Sheppard Stops Johnson At Cornwall

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Matt Sheppard (DIRTcar photo)
Matt Sheppard after winning a Super DIRTcar Series event at Cornwall Motor Speedway. (DIRTcar photo)

CORNWALL, Ontario — Matt Sheppard battled through the top five to take the lead early in the race but had to go toe to toe with Danny Johnson to secure the Super DIRTcar Series victory Sunday night at Cornwall Motor Speedway.

Larry Wight crossed the finish line in second place, which is an important points-finish for the Gypsum Express driver. With another third-place podium, Mat Williamson didn’t let Sheppard run away with all the points. Williamon started on the pole and even after fading back early, he never let the leader out of his sight.

With the O’Canada 100 victory, Sheppard padded his points lead by another 10 points on Mat Williamson. But as those who witnessed the race know, it did not come easy.

Sheppard described his race and battle with Danny Johnson, “Man was this place slick tonight. We were right up there on the ragged edge just trying to find every ounce of grip that we could find. I had a heck of a battle there was Danny [Johnson] for a long time. I think we were throwing some sparks down the front stretch [after clipping the wall passing Johnson on the outside].”

Longtime fans of the Super DIRTcar Series remember Danny Johnson in the Sweetner’s Plus red and yellow and now he’s back in that familiar No. 27j. He did not disappoint as he drove right by a lot of fast race cars up to the point position early in the 100-lapper.

However, Johnson only led for a handful of laps before Matt Sheppard closed in.

“Johnson was running a little bit lower than we were,” Sheppard said. “I kept getting a big run up top and he kept closing the doors so I tried to show him a nose on the bottom for a while to try to bait him down the track. I finally got a big run and caught him by surprise a little bit. The sparks were flying but we got out front.”

Out front is where the No. 9s stayed until the 100 laps were completed.

Wight picked up six positions to finish in second place and remains third in the points.

“In open track [Sheppard] seemed better rolling the top and middle,” Wight said. “I’m not sure if we were just a little too free or what the deal was. He could definitely get a little better drive off but once we got into lapped traffic, we were a little better on the bottom. We were reeling him in but probably needed five to ten more laps. We were right in the hunt. I think we just gotta work on it a little bit.”

For a while, the two Gypsum Express entries were running in second and third positions. Unfortunately while locked in a battle, Billy Decker went off the track on the backstretch and reentered well out of the top-five where he had spent most of the race. Wight kept the No. 99L up front and was ready for any mistake Sheppard might make.

It was another great result for Williamson who now sits thirty-one points out of first place in the standings. The pilot of the family-owned No. 6 started on the pole position but fell back early.  “Matt [Sheppard] had a good car. Larry [Wight] was good too. We faded early there. That long run killed us. I think we got the right rear too hot and fortunately, with a couple yellows, things went our way.”

The finish:

Feature (100 laps): 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard [4]; 2. 99l-Larry Wight [7]; 3. 6m-Mat Williamson [1]; 4. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [8]; 5. 21A-Peter Britten [12]; 6. 54-Steve Bernard [17]; 7. 66-Kyle Dingwall [13]; 8. 27J-Danny Johnson [3]; 9. 91-Billy Decker [5]; 10. 19-Tim Fuller [10]; 11. 47S-Corey Wheeler [2]; 12. 20-Brett Hearn [24]; 13. 9J-Jordan McCreadie [16]; 14. 66X-Carey Terrance [11]; 15. 26-Ryan Godown [26]; 16. 18J-Louis Jackson [22]; 17. 17T-Tristan Draper [19]; 18. 22C-Mario Clair [18]; 19. 35-Mike Mahaney [25]; 20. 23L-Joey Ladouceur [14]; 21. 21-Yan Bussiere [-]; 22. 2L-Jack Lehner [27]; 23. 111-Demetrios Drellos [9]; 24. 88L-Lee Ladouceur [20]; 25. 25-Erick Rudolph [6]; 26. 96-JF Corriveau [21]; 27. 13-Kevin Hamel [23]; 28. 7MM-Michael Maresca [15]; 29. 17-Marcus Dinkins [28]