RPW Column: Pre-Season Super DIRTcar Series Power Rankings Heading To Bridgeport
Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – DERRY, NH – It has been a long winter in the northeast once again, but racetracks across the region are back awake from their winter slumber.
Big block modifieds are ready to roll into Bridgeport and get the green flag from legendary Dave Farney to get the 2023 Super DIRTcar Series underway.
Matt Sheppard is out to capture a tenth Super DIRT Series championship and a third in a row. Drivers like Mat Williamson, Max McLaughlin, Peter Britten, and others will try to find “Superman” Matt Sheppard’s kryptonite.
Williamson will look to add a second championship this season, while McLaughlin will be on the hunt for his first. Sheppard and Williamson are the only drivers of the field who have won the Super DIRT Series championship since 2015, the last different driver was in 2014 being Billy Decker.
Expect drivers like Lehner, Perrego, and Pierson to be hungry to get wins on the tour this season. First stop for the Super Dirt Series is Bridgeport, and last year it was Ryan Godown who went home victorious.
Here are the power rankings as we kick off the 2023 season for the Super DIRTcar Series.
1: Matt Sheppard:
Sheppard is coming off his 9th Super DIRTcar Series championship and his 2nd consecutive. As always, you can expect Sheppard to be running towards the front each time the Super DIRT Series rolls into town to compete with the hometrack regulars. In 2022, Sheppard had 7 wins, fourteen top 5s, and fifteen top 10s for the entire season starting back in Volusia. Heading into Bridgeport, Sheppard will look for redemption this year after falling out of the race early last spring.
2: Mat Williamson:
It has already been a hot start to the season for “Money” Mat Williamson after capturing two wins at DIRTcar National at Volusia and grabbing the Big Gator Championship. Williamson came up 87 points short behind Sheppard in the championship points for 2022. Williamson has carried the momentum from last season into the new season after winning the final night of the World Finals at Charlotte. Williamson comes off a season where he took home 4 victories, eleven top 5s, and seventeen top 10s, and finished 4th last spring at Bridgeport.
3: Max McLaughlin:
If there is one young driver that flexed some muscle in 2022 on the Super DIRTcar Series, it was “Mad” Max McLaughlin. McLaughlin finished the season with four consecutive top 5’s including his best Super DIRT Week finish of 3rd place. McLaughlin finished the season 4th in the points, 34 points behind teammate Jimmy Phelps and 111 points behind Williamson in second. In 2022, McLaughlin captured two wins, one being at Volusia and his second being at Land of Legends. McLaughlin has already found himself in victory lane in 2023 winning opening night at Volusia, and backing it up with a pair of top 5s. McLaughlin will look to start the regular season on the right foot at Bridgeport, where he finished 5th last spring.
4: Peter Britten:
For the Brisbane, Australia driver, it was a quietly strong season, but came home 5th in the championship standings. Britten had a win at Volusia early in 2022, then during the regular season had three top 5s and nine top 10s to his credit. Britten’s best finish came at Ransomville Speedway where he finished 2nd. Britten had a strong run at Bridgeport and finished 7th.
5: Anthony Perrego:
It was definitely a hard fought battle for the Rookie of the Year in 2023. It came down between Perrego and Marc Johnson, but it was Perrego who had the strong fio when the curtain fell on the season. Perrego had five top 5s and ten top 10s in 2022, with his best finish coming at his hometrack of Orange County Fair Speedway. Expect Perrego and his Four Star Racing team to make noise in 2023.
6: Jimmy Phelps:
It was a strong season for both drivers out of the Heinke Baldwin Racing team, as both drivers came home in the top 5 in the championship standings. Phelps himself had two wins in 2022, one coming at Volusia and the other coming at Weedsport in August. Phelps also had a total of three top 5s and eleven top 10s for the regular season of 2022. Phelps kicked off the regular season in 2022 with a 10th place finish after starting 21st.
7: Jack Lehner:
Another young hot shoe on the Super DIRTcar Series was the “Ginga Ninja” Jack Lehner, taking home four top 10s in the regular season. Lehner had a pair of great runs at Lebanon Valley Speedway, one of the more difficult tracks on the schedule to battle with track regulars. Lehner also had a pair of top 10 finishes at the World of Outlaws Finals at Charlotte. Lehner finished 10th in the championship standings on the season. Lehner at Bridgeport last season finished 11th to kick off the season.
8: Tim Sears Jr:
If there was a driver to choose to potentially make a run for the top 5 or top 10 at any track on the tour, it would be Tim Sears Jr. Sears showed great speed at times through the 2022 season, bringing home two top 5s and six top 10s in fourteen starts with the series. The pair of top fives that Sears had on the season came at two of the harder tracks on the schedule, that being Albany-Saratoga and Brewerton Speedways.
9: Adam Pierson:
Pierson is another driver similar to Sears where he could find himself battling for a top 5 or top 10 finish when he and his team hit on a setup. Pierson in 2022 brought home two top 5 finishes and seven top 10s, his best finish coming as a runner-up at Land of Legends behind Matt Sheppard and ahead of Jimmy Phelps on the podium.
10: Mike Mahaney:
Mahaney made nine total regular season starts in the 2022 season, but he flexed his speed when he had the opportunity. He won the first visit to Albany-Saratoga Speedway in June and also had a runner-up finish early in the season at Weedsport. Mahaney in the regular season for 2022 had three top 5s and six top 10s to his credit.
On the Radar:
It was “The Ringoes Rocket” Ryan Godown who kicked off the 2022 season with a big win for the Super DIRT Series last spring. Godown in 2022 also had an additional top 5 at Big Diamond and two top 10s at Super DIRT Week and an 8th place finish at the World of Outlaws Finals at Charlotte. Expect Godown to be up front at Bridgeport again battling for a win.
Rudolph made 10 starts with the Super DIRT Series on the 2022 season, but made most of those races count. Rudolph had four top 5s and eight top 10s on the season, with his best finish coming at the World of Outlaws Finals at Charlotte with a 2nd place finish behind Williamson on night one.
Desjardin will be racing for a new team this year, as he joins forces with Paul St. Sauveur for the 2023 season. Desjardin finished the 2022 season on a high note, grabbing a win on night two of the World of Outlaw Finals at Charlotte. Expect the driver out of Quebec, Canada to make some noise this season.