CONCORD, N.C. – Tim Fuller chased down Matt Sheppard in traffic to steal the victory in Saturday’s Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified season finale during the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Sheppard started from the pole and looked like he was shot out of a cannon on the initial start, rocketing out to a big lead over Billy Decker and Demetrois Drellos. That lead was quickly erased on lap four when Mike Mahaney slowed in turn two to draw a caution flag.
It was a lot of the same when the green waved again as Sheppard quickly pulled out into the lead, but it was erased again when Danny Johnson slowed with a broken left-rear shock. By that point Fuller had moved into third behind Sheppard and Decker.
Sheppard again jumped out to a big lead on the restart as Decker and Fuller gave chase. Sheppard quickly caught the tail of the field and began lapping cars on lap 13. Behind him Fuller was on the move, dispatching Decker to take second on lap 19 before setting off in pursuit of Sheppard.
As Sheppard continued to pick off slower cars and put them a lap down Fuller began to close in. On lap 32 Fuller pulled clear of traffic and for the first time had a clear view of Sheppard’s bumper directly in front of him.
Two laps later Fuller began to challenge Sheppard for the race lead, peaking around the outside out of turn four on lap 34. Sheppard managed to close the door and stop the run, but Fuller was just getting started.
On lap 35 Fuller took a peak under Sheppard out of turn two, but Sheppard again shut the door. Fuller continued to hound Sheppard for the next two laps when on lap 37 Fuller got a big run on the outside in turn three and coming out of turn four he pulled clear of Sheppard to take the race lead for the first time.
Fuller would hold the lead for the few laps, beating Sheppard to the finish line by .469 of a second to claim his third Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season and second at the World Finals.
“This one was pretty sweet,” Fuller said in victory lane. “Matt’s at the top of his game and he’s been showing that for the last four or five years. We’ve latched on to something here in the last few months. This is great to go into the winter with and come out next year with.
“I got up on the outside of him once and I couldn’t make the run here because he was coming to the wall,” Fuller explained. “I didn’t really want to show him too early. I think that middle was a little bit better. He got leader boned, that’s all there is to it. When you’re leading you’re kind of restricted to the one line while I can move around.”
Despite coming up short in the feature Sheppard still had reason to celebrate. The second-place finish was more than enough for the driver of the No. 9s to clinch his seventh overall and fourth-straight Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified championship.
Sheppard admitted that once he got into traffic he struggled to find the right line, opening the door for Fuller to close in and steal the lead.
“We had a great car tonight, so did Tim,” Sheppard said. “Everybody really wanted to be in the middle when we caught them lap cars. I didn’t know to be on the low side of them or the high side of them. We just kind of got jammed up and Tim got a really good run on the outside of us. It is what it is.”
Decker finished third, followed by Saturday afternoon’s feature winner Brett Hearn and Drellos.
Tim Fuller, Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker, Brett Hearn, Demetrois Drellos, Tim McCreadie, Max McLaughlin, Peter Britten, Mat Williamson, Keith Flach, Jimmy Phelps, Steve Bernard, Justin Wright, Michael Maresca, Stewart Friesen, Jessey Mueller, Mike Mahaney, Justin Haers, Tim Kerr, Erick Rudolph, Tyler Siri, Yan Bussiere, Pat Ward, Rich Scagliotta, Adam Roberts, Chad Jeseo, Dave Rauscher, Danny Johnson, Louie Jackson Jr., Carey Terrence.