Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – PORT ROYAL, PA – Thursday night at Port Royal Speedway was a tough one for Matt Sheppard as engine issues forced the use of a backup car and a provisional starting spot for the Speed Showcase 40.
Friday night, Sheppard had all those gremlins worked out in his primary car and was able to drive through the field of his 20-lap qualifying heat like a hot knife through butter.
After firing from ninth, Sheppard grabbed the top spot and never let go, taking home the victory in the second of the four qualifying races and securing his place solidly in the Speed Showcase 200 on Saturday with a shot at the big $50,000 payday.
“We had a tough night last night and had to pull out our backup car,” Sheppard said. “We got the primary fixed up for tonight and had it rolling pretty good in that heat.”
Did Sheppard feel that starting position on Friday night was going to be a hindrance to him?
“We didn’t draw a pretty good number but fired off early and put ourselves up in the mix,” he said. “It just seemed like the longer the heat race went on the better this car got,”
Does the multi-time winner on the Short Track Super Series feel confident in his piece heading into Saturday’s big 200-lap $50,000-to-win event?
“The track will change some more,” he said. “I’d like to think that with as versatile as this car was in the heat and the way it just kept getting better and better that I hope we have something or Saturday.”