By Julia Foy – ELBRIDGE, N. Y. – May 27, 2012 – Matt Sheppard patiently waited for an opportunity to pounce during Sunday night’s Super DIRTcar Series All-Star Weekend feature event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, then wasted no time when that chance arose.
Sheppard, the two-time and defending series champion, started behind pole-sitter Billy Decker in the 66-lap race and used a double-file restart on Lap 21 to surge to the lead, methodically work his way through traffic, and hold off the 28-car field to earn his first Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified points-paying victory of the year.
“We were a little slow in the beginning of the race, but with these longer races, you know, sometimes you gotta set up for the second half of the race,” said Sheppard, of Waterloo, N.Y. “Fortunately for us, we were good in the second half of the race and that’s what it takes to win these long-distance races.”
Sheppard finished fourth in his heat race, placing him in the redraw for the feature, where he drew a three to lineup directly behind Decker for the series’ second main event of the year. He quickly got past outside pole-sitter Billy Dunn and set his sights on Decker.
“We got a lot of breaks tonight,” Sheppard said. “We drew a good number, we were able to get out front, got cautions when we needed them, and the car was fantastic. That’s pretty much what you need to win one of these races. You’ve got to have a lot of stuff go your way.”
Decker settled into second and mirrored Sheppard’s moves through traffic, but was never able to close the gap over the final 45 circuits around the big 5/8-mile “Fast Track,” which lived up to its moniker on Sunday night.
Danny Johnson, however, was forced to work hard for his podium finish. The winner of the series opener in Canandaigua, Johnson missed qualifying for the redraw, placing fifth in his heat race as his team worked through motor issues early in the night. He started the main event 13th on the grid and then got his elbows up.
By lap 32, Johnson was able to work past Dunn for fourth, then slid past fifth-starting Brett Hearn to take third.
“We struggled earlier, but in the end, to be able to get a top-three finish out of it, I’m real excited about that, what with all the trouble we had,” said Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y. “We’re happy to get a top-three finish out of the deal.”
In DIRTcar Sportsman Modified action, Dan Wiesner held off the hard-charging Dave Marcucilli for his second victory of the year at Rolling Wheels Raceway, while Russ Marsden edged Joe Reeves in the DIRTcar Stock Car feature. Tex Gordon (Limited), Bob Kisselstein (Sportsman) and John Applebee (Modified) earned Mid-State Vintage Stock Car Club wins.
The Super DIRTcar series continues with round three on Sunday, July 1, at Cornwall Motor Speedway in Cornwall, Ont.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; All-Star Weekend; Rolling Wheels Raceway Park; May 27, 2012
A-main (66 laps): 1. (3) 9s-Matt Sheppard ($6,000); 2. (1) 91-Billy Decker; 3. (13) 27j-Danny Johnson; 4. (10) 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 5. (5) 20-Brett Hearn; 6. (6) 49-Billy Dunn; 7. (15) 3b-Chad Brachmann; 8. (4) 21a-Pete Britten; 9. (7) 7x-Steve Paine; 10. (2) 3-Justin Haers; 11. (14) 48t-Dave Rauscher; 12. (26) 02-Roy Bresnahan; 13. (9) 8r-Rob Bellinger; 14. (25) 10c-Tim Currier; 15. (22) 19w-Justin Wright; 16. (19) 5*-Tyler Siri; 17. (27) 88-Dave Allen; 18. (12) 8-Rich Scagliotta; 19. (16) 72-Tommy Flannigan; 20. (23) 17-Marcus Dinkins; 21. (18) 56-Vince Vitale; 22. (24) 97-Michel Chicoine; 23. (20) 16-Lance Willix; 24. (11) 673-Gary Tomkins; 25. (21) 10s-Mike Storms; 26. 717) 77f-Flach; 27. (28) 7m-Todd Milton; 28. (8) 21-Derrick Podialdo
Heats (All Qualify, Top 4 Redraw)
#1: Phelps, Tomkins, Podsialdo, Bellinger, Johnson, Flannigan, Siri, Wright, Currier
#2: Decker, Hearn, Hears, Paine, Rauscher, Flach, Willix, Dinkins, Bresnahan
#3: Dunn, Britten, Scagliotta, Sheppard, Brachmann, Vitale, Storms, Chicoine, Allen, Milton
DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Statistical Report
A-main (30 laps): 1. (5) 66-Dan Wiesner; 2. (15) m1-Dave Marcucilli; 3. (1) 67g-Eric Giguere; 4. (3) 3a-Adam Hilton; 5. (10) 21-James Henry; 6. (9) 4-Martin; 7. (4) 12-Brandon Hagun; 8. (19) 1s-Jim Spano; 9. (21) 57b-Frank Burnell; 10. (13) 44-Dave Conant; 11. (7) 96-Ken Boniface; 12. (18) 8s-Justin Sharp; 13. (2) 48b-Stu Sheppard; 14. (16) 86-Troy Finch II; 15. (11) 1r-Kyle Rohner; 16. (22) 85h-Rob Humphreys; 17. (17) Fox28-Jeff Stevenson; 18. (6) 10-Brett Martin; 19. (8) 34-Andrew Ferguson; 20. (12) 1-Bob Reis; 21. (14) 69-Tyler Boniface; 22. (20) 15d-Kyle Demetro (no show)
Heats (All Qualify, Top 4 Redraw)
#1: Hagun, Giguere, Boniface, Henry, Conant, Finch, Spano, Humphreys
#2: Hilton, Weisner, Ferguson, Rohner, Boniface, Stevenson, Demetro
#3: Sheppard, B. Martin, G. Martin, Reis, Marcucilli, Sharp, Burnell
DIRTcar Pro Stock/Stock Car Division
A-main (12 laps): 1. 28-Russ Marsden; 2. 00Jr.-Joe Reeves; 3. 5k-Keith Kiefer; 4. 11j-Eli Gilbert
Heat: Reeves, Marsden, Gilbert, Kiefer
Midstate Vintage Club
A-main (12 laps): 1. 9-John Applebee; 2. 2x-Ally Amell; 3. 71e-Rob Casti; 4. 37-Bob Kisselstein; 5. 7-Paul Applebee; 6. 24-Bill Holmes; 7. 1-Richard Applebee; 8. 63-Tex Gordon; 9. 47-Norm Richardson; 10. 32-Don Larmon; 11. 03-Ken Knapp; 12. 82-Frank Blanchard
Limited: Gordon; Sportsman: Kisselstein; Modified: Applebee
#1: Kisselstein, Holmes, Blanchard, Knapp, Gordon, Richardson, Larmon
#2: J. Applebee, R. Applebee, Casti, Amell, P. Applebee