RPW Column: SuperMatt Awesome On Outside: Sheppard Takes Super DIRTcar Series Summer Nationals At Ransomville

Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – RANSOMVILLE, NY – Matt Sheppard made his move with an outside restart pass on Mat Williamson to pick up his second Super DIRTCar Series win of the year at Ransomville’s Summer Nationals.

Sheppard started on the outside of the front row, with Ransomville regular Mat Williamson drawing the pole. Williamson started off with the early lead in the opening 10 laps until the first yellow came out for Garrison Krentz with a flat right rear.

Williamson selected the inside line for the restart, allowing Sheppard to get grip early on the outside of turn two to take the lead. Immediately after, the 2nd yellow came out as Chad Brachmann fell off the pace down the back chute.

Sheppard went top shelf on the restart and held serve. Peter Britten would also move to pass Stewart Friesen on the restart and in the final podium spot.

That restart led to one of the race’s longest green flag runs of the night. With the track wholly rubbered in, it had a follow the leader type race with one groove. Sheppard commanding the troops, followed by Williamson, Britten, Friesen, and Mike Mahaney, your top five. By around lap 36, Sheppard would approach lapped traffic. As it looked like Sheppard was having a tough time passing the #26 of Derrick McGrew, he actually told RPW it wasn’t worth passing him. It allowed the frontrunners to close in. Britten would try to look inside, but there was no grip to make a pass work. The run would end on lap 60 as Mat Williamson shredded a right rear tire in turn four, ending his chance at a podium finish.

Race director John Nelson informed all drivers restarts would revert to a single file formation. This would play out in Sheppard’s favor as he wouldn’t have to deal with Britten next to him. Another semi-long run would go down before another yellow for Demetrios Drellos suffering a flat tire of his own.

As the race was in its final 10 laps, cautions kept breeding cautions. Tim Sears Jr. fell off the pace in turn 2. Then Kevin Root went slow across the start/finish line. Sheppard had a comfortable gap over Peter Britten with half a lap to go, but Chris Hile looking for a fourth-place finish, had a flat right rear to set up a green-white-checkered attempt. Sheppard had a smooth restart, took his 2nd Summer Nationals win, and went back-to-back in the Super DIRTCar Series season.

“He (Williamson) kind fired off a little better than me, but on that restart, I don’t know what it was, whether he spun the tires or I got a little better restart, I was able to outmuscle him into turn one. It was definitely a turning point in the race,” Sheppard told RPW on the winning pass.

On the final laps, Sheppard said to RPW, “It seems like flat tires usually always happen right after a caution. Especially in these tire wear deals. Wasn’t really liking seeing the cautions, really didn’t like seeing that last one. I don’t even know what it was for. By the time I got to the checkered, the track was clear. It is what it is. Thankfully, the thing held on in the end. We take her home in one piece, and we’ll move on to the next show.”

Peter Britten came home in 2nd spot, and “Batman” was pleased with how his Ryder Racing #21a drove.

“We had a good car,” Britten said. “I think on the restarts, we were probably in the preferred lane. The combination of the two were able to work their way up there and take advantage of other people misstepping a little bit. Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much passing as it could’ve been. Same time, we had to race our way up there. I guess we kind of got the reward for having a good car early and getting to the front,”

Hometown favorite Stewart Friesen came home 3rd after being the previous winner in 2018 and talked about how the tires lasted on a completely rubbered track.

“Got kind of abrasive on tires tonight,” Friesen said to RPW. “That happens from time to time, and just try to ride it out and keep the tires on it. Sheppard was pushing pretty hard, and Peter was kind of riding it. Great to come back and see our friends and family. It’s a bummer the border’s not open yet. Didn’t have all our Canadian friends and family with us. We’re thinking about them, and I think it will be sooner than later that gets back to normal, so we’re looking forward to that.”

With Sheppard getting his 2nd win of the season, Mat Williamson and Max McLaughlin failing to score a top 10 finish, and Friesen not eligible for the championship points payout at years end, this has put Sheppard in a situation where he can easily contend for a historic eighth Super DIRTCar Series championship for a record-tying 8th career championship.

“You’re always thinking about points and wins,” Sheppard commented to RPW. “When you win races, the points take care of themselves. There’s still a lot of races left. We just got to concentrate on keep getting our racecar better and better, and things will take care of themselves.”

Next up for the “Beasts of the Northeast” is a return to Albany Saratoga for the rain-postponed Horsepower Hundred. Ransomville is back in action Friday night, featuring the RUSH Crate Late Models.

For interviews with your top three, plus pre-race interviews with Friesen, Williamson, and Tim Sears Jr., head to the RSN Trackside Facebook page.

Feature (100 Laps)
1. 9S-Matt Sheppard [2][$7,500]; 2. 21A-Peter Britten [8][$4,000]; 3. 44F-Stewart Friesen [6][$2,500]; 4. 35M-Mike Mahaney [7][$1,800]; 5. 25R-Erick Rudolph [14][$1,600]; 6. 3H-Justin Haers [11][$1,400]; 7. 38RS-Ryan Susice [20][$1,300]; 8. 7F-Matt Farnham [4][$1,200]; 9. 99L-Larry Wight [3][$1,100]; 10. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [9][$1,000]; 11. 91D-Billy Decker [12][$800]; 12. 32CC-Max Mclaughlin [24][$700]; 13. 22W-Brandon Walters [23][$600]; 14. 26M-Derrick McGrew [21][$575]; 15. 111D-Demetrios Drellos [15][$550]; 16. 2L-Jack Lehner [19][$525]; 17. 88W-Mat Williamson [1][$500]; 18. 165-Rex King [10][$500]; 19. 34R-Kevin Root [26][$500]; 20. 83X-Tim Sears [22][$500]; 21. 5H-Chris Hile [16][$500]; 22. 215p-Adam Pierson [18][$500]; 23. 11J-James Sweeting [17][$500]; 24. 28M-Jordan McCreadie [25][$500]; 25. 3B-Chad Brachmann [13][$500]; 26. 56K-Garrson Krentz [5][$500]

Hard Charger Award: 38RS-Ryan Susice[+13]

Did Not Qualify: Todd Root, CG Morey, Dave DiPietro, Eric Gabany, Gary Tomkins, Kyle Coffey, Jonathan Reid, Steve Lewis Jr, Ricky Richner, John Smith, Olden Dwyer, Greg Martin, Robbie Johnston, Marcus Dinkins, Dave Rauscher

Qualifying Flight-A
1. 91D-Billy Decker, 17.501; 2. 3B-Chad Brachmann, 17.706; 3. 165-Rex King, 17.86; 4. 88Jr-Olden Dywer, 17.97; 5. 11J-James Sweeting, 18.03; 6. 7F-Matt Farnham, 18.165; 7. 9R-Jonathan Reid, 18.183; 8. 26M-Derrick McGrew, 18.419; 9. 11S-Steve Lewis, 18.455

Qualifying Flight-B
1. 9S-Matt Sheppard, 17.281; 2. 21A-Peter Britten, 17.628; 3. 99L-Larry Wight, 17.644; 4. 215p-Adam Pierson, 17.669; 5. 25R-Erick Rudolph, 17.698; 6. 23C-Kyle Coffey, 17.885; 7. 48T-Gary Tomkins, 17.96; 8. 28M-Jordan McCreadie, 17.988; 9. 22W-Brandon Walters, 18.359; 10. 678-John Smith, 18.45

Qualifying Flight-C
1. 44F-Stewart Friesen, 17.343; 2. 3H-Justin Haers, 17.797; 3. 98H-Jimmy Phelps, 17.891; 4. 111D-Demetrios Drellos, 17.954; 5. 2L-Jack Lehner, 18.131; 6. 15R-Todd Root, 18.281; 7. 33J-Robbie Johnston, 18.281; 8. 4M-Greg Martin, 18.299; 9. 18G-Eric Gabany, 18.58; 10. 17D-Marcus Dinkins, 18.626

Qualifying Flight-D
1. 38RS-Ryan Susice, 17.804; 2. 35M-Mike Mahaney, 17.877; 3. 83X-Tim Sears, 17.88; 4. 5H-Chris Hile, 17.92; 5. 56K-Garrson Krentz, 17.931; 6. 88W-Mat Williamson, 17.944; 7. 32CC-Max Mclaughlin, 17.951; 8. 33D-Dave Dipietro, 18.079; 9. 34R-Kevin Root, 18.187; 10. 14M-C.G. Morey, 18.359; 11. 26R-Rick Richner, 18.363

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 91D-Billy Decker [1]; 2. 165-Rex King [3]; 3. 7F-Matt Farnham [6]; 4. 3B-Chad Brachmann [2]; 5. 11J-James Sweeting [5]; 6. 26M-Derrick McGrew [8]; 7. 9R-Jonathan Reid [7]; 8. 11S-Steve Lewis [9]; 9. 88Jr-Olden Dywer [4]

Heat #2 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 9S-Matt Sheppard [1]; 2. 21A-Peter Britten [2]; 3. 99L-Larry Wight [3]; 4. 25R-Erick Rudolph [5]; 5. 215p-Adam Pierson [4]; 6. 48T-Gary Tomkins [7]; 7. 23C-Kyle Coffey [6]; 8. 22W-Brandon Walters [9]; 9. 678-John Smith [10]; 10. 28M-Jordan McCreadie [8]

Heat #3 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 44F-Stewart Friesen [1]; 2. 3H-Justin Haers [2]; 3. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [3]; 4. 111D-Demetrios Drellos [4]; 5. 2L-Jack Lehner [5]; 6. 33J-Robbie Johnston [7]; 7. 15R-Todd Root [6]; 8. 18G-Eric Gabany [9]; 9. 4M-Greg Martin [8]; 10. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [10]

Heat #4 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer
1. 35M-Mike Mahaney [2]; 2. 88W-Mat Williamson [6]; 3. 56K-Garrson Krentz [5]; 4. 5H-Chris Hile [4]; 5. 38RS-Ryan Susice [1]; 6. 83X-Tim Sears [3]; 7. 34R-Kevin Root [9]; 8. 32CC-Max Mclaughlin [7]; 9. 14M-C.G. Morey [10]; 10. 33D-Dave Dipietro [8]; 11. 26R-Rick Richner [11]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer
1. 26M-Derrick McGrew [1][-]; 2. 22W-Brandon Walters [6][-]; 3. 48T-Gary Tomkins [2][-]; 4. 9R-Jonathan Reid [3][-]; 5. 23C-Kyle Coffey [4][$100]; 6. 11S-Steve Lewis [5][$100]; 7. 678-John Smith [8][$100]; 8. 88Jr-Olden Dywer [7][$100]; 9. 28M-Jordan McCreadie [9][$100]

Last Chance Showdown 2 ( Laps)
1. 83X-Tim Sears [2][-]; 2. 32CC-Max Mclaughlin [6][-]; 3. 33J-Robbie Johnston [1][-]; 4. 15R-Todd Root [3][-]; 5. 34R-Kevin Root [4][$100]; 6. 14M-C.G. Morey [8][$100]; 7. 33D-Dave Dipietro [10][$100]; 8. 26R-Rick Richner [11][$100]; 9. 4M-Greg Martin [7][$100]; 10. 18G-Eric Gabany [5][$100]; 11. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [9][$100]

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