(HORSEHEADS, N.Y.) — Fans attending NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week could potentially be setting up for the Matt Sheppard Show this weekend. Sheppard has a fire lit under him this season at Super DIRT Week, as he continues his comeback charge for the Super DIRTcar Series point lead.
Sheppard won the pole on Thursday for the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, and continued his hot streak this week by winning Triple 30 number one in dominating fashion.
Keith Flach led the race off the drop of the green flag, but Sheppard was not to be denied in his quest for the perfect Super DIRT Week. Flach would ultimately wind up in the fourth position behind Danny Varin and Tim Fuller. Billy Whittaker, who on Thursday suffered the disappointment of being bumped from the top six guaranteed qualifiers by Tim McCreadie, finished in the fifth spot and will be primed and ready to race his way to the front on Sunday afternoon.
The story of the first qualifier and for the rest of the qualifiers after that race, was the amount of flat left front tires that were seen under green flag conditions. A likely culprit was the inside wall jersey barriers that line the inside of the five-eights-mile track at Oswego. If this continues to create challenges come Saturday and Sunday, the drama meter will be pegged for the main events.
After the qualifiers were completed, Sheppard was all business.
“(The great start to the week) is all great, but next year nobody will remember who won a triple 30 qualifier,” said Sheppard.
“We want to win on Sunday- that’s the one that counts.”
Official Finish Super DIRTcar Series Modifieds Triple 30 #1 Finish
McLaughlin Surprises Laubach To Win Race #2
Rick Laubach appeared to have Triple 30 number two well in hand. But lapped traffic and a daring three-wide move by the young shoe from North Carolina would relegate Laubach to a second place finish.
‘Mad Max’ McLaughlin stalked Laubach as he worked lapped traffic with only a handful of laps remaining. McLaughlin bided his time and then struck on the back straightaway to take the lead from Laubach’s No. 8 and then went three-wide with lapped cars to take the outright lead entering turn three.
Once out front, McLaughlin stretched out the lead to 1.3 seconds at the checkered flag. Laubach finished second, ahead of Mike Mahaney, Justin Haers and Larry Wight.
“That was a good race, it was a lot of fun and this car’s been working awesome all week,” said McLaughlin.
“I felt like we should have had a better qualifying effort. I told the guys I needed to do a better job for them today and we came out here and won today. I get to stand up here with two guys I idolized growing up, how much better does it get than that?”
Official Finish Super DIRTcar Series Modifieds Triple 30 #2 Finish
Billy Decker holds off Billy Dunn for Triple 30 #3
Billy Decker led Triple 30 #3 late in the going Friday night, but it was almost another late race lead change that would have stole the headline. The ‘Billy and Billy Show’ featuring Decker and Billy Dunn brought the field around to the last checkered flag of the night.
While Dunn was quicker at times, he was not quick enough to make a move on Decker to take the lead. Decker, who won last weekend’s Outlaw 200 driving the Mike Payne Racing No. 91 comes to Oswego riding great momentum in an event he won multiple times on the ‘Moody Mile’ in Syracuse.
“We’re making a few gains, that’s for sure,” said Decker post-race. A win in the qualifier and having locked themselves into the top six on Thursday might have led some to being over confident- but not this team. Decker still wants more out of his car.
“We’ve still got a little homework to do (for Sunday).”
Official Finish Super DIRTcar Series Modifieds Triple 30 #3 Finish
Racing will continue on Saturday with practice sessions and the running of the Great Outdoors 150 for the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series. The race is slated to begin at 2:00, but morning rain across New York State could mix up the schedule for the day.
The Super DIRTcar Series will compete in their championship event on Sunday with the running of the Billy Whittaker Cars 200.
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, part of 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 31-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]
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