Black Cloud Removed: Sheppard Posts First-Ever Short Track Super Series Win
Written by Chris Moore
ACCORD, NY – Matt Sheppard finally nixed the black cloud over his head that is Accord Speedway on Tuesday night with his first career win at the Ulster County Bullring.
Sheppard, who started fourth, took the lead on a lap-13 restart and never relinquished it for his 33rd career win under the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco umbrella.
The win netted the Savannah, N.Y. native a cool $6,200 to go home with, bringing his season total to $18,200 in the River Valley Builders North Region season already.
Despite multiple restarts and some bouts with lap traffic, Sheppard led the remaining 37 laps to claim the ‘Battle of the Bullring 10’ triumph.
“Thankful to be in Victory Lane, first time at Accord and we can chalk this one off the list,” Sheppard exclaimed. “Really cool trophy too for the ‘Battle of the Bullring’ and they weren’t kidding it was definitely a battle tonight.”
Sheppard is now two-for-two in River Valley Builders North Region competition in 2023 after his win in the opener at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y.
Sheppard has notched two wins with the Wegner Automotive ‘Weekend Warrior’ engine as well.
“It (the Wegner Engine) seems to like these tracks that get a little slippery,” Sheppard explained. “It definitely did its job tonight.”
The race began with defending race winner Mat Williamson on the pole following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw with Oxford, N.Y.’s Rusty Smith alongside.
At the drop of the green flag, Smith faded outside the top five with Sheppard taking advantage racing around Smith and Mike Mahaney to jump into the runner-up spot.
The yellow flag flew for the first time on lap six, giving Sheppard his first real opportunity to get by Williamson.
The duo raced side-by-side for one lap until Williamson prevailed on the inside groove. Williamson stretched his advantage to eight car-lengths prior to the lap-13 restart that changed the race’s complexion.
Sheppard, on the outside, got a better launch off the fourth turn and into turn one, dropping in front of Williamson and taking the lead.
“The top was where I wanted to be, it got a little too choppy on the bottom of (turn) four and it was difficult to get a good launch,” summarized Sheppard of the restart that gave him the lead.
From there, Sheppard continued to choose the top lane on restarts, never allowing Williamson to get the run needed to stay alongside into the first turn.
With Sheppard and Williamson out front, Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. and Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego became the pair to watch as they raced their way into contention.
Pauch Jr., who started eighth struggled to find his footing in the opening laps, before coming like gangbusters at the midway point.
Pauch Jr. was up to fourth and jumped into a podium position on lap-18 restart.
Perrego meanwhile, who was coming from the 21st starting position, continued to show what makes him so good around Accord Speedway. Perrego carved his way through traffic throughout the first half of the race to reach the seventh spot.
At the halfway point, Sheppard led Williamson, Pauch Jr., Rusty Smith, and Tyler Dippel as lap traffic became a factor for the leaders.
The top three remained unchanged for several laps, while Anthony Perrego was continuing his assault on the field, rising to fourth by the 34th circuit.
The last 17 laps clicked off caution-free as Sheppard raced away with the top spot and his first career Accord Speedway victory.
St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada’s Mat Williamson held off Pauch Jr.’s late charge for the runner-up spot.
“I think the new layout is going to race really well,” Williamson of the reconfiguration to Accord Speedway. “Once they get it smoothed out it’ll be good… they (the track crew) did the best they could for us; it’s just been tough with the weather to get a new surface down.”
Perrego rounded out the top three.
“This place got pretty wide in the feature and we were able to do some racing,” proclaimed Perrego of his 21st-to-third charge. Perrego earned an extra $250 as the Steve’s Toy Box/Edna’s Sweet Creations Hard Charger of the race.
Rusty Smith recovered for fourth after fading outside the top five on the initial start and Pauch Jr. limped home with a fifth-place finish after sustaining a right-front flat tire coming to the white flag.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Rochester, N.Y.’s Danny Johnson, who rebounded after bringing out the race’s first yellow on lap six; Bohemia, N.Y.’s Dillon Steuer, who was involved in a wreck mid-race and bounced back to finish seventh; Otisville, N.Y.’s Corey Cormier, who rose as high as fifth before coming home eighth; Otego, N.Y.’s J.R. Hurlburt who quietly raced his way into the top-10 in the late stages; and Kauneonga Lake, N.Y.’s Justin Holland, who started 24th as the final car qualified for the 50-lap affair.
Forty-nine STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in for the ‘Battle of the Bullring.’
Heat winners were Tyler Dippel, Sheppard, Smith, Tyler Siri, and Williamson.
Consolation winners were Marc Johnson, Cormier, and Danny Johnson.
Derrick McGrew Jr. of Ballston Spa, N.Y., kicked off the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region with his first career STSS triumph.
McGrew, started on the outside pole and fell back before racing his way forward and taking the win and the $1,500 payday to boot. McGrew fought to wrestle the lead away from Tyler Peet in the 25-lap event.
Hunter Lapp and Joe Toth rounded out the podium with Dylan Madsen and Tyler Peet rounding out the top five.
Thirty-six STSS Crate 602 Sportsman took part in the event.
The 15-lap Four Cylinder event was postponed to this Friday (May 12) by the curfew.
The STSS returns to action on Tuesday, May 16 (rain date: May 17) at Delaware International Speedway with Rent Equip/Party Central South Region Modified Event No. 2 (50 laps, $5,000 to win) plus STSS Crate 602 Sportsman Belmont’s Garage South Region Event No. 2 (25 laps, $1,500 to win).
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, FloSports, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Rent Equip/Party Central, BDR Speed, Bicknell Racing Products, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Wegner Automotive, River Valley Builders, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, DIG Race Products, Velocita-USA, Franklin Products, Design for Vision & Sunglass Central, Belmont’s Garage, Quality Drywall, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Prime MAC Tools, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel, Beyea Custom Headers, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH, Electric Neon Custom Signs, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Spyder Filters, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO & Wilwood.
‘BATTLE OF THE BULLRING 10’ RESULTS SUMMARY – ACCORD SPEEDWAY TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2023
‘Battle of the Bullring 10’ Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco River Valley Builders North Region Round No. 2 Feature Finish (50 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Mat Williamson, Anthony Perrego, Rusty Smith, Billy Pauch, Jr., Danny Johnson, Dillon Steuer, Corey Cormier, J.R. Hurlburt, Justin Holland, Tyler Dippel, Andy Bachetti, Marc Johnson, Francois Bernier, Richard Smith, Mike Mahaney, Danny Creeden, Bobby Hackel, Tanner Van Doren, Ron Holmes, Billy Van Inwegen, Ajay Potrzebowski, Michael Trautschold, Tyler Siri, Randy Green, Scott Ferrier, Craig Mitchell
Did Not Qualify: Cale Ross, Steve Bernier, Shawn McPhee, Danny Tyler, Joey Coppola, Joe Judge, Jake Dgien, Danny Bouc, Dylan Scribner, Allison Ricci, Nick Plumstead, Jackie Brown, Shane Jablonka, Chris Curtis, Mike Ricci, Jerry Higbie, Brett Tonkin, Rich Ricci, Jr., Jeremy Markle, Jeremy Hamilton, Daniel Morgiewicz, David Schilling
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Corey Cormier(8th) & Tyler Dippel (11th)
BDR Speed Bonus ($50 Gift Card): Ron Holmes (20th)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Rusty Smith (fourth) & J.R. Hurlburt (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Tyler Siri (Redrew 10th)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Danny Johnson (sixth)
“Hard Clay Observer” Hard Luck Award ($250): Dylan Scribner
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Tyler Dippel (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (first – $150 certificate); Mat Williamson (second – $75 certificate); Anthony Perrego (third – $50 certificate); Justin Holland (10th – $25 certificate)
Steve’s Toy Box/Edna’s Sweet Creations Hard Charger ($250): Anthony Perrego (21st to 3rd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($200): Matt Sheppard
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Dillon Steuer (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Round No. 1 Feature Finish (25 laps): DERRICK MCGREW, JR., Hunter Lapp, Joe Toth, Dylan Madsen, Tyler Peet, Jared Labagh, Drew Boniface, Talan Carter, Gordon Smith, Justin Comes, Matt Richardson, Josh Allen, Blaine Klinger, Joe Judge, Tom Princiotta, Roger Hummer, Aidan Elliott, Travis Green, Mike Nagel, Jr., Michael Ballestero, Dale Welty, Jared Miller, Brian Krummel, Greg Crooker
Did Not Qualify: Pat Mann, Ben Feldman, Ashton Dewitt, Michael Travis, Joe Smith, Clayton DuMond, Chip Constantino, Tighe Sherlock, Brad Weaver, Rick Wegner, Jr., Steve Williams, Scott Zehnecker
Accurate Collision of Pompano Halfway Leader ($100): Tyler Peet
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Talan Carter (eighth)
BDR Speed Bonus ($50 Gift Card): Michael Ballestero (20th)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Roger Hummel (Redrew 12th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Hunter Lapp (second) & Josh Allen (12th)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Matt Richardson (11th)