WATERLOO, N.Y. — Story and audio By Race Chaser Online New York Dirt Correspondent Steven Ovens — Jeremiah Fish photo —
Matt Sheppard was quoted on Tuesday night as saying he had what he figured to be his best season racing a dirt modified, even though he finished second in the Super DIRTcar Series standings.
As far as home tracks go, Sheppard took care of business. He won track championships at both Brewerton Speedway and the Canandaigua Motorsports Park which earned him max bonus points for the series. Outside of the Super DIRTcar Series, Sheppard won some top-dollar events in Norm Hansell’s 357 machine on Brett Deyo’s Short Track Super Series as well as the Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series.
One reason for not bringing home the series title were a few blemishes on their season record that put them in a position to not write their own destiny late in the season. The biggest blemish was a broken axle at the Fonda Speedway at a series race in September that left Sheppard with a 30th place finish after only completing seven laps. Billy Decker took home a runner up finish that day, setting himself up for a serious chance to win the Super DIRTcar Series crown.
Sheppard would run second at Syracuse, fifth at Brockville, second at Eastern States, qualify well for the first feature event in Charlotte and run well in the feature to close in on Decker. But, a poor qualifying run for the second feature relegated Sheppard deep in the field for Feature No. 2 and was too tall a task to catch Decker, who ran in the top ten all night long on a track that was very tough to pass on.
The axle and missing the qualifying setup by just a little bit were all that kept Sheppard from having one of the best seasons in a dirt modified to date.
His focus for 2015 — erase the blemishes and essentially do everything else the same. Years like that can be tough to come by, but ‘Super Matt’ feels his Heinke Baldwin Racing team is up to the challenge.
Sheppard joined Steven Ovens, Clint Miller and Brad Ovens on this week’s episode of Turn 5 Live to talk about having a year under his belt with a new team, Sail Panels, Hoosiers at Utica-Rome, Canandaigua, Brewerton and all points in between.