NEW EGYPT, NJ — official release — Jim Brown Photo — Fending off challenges until the very last lap, “Super Matt” Sheppard raced to victory Tuesday, June 17, at New Egypt Speedway’s Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Pioneer Pole Buildings, Inc. ‘Dirty Jersey 60.’
“It was an unbelievable race,” the three-time Super DIRTcar Series Champion said after the action-packed 60-lapper. “Great race track, wide race track, start to finish. There are a few guys that I think could have won that race. Lucky enough, we were able to get to the front and hold on till the end.”
Sheppard, who made the haul from Waterloo, N.Y., started in fifth while Heinke-Baldwin Racing teammate Jimmy Phelps, of Baldwinsville, N.Y., took the initial lead over Tim McCreadie and eight-time series champion Brett Hearn.
However, Sheppard’s FX Caprara Car Co. / Troyer Race Cars No. 9h was quickly gaining momentum from the green. By lap 4, Sheppard was challenging for second against Phelps, who lost a position when McCreadie grabbed the lead in lap 2.
Sheppard claimed second as the No. 4* of leader McCreadie was pulling away from the rest of the field. As McCreadie started lapping cars in lap 8, Sheppard gained ground and tenaciously chased McCreadie through lapped traffic.
In lap 21, the No. 27J of Danny Johnson spun in front of the flagstand, coming to a stop in turn 1, to bring out the race’s first caution. Sheppard was strong on the restart, racing side-by-side with McCreadie before falling behind after a lap. Johnson returned tot he pits in lap 24.
Hometown hero Billy Pauch, of Frenchtown, N.J., was also strong on the restart, charging past Phelps from fourth to third place. He passed sheheppard on the outside in lap 26 and claimed the lead from McCreadie in lap 29.
Behind Pauch, the battle for second place was fierce, with Rick Laubach joining the fray in lap 34 for a three-wide challenge. Sheppard came out ahead, taking second from McCreadie and setting his sights on Pauch in first.
However, Pauch’s racecar was fast, seeming poised to stay in the lead through the checkered flag. Every fan in the crowded New Egypt Speedway grandstands simultaneously gasped with shock as Pauch’s No. 1 broke town in the frontstretch in lap 46. A drive shaft issue took the No. 1 to the pits and left Sheppard’s No. 9h in the lead.
Laubach was fast on this restart, wheeling around McCreadie and charging toward the leader. Another yellow flag in lap 56 slowed the momentum with just four laps to go. Laubach lept into action in the final laps, nosing under the No. 9h in turn 2 of the last lap, but unable to make the pass before the checkered flag.
“I was leaving that bottom wide open and he was good enough to get there, but I could get a good run off th top of (turn) 2,” said Sheppard. “I could get a good run off the backstretch and clear him into (turn) 3, and that’s what we needed.”
Laubach, who took home the trophy from last year’s inaugural ‘Dirty Jersey 60,’ was pleased with a strong second-place finish after an exciting race.
“That was a good race. I would have liked to have been watching that one,” Laubach said after the race. “Everyone was running on all they had. It was just good track position, we could move around low, high. When Matt started to see me run the top and I realized he was going to block that from me, then I had to change and do something. I just figured out another groove and it was working, it just needed time. The yellow with four to go took away probably two laps. If I would have had that four in a row continuous, I think I would have had it then.”
After starting fourth and leading early in the race, McCreadie finished in third. Hearn started second and finished fourth. Billy Decker, of Sidney, N.Y., charged from his tenth place starting position to finish fifth. Rounding out the top ten are Larry Wight in sixth, Phelps in seventh, Billy Dunn in eighth, Anthony Perriego in ninth and event co-promotor Stewart Friesen in tenth.
Sheppard’s victory in Tuesday’s ‘Dirty Jersey 60’ marks his first points win of the 2014 season, launching him past defending champion Hearn in the point standings to the lead with 190.
The Super DIRTcar Series heads to Central New York for the fourth points race of the season Wednesday, June 25, at Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y. For more information about the Super DIRTcar Series, including a schedule of upcoming races, visit www.superdirtcarseries.com.
Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Statistical Report
Pioneer Pole Buildings, Inc. ‘Dirty Jersey 2’
New Egypt Speedway, New Egypt, N.J.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
A Main (60 laps):
1. Matt Sheppard – Waterloo, N.Y.
2. 7 Rick Laubach – Quakertown, Penn.
3. 4* Tim McCreadie – Watertown, N.Y.
4. 20 Brett Hearn – Sussex, N.J.
5. 91 Billy Decker – Sidney, N.Y.
6. 99L Larry Wight – Altmar, N.Y.
7. 98H Jimmy Phelps – Baldwinsville, N.Y.
8. 49d Billly Dunn – Watertown, N.Y.
9. 55H Anthony Perriego – Montgomery, N.Y.
10. 1wcg Stewart Friesen – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
11. 14w Ryan Watt – Boyertown, Penn.
12. 76 Jimmy Blewett – Howell, N.J.
13. 323 Neal Williams – Pittsgrove, N.J.
14. 673 Gary Tomkins – Clifton Springs, N.Y.
15. 6m Matt Williamson – St. Catharines, Ontario
16. 29 Sammy Piazza – Lawrencetown, N.J.
17. 21a Pete Britten – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
18. 126 Duane Howard – Oley, Penn.
19. 3 Justin Haers – Phelps, N.Y.
20. 10 Billy VanInwegen – Sparrowbush, N.Y.
21. 62 Matt Jester – Milford, Del.
22. 5 Jimmy Horton – Neshanic Station, N.J.
23. 7z Dale Planck – Homer, N.Y.
24. 42P Pat Ward – Genoa, N.Y.
25. 25 Erick Rudolph – Ransomville, N.Y.
26. 71 David VanHorn, Jr. – Harmony, Penn.
27. 43 Keith Flach – Ravena, N.Y.
28. 8 Rich Scagliotta – Hillsborough, N.J.
29. 18 Rich Rutski – Somerville, N.J.
30. 1 Billy Pauch – Frenchtown, N.J.
31. JR1 Rocco Infante – Robinsville, N.J.
32. 27J Danny Johnson – Rochester, N.Y.
3a Kevin Albert – Lebanon, Penn.
3d Matt Delorenzo – Cropseyville, N.Y.
3v Kevin Vaclavicek
5* Tyler Siri – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
7s Michael Sabia
10 Billy VanInwegen – Sparrowbush, N.Y.
13x P.J. Oliver
14g Brian Gleason
14h Jeff Heotzler
14k Shawn Ward
19b Brian Kressley
27 Andrew Krause – Holmdel, N.J.
27H David Hunt – Bridgewater, N.J.
33 Mike Mahaney – King Ferry, N.Y.
35 Mike Perrotte – Plattsburgh, N.Y.
M40 Matt Forte
R40 Ryan Forte
44 John McClelland
51m Dominick Buffalino
88c Frank Cozze – Wind Gap, Penn.
901 Eric Kormann – Vineland, N.J.
B-Main 1 (10 laps, top 2 transfer): Williamson, VanHorn, Infante, Mahaney, Cozze, Scagliotta, DeLorenzo, Krause, Perrotte. DNS: Planck, Gleason.
B-Main 2 (10 laps, top 2 transfer): Haers, Horton, Kressley, Flach, VanInwegen, Kormann, Hunt, S. Ward, Albert, Sabia. DNS: Oliver.
B-Main 3: Freisen, Rudolph, P. Ward, McClelland, M. Forte, Vaclavicek, Heotzler, Buffalino, R. Forte. DNS: Siri.
Qualifying Heats (8 laps; top 4 transfer, top 2 redraw)
Heat 1: Decker, Perriego, Piazza, Dunn, Williamson, Rudolph, Flach, Cozze, M. Forte Jr., Sabia, Planck
Heat 2: Blewett, Hearn, Jester, Johnson, Haers, VanHorn, P. Ward, VanInwegen, DeLorenzo, Vaclavicek, Hunt
Heat 3: Laubach, Pauch, Wight, Britten, Friesen, Horton, Krause, Heotlzer, S. Ward. DNS: Gleason.
Heat 4: Sheppard, McCreadie, Tomkins, Watt, Mahaney, McClelland, Kressley, Scagliotta, Buffalino, Oliver
Heat 5: Williams, Phelps, Rutski, Howard, Kormann, Infante, R. Forte, Albert, Perrotte, Siri
Time Trials: 1. McCreadie 16.714