Doing Super Things: Sheppard Earns $10,000 Fonda ‘Firecracker’ Payday

Written by Chris Moore

FONDA, NY – Doing “super” things.

Matt Sheppard topped the Bob Hilbert Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco event at Fonda Speedway on Monday night. The event was postponed by rain from July 2.

The Scenic View Campground/Picture Perfect Pools & Spas ‘Firecracker 50’ went to the Savannah, N.Y., native after taking the lead at the completion of lap 28 and setting sail for the final 22 laps.

The win was Sheppard’s 34th career STSS victory, this one worth $10,000 in Round No. 5 of the River Valley Builders North Region.

“I thought I had a flat tire before the red flag came out,” Sheppard explained of his early race fade. “My crew guys signaled it was ok and when we went back racing it took off like a missile.”

Sheppard started from the seventh position, following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw, with St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada’s Mat Williamson and Cropseyville, N.Y.’s Matt DeLorenzo on the front row.

At the drop of the green flag, DeLorenzo, defending Fonda champion, took hold of the top spot while Williamson was left to fight off Alex Yankowski for the runner-up position.

Yankowski overtook Williamson before a yellow flag fell on lap 11 with Sheppard pulling up alongside Williamson in row two.

When the green flag came back out, Sheppard overtook Williamson for third, while Yankowski was challenging DeLorenzo for the lead.

Another yellow presented another restart, this time Sheppard would falter. The Savannah, N.Y. native fell back to seventh, where he took the initial green flag from.

Fonda, N.Y.’s Danny Varin was charging from the 11th starting position, getting by Williamson and into a podium spot before breaking and crashing, bringing out the red flag Sheppard referenced on lap 17.

Sheppard fired off from sixth on the restart and marched to the front in the next 11 laps. ‘Super Matt’ quickly climbed into the fourth spot when the green flag came back out.

From there Sheppard slid by Demetrios Drellos for third on lap 22, by Yankowski for second on lap 27 before taking the lead from DeLorenzo one lap later.

Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen came from the 15th starting position and raced into the runner-up position on lap-36 restart. He had nothing to offer a challenge to Sheppard.

“This place, Fonda Speedway, can be a thorn in any driver’s side,” Sheppard continued. “But when your car’s right, it’s a lot of fun.”

Friesen would settle for second.

“We were behind the 8-ball after a really bad draw,” Friesen said after drawing 74 in the Dirt Draft pre-race draw. “Clean air was really good and once Matt got to it, he was really good.”

Covington Township, Pa.’s Yankowski rounded out the podium finishers.

“When DeLorenzo was leading, it was the same thing as all year,” Yankowski proclaimed. “The cautions just don’t seem to fall our way when we need them to.”

He continued, “We’re putting ourselves in position to win races and I’m really proud of our team for that.”

DeLorenzo came home fourth in the BBL Companies No. 3D and Mat Williamson rounded out the top five in the Behrent’s Performance Warehouse No. 3.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Roscoe, N.Y.’s Michael Trautschold has his best STSS run of the season, coming from 24th to finish sixth; Mooresville, N.C.’s Max McLaughlin who pitted after getting a left-rear flat tire while running fourth in the early going; Dolgeville, N.Y.’s Cody Clark who was fresh off his first career Modified win on Saturday night at Fonda; Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker aboard the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91; and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner in the Tadd Parks-owned No. 1.

Heat winners, receiving $50 each courtesy of FloRacing, were Michael Parent, Bobby Hackel IV, Sheppard, and Clark.

Consolation winners were David Schilling and JaMike Sowle.

Thirty-nine STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in to compete in the ‘Firecracker 50.’

South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot took home $2,000 in Round No. 4 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region for the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman.

Talbot raced from fifth to take the lead in the early going and dominated the 25-lap feature, which had only one caution.

Brian Calabrese, who started 12th, Michael Ballestero, Tanner Warner, and Tyler Peet rounded out the top five.

Next up for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco is the first of two trips to N.Y.’s Utica-Rome Speedway for the ‘Richie Evans Remembered 61’ on Thursday, July 20 featuring NASCAR Cup Star Ross Chastain. 

The STSS Modifieds race in Round No. 6 of the River Valley Builders North Region for 61-laps and a $6,100 payday. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman join the program for Round No. 5 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region for a 25-lap, $2,061-to-win feature.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit, e-mail, 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.


‘Firecracker 50’ Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco River Valley Builders North Region Round No. 5 Feature Finish (50 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Stewart Friesen, Alex Yankowski, Matt DeLorenzo, Mat Williamson, Michael Trautschold, Max McLaughlin, Cody Clark, Billy Decker, Rocky Warner, Dillon Steuer, Marc Johnson, Steve Bernier, JaMike Sowle, Tyler Dippel, J.R. Hurlburt, Chris Curtis, David Schilling, Francois Bernier, Tim Fuller, Demetrios Drellos, Michael Parent, Bobby Hackel, Brian Calabrese, Danny Varin, Ronnie Johnson, Jessica Friesen

Did Not Start: Anthony Perrego

Did Not Qualify: Mike Mahaney, Tanner Van Doren, Brian Pessolano, Bobby Varin, Jack Lehner, Dave Constantino, Dave Camara, Tucker O’Connor, Keith Flach, Don Bellen, Ron Holmes

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Billy Decker (ninth) & Dillon Steuer (11th)
BDR Speed Hard Charger Bonus ($250): Michael Trautschold (24th to sixth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Matt DeLorenzo (fourth) & Billy Decker (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Rocky Warner (Redrew 12th)
EIBACH Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Michael Trautschold (sixth)         
FloRacing Heat Race Winner ($50): Michael Parent, Bobby Hackel, Matt Sheppard, Cody Clark                                                            
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Dillon Steuer (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (first – $150 certificate); Stewart Friesen (second – $75 certificate); Alex Yankowski (third – $50 certificate); Rocky Warner (10th – $25 certificate)
Shultz Fuel Cells Bonus ($100 Certificate): Rocky Warner (10th)        
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Matt DeLorenzo     
Upstate Auto Hard Luck Award ($100): Anthony Perrego (DNQ)                       
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Max McLaughlin (seventh)                                                                                     

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Round No. 4 Feature Finish (25 laps): PAYTON TALBOT, Brian Calabrese, Michael Ballestero, Tanner Warner, Tyler Peet, Brendan Gibbons, Chad Edwards, Chip Constantino, Kadon Hohensheldt, Blaine Klinger, Dan Santabarbara, Mike Kalkbrenner, Joe Toth, Troy Palmer, Stephen Gray, Dylan Madsen, Brett Mortensen, Roger Hummer, John DuMond, Butchie Irwin, Michael McCallion, Matt Perry, Derrick McGrew, Jr., Chris Kugler, A.J. Greco, Clayton DuMond, Clyde Peek.

Did Not Qualify: Gordon Smith, Ben Feldman, Josh Allen, Greg Crooker, Wesley Sutliff, Jeff Bobilin, Jeremy Tyrrell

Accurate Collision of Pompano Halfway Leader ($100): Payton Talbot                          
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Kadon Hohensheldt (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): A.J. Greco (Redrew 12th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Brian Calabrese (second) & Mike Kalkbrenner (12th)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Dan Santabarbara (11th