RPW Column: Power Rankings As Summer Heats Up & Super DIRTcar Series Heads To Land Of Legends

Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – CANANDAIGUA, NY – Mike Mahaney came, he saw, and conquered Albany-Saratoga Speedway for a second time in a row with the Super DIRTcar Series.

Mahaney started shotgun on the field, battled off multiple early and late race cautions, AND had a FLAT left front tire for the majority of the race.

We have 3 newcomers into the top 10 of Power Rankings as the summer heats up, some drivers are heating up and showing their consistency and speed. The top 3 in the rankings finished 10th or worse at Malta, and will be eager to rebound at Land of Legends.

Most recent winner at Land of Legends was Matt Sheppard last September, can he repeat? Will it be a home track regular like Peter Britten or Justin Haers?

This is how the Super DIRT Series ranks heading into Land of Legends Raceway

 

1: Mat Williamson (Previous Rank: 1):

It wasn’t the strongest of runs for Williamson at Albany-Saratoga, coming home in 12th, but “Money” Mat does find himself in control of the 2022 Super DIRTcar Series points lead heading into the Land of Legends. Williamson heads to Land of Legends Raceway with a 25 point lead over Matt Sheppard. Williamson grabbed three top 10s in the only visit to the Canandaigua track.

 

2: Matt Sheppard (Previous Rank: 3):

A frustrating night at Malta for Sheppard, with limited passing on the track, Sheppard came home 10th, and will find himself 2nd now in the point standings. Sheppard picked up quick time on the night and won his heat race over Peter Britten. As the series heads to Land of Legends Raceway, Sheppard will be a top candidate to be in victory lane, as a former champion of weekly racing. Winning the championship back in 2019, and coming home 2nd, by 1 point behind Erick Rudolph in 2018. In 2019, Sheppard won the Gerald Haers Memoria race, finished 5th and 10th in 2021 visits, and going back to 2019, he captured the win in the series race at Land of Legends.

 

3: Max McLaughlin(Previous Rank: 2):

It wasn’t the most ideal night for “Mad”-Max finishing in 19th at the end of the 71 lapper. McLaughlin continues to hold steady, sitting in 3rd in the 2022 SDS standings.McLaughlin does have a win in big block modified action at Land of Legends Raceway back in 2018, so expect him to turn things back around at a track he is quite familiar with.

 

4: Stewart Friesen (Previous Rank: 4):

Friesen was a big name missing from the entry list at Malta, due to NASCAR conflicts last Friday. He did lose the points lead, but he is having a great start to the season on the tour. Friesen did win one of the races at Land of Legends in 2021, finishing 7th in the other. Expect Friesen to try and continue his hot start.

 

5: Peter Britten (Previous Rank: 6):

It was a hard earned top 10 finish for the Australian native. Britten had a strong battle with Sheppard in their heat race as well. Britten is the current points lead in weekly racing at Land of Legends, and he also won a series here in 2021. Expect Britten to put up a strong run to defend his Saturday night home turf, along with the other stiff competition that calls it home.

 

6: Jimmy Phelps (Previous Rank: 3):

For Phelps, it was family night, supporting his daughter for graduation. Land of Legends is a familiar place for the “Baldwinsville Bandit”, where he competed weekly, most recently in 2018 and 2020. In 2018, he came home 3rd in the points standings on weekly racing, capturing 1 win. In the 2021 visits, Phelps finished 4th and 12th, and back in 2019, it was another 4th place finish. Expect Phelps to be digging hard to get things going right as we head into July.

 

7: Marc Johnson (Previous Rank: 9):

Back-to-back home track races for Johnson, and coming with that, good home track defense. Johnson finished 2nd in the last two races for the Super DIRTcar Series, with them being at his weekly tracks. Johnson says it’s been a new challenge visiting all these tracks and racing with the best in business.

 

8: Mike Mahaney (Previous Rank: Unranked):

Mahaney came and nearly dominated Albany-Saratoga last Friday night, defending his win from last September on the series, but this time with an extra challenge, a flat left front. Multiple cautions through the race would regroup the field, but even that couldn’t slow Mahaney down. Mahaney in 2021 at Land of Legends finished 3rd in one event and 16th in the other, and 13th back in 2019. Expect Mahaney to be hungry to try and find the podium again Thursday night.

 

9: Billy Decker ( Previous Rank: Unranked):

Another race, another strong run for the veteran Decker. Decker would come home two spots short of a top five, but was still a strong run. Decker currently sits 7th in the standings, and will look to continue to improve. In 2021, Decker finished 2nd in the Gerald Haers memorial race and 11th and 9th, and 9th once again in 2019.

 

10: Anthony Perrego(Previous Rank: Unranked):

For the 2021 Malta champion, it was a strong run for him, coming home 4th at the end of the night. Perrego has been consistent in his 5 starts on the tour, and is currently 5th in the standings. He last visited Land of Legends on the tour back in 2019, but finished 23rd.

 

On the Radar:

Jack Lehner: It wasn’t an easy night for Lehner, who would have his night end early due to damage. Lehner will be hungry to rebound and be up into the top 10 again, after being on a hot stretch of late. Lehner earned the hard charger award, gaining 20 spots and finishing 5th in one race. Lehner finished 8th and 10th in his other 2 starts.

Justin Haers: Haers is one weekly driver at Land of Legends who everyone can point out can be a contender to win Thursday night. Haers currently is 2nd in the 2022 standings behind Britten with Saturday night action. In 2021, Haers finished 6th twice, and 19th in another visit.

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