BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Defending Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified champion Matt Sheppard made all the right moves Thursday night en route to his first victory of the year during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
Rolling off the starting grid fifth, Sheppard picked his way through lapped traffic early on in the 30-lap event, finding the bottom groove to his liking. Tim Fuller soon blasted by Sheppard to take the lead as Sheppard had his hands full with Stewart Friesen.
Sheppard kept the pressure on, first dispatching Friesen on lap 12 before setting his sights on Fuller. The two raced side by side before catching lapped traffic at the half-mile dirt oval.
At the halfway point the two tried to move around a lapped car. Fuller went high while Sheppard chose the bottom. The move ended up costing Fuller dearly as he got caught up in a crash, sending him to the pits for the remainder of the race.
Sheppard led the rest of the event unchallenged.
“It was tough,” said Sheppard. “The track was real fast. It’s tough on the cars. You really had to drive hard and manhandle them tonight. I got the right break in traffic. I picked the right lane and was able to get by Tim and hold on for the rest of the race. It was pretty wild out there. We had a lapped car running in the middle. He chose the top and I chose the bottom. It ended up working out in my favor.”
Friesen, who won the Super DIRTcar Series opener Wednesday, finished second. Willy Decker, Jimmy Horton and Brett Hearn completed the top five.