Story By: FULTON SPEEDWAY – FULTON, NY – Matt Sheppard defended his Milton CAT Fulton 200 title on Saturday night before a jam-packed crowd at the Fulton Speedway in dominating fashion with an 8.9 second win over Mat Williamson.
Sheppard dominated the first 100 laps as put car after car a lap down and at one point just nine cars were in the lead lap. After the halfway break Williamson battled side by side with him to take the lead, but Sheppard recovered on lap 127 to go back in front and never looked back.
Donning the black cowboy hat symbolic the the “Outlaw” status of the race, Sheppard said, “The heat tonight didn’t really tell us anything as the track was hammer down. We made some slight changes. However, at the break we didn’t touch a single thing except for a couple of tires. The car was awesome.”
Traffic was heavy at times, but Matt said, “I got nervous with the traffic, but I was in a rhythm and got to the lapped cars at the right time. This is phenomenal as we haven’t won a big show in a while and this is a marquee event.”
Second place Williamson had nothing but compliments for the winner, saying, “I was never as good as he was in traffic. He put a beat down on us tonight and ran a good race. I did lose my brakes in the first 100. We did all we had to do tonight, but it simply wasn’t enough.”
Larry Wight came home third from his 13th starting position and was content with his performance noting, “The track was absolutely beautiful tonight as there was still a lot of bite left in it at the end. We needed to be a little better as I think we left some speed in the pits. I was trying to play it conservatively.”
At the start of the Milton CAT 200 pole sitter Zach Payne took the early lead and immediately he had to stave off the challenges of Williamson while Sheppard settled in to third.
Williamson grabbed the lead on the ninth lap and then on the 25th Sheppard took over between three and four.
Behind the lead duo a three-car battle was shaping up between Tim Fuller, Felix Roy and Wight.
Former multi winner Billy Decker was settled into fifth, but he came alive just past the 50 lap point as he suddenly found a burst of speed and used traffic to get by Felix Roy and Wight for fourth.
Former winners were controlling the first half of the race with Sheppard, Williamson, Fuller and Decker not allowing any new members to join their elite club as past champions.
Wight rallied and by the 62nd lap had caught Fuller and went outside in traffic to pick up third. He would later drop back to fifth as the first half started winding down.
As starter Ricky Breed threw the halfway yellow Sheppard was followed by Williamson, Wight, Fuller, Decker, Roy, Payne, Billy Dunn, Tim Sears Jr., Max McLaughlin, Mike Mahaney, and Jimmy Phelps.
The double file restart for the second 100 saw Williamson on the outside at the initial green and he locked it down right there to take the lead coming out of turn four on lap 101.
In front is where Williamson would remain, except for one lap, for the next 24 circuits. However, on lap 125 Sheppard powered past and drove to his third Outlaw 200 win.
In the last half of the race while the leader was stretching the lead, Wight was trying to lcose in on runner up Williamson. Numerous times the distance between the two tightened only to have Mat gain the edge in getting through traffic.
Track champion Tim Sears Jr. was moving well. He had a disappointing 19th starting spot and it took him 104 laps before he could work his way into fifth.
Decker was holding third throughout the early portion of the second half, but on 135 they came up on Corey Barker with Wight taking the low road and Decker the high. The trio ran side by side for quite some time before Wight finally cemented third.
Traffic was playing to Sheppard’s advantage as lap after lap we was simply clearing the cars quicker than the runner up.
Attrition was very low thus allowing for numerous challenges for the lead cars. Just eight cars of the 46 car starting field were able to finish in the lead lap.
Sheppard crossed the line with an 8.9 second win while Williamson and Wight completed the podium. Sears Jr. was fourth followed by Decker, McLaughlin, Roy, Mahaney, Phelps, and Danny Johnson.
The Milton CAT 200 Outlaw 200 Weekend provided the fans with plenty of action and was the perfect kick off as Super Dirt Week commences in Oswego.
For Matt Sheppard it didn’t matter if the race was big block or small block as he’s now won in both.
Milton CAT Outlaw 200 (200-laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard; 2. 6-Mat Williamson; 3. 99L-Larry Wight; 4. 83X-Tim Sears Jr; 5. 91D-Billy Decker; 6. 8H-Max McLaughlin; 7. 49-Billy Dunn; 8. 35-Mike Mahaney; 9. 91-Felix Roy; 10. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 11. 83-Danny Johnson; 12. 7Z-Zachary Payne; 13. 32R-Ronald Davis III; 14. 3-Chris Mackey; 15. M1-David Marcuccilli; 16. R70-Ryan Arbuthnot; 17. 5H-Amy Holland; 18. 02-Roy Bresnahan; 19. 28-Alan Fink; 20. 21A-Peter Britten; 21. 713-Tommy Collins; 22. 26R-Corey Cormier; 23. 31-Corey Barker; 24. 20-David Schilling; 25. 160-Max Hill; 26. 19-Tim Fuller; 27. 38-Tim Harris; 28. 66-Carey Terrance; 29. 84Y-Alex Yankowski; 30. 92-Andrew Buff; 31. B2-Bob Henry Jr; 32. 28M-Matt Meade; 33. X-Chad Phelps; 34. 58M-Marshall Hurd; 35. 24R-Garrett Rushlow; 36. 12-Darren Smith; 37. 24K-Nick Krause; 38. 26C-Luke Carleton; 39. 3RS-Dalton Slack; 40. 4P-Anthony Perrego; 41. 27Z-Dylan Zacharias; 42. 66W-Derek Webb; 43. 17J-Brent Joy; 44. 56-Vince Vitale; 45. 18$-Sean Beardsley; 46. 64-Tyler Corcoran