AUDIO/RECAP: ‘Super Matt’ Finally Conquers The Outlaw 200

Steven Ovens Asphalt Modifieds, Audio, Dirt Modifieds, Dirt Track Racing, Featured, Northeast, Southeast, Sprints & Midgets, Super DIRTcar Series 0 Comments

FULTON, NY — Story and Audio by Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Mike Johnson Photos — You have to lose a race before you win it.  That’s an age old saying in racing and sports in general that seemed to have proved true for Matt Sheppard and his Heinke-Baldwin Racing team in the Outlaw 200 at Fulton Speedway.

Sheppard had finished 3rd in 2012 and runner-up to Jimmy Phelps last year before closing out a dominant performance Saturday night.  ‘Super Matt’ would end up leading the entire second half of the 200 lap event to secure the victory.

Sheppard would start the Outlaw 200 in 8th place after the redraw but wouldn’t wait long to start making moves to work his way into the Top-5 on lap 2 when a yellow came out for Brett Hearn who had a flat RR tire.  He would then move up to 4th place when the caution flew on Lap 9 for the polesitter Yan Busierre who had an engine failure.

The first 100 laps of the Outlaw 200 was littered with caution flags.  After a lap 17 caution flew, Sheppard would find himself on the front row alongside of Decker.  Sheppard pounced on the restart and would take over the lead of the race- a lead that Sheppard would not relinquish.

Other drivers that began to move up through the field included Tim McCreadie who moved up from 12th to 8th by lap 43.  McCreadie was one driver who found the cushion and was leaning on it hard to make his passes.  The track was in pretty good shape for a 200-lap race with a very distinct bottom and top groove.  Some drivers were doing their best to diamond Turns 3 and 4, but it seemed as though Top/Bottom was the real decision that needed to be made to make successful passes.

Billy Decker was also a driver who was abusing the cushion hard, and maintained 2nd place to Sheppard when the race reached the Lap 100 halftime break.  Once the leader made his was to his pit area, all competitors were given 15 minutes where they could change anything they wanted to on the car as long as they were on the track when the time clock hit 0:00.  Sheppard’s team made only minor adjustments- they changed a Left Rear shock and sanded off the Right Front and Right Rear tires.

When the race restarted though, not much had really changes as Sheppard took off and set a very fast pace working the bottom of the speedway.  McCreadie would find the top side of the speedway and began to make ground on Sheppard.  He would challenge Sheppard for the lead while working lap traffic but Sheppard would then switch lanes to kill T-Mac’s run.  As the Waterloo, NY driver worked into heavier traffic the lead grew a little further.

The battle within the Top-5 was pretty exciting as McCreadie, Danny Johnson, Erick Rudolph and Jimmy Phelps swapped positions several times throughout the first 5 running positions.  Each driver took their own respective turns in the runner-up spot but it would be Phelps that would solidify himself into 2nd and work on Sheppard for the lead.

Lap 168 would see Billy Decker lose an engine while battling for a Top-5 spot and would not return.  Lap 175 saw Danny Johnson break a rear axle while running within the Top-5 as well, he also would not return.  Stewart Friesen had moved himself into contention for a podium finish, but he too would have trouble late when he pulled into the infield on lap 183.

With 9 laps to go, Phelps had finally caught Sheppard and tried to capitalize on a good run coming off Turn 2.  The Phelps car wiggled and moved underneath the Sheppard 9H.  As Phelps applied the brakes to slow down for a low entrance into 3 the car got sideways and the two cars made slight contact with the nerf bars.  The contact allowed Sheppard to pull ahead in Turn 3 and the caution would come out that same lap for the Henry 2B machine.

On the restart, Sheppard pulled away and never looked back.  In fact, Sheppard began catching the back of the field as the double checkers flew in the Outlaw 200.  For Sheppard, it was his first victory in the Outlaw 200 which was a huge monkey off his back after all the years of struggling in the 200 at Fulton.  Jimmy Phelps would come home 2nd, Larry Wight would recover from a late spin to come home 3rd, Erick Rudolph in the Mike Payne Racing 7z came home 4th and Danny Varin rounded out the Top-5.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 11.53.47 AM

The only flaw in this race that Sheppard had was his Post-Race Champagne celebration- wet champagne + dirt racetrack = poor footing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 11.53.32 AM

 

Matt Sheppard shared his thoughts Post-Race after winning the Outlaw 200:

 

Jimmy Phelps on his 2nd Place run:

 

Larry Wight on how he recovered for a 3rd Place finish:

 

Other Outlaw 200 Audio:

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 11.52.26 AM

Sportsman Feature:

Rocky Warner tells Race Chaser about his Victory:

 

Ronnie Davis III talks about his 2nd Place effort and his 2014 season:

 

 

 

Modifieds: 

Doug Manmiller:

 

Danny Varin: 

 

Vic Coffey:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *