Sheppard Earns Rolling Wheels Accolades

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Matt Sheppard drove to victory at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park during Sunday's Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified feature. (Dave Dalesandro/MSI Photo)
Matt Sheppard drove to victory at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park during Sunday's Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified feature. (Dave Dalesandro/MSI Photo)

ELBRIDGE, N.Y. – Matt Sheppard patiently waited for an opportunity to pounce during Sunday night’s Super DIRTcar Series All-Star Weekend feature event at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, then wasted no time when that chance arose.

Sheppard, the two-time and defending big-block modified series champion, started behind pole-sitter Billy Decker in the 66-lap race and used a double-file restart on Lap 21 to surge to the lead. From there he methodically worked his way through traffic and held off the 28-car field to earn his first Super DIRTcar Series points-paying victory of the year.

“We were a little slow in the beginning of the race, but with these longer races, you know, sometimes you gotta set up for the second half of the race,” said Sheppard. “Fortunately for us we were good in the second half of the race and that’s what it takes to win these long-distance races.”

Sheppard finished fourth in his heat race, placing him in the redraw for the feature, where he drew a three to lineup directly behind Decker for the series’s second main event of the year. He quickly got past outside pole-sitter Billy Dunn and set his sights on Decker.

“We got a lot of breaks tonight,” Sheppard said. “We drew a good number, we were able to get out front, got cautions when we needed them, and the car was fantastic. That’s pretty much what you need to win one of these races. You’ve got to have a lot of stuff go your way.”

Decker settled into second and mirrored Sheppard’s moves through traffic, but was never able to close the gap over the final 45 circuits around the big five-eighths-mile dirt oval.

Danny Johnson finished third, followed by Jimmy Phelps and Brett Hearn.

Dan Wiesner won the companion DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature.