As the Superman theme song played over The Dirt Track at Charlotte’s public address system, Matt Sheppard climbed onto the roof of his No. 9s Big Block Modified for the 12th time in 2016. The man known as “Super Matt” already had the championship locked up, already claimed the record for most wins in a Super DIRTcar Series season, but he made sure he punctuated 2016 with an exclamation point on Saturday night.
On Friday night, Sheppard started on the pole and led all 40 laps to score his 11th win of the season. It was nowhere near as easy for Sheppard on Saturday night.
Sheppard started Saturday’s 40-lap A-Main from the eighth position. He was three and four-wide with fellow Super DIRTcar Series stalwarts like Brett Hearn, Billy Decker and Pat Ward.
But Sheppard was unflappable and worked his way through the field like a true five-time Super DIRTcar Series champion. He knew he already had the big trophy and the check for the championship, so it was just time to have fun and go for another win.
“This place was so racy tonight,” Sheppard said in victory lane. “These Big Blocks put on one heck of a show tonight. We were racing two, three and four-wide there. Last night we started on the pole and led the whole race. I was happy to get that win, but tonight was even more satisfying.”
Haers jumped the cushion one lap after Sheppard moved into second and Sheppard pounced. Sheppard got under Haers and drove by him into turn one. Sheppard cleared Haers off turn two and quickly jumped out to a five car-length lead.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t win after having the dominant car and leading that many laps,” Haers said after finishing third. “I knew it was going to take a pretty good car to get by me. I jumped the cushion there off of turn four and there goes the night.”
For Sheppard, the 12th win of the season was the 13th piece of evidence he needed (counting the championship, of course) to justify the move to start his own race team in the offseason.
“I just can’t say enough about this race car. It was just fantastic,” Sheppard said. “It was like it flipped a light switch about halfway and the thing just took off like a missile. When I could see Justin and Pat there I wanted to win this race again. I didn’t want to settle for third and thankfully this car was good enough that we could do it.”
Pat Ward, Justin Haers, Brett Hearn and Larry Wight completed the top five for the final race of the 2016 season.
Speed51.com will have more from the season finale for the 2016 Super DIRTcar Series season including race highlights and interviews still to come on the Speed51 Network. To subscribe to the Speed51 Network, click here.
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Penske Racing Shocks and PFC Brakes of the final night of the Bad Boy Off Road World Finals, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Daryl Canfield
Super DIRTcar Series World Finals Saturday A-Main
The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Concord, North Carolina
|16||15||Billy Pauch Jr|
|28||115||Kenny Tremont Jr|