RPW Column: Sheppard Outduels Williamson In Epic Back-And-Forth Battle To Win Outlaw 200 At Fulton

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – FULTON, NY – It was an epic back and forth battle between “SuperMatt” and “Money Mat” on the high banks to see who would reign supreme as the king of the 2022 Outlaw 200 at Fulton Speedway.

In the end, Matt Sheppard came out on top, holding off Mat Williamson to take home the big $20,000 payday in the ‘unofficial’ kickstart to Super DIRT Week.

The two titans of Modified racing squared off for a good portion of the first 100 laps of the event, trading the lead back and forth on restarts with Williamson grabbing the top spot and taking it to the halfway break.

Then, came the decision that many believe won the race for one of these two. At that break, if a driver went back to their pit area to make adjustments, they would start behind those that only took fuel and remained on the frontstretch.

Only Chad Phelps, Alan Johnson and Tim Fuller stayed out. That meant Williamson and Sheppard would start the second half of the race in fourth and fifth…with adjustments made to their cars and possibly new tires as well.

When the race went back green, Williamson charged to the front with Sheppard coming as well. The Buzz Chew #88 driver grabbed the top spot from Phelps in short order and looked to set sail. However, Sheppard was coming too, taking second only a handful of laps later.

As they made their way to lap traffic, Sheppard closed in and going through turns one and two only a few laps later, and with a power move took command of the Outlaw 200.

From that point on, Sheppard showed the way as the event went the entire second half caution-free.

Williamson wasn’t done though. He began to reel in the 9s and took one more shot at the big payday with 10 laps remaining. However, as Williamson worked to the outside of Sheppard, his advances were foiled by a lap car, and he was forced to jump on the binders.

In the end, Matt Sheppard went on to secure his second-career Outlaw 200 victory.

“Wow,” Sheppard said. “We had a pretty good car in the first hundred and Mat really got rolling. The track got really black and I didn’t think we had a chance with this Big Block power under the hood.”

Once halfway rolled around, however, Sheppard had an idea of what to do.

“We made a couple of adjustments at the halfway break,” he said. “I told my crew chief, Randy, that I think I needed to steer a little bit better. That’s our only shot.”

The other equalizer for Sheppard ended up being lap cars.

“We ended up getting by Mat in traffic there,” he said. “I saw him under me in lapped traffic and then some on the outside of me. It was really jammed up and I caught a big break in turn one. A couple lap cars cleared themselves out, I wanted to keep this thing straight and get it to the finish.”

What was going through Sheppard’s mind when he saw the amount of traffic that was in front of him, knowing Williamson had to be closing in?

“I was just looking for a lane,” he said. “It seemed like they were two-by-two-by-two there and nobody could go anywhere. We finally got an opening and were in the right lane and I just wanted to keep this thing straight and get it to the end.”

Taking his second big 200-lap win in as many tries, after collecting the $53,000-to-win Fonda 200 a few weeks ago, Sheppard now has even more momentum heading into Super DIRT Week.

“Man, another big one, we’re excited,” he said. “This is awesome. The Fulton 200 has been a tough one for us. We snuck one out like six, seven, eight years ago and this race is a battle. We’re stoked about this heading into this week.”

Williamson came home one spot short in second, but he’ll be wondering what might have been in the later stages of the 200.

“We had a good car all night,” Williamson said. “I got rolling on Matt at the end there but the lap car about spun out in front of me and I had to jam on the brakes. I lost all of my momentum and that was it.”

The Buzz Chew Chevrolet #88 had a Small Block under the hood and it seemed like that was the perfect choice for track conditions. Williamson was impressed, however, with how well the winner did with a Big Block engine in his car.

“Matt was good,” he said. “For having a Big Block in and running as good as he did, it was pretty impressive.”

Even though it wasn’t the big repeat win of a year ago, Williamson was satisfied with his Saturday night.

“We’ll take it,” he said. “Second place is the best run we’ve had with this car in a long time so hopefully we’ve got some momentum going into DIRT Week.”

Third place at the finish was Mike Mahaney who had another great solid finish in a 200-lap race. For Mahaney, it was a matter of needing at least one yellow flag in the second 100 if he wanted ‘any’ shot at taking the victory.

“After the break, we restarted back a little bit and we were able to get a few cars,” Mahaney said. “Without any cautions to speak of, we all got spread out and we need at least one to regroup.”

Was there anything Mahaney could have done to his car at the midway break to get him to the front a little quicker?

“I’m not really sure,” he said. “If I knew, I’d be up with those guys. I guess we keep coming back every year and learn a little bit more.”

Billy Dunn came home fourth and Chad Phelps, who held on to third place for most of the second half, ran an outstanding Outlaw 200 to come home in fifth.

Outlaw 200 Weekend Night Two Results

36th Annual Modified Outlaw 200 – (200 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[2]; 2. 88-Mat Williamson[5]; 3. 35-Mike Mahaney[1]; 4. 49-Billy Dunn[30]; 5. X-Chad Phelps[14]; 6. 99L-Larry Wight[11]; 7. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[33]; 8. 91-Billy Decker[38]; 9. 5H-Chris Hile[6]; 10. 38S-Ryan Susice[40]; 11. 9X-Tyler Trump[10]; 12. 7Z-Zachary Payne[28]; 13. 14J-Alan Johnson[15]; 14. 37S-Gary Lindberg[12]; 15. 02-Roy Bresnahan[13]; 16. 21C-Brian Calabrese[34]; 17. 20K-Kyle Inman[9]; 18. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[31]; 19. 713-Tommy Collins[26]; 20. 37-Alex Tonkin[19]; 21. 31-Corey Barker[22]; 22. 6NN-Nick Nye[42]; 23. 12-Darren Smith[21]; 24. 91R-Felix Roy[35]; 25. 42-Colton Wilson[25]; 26. M1-David Marcuccilli[16]; 27. 32R-Ronald Davis III[18]; 28. 19-Tim Fuller[24]; 29. 3RS-Dalton Slack[3]; 30. 15-Todd Root[43]; 31. 8H-Max McLaughlin[7]; 32. Z4-JJ Courcy[41]; 33. 11T-Jeff Taylor[17]; 34. 01-Chris Raabe[8]; 35. 58M-Marshall Hurd[37]; 36. 29K-Chris Cunningham[44]; 37. 34-Andrew Ferguson[39]; 38. 63-Adam Roberts[23]; 39. 70A-Alex Payne[32]; 40. 01C-Bob Henry Jr[29]; 41. 24R-Garrett Rushlow[27]; 42. 4P-Anthony Perrego[20]; 43. 18$-Sean Beardsley[36]; 44. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[4]

A to Z Contracting & Phelps Cement Products Halfway Leader Bonus $1000: Mat Williamson
A to Z Contracting $250 to the top-finishing Fulton or Brewerton Track Regular
$300 Top Finishing Bicknell Car: Matt Sheppard
Hoosier Tire Hard Luck Award Winner: Gary Lindberg
Drum of VP Racing Fuel to The Hard Charger: Billy Decker
$799 Team Race Suit from Velocita to the first Non-Qualifier in the LCS: Rocky Warner
$299 Pair of Velocita Shoes to the last finishing car on the lead lap: Billy Decker

Jammer’s Sports Bar & Restaurant Gift Cards to Saturday Heats $100 – 1st, $75 – 2nd, $50 – 3rd.

Heat 1 – Tyler Trump, Gary Lindberg, Roy Bresnahan
Heat 2 – Max McLaughlin, Kyle Inman, Chad Phelps
Heat 3 – Dalton Slack, Chris Raabe, Alan Johnson
Heat 4 – Mat Williamson, Chris Hile, Dave Marcuccilli
Heat 5 – Jimmy Phelps, Matt Sheppard, Jeff Taylor
Heat 6 – Larry Wight, Mike Mahaney, Ron Davis III

$200 Heat Race Winners from Modified Draw: Tyler Trump, Max McLaughlin, Dalton Slack, Mat Williamson, Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight

Modified Heats 5 Qualify with Top Two to the Redraw.

Modified Heat # 1 – (12 Laps): 1. 9X-Tyler Trump[2]; 2. 37S-Gary Lindberg[4]; 3. 02-Roy Bresnahan[5]; 4. 37-Alex Tonkin[1]; 5. 42-Colton Wilson[9]; 6. 58M-Marshall Hurd[7]; 7. 11-Justin Crisafulli[11]; 8. 3K-AJ Kingsley[6]; 9. 01R-Robert Gage[8]; 10. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias[10]; 11. 38S-Ryan Susice[3]

Modified Heat # 2 – (12 Laps): 1. 8H-Max McLaughlin[1]; 2. 20K-Kyle Inman[2]; 3. X-Chad Phelps[6]; 4. 4P-Anthony Perrego[10]; 5. 713-Tommy Collins[5]; 6. 70A-Alex Payne[9]; 7. 91R-Felix Roy[11]; 8. 29K-Chris Cunningham[4]; 9. 74-Lucas Fuller[7]; 10. 15-Todd Root[8]; 11. (DNS) 51A-Zac McDonald

Modified Heat #3 – (12 Laps): 1. 3RS-Dalton Slack[5]; 2. 01-Chris Raabe[7]; 3. 14J-Alan Johnson[2]; 4. 12-Darren Smith[8]; 5. 24R-Garrett Rushlow[1]; 6. 18$-Sean Beardsley[6]; 7. 6NN-Nick Nye[9]; 8. 29-Matt Caprara[4]; 9. 3M-Michael Stanton[10]; 10. 23-Cameron Black[11]; 11. (DNS) 80X-Mike Button

Modified Heat # 4 – (12 Laps): 1. 6-Mat Williamson[6]; 2. 5H-Chris Hile[11]; 3. M1-David Marcuccilli[5]; 4. 31-Corey Barker[1]; 5. 7Z-Zachary Payne[8]; 6. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[10]; 7. Z4-JJ Courcy[2]; 8. 21C-Brian Calabrese[3]; 9. 60-Jackson Gill[9]; 10. XN-Andy Noto[7]; 11. JS98-Rocky Warner[4]

Modified Heat # 5 – (12 Laps): 1. 98H-Jimmy Phelps[3]; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard[10]; 3. 11T-Jeff Taylor[2]; 4. 63-Adam Roberts[4]; 5. 01C-Bob Henry Jr[11]; 6. 91-Billy Decker[5]; 7. 42M-Brian Murphy[1]; 8. 410-Mike Fowler[7]; 9. 4-Michelle Courcy[9]; 10. 28X-Stephen Marshall[8]; 11. 8K-Nick Krause[6]

Modified Heat # 6 – (12 Laps): 1. 99L-Larry Wight [1]; 2. 35-Mike Mahaney[8]; 3. 32R-Ronald Davis III[10]; 4. 19-Tim Fuller[4]; 5. 49-Billy Dunn[6]; 6. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[9]; 7. 34-Andrew Ferguson[3]; 8. 38-Tim Harris[2]; 9. 64-Tyler Corcoran[7]; 10. 38J-Jason Parkhurst[5]

Modified Consolations 3 Qualify

Modified Consolation # 1- (12 Laps): 1: 1. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot[2]; 2. 21C-Brian Calabrese[6]; 3. 58M-Marshall Hurd[1]; 4. Z4-JJ Courcy[4]; 5. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias[9]; 6. 38S-Ryan Susice[11]; 7. JS98-Rocky Warner[12]; 8. 01R-Robert Gage[7]; 9. 60-Jackson Gill[8]; 10. 3K-AJ Kingsley[5]; 11. 11-Justin Crisafulli[3]; 12. XN-Andy Noto[10]

Modified Consolation # 2 – (12 Laps): 1. 70A-Alex Payne[1]; 2. 91R-Felix Roy[3]; 3. 91-Billy Decker[2]; 4. 29K-Chris Cunningham[5]; 5. 15-Todd Root[9]; 6. 410-Mike Fowler[6]; 7. 51A-Zac McDonald[11]; 8. 4-Michelle Courcy[8]; 9. 42M-Brian Murphy[4]; 10. 8K-Nick Krause[12]; 11. 28X-Stephen Marshall[10]; 12. 74-Lucas Fuller[7]

Modified Consolation # 3 – (12 Laps): 1. 83X-Tim Sears Jr[2]; 2. 18$-Sean Beardsley[1]; 3. 34-Andrew Ferguson[4]; 4. 29-Matt Caprara[5]; 5. 6NN-Nick Nye[3]; 6. 3M-Michael Stanton[7]; 7. 38-Tim Harris[6]; 8. 23-Cameron Black[9]; 9. 38J-Jason Parkhurst[10]; 10. 64-Tyler Corcoran[8]; 11. 80X-Mike Button[11]

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