By JEFF WITHEY
RANSOMVILLE, NY – The question on the internet racing forums lately concerning Matt Sheppard is can he make up the ground he lost from his suspension earlier this summer? Well, with three wins in a row on the Series its once again clear that Matt Sheppard is on a mission to be the Super DIRTcar Series titlist. If he comes up short in the end it wont be from a lack of trying.
Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., took the lead from the initial drop of the green flag and set a torrid pace from the get go. He would soon have a lot of company vying for the coveted lead and the $6000 payday at the end of a 100-laps at the Big R.
Phelps hit lap traffic just six laps into the 100-lap affair with Billy Decker aboard the Page Trucking #91 in hot pursuit right behind him. The race momentum was broken with the first caution on lap seven.
With the field regrouped the race went green again on lap 10. Just nine laps later the leaders were in heavy lap traffic but once again the yellow would come out giving Phelps a moment to gather his breath and regroup while Decker was still in second.
The race would restart again on lap 24 but just five laps later another caution flag waved breaking the races momentum again.
Phelps’ night would go from the penthouse to the outhouse starting on lap 39 as Decker took the lead away from Phelps as the two battled side by side for a number of laps. Decker using the low portion of the speedway while Phelps was using the top side and was able to carry a slight bit more momentum.
With the leaders in heavy lap traffic on lap 41, Matt Sheppard overtook second place from Phelps and the race was on for the lead. However once again as the race was in full on hot pursuit, a yellow came out.
Six laps later the field restarted and as the lap counter hit 50, Matt Sheppard was your new leader.
Breaking into the top five was Larry Wight just after halfway he was up to 4th. Wight who changed out the entire rear end of his Penske Shocks, Kevlar racing engines 99 before his heat race due to ineffective braking, was going to be making some noise before the race was over with.
Another caution waved for the field on lap 56 and the race restarted on lap 61. Just two laps later Larry Wight worked himself into second. Weekly campaigner and just off a major payday in the STSS, Erick Rudolph was up to 4th aboard his Randy Chrysler owned #25
With 27 to go, Sheppard was having his way with the field as he hit lap traffic again. While no one was going to catch Sheppard for the win, the action heated up in a big way with Larry Wight and Billy Decker for second. For nearly 10 laps a side by side battle with some give and take Decker and Wight fought it out for second with Decker taking second in the end.
Phelps, who led at the beginning of the night brought out the caution on lap 88 for a flat left rear.
Two more cautions slowed the field down on laps 93, and 95 but no one had anything for Sheppard in the end. Rounding out the top five were Decker, Wight, Rudolph, and Stewart Freiesen.
“Finally!” said Sheppard as he sipped a cold beverage in his trailer after winning at Ransomville. “You didn’t want to be on the bottom but my car was rolling pretty good.” Sheppard said. “ Traffic was a little tough at times and you always wonder about what can happen with the cautions but this car was solid all night.”
The win marked Sheppard’s first career win at Ransomville.
When asked about the notion that he has won three in a row and if he could catch the leaders in the points, Sheppard went on to add with a smile, “I could catch them maybe if they stopped finishing second.”
Decker was upbeat but a little sad about not closing the deal. “You always want to win but the traffic at times was a little unnerving. The side by side battle with Larry was great. There was a lot of give and take between him and I,” said Decker.
Decker was the Series points leader by just a handful of points coming into Ransomville with Larry Wight in second.
News & Notes
According to Series Director Mike Perrotte there will be no conflicts with any driver who races at Merritville on Wednesday if they want to race at Rolling Wheels…
Brett Hearn was still all smiles about his enormous milestone of 901 career victories. “Its pretty amazing isn’t it,” said Hearn with a smile. Several competitors paused to think about how impressive the win total is. Some have never been or raced in 900 races in their lifetimes…
Mike Mahaney will not be racing at Merritville or Rolling Wheels on Thursday. “We would race at Merritville in a 358 but from what I’ve been told only the track regulars can use a 358 so the 88 car wont be in Canada and since I wont be able to bring my 358 I wont be there either.”
Mahaney is fresh off a big win at Fonda Speedway last week in the Jack 50 where he took his at the time 2 race old Bicknell to victory…
Wight won the Hardcharger Award. Started 10th finished 3rd.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report – 33rd Summer Nationals at Ransomville Speedway – Ransomville, NY –August 8, 2017
Feature (100 Laps) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard ; 2. 91-Billy Decker ; 3. 99L-Larry Wight ; 4. 25-Erick Rudolph ; 5. 44-Stewart Friesen ; 6. 19-Tim Fuller ; 7. 88m-Mike Mahaney ; 8. 42p-Pat Ward ; 9. 42-Pete Bicknell ; 10. 21a-Peter Britten ; 11. 98h-Jimmy Phelps ; 12. 20-Brett Hearn ; 13. 38s-Ryan Susice ; 14. 6h-Max McLaughlin ; 15. 109-Billy Whittaker ; 16. 20m-Jeff McGinnis ; 17. 43-Keith Flach ; 18. 111-Allan Wills ; 19. 37s-Tommy Flannigan ; 20. 26-Rick Richner ; 21. 22-Brandon Walters ; 22. 8-Rich Scagliotta ; 23. 27-Jim Zimmerman ; 24. 56-Steve Schumacher ; 25. 21-Kenny Wills III ; 26. 7-Scott Kerwin ; 27. 11s-Steve Lewis Jr. ; 28. 55c-Steve Cotriss ; 29. 678-John Smith ; 30. DNS 7m-Mike Maresca
Qualifying Group 1 – 1. 91-Billy Decker, 16.151; 2. 88m-Mike Mahaney, 16.436; 3. 42p-Pat Ward, 16.601; 4. 19-Tim Fuller, 16.612; 5. 38s-Ryan Susice, 17.062; 6. 43-Keith Flach, 17.314; 7. 27-Jim Zimmerman, 18.622; 8. 111-Alan Wills, No Time
Qualifying Group 2 – 1. 99L-Larry Wight, 16.402; 2. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 16.533; 3. 21a-Peter Britten, 16.663; 4. 20-Brett Hearn, 16.744; 5. 22-Brandon Walters, 17.112; 6. 26-Rick Richner, 17.519; 7. 678-John Smith, 18.119; 8. 26g-Scott George, 18.306
Qualifying Group 3 – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 16.626; 2. 109-Billy Whittaker, 16.938; 3. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 16.980; 4. 21-Kenny Wills III, 17.337; 5. 20m-Jeff McGinnis, 17.413; 6. 37s-Tommy Flannigan, 17.437; 7. 7-Scott Kerwin, 17.689; 8. 7m-Mike Maresca, No Time
Qualifying Group 4 – 1. 6h-Max McLaughlin, 16.709; 2. 25-Erick Rudolph, 16.751; 3. 44-Stewart Friesen, 16.900; 4. 42-Pete Bicknell, 17.214; 5. 55c-Jesse Cotriss, 17.678; 6. 777-Tyler Willard, 17.718; 7. 11s-Steve Lewis Jr., 18.031; 8. 56 Steve Schumacher, 18.514
Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top-5 Qualify – Top-3 Redraw) – 1. 91-Billy Decker ; 2. 88m-Mike Mahaney ; 3. 19-Tim Fuller ; 4. 42p-Pat Ward ; 5. 43-Keith Flach ; 6. 38s-Ryan Susice ; 7. 27-Jim Zimmerman ; 8. 111-Alan Wills 
Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top-5 Qualify – Top-3 Redraw) – 1. 99L-Larry Wight ; 2. 98h-Jimmy Phelps ; 3. 20-Brett Hearn ; 4. 21a-Peter Britten ; 5. 22-Brandon Walters ; 6. 26-Rick Richner ; 7. 678-John Smith ; 8. 26g-Scott George 
Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top-5 Qualify – Top-3 Redraw) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard ; 2. 109-Billy Whittaker ; 3. 21-Kenny Wills III ; 4. 8s-Rich Scagliotta ; 5. 20m-Jeff McGinnis ; 6. 7-Scott Kerwin ; 7. DNF 37s-Tommy Flannigan ; 8. DNF 7m-Mike Maresca 
Heat 4 (8 Laps – Top-5 Qualify – Top-3 Redraw) – 1. 6h-Max McLaughlin ; 2. 25-Erick Rudolph ; 3. 44-Stewart Friesen ; 4. 42-Pete Bicknell ; 5. 55c-Jesse Cotriss ; 6. 56-Steve Schumacher ; 7. 11s-Steve Lewis Jr. ; 8. DNS 777-Tyler Willard 
Last Chance Qualifier 1 (10 Laps – All Transfer to A-Feature) – 1. 38s-Ryan Susice ; 2. 26-Rick Richner ; 3. 7-Scott Kerwin ; 4. 27-Jim Zimmerman ; 5. 56-Steve Schumacher ; 6. 37s-Tommy Flannigan ; 7. 111-Alan Wills ; 8. 11s-Steve Lewis Jr. ; 9. 678-John Smith ; 10. DNS 26g-Scott George; 11. DNS 7m-Mike Maresca; 12. DNS 777-Tyler Willard
CONTINGENCY WINNERS: VP Racing Fuels ($50 Cash): Pat Ward; Fast Qualifier ($100 Cash): Billy Decker; Bicknell Racing Products ($100 Product Certificate): Matt Sheppard; Cometic Gasket ($50 Cash): Jeff McGinnis; Comp Cams($50 Cash): Peter Britten; Comp Cams ($50 Product Certificate): Matt Sheppard; Edelbrock ($50 Cash): Peter Britten; Fox Racing Shocks ($50 Cash): Erick Rudolph; JE Pistons ($50 Cash): Stewart Friesen; JE Pistons (Product Certificate): Jeff McGinnis; JE Pistons (Product Certificate): Brandon Walters; KSE Racing Products Inc. ($50 Product Certificate): Larry Wight (+7); MSD Ignition ($50 Cash): Matt Sheppard; MSD Ignition ($25 Cash): Kenny Wills III; SuperFlow Dynos & Flowbenches ($50 Cash): Jeff McGinnis; Wrisco Aluminum (Product Certificate): Matt Sheppard; JRI Shocks ($50 Cash): Max McLaughlin; Dig Safely 811 Redraw Bonus ($100 Cash): N/A; Speedy First Aid Hard Luck Award (Product Certificate): Max McLaughlin; ASi Racewear ($50 Cash): Mike Mahaney.
- Matt Sheppard – 4 (Five Mile Point Speedway on June 11; Autodrome Granby on July 25; Autodrome Drummond on July 26; Ransomville Speedway on August 8)
- Billy Decker – 3 (Fulton Speedway on April 29; Outlaw Speedway on June 20; Eldora Speedway on July 18)
- Stewart Friesen – 2 (Utica-Rome Speedway on July 2, Weedsport Speedway on July 11)
- Ryan Watt – 1 (Bridgeport Speedway on May 16)
- Tim McCreadie – 1 (Albany-Saratoga Speedway on June 27)
- Larry Wight – 1 (Airborne Park Speedway on July 6)
- Peter Britten – 1 (Sharon Speedway on July 20)