KIRKWOOD, N.Y. — Five different drivers led during Tuesday night’s hard fought, 66-lap Super DIRTcar Series event at Five Mile Point Speedway, but it was birthday boy Matt Sheppard who made a late-race charge from the eighth starting spot to score his third win of the season.
“I think we had a better car tonight than last week. This thing was just rolling tonight,” said Sheppard, the points leader and defending champion, who now has six podium finishes in the first eight races of the season.
Billy Decker and Larry Wight helped kick off the feature as they jumped ahead of the field and battled for an early lead.
Wight caught lapped traffic on lap 25 as Decker and Frank Cozze closed in.
It wasn’t just Decker and Cozze who were knocking on Wight’s doors as they caught lapped traffic. There were five drivers: Wight, Decker, Cozze, Friesen, and Sheppard who were all battling for the top spot on lap 32.
At halfway, the scoreboard saw Wight, Decker, Friesen, Cozze, and Sheppard as the top five.
Decker rolled the outside on the restart and took the lead back from Wight on lap 35 but was soon to be taken away by Frank Cozze who squeezed in below Decker coming out of turn two on lap 47.
Eighth-starter Sheppard took a chance and battled forward as he took the high side and chased down Cozze for the lead.
The final caution flag of the night fell with six laps remaining. On the restart, Sheppard powered forward and with a clear track ahead, pulled away from Cozze as he drove the No. 9s FX Caprara entry to victory lane.
“We didn’t like seeing those cautions. I felt we were better on longer runs,” said Sheppard. “I just can’t say enough about this thing. It was a lot of fun to drive tonight.”
As the race went on, tires started to become a concern during the feature as several cars pitted due to flat tires.
“Anytime you see drivers going in with flat tires, you get pretty concerned,” Sheppard added. “I felt like I was rolling around pretty stick straight. I was just hoping we had enough and thankfully we did.”
Cozze battled hard for his first podium finish of the season with the series.
“The car was good everywhere,” Cozze said. “It could move all over the track. I knew the right rear tire was going to be an issue, so once I got out front, I started to cruise to save the tire. Sheppard just kind of took me by surprise.”
RESULTS: Super DIRTcar Series; Five Mile Point Speedway; July 12, 2016
A-Main (66 Laps): 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 35-Frank Cozze; 3. 44-Stewart Friesen; 4. 27J-Danny Johnson; 5. 19-Tim Fuller; 6. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 7. 99L-Larry Wight; 8. 6H-Max McLaughlin; 9. 43-Keith Flach; 10. 11s-Tim Hindley; 11. 33m-Mike Mahaney; 12. 42B-Kevin Bates; 13. 18h-Peter Britten; 14. 14z-Brad Szulewski; 15. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 16. 42p-Pat Ward; 17. 20-Brett Hearn; 18. 151-Joey Colsten; 19. 28p-Eldon Payne; 20. 6m-Mat Williamson; 21. 28J-Jordan Siri; 22. 91-Billy Decker; 23. 30R-Jeff Cranbo; 24. X-Chad Phelps; 25. 25R-Erick Rudolph; 26. 21w-Shaun Walker; 27. 29J-Chris Ostrowsky; 28. 22-Brandon Walters; 29. 16b-Alan Barker; 30. 34R-Rusty Smith
CREDIT: DIRTcar Media