This season has been one to remember for Matt Sheppard, who has dominated the Super DIRTcar Series schedule with a series leading 10 wins, a new career high for a single season. While the odds are in his favor for a fifth career series championship, “Super Matt’s” focus now turns to getting his second win at Super DIRT Week and becoming the first to do it away from the late New York State Fairgrounds.
With the way things have gone for Sheppard in 2016, he is riding a big wave of confidence heading to Oswego Speedway (NY) this week.
“We’ve brought a really fast race car to just about everywhere we’ve been this season. We hope for some more of that when we head to Oswego,” Sheppard said Friday during a conference call. “Hopefully we can just get up there and kind of ride on some of the momentum we’ve built and make the right calls throughout the week. With any luck at all we’ll have a good week up there.”
Like all drivers, Sheppard heads to the “Steel Palace” with a lot of questions pertaining to how the new dirt surface, added to the normally asphalt speedway, will drive come practice, qualifying and race time. But Sheppard isn’t letting the unknowns phase him one bit.
“I don’t really know what to expect. I would like to think the racing is going to be good out there, but we’re all going to find out next week,” he stated. “Like I said, it’s hard to know what to expect but I don’t see any reason why the racing won’t be fine. It’s a track similar in size to a lot of other race tracks we race on so I don’t think anybody is going to have any trouble picking it up. I think the racing is going to be good.”
While Sheppard and his No. 9S team have a prep list going into the week ahead, they are going into the week with largely the same car they have had throughout the season;a change compared to the former years on the long “Moody Mile”.
“We’re obviously trying to get the quick fill and everything mounted in the car to prepare for the pit stops and stuff, getting a fresh motor put in. We’re going to bring our best stuff, but at the same time I’m just going to bring the car that’s been good on the short tracks. We’re headed to a short track, we’re not going to overthink it too much. We’re just going to put a setup in it that’s worked for us and hopefully just go up there and race like we do time and time again all summer long.”
While Sheppard’s amazing stats for the year have put him in a great position for a Super DIRTcar Series championship, it doesn’t take away the fact that everything is on the line going into Sunday’s 300-lap feature.
“Oswego is going to be the difference between having a phenomenal season and having one of the best seasons of all time. I feel like we’ve done everything we set out to do and then some this year,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of the big races at the end of the year. Can we capitalize on some of the big races? We’d like to but I think this is the time of the year when someone’s season really gets defined.”
Be sure to follow Speed51.com all week long with Trackside Now coverage of Super DIRT Week practice, qualifying, and racing from Oswego Speedway. Stay tuned to the Speed51 Network for practice reports, exclusive interviews, and a behind the scenes look at the 45th edition of Super DIRT Week.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com