While Matt Sheppard’s plans to return in 2017 with his self-owned team for another Super DIRTcar Series title have surprised no one, his plans outside the series have turned plenty of heads. Late in the winter, Sheppard announced a new partnership with Dirt Modified veteran Vic Coffey and the No. 32 Sweetners Plus race team, to run for the rich points purse at New York’s Outlaw Speedway.
Since then, the two sides have decided to expand the arrangement to a race-by-race basis on the Short Track Super Series North Championship, which also runs throughout New York State. Though Sheppard has raced against Coffey for years, he is confident that they will meld together in a timely fashion.
“Vic and the whole Sweetners team have top notch equipment and basically the same equipment that I was running all last year, so hopefully it will be a seamless transition,” Sheppard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Sheppard will make his first appearance for the Sweetners Plus squad this Sunday at Orange County Fair Speedway (NY) in the Hard Clay Open which will open the STSS North championship for 2017. While Outlaw is the main goal for the team, with OCFS serving as an opportunity to forge chemistry, Sheppard expects nothing less than to compete for the race victory.
“We obviously want to win every time we go out. We’re focused on Orange County right now. Outlaw is still coming up, so we have all our focus on OC now.”
“Super Matt” is also determined to put on a performance at a track that has not been super for him on the stats sheet.
“It’s not really been one of my better tracks. I’ve got a bunch of second place finishes there but I’ve never won a race. Maybe a new team, new season, we can go right in and change our luck.”
Outside of the new combination, Sheppard will have to deal with a cast and background on the STSS which is much different than he is used to.
“It’s going to be tough, there’s a whole different group of guys, different rules, different tires, different engine combinations. All different than what I’m used too.”
Sheppard and Sweetners Plus have not announced what their next race for the STSS will be following OCFS this weekend, but they expect to make a few more starts outside of Outlaw this year.
Sheppard expects to make his next start in his No. 9S Modified at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park season opener April 14 and 15, before the Super DIRTcar Series returns to action at Fulton Speedway on April 29.
Be sure to follow Speed51.com this Sunday with Trackside Now coverage of the Hard Clay Open from Orange County Fair Speedway.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com