GRANBY, Q.C. — Matt Sheppard was victorious in Wednesday night’s Lussier and Granby Chevrolet 100 at Autodrome Granby. After drawing the 11th starting spot Sheppard was able to drive his No. 9s FX Caprara to victory lane to capture his fifth Super DIRTcar Series win of the season and third career win at Autodrome Granby.
“The car was great right from the second we unloaded it tonight,” Sheppard said. “It’s been a great battle all season between Stew and I. Both of us have had our rough luck the past couple of weeks but it looks like we both got it turned around tonight.”
When the initial green fell on the night’s 100-lap feature, it was Peter Britten who jumped out to an early lead over Jimmy Phelps.
Third place starter, Stewart Friesen passed Phelps on the outside of turns three and four to obtain the second spot.
It didn’t take long for Friesen to run down Britten. Britten was working the bottom lane as Friesen worked the top and was able to slowly reel Britten in to pass him for the lead on lap ten.
Billy Decker challenged Britten for the second spot early on and was able to overtake second from Britten. Britten didn’t give up though as it became a back-and-forth battle between the two.
Decker was running in third and was forced to pit due to issues under the hood of his No. 91 machine forcing him to end his night early.
Eleventh starter Sheppard was into third by lap 33.
Friesen got way up high into the marbles in turn three and four causing him to fall back to third as Sheppard and Hebert drove by him for first and second on lap 47.
Sheppard had a half straightaway lead over second place runner Friesen, but was soon to be closing in on Sheppard as he caught lapped traffic on lap 55.
Third place saw a three-way battle between Hebert, Phelps and Britten as Hearn started to close in.
Through the remaining laps, Sheppard built up a sizable lead as Friesen worked to run him down.
By lap 82 Sheppard had half a straightaway lead over Friesen but it wasn’t for long as he once again caught the back of the field on lap 88. During that time Friesen was able to close the gap on Sheppard in lapped traffic.
With just a handful of laps to go Sheppard had lapped traffic right in front of him. Friesen tucked to the bottom in one and two then shot into the outside in turns three and four to give it his one last shot for the win.
“I kind of figured he was close when we got into lapped traffic. It was like a roadblock there towards the end. I didn’t know where to go and I got a little bit frustrated. The race was almost over and I was just hoping to get it over in a hurry,” Sheppard said.
Lapped traffic on the final laps was nearly problematic for Sheppard as Friesen closed the gap but Sheppard held on to get the win at Autodrome Granby by .037 seconds over Friesen.
“We didn’t draw a very good number. It didn’t really matter though because we slowly picked our way up through. The tough part was when we got up front was just deciding where to run because everywhere was pretty mutual. It’s a really racy track; you can race all over. I enjoy racing here,” Sheppard said.
Second place runner, Friesen felt that his No. 44F team might have been able to beat Sheppard if they had just a few extra laps in lapped traffic.
“We weren’t very good in the heat race. We made some adjustments after the heat race. We were good, better than I thought we were going to be,” Friesen said. “I fell out of the seat that one lap and had two cars get by. We were close at the end in lapped traffic. I think if we had a couple more laps we could have rolled back by him. I don’t know if we were faster but I think if we got out in front of him we could have held him off. The Halmar team did a great job.”
Coming off from his win last week at Sharon Speedway, Phelps is happy with the progress he and his team have been making.
“All in all I’m happy. This was a good run for us here. Obviously we had a good starting spot but we couldn’t take advantage of it early because we were too tight and the track slickened off,” Phelps said. “I don’t think a caution would have helped because those two were better than us. I needed a little harder right front tire it kind of quit on me and I was having a hard time turning the car. We were halfway decent. We’re definitely gaining.”
Race Notes: 37 Big-Block Modifieds attempted to qualify and 30 started the main event. Six cautions were brought out during the 100-lap main event. Larry Wight set fastest time overall with an 18.543. Matt Sheppard collected his fifth Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season. Last years winner, Larry Wight had a rough night as he pitted early during the main event and came back out to finish fifteenth.
The Super DIRTcar Series returns to action in Thorold, Ontario on Monday, Aug. 1 at Merrittville Speedway for the Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial.
A-Main (100 Laps) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 44f-Stewart Friesen; 3. 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 4. 20-Brett Hearn; 5. 1h-David Hebert; 6. 33-Mike Mahaney; 7. 18h-Peter Britten; 8. 19-Tim Fuller; 9. 25p-Michel Parent; 10. 42p-Pat Ward; 11. 54-Steve Bernard; 12. 66x-Carey Terrence; 13. 43-Keith Flach; 14. 27j-Danny Johnson; 15. 99L-Larry Wight; 16. 25*-Stever Benier; 17. 1*-Francois Bernier; 18. 3-Claude Brouillard; 19. 22c-Mario Clair; 20. 6h-Max McLuaghlin; 21. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 22. 73j-Mathieu Boisvert; 23. 35-Frank Cozze; 24. 21-Yan Bussiere; 25. 47-Simon Perreault; 26. 25m-Maxime Viens; 27. 91-Billy Decker; 28. 7m-Michael Maresca; 29. 1m-Mathieu Desjardins; 30. 46-Kayle Robidoux
-Super DIRTcar Series Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com