Barberville, FL - There was love for dirt racing in the air Thursday night at Volusia Speedway Park on Valentine's Day as a huge crowd watched three super-powered heroes battle down to the wire for the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds victory.
Super Matt Sheppard, from Watertown, NY, triumphed over Mr. Freeze Stewart Friesen, and Batman Peter Britten. Sheppard made a late two-for-one pass in turn two for his first win of 2019 in a new car, a new set up, and a new engine. The 30-lap thriller featured multiple lead changes among four different leaders, including the top three and Jessey Mueller who fell back to finish sixth.
“The track was so racy,” said Sheppard, a seven-time Series champion from Waterloo, NY. “We were all moving around there. Guys were running the middle, the top, the bottom. I got them on the bottom off of turn two. I think Stewie [Friesen] got messed up in lapped traffic, or he moved around to try to find a new line. I just caught him by surprise. I knew after following him for half the race how good he was, and I knew if I got out front, I couldn’t make any mistakes.”
NASCAR Gander Mountain Truck Series standout Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, NY, also spoke highly of the track and the racing. His battle with Matt Sheppard in the final frames showcased the high-quality competition on hand.
“It was good, I thought he [Matt Sheppard] was going to check out there. But we got rolling and got right back to him. It was a challenging race fan but a lot of fun. The track was a lot faster than last night and it had a gnarly cushion. I watched the replay from last night and saw the guys up front roll the bottom. I thought it was going to be the place to be, but then Matt came blowing by. We’ll get her cleaned up and try again Saturday,” said Friesen.
Third place finisher Peter Britten had his best finish of the week so far. He too enjoyed the racing conditions. Britten said, “The track was definitely different. When you get down here the track changes every night. You gotta roll with it pretty quickly and pick it up. So, we made some changes too and we were pretty decent. We were in the fight. Last night we thought we were pretty good right up to the start of the Feature. Then we started pushing real bad. We changed a few things to fix that. I think that helped and like I said, the track was different tonight.”
Graham Racing driver Anthony Perrego had another strong run and finished fourth. Unfortunately, his teammate Danny Johnson went for a wild ride in turn four after jumping the cushion and barrel rolling into the retraining wall. DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block Modified points leader Billy Decker in his Gypsum Racing No. 91 rounded out the top five.
Friday night we do it all again. Be sure to join us at Volusia Speedway Park for another thrilling 30-lap Feature ace. Watch as 39 Big-Block Modified drivers go head-to-head for a chance to hoist a Big Gator above their head in Victory Lane. If you can’t make it to the race track, be sure to tune in at www.DIRTVision.com for the live broadcast.
Results: 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard ; 2. 44-Stewart Friesen ; 3. 21a-Peter Britten ; 4. 18-Anthony Perrego ; 5. 91-Billy Decker ; 6. 19m-Jessey Mueller ; 7. 25-Erick Rudolph ; 8. 1-Billy Pauch ; 9. 99l-Larry Wight ; 10. 20-Brett Hearn ; 11. 3-Justin Haers ; 12. 42p-Pat Ward ; 13. 19-Tim Fuller ; 14. 88-Mat Williamson ; 15. 111-Demetrios Drellos ; 16. 118-Jim Britt ; 17. 5-Ryan Godown ; 18. 9t-Will Thomas ; 19. 2L-Jack Lehner ; 20. 33-Marc Johnson ; 21. 98t-Tyler Thompson ; 22. 23-Kyle Coffey ; 23. 46-Jeremy Smith ; 24. 1g-Darwin Greene ; 25. 7-Rick Laubach ; 26. 27j-Danny Johnson 
-Super DIRTcar Series Press Release
-Photo credit: George Smith