CORNWALL, Ontario – With two Super DIRTcar Series wins to his credit already this season, Matt Sheppard is on a roll.
He outdueled veteran racer Billy Decker Sunday to claim a stunning victory at Ontario’s Cornwall Motor Speedway and solidify his point lead over Decker, eight-time series champion Brett Hearn and the many other drivers vying for the title.
“I can’t say enough about this whole team here. Man, is this thing rolling,” Sheppard said of the Heinke-Baldwin Racing FX Caprara Car Co. No. 9h. “It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re on a quarter-mile high-banked bullring like Cornwall, or a bigger track like Canandaigua; we’ve been good everywhere we’ve been. ”
Starting tenth on the grid, Sheppard worked his way forward as Australian driver Pete Britten took the initial lead. Decker ran in second, but was quick to challenge Britten. The pair powered off a lap 14 restart, but Britten Troyer No. 21a stumbled, wandering too low on the track and falling to 11th place.
Decker led over Boisvert, and, by lap 19, Sheppard had already charged to third place. In lab 25, the Phelps Cement Products No. 3 of Justin Haers slowed to a stop on the backstretch to bring yellow flag conditions. Larry Wight brought another caution in lap 37, and on the restart Sheppard powered to second place.
Decker motored forward, but Sheppard was gaining on him. Sheppard went for the pass in lap 50, and the leaders raced side-by-side until Decker jumped too high on the cushion in turns three and four of lap 51, causing the Gypsum Wholesalers LJL Racing No. 91 to spin a the yellow flag to wave.
“He was pretty well gone for a long time, then it seemed like when we got to second we were slowly able to start catching him,” Sheppard recalled of his mid-race battle with Decker. “We were able to get a run, battled side-by-side, and we were finally able to get around him.