News, Notes, Quotes and More from Super DIRTcar Series ‘Tuesday Night Tailgate’ at Eldora Speedway – DTD Exclusive


Pat Ward has had himself a nice little run of strong showings in the last few weeks.  The Genoa, N.Y., driver has had some bad luck in there as well but things are trending in the right direction for the driver of the Gypsum Express sponsored No. 42p.

Tuesday was no different for Ward as he ended up finishing in the runner-up position behind former teammate Billy Decker in the final rundown.  On several restarts, Ward looked underneath of Decker but the top lane was just too good for him to be able to make a serious challenge to Decker on the bottom.  Second was his ultimate fate.  He attributed the recent positive momentum to several factors.

“This is a Bicknell car we’ve run twice and we’ve been second with it both times so far,” stated the veteran pilot.  “The old car has been good.  I don’t know, but the Penske Shocks have been working really well for us and the LJL Motors are as fast as anything out there.  We’ve got a setup here lately that has been pretty good everywhere we go.”

Sheppard Back in Business

After serving his two race suspension, Matt Sheppard returned to action with the Super DIRTcar Series on Tuesday.  Sheppard found himself in the thick of it for most of the race as restarts proved to be a battle royal with everyone looking for an advantage.  At different times restarts helped or hurt the Waterloo, N.Y., driver.  At the end a third place finish was all he was able muster aboard his Bicknell mount.

“These two over here missed a heck of a show on restarts,” said Sheppard referring to first and second place finishers Billy Decker and Ward.  “It seemed like row two and row three was a free for all on those restarts.  I got up to third early, fell back to fourth, might have even went back to fifth at one point.  Luckily I got a good restart on one of the restarts and got back up to third.  I was able to stay there until it went single-file.”

Problem After Problem for Hearn

Some days it’s just not your day.  That was the case for Brett Hearn as his team thrashed all night long after problems forced them to a backup car before the start of the night.  Then, thinking they had more issues, Hearn was ready to call it night after starting the feature to get home to change out cars.  Then the racing gods smiled upon him and he somehow managed a fourth place finish.

“I never saw an engine fix itself before, but it fixed itself,” stated Hearn.  “Something must have happened to it when we started it real quick.  It was cold and something happened to it.  In the heat race we broke torque arms and still finished fourth.  Our was intention was to go out and run a couple laps or make one lap and pull in.  We started it up back here and it didn’t sound too bad.  The vital signs looked good so we added some oil to it.  I told them to put enough fuel in it in case I decided to stay out there so I could go the distance.  At last the minute we put tires on it, fuel in it and it fixed itself. “

Hearn felt a vibration in the primary car necessitating the unloading of the backup car.  He plans to meet up with team members on Thursday to get much needed spares from home.  His team is well prepared to handle any issues that may arise.  He know this is the most important stretch of the season.

As he put it, “It’s a tough stretch.  It separates the men from the boys.”

Eldora Extras

31 cars were pit-side for the 2017 Super DIRTcar Series event at Eldora.  It’s a significant drop from the 58 that attended in 2016.  Last year the Ohio and Pennsylvania contingent brought solid numbers.  This year only Rex King Jr. and Erik Martin made the trek for the locals…

Jeremy Smith’s day ended in time trials.  The Binghamton, N.Y., slammed the wall doing heavy damage to his No. 46.  Fortunately he was able to walk away…

Shaun Pangman had a run in with the outside wall as well in turns one and two during the feature.  It appeared something broke as his No. 34 as he got into the corner and pushed up right into the outside wall…

Tim Fuller had a spring rod break in the rear of his Graham Racing No. 19.  The broken part caused all sorts of chaos in the back-end of his No. 19.  The right rear tire ended up blowing after rubbing against the sheet metal.  He limped off with his night over…

Chris Hile pitted several times during the feature as the car was just unmanageable.  He tried to make changes to improve his luck but struggled to an 18th place effort…

Series point leader Larry Wight started the day on a high note setting the fastest time of the day in time trials.  Things went downhill from there for the Phoenix, N.Y., driver.  Wight was battling with Jimmy Phelps in his heat race when the car snapped around entering turn three.  He spun to bring out the yellow.  He was unable to recover in the heat and had to run the consolation.  He managed to salvage an ninth place finish…