Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – CONCORD, NC – The Super DIRTcar Series started over 9 months ago down in Volusia to kick off the DIRTcar Nationals.
Eleven different winners since the green flag waved at Volusia, 118 different drivers have made it into feature action throughout the season. Sheppard put on a clinic the second half of the season, putting together 7 consecutive DIRTcar Series race finishes in the top 5, 6 of them being in the top 3, with 3 wins in that period.
Williamson and Phelps have been battling it out for the runner-up position in the standings, but don’t look behind you. Marc Johnson, likely rookie of the year, even though he is a multi-year champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, has had an excellent season, sitting fourth in the standings.
Another driver with a super season on the tour has been Max McLaughlin, picking up a win at Volusia and at Land of Legends and still is in reach of climbing the championship points ladder in this final weekend for the Super DIRTcar Series.
1: Matt Sheppard (Previous Rank: 1):
It continues to be a stellar and championship season for Sheppard as they head to Charlotte for the World of Outlaws World Finals this weekend. Sheppard has picked up some of the crown jewels in wins in recent weeks, most noticeably, The 50th running of Super Dirt Week Billy Whittaker Cars 200. Sheppard leads the championship standings by 164 points over Williamson. Last year Sheppard finished 15th and 2nd behind Brett Hearn in the two races last year.
2: Mat Wiliamson (Previous Rank: 3):
Williamson finished one spot short of repeating as Super Dirt Week champion, finishing 2nd behind Sheppard at Oswego. Williamson will need some luck this weekend on his side and for Sheppard to struggle to have a chance at the championship. In 2021, Williamson bagged a pair of top 5 finishes, finishing 3rd and 5th.
3: Max McLaughlin (Previous Rank: 4):
It was a strong showing for “Mad-Mad” McLaughlin at Super Dirt Week, coming home with a career best 3rd place finish. McLaughlin currently sits 5th in the championship standings, 12 points behind Marc Johnson. McLaughlin will look to continue the momentum and finish 2022 on a high note,where he finished 5th and 7th in 2021 at the World Finals.
4: Marc Johnson (Previous Rank: 7): It has been a special season for Marc Johnson, capturing a top 5 finish in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 in 5th place. Johnson currently sits 4th in the standings, 51 points behind Jimmy Phelps. In the regular season, Johnson currently has four top 5s and seven top 10s. Expect Johnson to try and find his way to the front this weekend.
5: Peter Britten (Previous Rank: 2):
It continues to be a strong season for Britten, but finished outside the top 10 at Oswego. For the season, Britten currently has two top 5s and seven top 10s. In 2021, Britten experienced both the pros and cons, finishing 21st one night, but came home 9th in the second night of the World Finals.
6: Jimmy Phelps (Previous Rank: 8):
The veteran wheelman continues to show consistency and speed, grabbing another top 5 in 2022, coming home in 4th. Phelps has three consecutive top 10 finishes, with his worst finish being 11th over the last four races for the series at Lebanon in early September. Phelps is currently 3rd in the championship points, 30 points behind Williamson. Last year Phelps finished 12th and 9th to finish off 2021.
7: Billy Decker (Previous Rank: 5):
It definitely was not Decker’s day at Oswego, retiring early in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, finishing 40th. Decker will be hungry to turn it around as he has had strong finishes before Super Dirt Week. In 2021, Decker came home 10th in both races.
8: Anthony Perrego (Previous Rank: 6):
It has been a quiet second half of the season for Perrego, getting into the top 5/top 10 once over the last few races. His best finish was 3rd at Albany-Saratoga back in September. Perrego still has a chance at a top 5 in the championship points as he currently sits 13 points behind Mclaughlin in 5th and 63 points behind currently in 3rd place, Phelps.
9: Stewart Friesen (Previous Rank: 4):
Friesen has made 13 starts on the Super Dirt Series, tallying six top 5s, and nine top 10s this season. Friesen came home 8th at Oswego. Expect Friesen to put on a show this weekend when he returns from Phoenix, to finish the dirt season on a high note.
10: Ryan Godown (Previous Rank: UR): Godown kicked off the 2022 regular season with a win at Bridgeport. He has shown wherever he goes, he is a threat to get into the top 5 and challenge for the win. In three starts with the Super DIRTcar Series, Godown has two top 5s and three top 10s, grabbing a top 10 at Oswego, finishing in 7th. Godown hasn’t been back to Charlotte since 2019, where he finished 9th and 17th that year.
On the Radar:
– Mike Mahaney:
Mahaney came home with a steady 16th place finish at Super Dirt Week, and showed speed over the week, qualifying 6th overall out of 76 big block modifieds to take time, and finishing 2nd in his qualifying heat behind Billy Decker.
– Alex Yankowski: It was the then 17 year old Yankowski stunning the world last year at the World Finals in Charlotte. Yankowski set quick time on the day last year, won his qualifying race, and redrew the 6th starting position. Yankowski would battle it out with Larry Wight and Matt Williamson to come home victorious, his first Super DIRTcar Series Feature win. Expect Yankowski to try and make some noise and get back to the front once again this weekend.