By BOBBY SWEENEY
BREWERTON, NY – Matt Sheppard took the lead late in the 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series race at Brewerton and never looked back, scoring his ninth win of the season on the tour. Corey Barker claimed victory in the hard fought DIRTcar Sportsman feature, the finale for the Central Region.
Pat Ward took command at the start of the Super DIRTcar Series main and led the opening laps, but surrendered the lead to Larry Wight just four laps in. However, Ward hung tough and led lap seven, but Wight grabbed it right back a circuit later. Ward regained the lead with ten laps in the books, and hung on until the first caution of the race on lap 12, as Tim Fuller’s machine came up limp. On the restart, Ward permanently surrendered his lead to Wight, and Wight quickly darted away. A second yellow on lap 22 kept Wight in check, but he once more opened up a big lead when racing resumed.
By lap 40, Wight’s lead had grown significantly to around three seconds. Behind him was a mad scramble for second, featuring Ward, Billy Decker, Jimmy Phelps, and Matt Sheppard. As the race neared halfway, Decker began pressuring Ward, but Mike Bowman slowed with a flat tire just as Decker seemed ready to make his move. On the restart, Wight continued to show he was the car to beat, walking away from Ward, Decker, and Sheppard once more. After a long battle, Decker finally cleared Ward on lap 70, but was a full straightaway behind Wight’s #99L. Behind Decker, Sheppard followed through and passed Ward a lap later, and Phelps did the same soon after.
A final yellow for Lee Gill’s mechanical issues with 23 laps remaining erased Larry Wight’s monstrous lead, but unlike the previous restarts, Wight couldn’t run away and hide from the field. On lap 79, hard contact was made between Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker, and Sheppard moved into second. Sheppard began to chase down Wight, catching him with just over ten laps remaining. After battling briefly, Matt Sheppard moved into his familiar position at the front of the field, setting the pace over the final eight laps for the win. Wight hung on for second, while Jimmy Phelps claimed third. Tim Sears Jr. and Billy Decker rounded out the top five.
“We’ve been on fire the past few months, and the only thing that’s stopped us was a broken rocker arm a few weeks back. We got another big win tonight, and we just have to try to keep it rolling,” stated Sheppard. “It seemed like Billy and Larry couldn’t keep their cars down on the bottom, and Billy got a little upset. If he didn’t want me to drive under him, he shouldn’t have left the bottom.”
Dave Marcuccilli took the lead early in the 50-lap DIRTcar Sportsman Series event, holding off a number of challenges from Corey Barker, Jeremy Pitcher, Ronnie Davis III, and others in the caution-filled first half of the event. However, things turned bad for Marcuccilli, as a loud bang was heard from his car before pulling into the infield from the lead on lap 37.
The intense battle for second including Barker, Pitcher, and last-starting Rocky Warner suddenly became the battle for the win, with Pitcher taking the lead just before a lap 38 yellow. Pitcher couldn’t hold off the advances of 12th-starter Corey Barker, as Barker blasted past for good with ten laps remaining, running away for the win in his first Brewerton start this season. Pitcher hung on for second, while Ronnie Davis III claimed third.
“My left rear tire had been going flat since about lap 10,” said Barker in victory lane. “That first caution, I had a photographer tell me my tire was flat, and every yellow drivers were telling me the same. I was trying to signal to the crew that I had a flat and they had no idea what I was saying, so I just had to stick it out. I fell back in the middle of the race because I let the tire affect me mentally too much, but I eventually just said ‘screw it’ and went.”
(Modified Super DIRTcar Series Duel At The Demon 100) – MATT SHEPPARD, Larry Wight, Jimmy Phelps, Tim Sears Jr., Billy Decker, Mike Mahaney, Pat Ward, Max McLaughlin, Stewart Friesen, Peter Britten, Keith Flach, Andrew Ferguson, Justin Haers, Matt Hulsizer, Chad Phelps, Chris Hile, Brett Hearn, Rich Scagliotta, Tim Kerr, Mike Maresca, Billy Whittaker, Brandon Walters, Allan Barker, Lee Gill, Justin Wright, Tom Sears Jr., Mike Bowman, Adam Roberts, Tim Fuller, Alan Johnson.
(DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Central Region Duel At The Demon 50) – COREY BARKER, Jeremy Pitcher, Ron Davis III, Rocky Warner, Glenn Forward, Jessica Power, Zach Sobotka, Brad Rouse, Tyler Trump, Billy Clark Jr., Amy Holland, Tom Collins Jr., Chris Cunningham, Will Shields, Brent Joy, Kyle Inman, Nick Krause, Jackson Gill, David Schilling, Dave Marcuccilli, Alan Fink, Mike Stanton Jr., Joe Isabell, Tyler Thompson, Kevin Root, Todd Root, Joel Hall, Rich Townsend, Jack Meeks, Mark Yorker, Kevin Ridley.