‘Super Matt’ Can Climb: Sheppard Tops Short Track Super Series ‘Lightning on the Mountain’
Written by Chris Moore
CENTER LISLE, NY – ‘Super Matt’ can climb.
Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard led all 50 laps of the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ for his fourth Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco victory of 2021.
The $5,000-plus triumph also extended Sheppard’s point lead on the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region, where Sheppard has won three times this season.
“Our car was so good all night long, we never touched a thing on it. I just didn’t know if I should run high or low, but our car was so good it didn’t matter,” explained Sheppard of his racecar in Victory Lane.
After winning his heat race, Sheppard drew the pole in the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw, putting him in prime position to rebound from the crash he suffered just a week ago at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway for the ‘Blast at the Beach.’
Sheppard would start alongside his closest competitor on the Hurlock Auto & Speed North Region, as Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego pulled the No. 2.
Right from the drop of series starter Joe Kriss’ green flag, Sheppard quickly flexed his muscle, showing he had the car to beat.
While Sheppard marched to the beat of his own drum out front of the field, Oxford, N.Y.’s Rusty Smith slid by Perrego for second, and King Ferry, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney was in the picture for a podium spot, challenging Perrego before a lap-12 yellow.
Norwich, N.Y.’s Alan Barker was also a driver on the move in the early going, coming from his 17th starting spot, to climb to eighth when the 12th-lap caution flew.
A short green-flag run followed, and Barker continued his assault, moving into the fifth spot before a lap-17 yellow fell.
The yellow’s continued to help Sheppard, always falling before the leader truly had to dice in lap traffic to give the runner-up cars an opportunity to reel in the No. 9s car.
At the halfway point, Sheppard picked up the $200 Superior Remodeling Halfway Bonus while Mahaney chased after him, and the ‘Wild Child’ Andy Bachetti had climbed to fourth using the outside line.
A long stretch of racing under green forced Sheppard to work in lap traffic, doing so effortlessly, continuing to stretch his margin over what was becoming a four-car battle for second.
With 15-laps remaining, Mahaney had Smith, Bachetti, and Barker all on his tail for the runner-up spot.
Barker was the one to seize the opportunity, driving by all three of his competitors and stealing the runner-up position with 10 laps remaining.
On the final restart of the night, Smith would work underneath Mahaney to take the final podium spot.
Despite all the challengers and numerous restarts, Sheppard never made a mistake, driving his Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply No. 9s to the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ victory.
Barker was the $300 TAMCO LLC Hard Charger, coming from 17th to second in his Klinger Motorsports No. 77 and Smith rounded out the podium.
Sheffield, Mass.’s Andy Bachetti finished his back-and-forth night in the fourth spot in his Garrity Asphalt Reclamation No. 4 and Mahaney was fifth in the George Huttig-owned No. 35.
Perrego also slid back on the last restart to sixth in the Brian Smith-owned No. 44 with Otego, N.Y.’s J.R. Hurlburt coming from 19th to finish seventh in the Jamie and Denise Page Algonkin Motel No. 6H. Binghamton, N.Y.’s Darren Smith came home eighth in the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 12.
East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel continued his solid rookie year with the STSS, claiming ninth in his family-owned No. 97 and Port Jervis, N.Y.’s Billy Van Inwegen rounded out the top-10 in the Chad Loiodice-owned No. 5L.
Heat winners, receiving $50 each from FloRacing were Ryan Susice, Shaun Walker, Sheppard and Rusty Smith.
Thirty-seven STSS Modifieds signed in to compete at the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ event.
The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman ran Round No. 6 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region and Savona, N.Y.’s Kreg Crooker picked up his first career STSS victory.
Crooker became the 44th different winner in STSS Sportsman history. Crooker came from the seventh starting spot to pass for the lead just shy of the halfway point and led the remaining of the 25-lap feature to take the $1,500 paycheck.
Rusty Smith, who pulled double duty, grabbed the runner-up spot with Crate 602 Sportsman and Lansing, N.Y.’s Tommy Collins rounded out the podium finishers.
Montour Falls, N.Y.’s Dale Welty followed up his STSS win at N.Y.’s Woodhull Raceway with a fourth-place run on Tuesday night and Accord, N.Y.’s Hunter Lapp rounded out the top five.
Racing returns for the STSS on Thursday, September 16 at Fonda Speedway for the ‘Fonda 200’ weekend featuring the ninth event of the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region for the Modifieds. The three-day weekend of racing all leads to Saturday’s historic Fonda 200 (200 laps, $53,000 to win & $1,000 to start). Round No. 7 for the Precision Hydraulic & Oil Crate 602 Sportsman North Region (25 laps, $2,000 to win) on joins the Modifieds on Saturday.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, FloRacing, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Hurlock Auto & Speed, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Penske Racing Shocks, Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz, Algonkin Motel, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Belmont’s Garage, Superior Remodeling, Spyder High Performance Filters, Fastline Performance, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
LIGHTNING ON THE MOUNTAIN RESULTS SUMMARY – THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY AUGUST 31, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Event No. 8 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Alan Barker, Rusty Smith, Andy Bachetti, Mike Mahaney, Anthony Perrego, J.R. Hurlburt, Darren Smith, Bobby Hackel, Billy Van Inwegen, Bill Van Pelt, Alex Tonkin, David Schilling, Ryan Susice, Danny Johnson, Brett Haas, Shaun Walker, Bailey Boyd, Landon Cummings, Nick Nye, Byron Worthing, Jeff Taylor, Brett Tonkin, Kailee DiMorier, Jimmy Zacharias, Billy Decker, Tyler Dippel
Did Not Qualify: Marc Goodwin, Brian Malcolm, Rick Wilk, Alex Yankowski, Joe Judge, P.J. Goodwin, Danny Creeden, Shayne Spoonhower, Scott Boudinot, Cory Costa
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Anthony Perrego (sixth) & David Schilling (13th)
Autism Awareness Winner’s Award presented by Halmar ($250): Matt Sheppard
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses: Andy Bachetti (fourth) & Bobby Hackel (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Shaun Walker (Redrew 12th)
FloRacing Heat Winners ($50 Each): Ryan Susice, Shaun Walker, Matt Sheppard & Rusty Smith.
Henry’s Exhaust System Bonus ($50 Certificate): Billy Van Pelt (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Matt Sheppard ($150 Certificate – first); Alan Barker ($75 Certificate – second); Rusty Smith ($50 Certificate – third); Billy Van Inwegen ($25 Certificate – 10th)
Spyder High Performance Filters Bonuses: Mike Mahaney (FREE Filter – fifth); Danny Johnson (50-percent Certificate – 15th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Alan Barker (second); Alex Tonkin (12th); Jeff Taylor (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Matt Sheppard
TAMCO Hard Charger Award ($300): Alan Barker (17th to second)
TKS Painting Front-Row Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (Pole – $50); Anthony Perrego (Outside Pole – $25)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7 Bonus ($75 Certificate): J.R. Hurlburt (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Event No. 6 Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): KREG CROOKER, Rusty Smith, Tommy Collins, Dale Welty, Hunter Lapp, Bryce Bailey, Brian Calabrese, Will Shields, Payton Talbot, Steve Davis, Doug Kline, Alan Fink, Tim Hartman Jr., David Dickey, MacKenzie Marsh, Randy Brokaw, Damon Decker, Blake Sarpriacone, Tim Falter, Jamie Kamrowski, Rich Talada, Michael Ballestero, Tim Guild, Rich Powell, Steve Schrader, A-Jay Potrzebowski II
Did Not Start: Alan Komar
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Will Shields (eighth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Alan Fink (Redrew 12th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Rusty Smith (second) & Alan Fink (12th)