DUNDEE, NY — “Super Matt” Sheppard had luck on his side during the redraw of Wednesday night’s Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP event, drawing the pole for the ‘Ultimate Outlaw 50’ at Outlaw Speedway.
And he also had plenty of speed.
Sheppard, driving the Norm Hansell-owned No. 357 led from wire-to-wire, collecting a $5,240 payday for his efforts in the 50-lap event, Round No. 4 of the STSS Halmar International North Region.
While Sheppard resides in Waterloo, N.Y., a short jaunt to Outlaw Speedway, the winning car is housed more than four hours to the south and east of the speedway in Collegeville, Pa.
“I’ve got to thank Norm and the guys for bringing the car all the way up here from Pennsylvania,” Sheppard noted following his second career STSS victory and first since May 20, 2014 at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y. “I’m glad it was worth their drive.”
The first-ever STSS event at the Dundee, N.Y., oval was originally slated for Tuesday night. However, a threatening Tuesday forecast forced the postponement of the event by 24 hours. The event was run under cold and cloudy conditions.
Sheppard and fellow front-row starter Stewart Friesen, in the Halmar International No. 44, controlled the event. The pair ran one-two through lap 43 when the left-rear tire went down on Friesen’s mount and he ducked to the pits.
Sheppard cruised out front over the remaining seven laps to earn the victory.
“When you get into the summer grind with weekly racing and handicapping, you end up starting 15th, 18th, all the time in the back,” Sheppard said. “If you get lucky and pick up front like we did tonight, you have to capitalize on it.”
In a stout performance from eighth on the grid, current STSS Halmar International North Region point leader Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., chased Sheppard across the line. The ultra-consistent Rudolph has finished no worse than seventh in STSS North events this season; Wednesday’s runner-up result, however, was his best of 2016.
“I don’t think I had anything for Matt,” Rudolph said. “We were a second-place car, but it was a great night for the point battle. We’ll take it and go on to the next one at Accord (N.Y., July 5).”
In his Outlaw Speedway debut, Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., drove to a solid third-place run. Bachetti raced inside the top-five for the race’s entire distance, garnering his second top-five effort of the ’16 STSS North Region schedule.
Danny Creeden of Wurtsboro, N.Y., like Bachetti a first-time Outlaw Speedway visitor, garnered a fourth-place result after dropping back early.
Billy Van Pelt of Westfield, Pa., earned the distinction as the event’s Hard Charger, driving the Grant Hilfiger-owned No. 78 from 21st to finish fifth. Van Pelt was making his first STSS start of the season.
Completing the top-10 were Billy Van Inwegen of Sparrowbush, N.Y., in the Escape RV-sponsored No. 4 small-block; Matt DeLorenzo of Cropseyville, N.Y., a traveler with the STSS in ’16 like Van Inwegen; Brian Malcolm of Lake Ariel, Pa., who recovered from a flat tire on the 13th lap to finish eighth; 17th-starter Vic Coffey of Leicester, N.Y.; and Brady Fultz of Rochester, N.Y., up from 16th.
Heat winners for the 35 STSS Modifieds on hand were Malcolm, Joe Dgien, Tyler Siri and Creeden. Coffey and Justin Wright were the consolation victors.
In other action on the night, Nick Guererri was the GRIT Series Crate 602 Sportsman winner, Chuck Winslow annexed the Fight Night Street Stock score and J.J. Kreidler topped the Four Cylinders.
Racing resumes for the STSS on Tuesday, June 14 (rain date: June 15) with the ‘Dirty Jersey 4’ at New Egypt Speedway in New Egypt, N.J., offering $10,000 to the winner for 40 laps as a points-paying event on the Velocita South Region. United Racing Club (URC) 360 Sprint Cars battle for a $2,000 winner’s share in the ‘Turnpike 25’ and Crate 602 Sportsman complete the card racing a 20-lap main.
The next North Region event is set for Tuesday, July 5 (rain date: July 6) at Accord (N.Y.) Speedway when New York Truck Parts presents the ‘Battle of the Bullring 4’ with $5,400 up for grabs at the Ulster County quarter-mile track. STSS Open Sportsman and Slingshots complete the card.
-Short Track Super Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos
Feature Finish (50 laps): 1) MATT SHEPPARD, 2) Erick Rudolph, 3) Andy Bachetti, 4) Danny Creeden, 5) Billy Van Pelt, 6) Billy Van Inwegen, 7) Matt DeLorenzo, 8) Brian Malcolm, 9) Vic Coffey, 10) Brady Fultz, 11) Steve Paine, 12) Stewart Friesen, 13) Justin Wright, 14) Joe Dgien, 15) Donnie Lawson, 16) Mike Mahaney, 17) Tommy Meier, 18) Nick Nye, 19) Colton Wilson, 20) Tyler Siri, 21) Ron Cartwright Jr., 22) Craig Hanson, 23) Derrick Podsiadlo, 24) Anthony Perrego, 25) Danny Johnson, 26) Alan Johnson, 27) Ryan Jordan