Sheppard Back to Winning Ways with Land of Legends Triumph – DTD Exclusive

By Bobby Sweeney

CANANDAIGUA, NY – Matt Sheppard returned to Super DIRTcar Series victory lane on Wednesday night, taking the win in the SummerFAST event at Land of Legends Raceway. After getting by Mike Mahaney, Sheppard led the back half of the feature en route to a $7,500 payday. 

Mahaney secured the lead from Jack Lehner early in the 60-lap main, with Sheppard trailing in third. Sheppard slid under Lehner for second on lap ten, then went to work on Mahaney. Sheppard drew even with Mahaney on multiple occasions, but Mahaney played solid defense and kept Sheppard at bay as the pair hit lapped traffic.

On lap 24, Sheppard finally got the launch he was looking for off the bottom of turn two, driving by Mahaney and into the lead. Once out front, Sheppard hit the afterburners and quickly put up a comfortable gap over Mahaney and Lehner. Through thick traffic, Sheppard maintained a steady straightaway lead through the middle stages of the race.

As the laps clicked off, lapped traffic got thicker and thicker. Sheppard showed good maneuverability, being able to roll the bottom, middle, and top at command to put more cars between himself and Mahaney. Lehner hung tough in third, not far behind Mahaney, but was under heavy fire from Tim Fuller and Mat Williamson. With the checkered waving, it was Sheppard scoring the convincing win over Mahaney and Lehner. Williamson slipped by Fuller on the final lap, with Williamson fourth and Fuller completing the top five.

The victory puts Sheppard back in the win column for the Super DIRTcar Series for the first time in six weeks, having previously won at Orange County Fair Speedway. Since that win on July 5th, Sheppard has finished runner-up in five of the last seven races. 

“The one norm about this place is that it will be different every time we come here,” said Sheppard. “We never know what to expect. It can be very slick, or tacky; we never know quite what we’ll get. I feel like at the start of the night, the track was in as good of condition as it had been all year.  It blew off and got super slick in the feature. Everyone always says we have a ton of laps around here.  The shape hasn’t changed, but the surface has changed a ton over the years.”

As Sheppard said, the track went through a notable drop in bite during the 60-lap event. When out front during these changes, Sheppard did not have the luxury of watching and learning from the leader because he was the leader. Out front, Sheppard only had lapped traffic to gauge himself and make adjustments to his lines.

“It changed quite a bit during that race,” Sheppard stated. “Mahaney was running real high off of two. I started cutting the corner down and gained some ground. I thought that was the better way for a while, but probably about 40 laps in, it flip-flopped and everyone was back way up high off of two, and it seemed to be the place to be. There were times late in traffic when I thought I’d roll a good corner and a lapped car would still drive away from me. I started thinking, ‘this ain’t good.’ The traffic wasn’t bad, but there were a ton of side-by-side battles. It was tough to keep my momentum going around them.”

Mahaney has shown good speed in the DIRTcar shows lately. Following his win at Autodrome Drummond a few races back, Mahaney took home his fourth top five of the season.

“It just went clean and green,” Mahaney noted. “Where Sheppard was sitting behind me early, he was able to find something a little quicker than where I was running, and I had to start searching when he got by me. He got a big lead right then, and I thought I found something that was working for me; maybe I gained a little bit about three-quarters of the way in. Then, I caught some lapped cars, and he got a big lead again. In clear track, I think we had a pretty good car, but he was just quicker.”

Lehner scored his second top five in the last two races, backing up his fifth at Brewerton Speedway on Monday night with a podium run. Lehner has had a good history at the Canandaigua oval, finishing seventh in July’s Super DIRTcar Series event and piling steady finishes of fifth, eighth, and tenth in 2021.

“We seemed to be on pace with Mahaney really all race long,” stated Lehner. “I felt like I had a solid piece. I just needed to be a little bit better from the center off. Especially in turn four, that seemed to be where Sheppard was making up a lot of his time. I actually really like coming here; for whatever reason, we seem to be pretty strong at this place and seem to get better every time out.”

Mat Williamson charged from 12th to finish in fourth with winner of the last Super DIRTcar Series event at Land of Legends, Tim Fuller, completing the top five.


SummerFAST At LOL (60 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[3]; 2. 35-Mike Mahaney[1]; 3. 2-Jack Lehner[2]; 4. 88-Mat Williamson[12]; 5. 19-Tim Fuller[8]; 6. 39C-Kyle Coffey[6]; 7. 3-Justin Haers[4]; 8. 70A-Alex Payne[11]; 9. 91-Felix Roy[22]; 10. 25R-Erick Rudolph[20]; 11. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[14]; 12. 99L-Larry Wight[18]; 13. 8H-Max McLaughlin[10]; 14. 34A-Anthony Perrego[27]; 15. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[23]; 16. 14J-Alan Johnson[19]; 17. 15-Todd Root[5]; 18. 54-Steve Bernard[26]; 19. 5H-Chris Hile[25]; 20. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[7]; 21. 12-Darren Smith[24]; 22. 29-Matt Caprara[9]; 23. 14-CG Morey[13]; 24. 42P-Pat Ward[16]; 25. 7Z-Zachary Payne[21]; 26. 15X-Justin Stone[17]; 27. 17-Marcus Dinkins[15]

HYTORC Of New York LCS 1 (10 Laps): 1. 7Z-Zachary Payne[2]; 2. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[1]; 3. 22-Tanner Van Doren[4]; 4. 34A-Anthony Perrego[3]; 5. 5H-Chris Hile[5]; 6. 54-Steve Bernard[8]; 7. 11J-James Sweeting[7]; 8. (DNF) 215-Adam Pierson[6]; 9. (DNS) 19W-Justin Wright

HYTORC Of New York LCS 2 (10 Laps): 1. 91-Felix Roy[1]; 2. 12-Darren Smith[2]; 3. 27J-Danny Johnson[3]; 4. 132-Dalton Martin[6]; 5. C3-Chas Wolbert[5]; 6. 7S-Torrey Stoughtenger[4]; 7. 88A-Dave Allen[7]; 8. (DNS) 27JR-Daniel Johnson; 9. (DNS) 34-Kevin Root

Case No.1 Engine Oil Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[1]; 2. 39C-Kyle Coffey[2]; 3. 29-Matt Caprara[6]; 4. 14-CG Morey[8]; 5. 15X-Justin Stone[4]; 6. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[5]; 7. 34A-Anthony Perrego[7]; 8. 5H-Chris Hile[10]; 9. 11J-James Sweeting[3]; 10. 19W-Justin Wright[9]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 15-Todd Root[1]; 2. 35-Mike Mahaney[2]; 3. 8H-Max McLaughlin[3]; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[4]; 5. 99L-Larry Wight[6]; 6. 7Z-Zachary Payne[5]; 7. 22-Tanner Van Doren[7]; 8. 215-Adam Pierson[8]; 9. 54-Steve Bernard[9]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 19-Tim Fuller[2]; 2. 2-Jack Lehner[1]; 3. 70A-Alex Payne[3]; 4. 17-Marcus Dinkins[5]; 5. 14J-Alan Johnson[6]; 6. 91-Felix Roy[4]; 7. 27J-Danny Johnson[8]; 8. C3-Chas Wolbert[7]; 9. 88A-Dave Allen[9]; 10. (DNS) 34-Kevin Root

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[1]; 2. 3-Justin Haers[2]; 3. 88-Mat Williamson[3]; 4. 42P-Pat Ward[4]; 5. 25R-Erick Rudolph[7]; 6. 12-Darren Smith[5]; 7. 7S-Torrey Stoughtenger[9]; 8. (DNF) 132-Dalton Martin[6]; 9. (DNS) 27JR-Daniel Johnson

Low E Insulation Qualifying A (2 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[8]; 2. 15-Todd Root[1]; 3. 39C-Kyle Coffey[11]; 4. 35-Mike Mahaney[17]; 5. 11J-James Sweeting[2]; 6. 8H-Max McLaughlin[16]; 7. 15X-Justin Stone[6]; 8. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[19]; 9. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[5]; 10. 7Z-Zachary Payne[3]; 11. 29-Matt Caprara[13]; 12. 99L-Larry Wight[4]; 13. 34A-Anthony Perrego[14]; 14. 22-Tanner Van Doren[18]; 15. 14-CG Morey[12]; 16. 215-Adam Pierson[7]; 17. 19W-Justin Wright[15]; 18. 54-Steve Bernard[10]; 19. 5H-Chris Hile[9]

Low E Insulation Qualifying B (2 Laps): 1. 2-Jack Lehner, 00:18.889[12]; 2. 83X-Tim Sears Jr, 00:18.928[9]; 3. 19-Tim Fuller, 00:18.934[10]; 4. 3-Justin Haers, 00:18.935[17]; 5. 70A-Alex Payne, 00:18.953[3]; 6. 88-Mat Williamson, 00:18.963[1]; 7. 91-Felix Roy, 00:19.057[7]; 8. 42P-Pat Ward, 00:19.105[15]; 9. 17-Marcus Dinkins, 00:19.133[16]; 10. 12-Darren Smith, 00:19.147[2]; 11. 14J-Alan Johnson, 00:19.170[11]; 12. 132-Dalton Martin, 00:19.185[5]; 13. C3-Chas Wolbert, 00:19.267[13]; 14. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 00:19.276[14]; 15. 27J-Danny Johnson, 00:19.282[18]; 16. 27JR-Daniel Johnson, 00:19.297[4]; 17. 88A-Dave Allen, 00:19.863[8]; 18. (DNF) 7S-Torrey Stoughtenger, 00:19.863[19]; 19. (DNS) 34-Kevin Root, 00:19.863