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Battle for the Fairgrounds, PART 2
Orange County Fair Speedway | Middletown, New York
Wednesday, July 05, 2023
- Race postponed -
Race Recap  

BATTLE OF THE TITANS: Sheppard wins battle against Hearn at Orange County for second season win

Sheppard uses second half surge to power past Larry Wight, Brett Hearn on the way to victory

Two generations of the most successful talents in Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified racing faced off at Orange County Fair Speedway Wednesday night to battle for a $7,500 payday.

Nine-time and defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard, of Waterloo, NY, and Hall of Famer Brett Hearn, of Sussex, NJ, who has more than 300 wins at Orange County, went toe-to-toe in the closing laps with “Super Matt” besting the legend for his second Series win of the season – 91st of his career.

The Battle for the Fairgrounds saw Larry Wight start pole with Sheppard to his outside. Behind them, two legends – Billy Decker in third and Hearn in fourth.

At the start of the Feature, Sheppard slipped to third on the first lap, leaving Wight and Hearn to wage a war for the lead. However, Sheppard stayed within striking distance of the front two, saving his equipment as he waited for the perfect time to strike.

Wight led the first nine laps before Hearn drove around the outside of him through Turns 3 and 4. However, Wight didn’t give up on the bottom. Holding his line lap after lap, he snuck back by Hearn for the lead on Lap 17. Their battle wasn’t done yet, though.

While Wight worked low, Hearn continued searching up top, inching further and further back alongside the #99L. His persistence finally paid off on Lap 40 when he reclaimed the lead by a bumper at the flag stand.

However, at the same time, Sheppard was surging forward. A lap after Hearn passed Wight for the lead, Sheppard passed him for second. Then, all eyes were on the heavyweight fight between Hearn, the all-time winningest driver at Orange County and with the Super DIRTcar Series, and Sheppard, the current Orange County and Series points leader.

While Hearn searched for grip high through Turns 3 and 4, Sheppard dove his #9 machine into the corner and slid ahead of Hearn’s #20 off the corner to officially take the lead on Lap 44.

From there, he built a healthy lead with intensions of holding it until the end. But one more chance for Hearn to attack came on Lap 66 when the second caution of the 75-lap race came out.


Lined single file, Sheppard led the field back to green with 10 laps to go. Hearn and Wight tried to keep Sheppard within reach down the front stretch but lost Sheppard once he swung his car high and powered back to the throttle off Turn 2. “Super Matt” then soared to the Battle for the Fairgrounds victory.

“[The car] didn’t really seem to like a full tank of fuel,” Sheppard said. “It seemed like the more fuel burn off we had, the car started driving better and better. It was quite a battle there for a while. I fell back. I lost a lot of ground, probably a straight away or more behind those guys. I really thought I was in trouble. It kept getting a little better, a little better. I think it helped a little bit when we got in traffic because I have a lot of experience here.”

While Sheppard has become the most recent star at Orange County, Hearn’s legacy at the track wasn’t lost on him.

Yeah, I mean, this is his sandbox, that’s for sure,” Sheppard said about Hearn. It’s great to see him out there competing, still battling for wins. He keeps retiring, then unretiring. He’s definitely shown that he’s still got it. I felt like we turned back the clock.

After being passed by Sheppard, Hearn fended off Wight in the closing laps to hold on to second and score his first top five with the Series since his win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in 2021.

“I think we just had a good car right from the get-go,” Hearn said. “I got by Matt, and then I got by Larry. But Larry got back by me. I was probably a little quicker than he was most of the time. It just took me a while to find a way to get a good run on him. But Matt just does what he does and comes on late in the race.”

Wight scored the final podium spot but knew what could’ve been done to further challenge the two powerhouse drivers.

“I think if we could have stayed in lapped traffic, I could have probably kept them behind me,” Wight said. “It seemed once we got in a clear track, they were able to make that top work. We just gotta look at our notes and see what we did right, what we did wrong, and capitalize on it next time.”

Billy Decker finished fourth and Peter Britten finished fifth to round out the top five finishers.

While legends battled at the front of the field, rising stars made their names known in the top 10. Fifteen-year-old Tanner Van Doren dueled with the likes of Jimmy Phelps and Chris Hile in the top 10 and even battled Peter Britten for fifth in the closing laps before settling for sixth – his first top 10 with the Series in his fifth start. And in Tyler Boniface’s fourth Series start, he raced from 11th to seventh – his first career Series top 10.

Further rounding out the storylines in the top 10, Jack Lehner (eighth) earned his first top 10 of the season, while Anthony Perrego (ninth) and Max McLaughlin (10th) earned their second.

UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series Big Blocks will head to Pottsville, PA to compete in a 75-lap, $7,500-to-win, spectacular at Big Diamond Speedway.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.

Battle At the Fairgrounds 75 
1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[2]; 2. 20-Brett Hearn[4]; 3. 99L-Larry Wight[1]; 4. 91D-Billy Decker[3]; 5. 21A-Peter Britten[6]; 6. 22-Tanner Van Doren[10]; 7. 69-Tyler Boniface[11]; 8. 2-Jack Lehner[9]; 9. 44P-Anthony Perrego[17]; 10. 8H-Max McLaughlin[23]; 11. 44-Stewart Friesen[12]; 12. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[7]; 13. 3J-Marc Johnson[16]; 14. 88-Mat Williamson[20]; 15. 5H-Chris Hile[8]; 16. 215-Adam Pierson[24]; 17. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[21]; 18. 12-Darren Smith[19]; 19. 35-Mike Mahaney[18]; 20. (DNF) 16X-Dan Creeden[5]; 21. (DNF) 34-Kevin Root[25]; 22. (DNF) 32R-Ronnie Davis III[14]; 23. (DNF) 88T-Tyler Jashembowski[15]; 24. (DNF) 14-CG Morey[27]; 25. (DNF) 93X-Craig Mitchell[13]; 26. (DNF) 43-Jimmy Horton[28]; 27. (DNF) 4V-Billy VanInwegenJr[22]; 28. (DNF) 17-Marcus Dinkins[26]

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Feature Results
12+19SMatt Sheppard 750.00033Running150$7,500
24+220Brett Hearn 75-3.56111Running146$4,000
31-299LLarry Wight 75-4.66032Running144$2,500
43-191DBilly Decker 75-5.8540Running142$1,800
56+121APeter Britten 75-7.8420Running140$1,600
610+422Tanner Van Dohren 75-11.3800Running138$1,400
711+469Tyler Boniface 75-12.7890Running136$1,300
89+12Jack Lehner 75-13.4360Running134$1,200
917+844PAnthony Perrego 75-13.9960Running132$1,100
1023+138HMax McLaughlin 75-14.4700Running130$1,000
1112+144Stewart Friesen 75-15.6020Running128$800
127-598HJimmy Phelps 75-16.0940Running126$700
1316+33JMarc Johnson 75-16.6950Running124$600
1420+688Mat Williamson 75-17.1050Running122$575
158-75HChris Hile 75-17.8080Running120$550
1624+8215Adam Pierson 75-18.2970Running118$525
1721+483XTim Sears Jr75-19.5930Running116$500
1819+112Darren Smith 75-20.2590Running114$500
1918-135Mike Mahaney 74-1 Laps0Running112$500
205-1516XDan Creeden 65-10 Laps0DNF110$500
2125+434Kevin Root 49-26 Laps0DNF108$500
2214-832RRonnie Davis III45-30 Laps0DNF106$500
2315-888TTyler Jashembowski 37-38 Laps0DNF104$500
2427+314CG Morey 30-45 Laps0DNF102$500
2513-1293XCraig Mitchell 25-50 Laps0DNF102$500
2628+243Jimmy Horton 9-66 Laps0DNF102$0
2722-54VBilly VanInwegen Jr8-67 Laps0DNF102$500
2826-217Marcus Dinkins 4-71 Laps0DNF102$500
Hard Charger: Max McLaughlin
Last Chance Showdown Results
12+112Darren Smith 100.00010Running0$0
24+283XTim Sears Jr10-0.5700Running0$0
31-28HMax McLaughlin 10-3.4830Running0$0
43-119JRRoger Henion Jr. 10-4.0090Running0$0
55037MMathieu Desjardins 10-4.6620Running90$0
66017ZDillon Steuer 10-5.8330Running90$0
77017Marcus Dinkins 10-7.7000Running0$0
89+110Rich Eurich 10-8.8520Running90$0
914+526RCorey Cormier 10-8.8900Running90$0
1013+320BJoey Bonetti 10-10.8540Running90$0
1111088LSteve Dodd 10-11.6210Running90$0
1212017WMichael Weslowski 10-14.4930Running90$0
138-534Kevin Root 10-15.2430Running90$0
1410-476John Brown 9-1 Laps0Running90$0
Hard Charger: Corey Cormier
Last Chance Showdown 2 Results
11088Mat Williamson 100.00010Running0$0
2204VBilly VanInwegen Jr10-1.6740Running0$0
330215Adam Pierson 10-2.2230Running0$0
4405LCharles Loiodice 10-4.2160Running90$0
59+443Jimmy Horton 10-4.7230Running0$0
66021MBob Mcgannon 10-5.6820Running90$0
7701JMatt Janiak 10-6.7890Running90$0
88024Chris Shultz 10-7.3320Running90$0
95-414CG Morey 10-8.5570Running0$0
1010033.3Tommy Meier 10-8.9690Running90$0
1113+225Michael Kolka II10-10.2750Running90$0
121204SLBob Hentschel 10-10.9110Running90$0
1311-221CBrian Calabrese 10-12.7330Running90$0
Hard Charger: Jimmy Horton
Heat 1 Results
1021APeter Britten 177.9350.0005
2098HJimmy Phelps 180.381-2.4464
3093XCraig Mitchell 182.906-4.9713
4319Tim Fuller 183.753-5.8182
502AMike Gular 185.146-7.2111
6014CG Morey 185.935-8.0000
701JMatt Janiak 186.766-8.8310
8024Chris Shultz 188.185-10.2500
9033.3Tommy Meier 190.050-12.1150
10751Jerry Higbie 120.44757.4880
Heat 2 Results
1091DBilly Decker 182.0390.0005
205HChris Hile 183.116-1.0774
3032RRonnie Davis III184.908-2.8693
4012Darren Smith 186.964-4.9252
5083XTim Sears Jr187.383-5.3441
6021MBob Mcgannon 188.189-6.1500
777DTyler Dippel 189.205-7.1660
8043Jimmy Horton 189.807-7.7680
9820BJoey Bonetti 190.671-8.6320
Heat 3 Results
1099LLarry Wight 179.7750.0005
202Jack Lehner 182.348-2.5734
3088TTyler Jashembowski 183.586-3.8113
408HMax McLaughlin 185.076-5.3012
5619JRRoger Henion Jr. 186.739-6.9641
6717ZDillon Steuer 187.202-7.4270
7028Michael Trautschold 189.962-10.1870
8015XJustin Stone 192.666-12.8910
9088LSteve Dodd 192.914-13.1390
Heat 4 Results
1220Brett Hearn 182.1580.0005
2022Tanner Van Dohren 183.740-1.5824
303JMarc Johnson 184.929-2.7713
4066Tim McCreadie 186.109-3.9512
575LCharles Loiodice 190.043-7.8851
6091Felix Roy 190.859-8.7010
769JFJF Corriveau 191.861-9.7030
8054Steve Bernard 193.370-11.2120
9021CBrian Calabrese 195.809-13.6510
Heat 5 Results
10-116XDan Creeden 80.0008Running5$0
20-269Tyler Boniface 8-0.4940Running4$0
30-344PAnthony Perrego 8-1.4190Running3$0
40-488Mat Williamson 8-2.6010Running2$0
50-5215Adam Pierson 8-3.7250Running1$0
60-684YAlex Yankowski 8-4.3880Running0$0
73-434Kevin Root 8-5.2390Running0$0
80-810Rich Eurich 8-7.3550Running0$0
90-920RNick Rochinski 8-9.8750Running0$0
Hard Charger:
Heat 6 Results
12+19SMatt Sheppard 80.0008Running5$0
20-244Stewart Friesen 8-2.5470Running4$0
30-335Mike Mahaney 8-3.1840Running3$0
40-44VBilly VanInwegen Jr8-5.3580Running2$0
50-537MMathieu Desjardins 8-5.7770Running1$0
65-117Marcus Dinkins 8-8.5840Running0$0
70-770AAlex Payne 8-10.8640Running0$0
80-876John Brown 8-12.3980Running0$0
90-917WMichael Weslowski 8-17.1200Running0$0
Hard Charger: Matt Sheppard
Qualifying Flight 1 Results
112+1198HJimmy Phelps 00.0000Running0$0
217+155HChris Hile 0-0.0150Running0$0
316+1321APeter Britten 0-0.0560Running0$0
415+1191DBilly Decker 0-0.1540Running0$0
58+393XCraig Mitchell 0-0.2530Running0$0
69+332RRonnie Davis III0-0.2670Running0$0
74-319Tim Fuller 0-0.3010Running0$0
818+1012Darren Smith 0-0.3470Running0$0
910+114CG Morey 0-0.4070Running0$0
107-321MBob Mcgannon 0-0.4320Running0$0
1113+22AMike Gular 0-0.4800Running0$0
1219+783XTim Sears Jr0-0.4900Running0$0
1314+11JMatt Janiak 0-0.5760Running0$0
142-1243Jimmy Horton 0-0.6870Running0$0
1511-451Jerry Higbie 0-0.7450Running0$0
163-137DTyler Dippel 0-0.7690Running0$0
171-1624Chris Shultz 0-0.8630Running0$0
186-1220BJoey Bonetti 0-0.9040Running0$0
195-1433.3Tommy Meier 0-0.9160Running0$0
Hard Charger: Chris Hile
Qualifying Flight 2 Results
17+699LLarry Wight 00.0000Running5$0
26+43JMarc Johnson 0-0.0870Running0$0
38+52Jack Lehner 0-0.2180Running0$0
410+620Brett Hearn 0-0.2740Running0$0
516+1188TTyler Jashembowski 0-0.4140Running0$0
611+566Tim McCreadie 0-0.4390Running0$0
79+28HMax McLaughlin 0-0.5190Running0$0
814+622Tanner Van Dohren 0-0.6080Running0$0
915+619JRRoger Henion Jr. 0-0.6450Running0$0
102-89JFJF Corriveau 0-0.6540Running0$0
111-1017ZDillon Steuer 0-0.7870Running0$0
1213+15LCharles Loiodice 0-0.8310Running0$0
1317+488LSteve Dodd 0-0.8650Running0$0
1418+491Felix Roy 0-0.8940Running0$0
1512-315XJustin Stone 0-1.0320Running0$0
165-1121CBrian Calabrese 0-1.0660Running0$0
174-1328Michael Trautschold 0-1.2880Running0$0
183-1554Steve Bernard 0-1.3410Running0$0
Hard Charger: Tyler Jashembowski
Qualifying Flight 3 Results
110+916XDan Creeden 00.0000Running0$0
2209SMatt Sheppard 0-0.2430Running0$0
311+888Mat Williamson 0-0.2590Running0$0
46+244Stewart Friesen 0-0.3000Running0$0
513+834Kevin Root 0-0.3040Running0$0
618+1269Tyler Boniface 0-0.3330Running0$0
78+137MMathieu Desjardins 0-0.4020Running0$0
817+944PAnthony Perrego 0-0.4690Running0$0
915+64VBilly VanInwegen Jr0-0.4820Running0$0
1012+217Marcus Dinkins 0-0.5230Running0$0
1114+384YAlex Yankowski 0-0.5370Running0$0
129-370AAlex Payne 0-0.6240Running0$0
137-676John Brown 0-0.9370Running0$0
1416+220RNick Rochinski 0-1.2230Running0$0
155-1035Mike Mahaney 0-2.2590Running0$0
164-12215Adam Pierson 0-3.1590Running0$0
173-1410Rich Eurich 0-4.1590Running0$0
181-1717WMichael Weslowski 0-5.1590Running0$0
Hard Charger: Tyler Boniface
DIRTVision Highlights  
Event Info  

Battle for the Fairgrounds, PART 2
Wednesday, July 05, 2023
Orange County Fair Speedway
239 Wisner Avenue
Middletown, New York 10940 

Event Description
The Super DIRTcar Series complete their rained out Battle for the Fairgrounds race from May 7 with Last Chance Showdowns and a $7,500-to-win Feature, followed by another 30-lap, $5,000-to-win DIRTcar Big Block Modified race and a 20-lap, $1000-to-win Sportsman race.

Series Racing
Super DIRTcar Series

To Win Amount

Feature Laps Length

Event Schedule
Super DIRTcar Series Hytorc of NY Last Chance Showdowns (10 Laps)
Super DIRTcar Series Feature (75 Laps)

*All times Eastern

Track Info  

Orange County Fair Speedway
239 Wisner Avenue
Middletown, New York 10940 

Track Phone
(845) 342-2573

Late Model Track Record
20.072 seconds by Bryan Bernheisel

Track Map
Competitor Info