Sheppard Bags Another Big One With $20,000 Outlaw 200 Triumph

By:  Bobby Sweeney

FULTON, NY – Matt Sheppard went to battle with Mat Williamson during Fulton Speedway’s annual Outlaw 200, with Sheppard claiming victory and a $20,000 payday. Sheppard and Williamson swapped the lead a number of times during the duration of the event, with Sheppard using late-race moves in traffic to seal the win.

Sheppard set the pace over Mike Mahaney and Chris Hile at the start of the 200-lap grind, with Williamson filing into fourth early on. On lap 23, Williamson rolled around Hile for third, and chased down Mahaney over the next ten laps. After working over Mahaney for some time, Williamson got to second on lap 42.

Following a lap 55 caution, Williamson was all over Sheppard for the lead. Sheppard seemed to get rolling after a few laps and kept Williamson at bay for the time being, but the caution flew again on lap 75. On the restart, Williamson got a massive bite through the middle of turns one and two to drive to the lead.

Williamson and Sheppard seemed equal pace, with Sheppard holding close but not enough to retake the top spot as the race neared halfway. At the crossed flags, it was Williamson over Sheppard, with Chad Phelps making a strong run to third. Three drivers stayed out at the halfway caution, with Phelps inheriting the lead as Williamson and Sheppard headed to the pits.

With Williamson restarting fourth, it did not take Williamson long to head back to the front. On lap 104, Williamson ran through the middle and into the lead once more, with Sheppard using the same lane to pass Phelps for second on lap 108. From there, Sheppard went on the attack, reeling in Williamson as the pair hit traffic. On lap 122, Sheppard and Williamson split a lapped car, and Sheppard emerged the new leader.

As the laps clicked off, Sheppard slowly inched away from Williamson. Behind them, Phelps and Mahaney battled for third, with Mahaney taking third on lap 138. While Mahaney was moving forward, Sheppard and Williamson were in their own area code. By lap 150, leader Sheppard was half a track ahead of third-place Mahaney.

Sheppard’s lead peaked at nearly a straightaway, but Williamson was not going down without a fight. By lap 180, Williamson was visibly reeling in Sheppard, as Sheppard was now dealing with fast lapped cars at the back of the top ten. With ten laps left, Williamson was there, taking a look at the outside of Sheppard on both ends of the track. Just as Williamson looked ready to fire a shot at the lead, a lapped car ended up sideways in front of Williamson and stopped his momentum. 

The incident cost Williamson some time, but also gave Sheppard a moment of clear track. Both of these combined allowed Sheppard to run away and hide in the final few laps, reaching the checkered flag first for a $20,000 payday. Williamson came home second, with Mahaney, Billy Dunn, and Phelps completing the top five.

The win is Sheppard’s second in Fulton Speedway’s premier event, with his first Outlaw 200 victory coming in 2014 during his tenure at HBR. Eight years later, Sheppard nailed down his second win, this time in his own piece.

“I really thought we were screwed,” Sheppard said. “The track was so black there by the end of the first 100, and Mat went blowing by with his small block like he was on a Sunday cruise. I was thinking to myself, ‘this next 100 laps is going to be a tough go,’ I thought we were a sitting duck with a big block. We were pretty good for a long time in the first half, I just felt like I needed to steer better, and I told Randy (Kisacky, crew chief) at the break that we needed to do something if we were going to have a shot. We took a couple stabs at it, and we made the right calls again.”

Two weeks ago, Sheppard claimed a win in another 200-lap event at Fonda Speedway. In a similar situation, Sheppard made some changes during the halfway break that proved vital to landing in victory lane. In the past handful of years with the rapid development of the coil and left-side panhard package, these mid-race changes have seemed to become more critical than ever.

“It was a similar tale to Fonda,” noted Sheppard. “Fonda, we were pretty good but needed a little more to win, and luckily tonight we made the right calls again. Nothing major, just a couple little tweaks to try and help it steer, but that’s kind of what it has been lately. We’ve learned that these cars are so temperamental, and after a few years of struggling and taking notes, we’ve been making all of the right calls for these big races.” 

With ten laps to go, Sheppard saw Williamson for the first time in almost 70 laps. As quickly as Sheppard knew he had company, the company went away as lapped traffic held up Williamson. 

“That was a traffic jam in front of us,” stated Sheppard. “Somebody got into somebody going into one, and it cleared them out of my way. It could’ve easily hurt me instead of Mat, but I guess I was on the bottom and usually cars slide up when they come together. That was the break I needed to get clean air, we got rolling those last ten laps or so. From there on out, I just wanted to not hit the infield tires in one and two, I was right on them, and just keep my momentum up in three and four. I tried to block the bottom and top all at once, if that’s possible, and was just relieved to see the checkered flag.”

While the lapped traffic was critically helpful in Sheppard’s bid for a second Outlaw 200 win, it was equally detrimental to Williamson’s bid for a second Outlaw 200 win. Despite a miss at a potential win, Williamson was still happy with the night. 

“I figured I had to surprise Matt, but I may have pulled the trigger a little too early,” Williamson said. “We all know what happened in turn one with traffic. It was just a tough deal, the #6 car about spun in front of me, but in this race they don’t use the move-over flag. I’ve been lapped before, I’ve been lapped this year pretty often, I know what those guys are racing for so I can’t complain about it. Traffic was probably the whole reason I even caught Sheppard in the first place. It’s tough, but we got a couple big races to go get it done at next week.”

Since Williamson began traveling frequently, he has excelled at Fulton Speedway. In 2018, Williamson was leading the Outlaw 200 when he broke under caution near halfway. In 2019, Williamson won a DIRTcar 358-Modified Series event at the track, then finished a close second to Mike Maresca in the Outlaw 200. In 2021, Williamson finally broke through and won his first Outlaw 200, and has now been a major player in the event the past four runnings.

“This place is really similar to Merrittville, where I race on Saturday nights and where I grew up,” Williamson noted. “It gets slippery, and you have to keep the torque arms loaded. This race, we can run a small block, and we ran a spec head 358. We’ve been good with a small block this year, but haven’t been very good in a big block. When it gets black and slippery like that, they feel like they need to do track work, but it’s the best racing there is – we’re splitting lapped cars and four wide. It’s a fun place to race at.”

Another high-paying 200-lap event, another strong run for Mahaney. Matching his Fonda 200 result, Mahaney has been on the podium for both endurance events this season. However, it was not without a different set of challenges than Fonda.

“These long races, we just don’t give up.” Mahaney said. “We had some issues prior to the halfway break, resolved them, and I think we got the car a little better. We lost some track position to the guys that stayed out at the break, got back by them, and just never got a caution. We got kind of spread out, I don’t know what our lap times were, but we were okay and just needed to regroup. We just needed to bunch up, get some clear track and try some things. I’m glad we made the right call to come in the pits at the break and work on the car, it needed it.”

The Outlaw 200 rules package allows for a variety of engine combinations. While Sheppard ran a big block, Williamson and Mahaney opted for the small block. Even with a power disadvantage to Sheppard to start with, Mahaney’s motor was not up to full song. 

“We ran a 358 tonight, and it certainly struggled at a couple points,” Mahaney noted. “On the initial starts, I was definitely giving it up. Later on, the track got slicker and we got better. We worked on the engine a little bit at the halfway break, the problem was the harmonic balancer fell off. The outside part of it just broke and came off. We weren’t 100% of the way there, but the track got slicker and it got better as the track got slicker. We just needed a restart somewhere in the second 100, maybe it would have been a whole different race.”

Outlaw 200 Weekend Night Two Results

36th Annual Modified Outlaw 200 – (200 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[2]; 2. 88-Mat Williamson[5]; 3. 35-Mike Mahaney[1]; 4. 49-Billy Dunn[30]; 5. X-Chad Phelps[14]; 6. 99L-Larry Wight[11]; 7. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[33]; 8. 91-Billy Decker[38]; 9. 5H-Chris Hile[6]; 10. 38S-Ryan Susice[40]; 11. 9X-Tyler Trump[10]; 12. 7Z-Zachary Payne[28]; 13. 14J-Alan Johnson[15]; 14. 37S-Gary Lindberg[12]; 15. 02-Roy Bresnahan[13]; 16. 21C-Brian Calabrese[34]; 17. 20K-Kyle Inman[9]; 18. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[31]; 19. 713-Tommy Collins[26]; 20. 37-Alex Tonkin[19]; 21. 31-Corey Barker[22]; 22. 6NN-Nick Nye[42]; 23. 12-Darren Smith[21]; 24. 91R-Felix Roy[35]; 25. 42-Colton Wilson[25]; 26. M1-David Marcuccilli[16]; 27. 32R-Ronald Davis III[18]; 28. 19-Tim Fuller[24]; 29. 3RS-Dalton Slack[3]; 30. 15-Todd Root[43]; 31. 8H-Max McLaughlin[7]; 32. Z4-JJ Courcy[41]; 33. 11T-Jeff Taylor[17]; 34. 01-Chris Raabe[8]; 35. 58M-Marshall Hurd[37]; 36. 29K-Chris Cunningham[44]; 37. 34-Andrew Ferguson[39]; 38. 63-Adam Roberts[23]; 39. 70A-Alex Payne[32]; 40. 01C-Bob Henry Jr[29]; 41. 24R-Garrett Rushlow[27]; 42. 4P-Anthony Perrego[20]; 43. 18$-Sean Beardsley[36]; 44. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[4]

A to Z Contracting & Phelps Cement Products Halfway Leader Bonus $1000: Mat Williamson

A to Z Contracting $250 to the top-finishing Fulton or Brewerton Track Regular

$300 Top Finishing Bicknell Car: Matt Sheppard

Hoosier Tire Hard Luck Award Winner: Gary Lindberg

Drum of VP Racing Fuel to The Hard Charger: Billy Decker

$799 Team Race Suit from Velocita to the first Non-Qualifier in the LCS: Rocky Warner

$299 Pair of Velocita Shoes to the last finishing car on the lead lap: Billy Decker

Jammer’s Sports Bar & Restaurant Gift Cards to Saturday Heats $100 – 1st, $75 – 2nd, $50 – 3rd.

Heat 1 – Tyler Trump, Gary Lindberg, Roy Bresnahan

Heat 2 – Max McLaughlin, Kyle Inman, Chad Phelps

Heat 3 – Dalton Slack, Chris Raabe, Alan Johnson

Heat 4 – Mat Williamson, Chris Hile, Dave Marcuccilli

Heat 5 – Jimmy Phelps, Matt Sheppard, Jeff Taylor

Heat 6 – Larry Wight, Mike Mahaney, Ron Davis III

$200 Heat Race Winners from Modified Draw: Tyler Trump, Max McLaughlin, Dalton Slack, Mat Williamson, Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight

Modified Heats 5 Qualify with Top Two to the Redraw.

Modified Heat # 1 – (12 Laps): 1. 9X-Tyler Trump[2]; 2. 37S-Gary Lindberg[4]; 3. 02-Roy Bresnahan[5]; 4. 37-Alex Tonkin[1]; 5. 42-Colton Wilson[9]; 6. 58M-Marshall Hurd[7]; 7. 11-Justin Crisafulli[11]; 8. 3K-AJ Kingsley[6]; 9. 01R-Robert Gage[8]; 10. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias[10]; 11. 38S-Ryan Susice[3]

Modified Heat # 2 – (12 Laps): 1. 8H-Max McLaughlin[1]; 2. 20K-Kyle Inman[2]; 3. X-Chad Phelps[6]; 4. 4P-Anthony Perrego[10]; 5. 713-Tommy Collins[5]; 6. 70A-Alex Payne[9]; 7. 91R-Felix Roy[11]; 8. 29K-Chris Cunningham[4]; 9. 74-Lucas Fuller[7]; 10. 15-Todd Root[8]; 11. (DNS) 51A-Zac McDonald

Modified Heat #3 – (12 Laps): 1. 3RS-Dalton Slack[5]; 2. 01-Chris Raabe[7]; 3. 14J-Alan Johnson[2]; 4. 12-Darren Smith[8]; 5. 24R-Garrett Rushlow[1]; 6. 18$-Sean Beardsley[6]; 7. 6NN-Nick Nye[9]; 8. 29-Matt Caprara[4]; 9. 3M-Michael Stanton[10]; 10. 23-Cameron Black[11]; 11. (DNS) 80X-Mike Button

Modified Heat # 4 – (12 Laps): 1. 6-Mat Williamson[6]; 2. 5H-Chris Hile[11]; 3. M1-David Marcuccilli[5]; 4. 31-Corey Barker[1]; 5. 7Z-Zachary Payne[8]; 6. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[10]; 7. Z4-JJ Courcy[2]; 8. 21C-Brian Calabrese[3]; 9. 60-Jackson Gill[9]; 10. XN-Andy Noto[7]; 11. JS98-Rocky Warner[4]

Modified Heat # 5 – (12 Laps): 1. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[3]; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard[10]; 3. 11T-Jeff Taylor[2]; 4. 63-Adam Roberts[4]; 5. 01C-Bob Henry Jr[11]; 6. 91-Billy Decker[5]; 7. 42M-Brian Murphy[1]; 8. 410-Mike Fowler[7]; 9. 4-Michelle Courcy[9]; 10. 28X-Stephen Marshall[8]; 11. 8K-Nick Krause[6]

Modified Heat # 6 – (12 Laps): 1. 99L-Larry Wight [1]; 2. 35-Mike Mahaney[8]; 3. 32R-Ronald Davis III[10]; 4. 19-Tim Fuller[4]; 5. 49-Billy Dunn[6]; 6. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[9]; 7. 34-Andrew Ferguson[3]; 8. 38-Tim Harris[2]; 9. 64-Tyler Corcoran[7]; 10. 38J-Jason Parkhurst[5]

Modified Consolations 3 Qualify

Modified Consolation # 1- (12 Laps): 1: 1. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[2]; 2. 21C-Brian Calabrese[6]; 3. 58M-Marshall Hurd[1]; 4. Z4-JJ Courcy[4]; 5. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias[9]; 6. 38S-Ryan Susice[11]; 7. JS98-Rocky Warner[12]; 8. 01R-Robert Gage[7]; 9. 60-Jackson Gill[8]; 10. 3K-AJ Kingsley[5]; 11. 11-Justin Crisafulli[3]; 12. XN-Andy Noto[10]

Modified Consolation # 2 – (12 Laps): 1. 70A-Alex Payne[1]; 2. 91R-Felix Roy[3]; 3. 91-Billy Decker[2]; 4. 29K-Chris Cunningham[5]; 5. 15-Todd Root[9]; 6. 410-Mike Fowler[6]; 7. 51A-Zac McDonald[11]; 8. 4-Michelle Courcy[8]; 9. 42M-Brian Murphy[4]; 10. 8K-Nick Krause[12]; 11. 28X-Stephen Marshall[10]; 12. 74-Lucas Fuller[7]

Modified Consolation # 3 – (12 Laps): 1. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[2]; 2. 18$-Sean Beardsley[1]; 3. 34-Andrew Ferguson[4]; 4. 29-Matt Caprara[5]; 5. 6NN-Nick Nye[3]; 6. 3M-Michael Stanton[7]; 7. 38-Tim Harris[6]; 8. 23-Cameron Black[9]; 9. 38J-Jason Parkhurst[10]; 10. 64-Tyler Corcoran[8]; 11. 80X-Mike Button[11]

Last Chance Showdown – 2 Q (15 Laps): 1. Z4-JJ Courcy[1]; 2. 6NN-Nick Nye[6]; 3. JS98-Rocky Warner[9]; 4. 29-Matt Caprara[3]; 5. 29K-Chris Cunningham[2]; 6. 60-Jackson Gill[15]; 7. 51A-Zac McDonald[10]; 8. 15-Todd Root[5]; 9. 3M-Michael Stanton[8]; 10. 410-Mike Fowler[7]; 11. 4-Michelle Courcy[13]; 12. 38-Tim Harris[11]; 13. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias[4]; 14. 3K-AJ Kingsley[18]; 15. (DNS) 23-Cameron Black; 16. (DNS) 01R-Robert Gage; 17. (DNS) 42M-Brian Murphy; 18. (DNS) 38J-Jason Parkhurst; 19. (DNS) 28X-Stephen Marshall; 20. (DNS) XN-Andy Noto; 21. (DNS) 64-Tyler Corcoran; 22. (DNS) 8K-Nick Krause; 23. (DNS) 11-Justin Crisafulli; 24. (DNS) 74-Lucas Fuller; 25. (DNS) 80X-Mike Button

Industrial Tire of CNY Sportsman Shootout – (50 Laps): 1. 38-Zach Sobotka[2]; 2. 31B-Ryan Dolbear[7]; 3. 44-David Rogers[3]; 4. 64-Tyler Corcoran[8]; 5. 19C-Brandon Carvey[19]; 6. 18E-Gavin Eisele[6]; 7. 3-Chris Mackey[22]; 8. 33X-Matt Janczuk[17]; 9. 01-Zachary Buff[18]; 10. 4-Emmett Waldron[13]; 11. 5H-Amy Holland[28]; 12. 21W-Quinn Wallis[5]; 13. 1M-Tyler Murray[1]; 14. 63-Teddy Clayton Jr[9]; 15. 35T-Cameron Tuttle[24]; 16. 33-Richard Murtaugh[12]; 17. 92-Andrew Buff[29]; 18. 22C-Cedric Gauvreau[4]; 19. 52-Jessica Power[21]; 20. 88-Michael Wagner Fitzgerald[30]; 21. 0-Tony Finch II[15]; 22. 38JR-Jason Parkhurst Jr[10]; 23. 14AJ-AJ Miller[33]; 24. 57-Remington Hamm[20]; 25. 6-Cody Manitta[16]; 26. 5D-Kyle Devendorf[32]; 27. 00W-Wade Chrisman[26]; 28. 1R-Ricky Thompson[31]; 29. 7-Cody McPherson[14]; 30. 34-Eric Nier[25]; 31. 83X-Brett Sears[11]; 32. 28-Alan Fink[23]; 33. 410-Mike Fowler[27]

Precision Hydraulic & Oil Pole Dash – (12 Laps): 1. 1M-Tyler Murray[1]; 2. 38-Zach Sobotka[2]; 3. 44-David Rogers[3]; 4. 22C-Cedric Gauvreau[4]; 5. 21W-Quinn Wallis[5]; 6. 18E-Gavin Eisele[6]; 7. 31B-Ryan Dolbear[7]; 8. 64-Tyler Corcoran[8]

Precision Hydraulic & Oil Dash Awards: Winner – $500: Second – One Case Extreme Oil: Third – Six Quarts of Nano Pro MT 75W-90 Gear Oil: Tyler Murray, Zach Sobotka, David Rogers

Sportsman Last Chance Showdowns 3 Qualify

Sportsman Last Chance Showdowns # 1- (12 Laps): 1. 33X-Matt Janczuk[6]; 2. 52-Jessica Power[2]; 3. 34-Eric Nier[3]; 4. 48-Kearra Backus[5]; 5. 19K-Kevan Cook[7]; 6. 88-Michael Wagner Fitzgerald[8]; 7. 220-Chris Hulsizer[14]; 8. 64B-Brett Buono[1]; 9. 1D-Paul DeRuyter[12]; 10. 21-Billy Sauve[10]; 11. 13K-Daryl Krebs[9]; 12. 39S-Josh Fellows[11]; 13. 5D-Kyle Devendorf[4]; 14. AONE-Bucky Hayes[15]; 15. (DNS) 19J-Joe Kline

Sportsman Last Chance Showdowns # 2 – (12 Laps): 1. 01-Zachary Buff[2]; 2. 3-Chris Mackey[1]; 3. 00W-Wade Chrisman[8]; 4. 57H-Rocky Grosso[4]; 5. 33JR-Clayton Brewer III[3]; 6. 1X-Willy Decker[5]; 7. 262-Matthew Richardson[6]; 8. 30R-Nick Root[7]; 9. 14AJ-AJ Miller[9]; 10. 13-James Donaldson[12]; 11. 17-Owen Nier[13]; 12. 30-Michael Root[10]; 13. (DNS) 284-Jamie Kamrowski; 14. (DNS) R1-Riley Rogala

Sportsman Last Chance Showdowns # 3 – (12 Laps): 1. 19C-Brandon Carvey[2]; 2. 28-Alan Fink[1]; 3. 410-Mike Fowler[4]; 4. 92-Andrew Buff[6]; 5. 35B-Brennan Moore[5]; 6. 28X-Stephen Marshall[3]; 7. 77L-Buddy Leathley[8]; 8. 28F-Tyler Stevenson[7]; 9. 98T-Tyler Thompson[9]; 10. 91-Josh Reome[11]; 11. (DNS) 9D-Brett Draper; 12. (DNS) 85-Robert Humphreys

Sportsman Last Chance Showdown #4 – (12 Laps): 1. 57-Remington Hamm[1]; 2. 35T-Cameron Tuttle[6]; 3. 5H-Amy Holland[2]; 4. 51-Jimmy Moyer[8]; 5. 17J-Brenton Joy[3]; 6. 7O7-Greg Brinklow[9]; 7. 16X-Savannah Laflair[10]; 8. 11C-Austin Cooper[11]; 9. 1R-Ricky Thompson[12]; 10. 75-AJ Custodi[5]; 11. 06W-Dorian Wahdan[7]; 12. 2K-Joshua Amodio[4]; 13. 7W-Tom Mackey[14]

$300 Top Finishing Bicknell Car: Zach Sobotka

$200 Second Finishing Bicknell Car: Ryan Dolbear

Drum of VP D98 Hard Charger: Amy Holland

$250 to the top-finishing Brewerton or Fulton Regular from A to Z Contracting: Zach Sobotka

Hoosier Tire Hard Luck Award: Cedric Gauvreau

$50 to the first Non-Qualifier from each LCS from Northeast Racing Products & Trade Show: Kearra Backus, Rocky Grosso, Andrew Buff,