THOROLD, ONT. – ‘Super’ Matt Sheppard from Waterloo, N.Y. took an early lead and never looked back at Merrittville Speedway Monday night for the Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature event.
“It mean’s so much what they do here. When you walk out of here you know you’re going to have a pretty good night. They worked really hard with the lap sponsors and it doesn’t go unappreciated,” Sheppard said about the effort put into the nights Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial.
An early battle began between Fuller and Sheppard for the top spot as they ran side-by-side for several laps.
Fuller held on to the middle groove as Sheppard ran up on the outside to take a run on Fuller. Sheppard was able to takeover the top spot from Fuller on lap 18.
Sheppard soon caught heavy lapped traffic by lap 23.
On lap 25 Sheppard lead Fuller, Larry Wight, Brett Hearn and Pat Ward.
Seventh place starter, Brett Hearn was running high on the cushion and moved into third on lap 38.
Wight took advantaged of the lap 48 restart and dove to the outside of Hearn as he took over third spot.
Sheppard continued to show the way at the halfway mark over Fuller, Wight, Hearn and Chad Brachmann.
21st starter Pete Bicknell was a man on the move as he slipped into eighth position on lap 52.
Sheppard once again caught the back of the field on lap 58 as he began to battle his way through tight lapped traffic.
Chad Brachmann then took third from Wight on lap 59 and drove away to chase down Fuller.
Fuller tried to hold off Brachmann as Brachmann tiptoed around the bottom for several laps and was able to close in and take over second spot from Fuller on lap 75.
Fuller didn’t give up too easily as they battled back-and-forth for that second spot.
The seventh restart on lap 79 saw Friesen charge into third place as he worked the outside groove to chase down Brachmann.
Sheppard carried the momentum and the bite around the outside of the track as Brachmann hugged down low hoping to make ground on Sheppard.
28th starter Mike Bowman made a late race charge as he snuck into fourth position by lap 81.
The final caution of the night was brought out on lap 94 causing Sheppard to form back in line, erasing his straightaway lead.
Sheppard once again brought the field back to the green with just six laps remaining.
Sheppard tucked down to the bottom to hold his position and slowly pulled away form second place runner, Brachmann.
As Sheppard pulled away from the field Bowman and Friesen battled back and forth for the third spot but it was Bowman who crossed the line to take third over Friesen.
Sheppard went on to capture his fourth Bob St. Amand Memorial title at Merrittville Speedway over Brachmann, Bowman, Friesen and Bicknell.
“The thing wouldn’t turn. This thing was tight. We didn’t free up enough and I kind of just found a groove where I could drive straight up all the way across the track and finally the thing would hook and turn left and away she’d go,” Sheppard said in victory lane.
“Stew’s been red hot too but it seems like the only way we can gain points on him is to win races and thank god we’ve been doing that and hopefully we can keep that going here,” Sheppard said about the tight points battle between him and Friesen.
Chad Brachmann, one of Merrittville’s local favorites was pleased with his podium finish against the Super DIRTcar Series boys.
“Matt was in a league of his own like every other race he’s at,” Brachmann said. “We were decent. I think I could have been a little bit better forward drive wise. To hang on up front and to finish second to Matt, that’s a good accomplishment we did tonight.”
28th starter Mike Bowman was in complete shock as he stood on the front straightaway celebrating his advancement all the way up to third position.
“The car was really good. I bent the steering wheel in the wreck early on. I’m really surprised to be standing up here. The guys put a heck of a lot of effort into tonight. We really needed this,” Bowman said.
A-Main (100 Laps) – 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard; 2. 3B-Chad Brachmann; 3. 71-Mike Bowman; 4. 44-Stewart Friesen; 5. 42-Pete Bicknell; 6. 19-Tim Fuller; 7. 3rs-Chris Steele; 8. 62-Erick Rudolph; 9. 28z-Gary Lindberg; 10. 20-Brett Hearn; 11. 6m-Mat Williamson; 12. 99L-Larry Wight; 13. 33-Mike Mahaney; 14. 91-Billy Decker; 15. 37s-Tommy Flannigan; 16. 98h-Jimmy Phelps; 17. 42p-Pat Wardl 18. 27j-Danny Johnson; 19. 19c-Ryan Susice; 20. 18h-Peter Britten; 21. 15j-Tim Jones; 22. 6h-Max McLaughlin; 23. 8-Rich Scagliotta; 24. 88-Shayne Pierce; 25. 96-Fred Carleton; 26. 43-Keith Flach; 27. 26-Rick Richner; 28. 7m-Michael Maresca; 29. 35-Frank Cozze; 30. 96c-Jean-Francois Corriveau; 31. 93-Gary Tomkins; 32. 08-Mark D’Ilario
-Super DIRTcar Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos