CONCORD, N.C. – Three-time defending Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard is ready to throw caution to the wind this year at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
The Big-Block Modified series rounds out its season Thursday through Saturday during the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“This year, the pressure is off,” said Sheppard, who last year became the first driver to garner three consecutive Super DIRTcar Series titles, yet has not claimed victory at Charlotte. “We won’t have to worry about points or anything, so hopefully this will be the year we can just go down there and run hard and get that first win.”
The young big-block modified star, of Waterloo, N.Y., started last year’s trip south with the series point lead, and did his best to play it safe all weekend. Two strong finishes during World of Outlaws World Finals – third the first night of feature racing and ninth the last night – brought him the championship.
However, this year Brett Hearn leads in Super DIRTcar Series points with three wins and ten times in the top-five. Sheppard has tied Hearn in wins, but is short in points by 147. This year, “Super Matt” is fighting for more than points – he’s aiming for victory lane.
“I’ve had a lot of good runs, seconds and thirds, but I’ve never won,” Sheppard said. “You always want to go down there and win, but you’ve got to finish the race first. We don’t really have that pressure on us this year, so we can just go down, run hard, throw caution to the wind, and hopefully get a win.”
A win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a meaningful feat for any Super DIRTcar big-block modified competitor, and Sheppard is no different. In addition to hosting the series finale, the World of Outlaws World Finals is a much-anticipated event at one of racing’s premier facilities.
“It’s probably the biggest stage we race on,” Sheppard said of The Dirt Track at Charlotte. “It’s a beautiful facility, a lot fans, a lot of fun racing down there.”
The World of Outlaws World Finals kicks off Thursday, with qualifying events for the Super DIRTcar Series, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. Feature racing begins Friday with races for all three premier traveling tours and concludes Saturday with all three divisions again taking center stage.