Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – At OCFS on Thursday night, the revenge style redraw put Matt Sheppard almost as far back in the field as the format allowed.
With the top 12 spots decided by the revenge draw, Sheppard lined up 10th. But it made little difference as Super Matt took the lead on a lap 17 restart and with several strong restarts cruised to victory in the OCFS United Rentals DIRTcar Big Block Revenge 50.
In addition to the race purse of $5,000, Sheppard also pocketed the Back-To-Back bonus of $500 from Wicked Truck Worx of Montgomery, NY. It was Matt’s 3rd Modified win of the season and 2nd in a row. Mat Williamson finished 2nd with Stewart Friesen 3rd.
Tyler Jashembowski and Keith Flach had the front row for the start, but caution was out before a lap could be scored as Stan Frankenfield stopped on the track. Max McLaughlin also hit the pits, but both drivers returned to action.
Flach grabbed the over Jimmy Horton, but caution quickly waved on lap 2 as Horton slowed on the track. Flach led on the restart over Jashembowski as Sheppard was up to 4th by lap 5. Sheppard got by Duane Howard for 3rd on lap 6 and took 2nd from Jashembowski on lap 11. Sheppard was closing in on Flach when caution was out after 16 laps were done.
It was Sheppard taking the lead on the restart as Williamson moved into 2nd on lap 19. Friesen was making progress through the field, racing up to 4th when the caution came out at the halfway mark for Tyler Dippel.
Sheppard, restarting in the high lane, quickly distanced himself from Williamson as Friesen was able to wrest 3rd from Flach. Caution flew after 32 were down for Jashembowski with a flat. Flach took back 3rd spot on the restart, but Friesen was back by him a lap later.
The final caution of the race came out after 41 were down. Once again, Sheppard had a dominating restart and was back in front and as the final laps clicked off, it was Super Matt taking the win by 1.3 seconds over Williamson with Friesen 3rd, Flach 4th and Billy Decker 5th. Sixth thru tenth were Anthony Perrego, Billy VanInwegen, Mike Mahaney, LJ Lombardo and Bob McGannon.
“This car has been just awesome this past week,” said Sheppard in Victory Lane. “We came here with a little different setup after we were so bad in the 75 lapper awhile back. We took a little different approach. Last week in the warmups, I liked it and didn’t touch it the whole night. It was just as good again tonight. It’s always a good feeling when win against Friesen and Williamson, they are the best of the best. You have to be on your game to beat those guys. We are trying to get better every week and we want to be in the hunt for the championship.”
Earlier heat race action saw victories go to Mahaney, McLaughlin, Sheppard and Perrego. A special Dash For Cash was held for those who finished 4th thru 6th in their heats was held, courtesy of Rob Sherlock Roofing. Friesen, who didn’t have a good run in his heat, was victorious in the dash, with the win worth $2,000. Tommy Meier was 2nd and Allison Ricci 3rd.
Racing returns on Saturday, June 26th. After a few weeks break, the H.O. Penn 358 Small Blocks will be in action along with the Arkel Motors Sportsman. And it will be Graduation Night for the Precision Hydraulic and Oil Rookie Sportsman as they will finish off their portion of the 2021 racing season at OCFS.