Racing Around: Sheppard on a roll during career season

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Matt Sheppard powers through turns one and two at Fonda Speedway en route to winning the Fonda 200 on Sept. 17. Sheppard is looking to add the second crown jewel, the Billy Whittacker Cars 200, to his late season success.

There is no denying that Matt Sheppard is having a career season with 34 feature wins in 79 starts.

Tuesday night, the 40-year-old modified pilot out of Savanna passed Rocky Warner for the lead and led the final 25 laps of the 50-lap modified feature for a record 12th win of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway.

Sheppard, who also won the Fonda 200 last month, is looking to parlay the victory into his third big block modified feature win in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 Sunday during the 50th anniversary edition of Super DIRT Week at Oswego Speedway.

“We have been on a roll lately, this is a great way to start out a busy stretch and a busy week for us,” Sheppard said in Utica-Rome’s Victory Lane.

After tech inspection and a practice session Wednesday on the dirt-covered asphalt at Oswego Speedway, time trials and qualifying heats for the Pro Stocks and 358 modifieds along with a special Past Champions Race.

Friday’s program includes practice, time trials and qualifying heats for the Sportsman and Big Block Modifieds, before the first features of the weekend take to the track Saturday with the 50 lap main event for the Pro Stocks and the DIRTcar 358 Modified Salute to the Troops 150.

Sunday, the Sportsman division will run its main event with the Chevrolet Performance 75 before the Big Blocks hit the track for the $50,000-to-win Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at about 5 p.m.

While Sheppard is seeking his third 200 Super DIRT Week victory, “Money” Mat Williamson is going for his third-straight win in the premier event. Williamson won in 2019 and 2021, while the 2020 festivities were postponed by COVID-19.

Stewart Friesen, who won the last two 200 lap events at the New York State Fairgrounds and the first Super DIRT Week big block feature at Oswego, will be looking to collect his sixth premiere event victory.

MORE BIG RACES

While Super DIRT Week has been deemed Racing’s Biggest Party, the big money races continue after the checker flag drops in Oswego.

The Short Track Super Series heads to Port Royal, Pennsylvania for the Speed Showcase weekend Oct. 13-15.

The weekend starts Thursday with a 40-lap, $5,500-to win feature for the modifieds with the  Crate 602 Sportsman division also on hand for practice rounds, with the two fastest drivers transferring to the Saturday redraw.

Friday, the 410 Sprint Cars join the program as the modifieds run 20-lap qualifiers and the 602 Sportsmen will run 15-lap qualifying events. The Pro Stocks will turn laps Friday in preparation for their 30-lap, $1,200-to-win feature on Saturday.

Saturday, the modifieds will go 75-laps in the $50,000-to-win STSS Halmar ‘Elite Series’ main event, while the sportsman division will go 50 laps for $4,000-to-win.

The 61st Eastern States 200 Weekend will hit the hard clay at Orange County Speedway Oct. 20-23 with features for the big and small block modifieds, crate sportsmen, street stocks and pro stock divisions.

The action shifts south the first week in November when the Super DIRTseries modifieds he to the Dirt Track at Charlotte on Nov. 3-5 for the World of Outlaws World Finals.

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