NEW EGYPT, N.J. – “Super Matt” Sheppard raced to a thrilling victory in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Pioneer Pole Buildings, Inc. Dirty Jersey 60 on Tuesday at New Egypt Speedway.
“It was an unbelievable race,” the three-time Super DIRTcar Series Champion said.
“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 started in fifth while Heinke-Baldwin Racing teammate Jimmy Phelps, took the initial lead over Tim McCreadie and eight-time series champion Brett Hearn.
However, Sheppard’s 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.
Sheppard claimed second as the No. 4 of leader McCreadie was pulling away from the rest of the field.
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 Sheppard on the outside in lap 26 and claimed the lead from McCreadie in lap 29.
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.