CONCORD, NC – Tim Fuller skated past Matt Sheppard with less than three laps to go in the Super DIRTcar Series finale at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, grabbing his third win of the year in the 40-lap contest and the $8,000 payday. While Sheppard lost the battle, he won the war as he scored his seventh Super DIRTcar Series title.
“Any win is special, but this one was pretty sweet,” Fuller said. “Matt (Sheppard) is on top of his game. It’s been showing that the last four or five years. I’m pretty fortunate to have my owners Mike and Barb Maresca of St. Lawrence Radiology. They won the pool tonight because they drew me. I guess we are all winners tonight.”
Sheppard took off from his pole position at the start of the 40-lap main, opening up a two and a half second lead over Billy Decker in the first four laps before Mike Mahaney slowed with a flat left rear.
Decker and Tim Fuller battled for second this next run, but this was far behind Sheppard. By lap 10, Sheppard’s lead was back to what it was before. However, traffic loomed for Sheppard, and Decker slowly chipped into the gap.
As quickly as the gap was cut in half, Sheppard cleared the first round of thick traffic and pulled away once more. Decker had some trouble with the traffic, allowing Fuller to pounce and score second.
By halfway, it was Sheppard with a comfortable three-quarter straightaway lead over Fuller, while Decker and earlier winner Brett Hearn struggled to keep pace.
As the race ran on, the track began to change and many drivers found a home in the middle of the racing surface. With traffic getting thicker and thicker, passing the cars became more difficult for Sheppard.
Once more, the gap closed between the top two, this time Fuller being the driver closing in on Sheppard. Like before, Sheppard was able to clear cars at critical times to keep Fuller at bay, but the gap hovered around six or seven car lengths with ten laps to go.
With seven to go, Fuller eliminated any traffic between himself and Sheppard, drawing to Sheppard’s rear bumper. Fuller poked a nose high and low, but just couldn’t clear Sheppard for the time being.
With three laps to go, Fuller pulled the trigger and rocketed around the middle, one groove higher than Sheppard, in turns three and four to take the lead, using Erick Rudolph as a pick.
“I knew I had to wait to show him the lane,” mentioned Fuller.”If I showed him too early, I couldn’t make a run at him. Sheppard got leader-boned, when you’re leading you gotta stick to your lane, but running second I was able to move around.”
Over the final final laps, Fuller ran flawlessly en route to the win in front of the sellout crowd.
Sheppard crossed in second which was good enough for his seventh career Super DIRTcar Series title.
“We had a great car tonight and so did Tim (Fuller),” mentioned Sheppard. “The track started latching down a little bit in the middle when we caught the lapped cars. I didn’t know whether to go to low side of them or the high side of them. We just got jammed up and Tim got a really good run. It is what it is.”
Decker closed on the leaders as the race wound down, he just wasn’t good enough to take a shot at them.
“We missed it a little bit this afternoon,” commented Sheppard. “Mike (Payne) and the guys got it pretty dog gone close for this race tonight. We were a little bit too free to dice it out for the win.”
Hearn, fresh of his afternoon win, finished in the fourth spot with Demetrios Drellos have a career best run in fifth.
THE DIRT TRACK AT CHARLOTTE 11/3/18
SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (40-LAPS): 1 Tim Fuller 2 Matt Sheppard 3 Billy Decker 4 Brett Hearn 5 Demetrios Drellos 6 Tim McCreadie 7 Max McLaughlin 8 Peter Britten 9 Mat Williamson 10 Keith Flach 11 Jimmy Phelps 12 Steve Bernard 13 Justin Wright 14 Mike Maresca 15 Stewart Friesen 16 Jessey Mueller 17 Mike Mahaney 18 Justin Haers 19 Tim Kerr 20 Erick Rudolph 21 Tyler Siri 22 Yan Bussiere 23 Pat Ward 24 Rich Scagliotta 25 Adam Roberts 26 Chad Jeseo 27 Dave Rauscher 28 Danny Johnson 29 Louis Jackson Jr. 30 Carey Terrance 31 Gary Lindberg