Race of Super DIRTcar Series Goes to Matt Sheppard
DRUMMONDVILLE, QUÉBEC – July 25, 2012 – Persistence pays off. It did for “Super Matt” Sheppard at Autodrome Drummond Tuesday, July 24, as he worked his way toward his second 2012 Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series win.
Sheppard drew the fifth spot for the 100-lap feature, but started off on the wrong foot, falling from the top five soon after the green flag waved. However, through two lead changes and four cautions, he steadily gained ground in his JB Motorsports no. 9s FX Caprara Car Co./Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry and, finding the inside in lap 83, launched past then-leader Brett Hearn for the top spot. With fewer than 20 laps left, Hearn fought hard to regain his position, but Sheppard resisted and crossed the finish line victorious.
“We had a really good race car. We weren’t that great at the beginning of the race, but the longer the race went the track seemed to come to me and I just inched my way to the front,” Sheppard said. “It didn’t happen very fast, but I gained a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and we were finally able to sneak by Brett for the win.”
Starting the night strong in pre-feature events, Sheppard clocked his heat’s fastest time trial with an 18.539-second lap and finished first in the qualifying race. However, he was bested in the redraw by Steve Bernard, Jimmy Phelps, and Hearn, each of whom spent time at the front of the pack before Sheppard was able to make it there.
Bernard drew the pole and sped ahead for the initial lead, reaching traffic after only seven laps. Lapped cars proved beneficial for follower Phelps, who closed in on Bernard, finally taking the inside to pass him in lap 24. Meanwhile, Sheppard persisted from his sixth-place position, beating Rob Bellinger for fifth in lap 37 and Yan Bussiere for fourth in lap 40.
In lap 45, third-placer Hearn powered past Bernard for second and, his momentum building, caught up to Phelps by lap 50 but the 98h driver defended successfully. Behind them both, Sheppard built enough speed in the backstretch of lap 52 to pass former leader Bernard for the third spot.
Phelps stayed strong through a caution in lap 53, but another yellow flag and double-file restart in lap 64 gave Hearn the chance he needed to get ahead. With Phelps taking the pole, Hearn had the outside and by the second turn had Phelps behind him. Phelps soon fell to Sheppard as well, and by the next caution in lap 67, took fifth behind Dale Planck.
Hearn took the outside again in a lap-72 double-file restart and maintained his lead, looking for his first 2012 Super DIRTcar Series win. Sheppard, finally having the frontrunner within reach, pursued doggedly. The two raced side-by-side through several turns until Sheppard finally won out in lap 83.
“We’ve had a lot of success with this race track. It just seems to be one of our better race tracks,” said Sheppard, whose first-ever Super DIRTcar Series win was at Autodrome Drummond. “Every time we come here it seems like we’re near the front. It was a long race tonight, and a good racecar, and we were able to get there.”
Although unable to take away a win, runner-up Hearn was not disappointed to add a third second-place finish to his series tally for this season.
“If we can come to a race and qualify competitively, not fight uphill all night long, start in a competitive position in the feature, and run up front the whole 100 laps, I’m good with that. Sooner or later we’ll get it set up so it’s perfect,” Hearn said. “Matt and I were almost equal, he was able to jump down and get on the bottom just a little lower than me. He was just a little tiny better than we were, and that’s all it took.”
Rounding out the top five were Planck in third, Bellinger in fourth, and Billy Dunn in fifth.
The Super DIRTcar Series heads westward for its next races with round 6 Monday, August 6, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario, followed closely by round 7 Tuesday, August 7, at I-96 Speedway in Ionia, Michigan.
It’s not too early to purchase tickets for Super DIRT Week tickets. Super DIRT Week XLI gets underway Wednesday, Oct. 3, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 7, at the New York State Fairgrounds. For tickets, go to www.DIRTcar.com/tickets or call 315-834-6606.
Super DIRTcar Big Block Series Race #5-Autodrome Drummond
July 24, 2012
A-Main (100 laps): 1. 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo, N. Y.; 2. 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex, N. J.; 3. 77x Dale Planck/Homer, N. Y.; 4. 8R Rob Bellinger/Dexter, N. Y.; 5. 49 Billy Dunn/Watertown, N. Y.; 6. 98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville, N. Y.; 7. 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne, N. Y., 8. 49 Francois Bernier/St-Hyacinthe, Québec; 9. 3h Justin Haers/Phelps, N. Y.; 10. 44 Sebastien Gougeon/Drummondville, Québec; 11. 63 Dominic Dufault/Ste-Victoire, Québec; 12. 27J Danny Johnson/Rochester, N. Y.; 13. 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook, N. J.; 14. 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY; 15. 1 David Hebert/St-Damase, Québec; 16. 124 Pierre Dagenais/Gatineau, Québec; 17. 97 Michel Chicoine/St-Cecile-de-Milton, Québec; 18. 23 Dany Bilodeau/Victoriaville, Québec; 19. 21a Pete Britten/Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; 20. 5* Tyler Siri/Watkins Glen, N. Y.; 21. 13 Kevin Hamel/Sorel, Québec; 22. 48 Dave Rauscher/Waterloo, N. Y.; 23. 21 Yan Bussiere/Drummondville, Québec; 24. 22c Mario Clair/Drummondville, Québec; 25. 54 Steve Bernard/Granby, Québec; 26. 39 Clement Therrien/Victoriaville, Québec; 27. 72 Tommy Flannigan/Ste-Catherines, Ontario; 28. 37 Paul St-Sauveur/La Presentation, Québec; 29. 73 Alain Boisvert/Dorval, Québec; 30. 22j Gino Clair/Ste-Germain, Québec; DNS: 7 Patrice Demers/Drummondville, Québec; 22p Patrick Beaumier/Granby, Québec; 39 Alan Therrien/Victoriaville, Québec; 55 Dexter Stacey/Kahnawake, Québec; 66 Wallace Stacey/Kahnawake, Québec; 73jr Mathieu Boisvert/Dorval, Québec; 172 André Gauthier/Granby, Québec
Bilstein Fast Time Award : Phelps
Heat Races (8 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to the feature, top 3 to redraw)
#1: Hearn, Bussiere, Bernier, Terrance, St-Sauveur, Hamel, Beaumier, Stacey, Gauthier
#2: Phelps, Bernard, Dunn, Flannigan, Gougeon, Dagenais, Siri, Rauscher, Stacey, M. Clair
#3: Sheppard, Bellinger, C. Therrien, A. Boisvert, Scagliotta, Bilodeau, G. Clair, Demers
#4: Britten, Johnson, Hebert, Dufault, Haers, A. Therrien, Chicoine, Boissonneault, M. Boisvert
B-Main (10 laps, top 3 finishers transferred to the feature)
#1: St-Sauveur, Dagenais, Siri, Hamel, Beaumier, Rauscher, Gauthier, W. Stacey, D. Stacey
#2 : Scagliotta, Chicoine, M. Clair, Bilodeau, G. Clair, Demers, Boissonneault, A. Therrien, M. Boisvert
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, Gander Mountain, NAPA Auto Parts, Nationwide Insurance, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow, Vicci Racing Apparel, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, and Xtreme Lubricants.