Sheppard Keeps Rolling, Podium Notes and Quotes – DTD Exclusive


As of late, it seems the only thing that can beat Matt Sheppard is Mother Nature. Sheppard won Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway before a rain washed out racing throughout New York on Saturday. Sunday he found himself back in victory lane with a $4,000 triumph at the Weedsport Speedway.

Sheppard was able to roll the middle on a restart and that was all it took to get by his good friend Anthony Perrego. Perrego kept his No. 4* glued to the bottom while Sheppard rolled his Bicknell right through the middle of the track in turns one and two. The momentum gained off of turn two allowed him to sneak in front of Perrego in turn three.

“I feel like it could have gone either way,” said Sheppard. “I was just able to use momentum. I’m not really sure why, but I feel like my car restarted very good in the heat race too when I was able to get the jump out there. I don’t know why, but sometimes it seems to get more restart traction that others.  I felt like I had great restart traction, but I actually felt when we got rolling I hurt for straightaway traction. It was just one of them deals where I feel like we were pretty darn equal and we were just kind of riding around there. If I didn’t get by him on that restart, I probably never would have.”

Sheppard did have to contend with traffic during the race, which was tough. At one point he nearly lost the runner-up position while trying to navigate the slower cars at the back of the field. Late in the race he had to do the same with traffic. Luckily, he had a comfortable margin over the field.

“Everybody’s the same speed nowadays,” said Sheppard. “The draw is more important and traffic’s hard. There wasn’t a lot of racetrack left and everybody’s got the same equipment. So everybody’s the same speed, you know what I mean? Track position is definitely important and also making the right moves in traffic. I caught that group of lapped cars and kind of wanted to try and go around them, but I was a little bit afraid to. I decided to tuck in and follow them. Luckily, we made it to the end.”

Perrego Heating Up

It wasn’t a win on Sunday night for Anthony Perrego, but it was another solid performance at the Weedsport Speedway. Perrego started the season in rough fashion with mechanical problems chasing him wherever he went. It didn’t matter what team or combination he was running, issues kept popping up.

As of late, Perrego seems to have shaken off the bad luck bug to get things rolling. He’s been on the podium the last three races entered including his second place finish on Sunday night.

“It definitely seems like Middletown and Accord kind of turned things around for us after struggling with both teams losing motors and not having great runs like we should be,” said Perrego. “To come here, and obviously draw good, and then draw the pole like that, helped out our night tremendously. We had a really good car to stay up there and to race with Matt a little bit. I mean, he’s been doing this for a long time and this is like his Middletown. So you know, we can’t hang our heads. We just want to get a win here badly. We’ve been second and third here so hopefully one day that will come.”

Perrego felt good on the restart when Sheppard was able to drive by him. He used the same tactic to keep Larry Wight behind him at the drop of the green flag. Unfortunately, Sheppard was able to get traction where Wight was not.

“I think he just knew what he was doing there,” Perrego said of Sheppard. “I tried to get him out there a little bit. I fired off good there on that start with Larry and kind of hit the brown and took off, but he had a lot more traction than Larry did on the original start. He just kind of just snuck by us, and honestly, after we ran about four or five laps, I think we were about the same speed. It was just on that restart, but we’ll go back and tweak on this thing a little bit and hopefully come back next week one spot better.”

Rudolph Rounds Out Podium

Patience was key for Erick Rudolph on Sunday. Rudolph started the race from inside the fifth row. He methodically made passes working forward over the 50-lap distance to finish in the third position in the final rundown.

“We ran good,” said Rudolph. “We were picking off a few cars here and there and restarts were good for us. It seemed like the car really liked the bottom. We were able to work lapped traffic pretty good. When we had to step up to the middle we could. I think at the end we were catching the four (Perrego) for sure. We just got to find a little little extra short run speed maybe earlier in the race to give us more of a chance.”

After his solid run, Rudolph was non-committal about returning for next Sunday’s Super DIRTcar Series event. He’s been traveling around for much of the season and that will continue. He called himself a “freelancer” at this point in the year.

“I’m not sure if we will be back here next Sunday or not,” commented Rudolph. “We might have prior commitments at a different race track, but it certainly feels good to have a good run here at Weedsport. We used to run extremely well here. I think we ran well here tonight. Next time we come back I don’t see why we won’t have another good run. We’ll take some good notes and should have a good run next time.”