THOROLD, Ontario — Matt Sheppard took an early lead and never looked back at Merrittville Speedway Monday night, winning the Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature for his sixth series score of the season.
“It means so much what they do here. When you walk out of here you know you’re going to have a pretty good night. They worked really hard with the lap sponsors and it doesn’t go unappreciated,” Sheppard said about the effort put into the night’s victory.
Tim Fuller and Pat Ward took the 31-car field to the initial green flag.
An early battle began between Fuller and Sheppard for the top spot as they ran side-by-side for several laps. Fuller held on to the middle groove as Sheppard ran up on the outside to take a run on Fuller. Sheppard was able to take over the top spot from Fuller on lap 18.
Sheppard soon caught heavy lapped traffic by lap 23, but on lap 25 he lead Fuller, Larry Wight, Brett Hearn and Pat Ward.
Seventh-starting Brett Hearn was running high on the cushion and moved into third on lap 38.
After a caution, Wight took advantage of a lap-48 restart and dove to the outside of Hearn as he took over third, but Sheppard led at the halfway mark over Fuller, Wight, Hearn and Chad Brachmann.
21st-starter Pete Bicknell was a man on the move as he slipped into eighth position on lap 52.
Sheppard once again caught the back of the field on lap 58 as he began to battle his way through tight lapped traffic. Chad Brachmann then took third from Wight on lap 59 and drove away to chase Fuller and Sheppard.
Fuller tried to hold off Brachmann as Brachmann tiptoed around the bottom for several laps and was able to close in and take over second spot from Fuller on lap 75. Fuller didn’t give up too easily as they battled back-and-forth for that second spot.
The seventh restart on lap 79 saw Friesen charge into third place as he worked the outside groove to chase down Brachmann.
Sheppard carried the momentum and the bite around the outside of the track as Brachmann hugged down low, hoping to make ground on Sheppard.
Mike Bowman, who started 28th, charged into fourth position by lap 81.
The final caution of the night was brought out on lap 94, causing Sheppard to form back in line and erasing his straightaway lead.