THOROLD, ONTARIO – Monday, August 5, 2013 – After battling through lapped traffic for the lead over St. Catharines racer Mike Bowman, three-time Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Champion Matt Sheppard took his second series win of the season at Merrittville Speedway Monday, Aug. 5.
“We’ve had a lot of great race cars at Merrittville over the years, and I think this is probably the best one we’ve ever had,” said Sheppard, of Waterloo, N. Y. Before Bowman’s win in 2012, Sheppard claimed three consecutive Super DIRTcar Series races at Merrittville Speedway. “I love this place, I have a lot of success here.”
Bowman sought to repeat his success in last year’s Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial Super DIRTcar Series feature, in which he led all 100 laps to claim his first-ever series win. At the green flag in Monday’s race, he charged ahead of pole-sitter Gary Tomkins claiming first before the completion of lap 1. The local star stayed ahead of the pack in the No. 71, leaving Chris Steele and Gary Tomkins behind him in a fight for second.
Sheppard, who started fifth claiming fourth by lap 14 and third in lap 15. Bowman worked his way through lapped cars skillfully on the 3/8-mile banked clay oval while Sheppard challenged Steele in lap 36.
A lap-27 caution, brought as Chad Brachmann’s No. 3 hit the inside wall in turn 1, slowed Sheppard’s advance and put him a row behind the leaders on the double-file restart. However, Sheppard’s Xtreme Lubricants/FX Caprara Car Companies No. 9s was as fast as ever at the green, and he gained enough momentum to cruise by Steele’s No. 17 on the backstretch in lap 36.
With just one car between himself and the lead, Sheppard charged forward in hopes of challenging Bowman, also strong on Merrittville’s unique D-shaped track. Yet again, Bowman adroitly maneuvered lapped traffic, but this time Sheppard was just as adept, pulling up beside the 71 as it pulled beside Dave Rauschers 48too in a tense 3-wide maneuver.
Bowman cruised forward, but Sheppard was close enough, and fast enough, to again race side-by-side with the leader. As the two simultaneously lapped the No. 49 of Billy Dunn, Sheppard found the momentum he needed to power ahead of Bowman. At the same time, Danny Johnson, who had been closing in on the leaders, took advantage of a briefly faltering Bowman to claim second.
“It was wild,” Sheppard said. “We got into lapped traffic and it seemed like I would catch him, and then a lapped car would mess me up, and then a lapped car would mess him up. It was back-and-forth there, and then I found a line down on the bottom and I was able to slip by him.”
Sheppard stayed strong after claiming the lead in lap 62, outlasting the remaining laps, keeping his position after two cautions and restarts and again successfully navigating lapped traffic in lap 94 to claim his second Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season. Monday’s race held a special sentimental value for Sheppard, who in Victory Lane dedicated the win to his grandmother, who recently passed away.
“We definitely wanted to win this one for her,” a triumphant, yet heavy-hearted Sheppard said. “I know she was watching from above.”
Johnson, who started tenth in the grid, also kept his position through the remainder of the race, finishing second in the small block 27J.
“I’m really proud of my team. I had a great run here today, and to be able to come here and get the second spot here with all these Modifieds is a great feat for us,” said Johnson, of Rochester, N. Y. “I worked my way up to second and I was really hoping to win the race, but we need to get just a little bit better.”
He’s hoping to be that much better come Tuesday, when the Super DIRTcar Series takes on I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich. Last year’s first-ever series appearance at the midwestern track brought victory for Johnson in the Mike Payne-owned Page Trucking 27J, and this year he plans to tackle the half-mile oval in Tyler Siri’s 5*.
Early race leader Bowman finished fourth after losing ground to the 2012 NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week VP Small Engine Fuels Champion, Brett Hearn, in lap 75. Hearn, after starting 13th, piloted the Madsen Overhead Doors No. 20 to third place at the checkered flag. Mat Williamson started seventh and finished fifth. Rounding out the top ten are Pete Bicknell in sixth, Alan Johnson in seventh, Erick Rudolph in eighth, Dale Planck in ninth, and Justin Haers in tenth.
The Super DIRTcar Series rolls west for the Michigan 100 Tuesday, Aug. 6, at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich. Pit gates open at 3 p.m. and grandstand gates open at 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.i96speedway.com. Live web coverage of the race will be available on via live audio on DIRTvision with live results and news posted towww.superdirtcarseries.com and via Twitter at @SuperDIRTcar.
Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series
Merrittville Speedway – Monday, August 5, 2013
A-Main (100 laps):
1. 9s Matt Sheppard, Waterloo, N. Y. ($6,000)
2. 27J Danny Johnson, Rochester, N. Y.
3. 20 Brett Hearn, Sussex, N. J.
4. 71 Mike Bowman, St. Catharines, Ontario
5. 6 Mat Williamson, St. Catharines, Ontario
6. 42 Pete Bicknell, St. Catharines, Ontario
7. 14J Alan Johnson, Middlesex, N. Y.
8. 25 Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N. Y.
9. 7z Dale Planck, Cortland, N. Y.
10. 3 Justin Haers, Phelps, N. Y.
11. 84 Gary Tomkins, Clifton Springs, N. Y.
12. 17c Chris Steele, Fenwick, Ontario
13. 06 Brandon Easey, St. Catharines, Ontario
14. 12 Chad Chevalier, Port Colborne, Ontario
15. 38x Ryan Susice, Ransomville, N. Y.
16. 21a Pete Britten, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
17. 37s Robbie Krull, Cambria, N. Y.
18. 66x Carey Terrance, Hogansburg, N. Y.
19. 08 Mark D’Ilario, Smithville, Ontario
20. 98H Jimmy Phelps, Baldwinsville, N. Y.
21. 8 Rich Scagliotta, Hillsborough, N. J.
22. 38 Scott Wood, Thorold, Ontario
23. 49d Billy Dunn, Watertown, N. Y.
24. 10v Billy VanInwegen, Sparrowbush, N. Y.
25. 108 Bill Bleich, Port Robinson, Ontario
26. 10c Tim Currier, Auburn, N. Y.
27. 74 Matt Billings, Brockville, Ontario
28. 19w Justin Wright, Piffard, N. Y.
29. 72 Tommy Flannigan, Port Robinson, Ontario
30. 48T Dave Rauscher, Waterloo, N. Y.
31. 3b Chad Brachmann, Sanborn, N. Y.
32. 17p Tim Jones, Sanborn, N. Y.
Did not qualify:
11 Brett Clarke
17p Pete Cosco, St. Catharines, Ontario
28 Todd Gordon, Thorold, Ontario
29e Erik Martin
37md Jeremiah Shingledecker, Polk, Penn.
71B Don Brown
96 Fred Carlton, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
99 Bruno Lepage
99p Steve Paine, Waterloo, N. Y.
B-Mains (top 3 transfer)
B-Main 1: Bleich, Flannigan, Krull, Carlton, Scagliotta, Cosco, Jones, Brown, Clarke. DNS: Gordon, Martin
B-Main 2: Currier, Chevalier, VanInwegen, Phelps, Billings, Paine, Rauscher, Shingledecker, Lepage. DNS: Dunn
Qualifying heats (top 5 transfer, top 3 to redraw)
Heat 1: Planck, Easey, Wood, Hearn, Rudolph, Bleich, Clarke, Krull, Brown, Gordon
Heat 2: Sheppard, Bowman, D’Ilario, Haers, A. Johnson, Carlton, Scagliotta, Jones, Cosco, Flannigan, Martin
Heat 3: Steele, Tomkins, Brachmann, Wright, Susice, Currier, Chevalier, Billings, Paine, Shingledecker
Heat 4: Bicknell, Williamson, D. Johnson, Britten, Terrance, VanInwegen, Phelps, Rauscher, Lepage, Dunn
Time Trials: 1. Hearn 15.597; 2. Phelps 15.643; 3. Britten 15.670; 4. Scagliotta 15.709; 5. Planck 15.741; 6. Sheppard 15.768; 7. Wright 15.810; 8. Tomkins 15.812; 9. D. Johnson 15.840; 10. Currier 15.847; 11. Steele 15.862; 12. Bicknell 15.894; 13. Bowman 15.935; 14. Haers 15.951; 15. Easey 15.982; 16. Billings 16.004; 17. A. Johnson 16.012; 18. Brachmann 16.017; 19. Bleich 16.029; 20. Dunn, 16.034; 21. Williamson, 16.080; 22. Rudolph, 16.094; 23. VanInwegen, 16.104; 24. Susice, 16.104; 25. Wood, 16.122; 26. Chevalier, 16.131; 27. Gordon, 16.137; 28. Jones, 16.142; 29. D’Ilario, 16.226; 30. Terrance, 16.251; 31. Flannigan, 16.298; 32. Shingledecker, 16.383; 33. Rauscher, 16.395; 34. Carlton, 16.404; 35. Cosco, 16.505; 36. Paine, 16.540; 37. Krull, 16.614; 38. Brown, 16.651; 39. Clarke, 16.765; 40. Lepage, 16.970; 41. Martin, 17.046
Super DIRTcar Series 2013 Schedule
|Wed. Feb. 20||Volusia Speedway Park||Barberville, Fla.||D. Johnson|
|Thurs. Feb. 21||Volusia Speedway Park||Barberville, Fla.||S. Friesen|
|Fri. Feb. 22||Volusia Speedway Park||Barberville, Fla.||R. Lauback|
|Sat. Feb. 23||Volusia Speedway Park||Barberville, Fla.||B. Hearn|
|Wed. June 5||Rolling Wheels Raceway||Elbridge, N. Y.||S. Friesen|
|Tues. June 18(run Wed. June 19)||New Egypt Speedway||New Egypt, N. Y.||R. Laubach|
|Sun. June 30||Cornwall Motor Speedway||Cornwall, Ontario||C. Terrance|
|Tues. July 9||Albany-Saratoga Speedway||Malta, N. Y.||B. Hearn|
|Mon. July 22||Autodrome Drummond||Drummondville, Quebec||D. Planck|
|Tues. July 23||Autodrome Granby||Granby, Quebec||M. Sheppard|
|Mon. Aug. 5||Merrittville Speedway||Thorold, Ontario||M. Sheppard|
|Tues. Aug. 6||Lebanon Valley Speedway||West Lebanon, N. Y.||-|
|Sun. Sept. 1||Rolling Wheels Raceway||Elbridge, N. Y.||-|
|Sat. Sept. 7||Autodrome Drummond||Drummondville, Quebec||-|
|Sat. Sept. 14||Mohawk International Raceway||Akwesasne, N. Y.||-|
|Sat. Oct. 13||New York State Fairgrounds||Syracuse, N. Y.||-|
|Sun. Oct. 20||Brockville Ontario Speedway||Brockville, Ontario||-|
|Sun. Oct. 27||Orange County Fair Speedway||Middletown, N. Y.||-|
|Thurs. Nov. 7||The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Qualifying)||Concord, N. C.||-|
|Fri. Nov. 8||The Dirt Track at Charlotte||Concord, N. C.||-|
|Sat. Nov. 9||The Dirt Track at Charlotte||Concord, N. C.||-|
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, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Contingency partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio, Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Performance, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow and Wrisco Industries.