HORSEHEADS, N.Y. — From the department of unexpected stories heading into 2017- Matt Sheppard laid a bomb on Friday night that will shock many and excite many more in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. Sheppard announced on Facebook Friday evening that he will be driving a dirt modified out of the Sweeteners Plus shop full-time at Outlaw Speedway on Friday nights in 2017, along with select special events during the season.
The announcement comes just one night before the Syracuse Motorsports Expo 2017 is set to kick off for two big days of motorsports announcements, schedule releases and plenty of shiny new sheet metal on display.
Sheppard had hinted in recent weeks that some kind of deal was being worked on to get the multi-time Super DIRTcar Series champion back to the track where he first raced a full-size racecar. But the thing nobody saw coming, was that the deal being worked on would be with the power team that is Sweeteners Plus Racing with superstar drivers like Tim McCreadie and Vic Coffey.
Vic Coffey and team took to Social Media as well to share the news and their excitement with a new teammate for Friday nights.
It was Outlaw Speedway, where Sheppard jumped up from the go-kart ranks in the Finger Lakes up to a four cylinder mini stock in Outlaw’s Bandit youth four cylinder division in 1998. Sheppard competed against drivers like Alex Hoag, Donnie Lawson and Travis Grover among many others. After spending a short amount of time in the Bandit division, it was off to Sportsman Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds and Big Block Modifieds where Sheppard competed against the best in the business.
The rest, as many dirt fans all across the country know by now, is history.
This adds to a stout lineup of drivers to the Outlaw Speedway weekly program, which includes nine-time Outlaw Speedway track champion and recently announced Dirt Modified Hall of Famer Steve Paine, another recently announced Hall of Famer Alan Johnson, Donnie Lawson, Brady Fultz, Joe Dgien and likely many more to be announced.
Surely the $2,000-to-win weekly winner’s share of the purse is a perk that is attracting many top teams to Outlaw Speedway. But now teamed up with Sheppard, the Sweeteners Plus Team will have a great opportunity to race for the $40,000-to-win Insinger Performance, Sunoco Race Fuels Modified Challenge. If a weekly competing Modified driver can win the Outlaw Spring Nationals, Jeff Searles Memorial, MRO Celebrity Night & Dutch Hoag Memorial races, they will pocket a cool forty thousand dollars. Partial bonuses of twenty thousand dollars is also available if a driver can win three out of the four marquee events on the ‘Fast Four-Tenths-Mile.’
RaceChaserOnline.com will stay on this developing story as Motorsports Expo opens to the public at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y. on Saturday morning. Additional coverage will be available on the Performance Motorsports Network on Tuesday night at 7:30PM on Turn 5 Live, where Steven Ovens, Clint Miller and Brad Ovens will share reactions from the Northeast dirt world.
About the Writer
Steven Ovens is the Northeast Dirt Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and the creator and host of the Turn 5 Live dirt track racing radio show, airing at 7:30 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Ovens has spent his lifetime in the sport of dirt track racing, growing up in the garages of the Kerrick and Ovens families. He spent 11 years behind the wheel between go-karts and 4 Cylinder Mini Stocks which brings a unique perspective to his dirt track editorials.
The 30-year-old has a career in the growing health care business world, and is also entering his second season as the full-time announcer and media director for Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull, N.Y.
In addition, Ovens was formerly the announcer and media director for Outlaw Speedway (formerly Black Rock Speedway) in Dundee, N.Y., serving in that capacity in both 2015 and 2016.
Email Steve at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @StevenOvens
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews