Sheppard’s runner-up finish clinches second Super DIRTcar Series title
By Mike Kerchner
CONCORD, N.C. - Nov. 5, 2011 - Tim McCreadie completed a sweep of the Lowes Foods World Finals Presented by Tom’s Snacks, Coca-Cola and Nature’s Own at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Saturday night, while Matt Sheppard captured his second straight Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified championship.
Having driven Vinnie Salerno’s No. 4 Bicknell to victory in the 2010 season finale, McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., took the car back to victory lane on Saturday and ran down Sheppard in lapped traffic to win his second 40-lap feature in as many nights, earning $6,000 for his effort.
“Two in a row. Unbelievable,” McCreadie said. “This place in a modified suits my style very well.”
Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y., entered the weekend 53 points behind Billy Decker in the race for the championship, but after Decker had engine trouble on Friday and Sheppard set the fast time for both events and finished second on Friday, he held a 10-point lead heading into Saturday’s season finale.
Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., and Sheppard each won a heat race and shared the front row for the final race of the campaign. Sheppard’s JB Motorsports No. 9s shadowed Decker’s No. 91 LJL Racing machine for the first 10 laps of the race. However, Sheppard moved to the front on lap 10.
McCreadie, who started third, got better as the race went on and eventually passed Decker (lap 18) and ran down Sheppard. McCreadie made his first bid for the lead on lap 28 and tried lap after lap as the three leaders snaked their way through lapped traffic.
When Sheppard became bogged down in traffic on lap 37, McCreadie gained momentum and carried it into the lead entering turn three on lap 38. He led the final three circuits and beat Sheppard to the checkered flag by .785 seconds to complete the weekend sweep.
“It is so hard to go out and run with those guys,” McCreadie said. “They are hard to beat. They are amazing. I kept catching Matt (Sheppard) and our car just kept getting better and better and better and I think Matt was right when he said his car was fading a little bit. When that happened, we got fortunate in traffic. Sometimes it is better to be in second when you are in traffic and it worked out for us tonight. We will take it.”
Sheppard beat Decker to the finish to claim the runner-up spot for the second consecutive night and earn his second straight Super DIRTcar Series championship by 15 points over Decker, who had led the standings the majority of the season.
“I think this is better than last year,” Sheppard said looking up at the sold-out crowd of more than 14,000. “Last year will always be special because it was the first one. This year,Syracuse turned it around. It was looking pretty bleak.
“We didn’t think there was any chance we were going to be able to get back to the front, but we were able to do it. The team was really good. They worked hard and they gave me a great race car to drive down here this weekend and it was super fast all weekend.”
Sheppard knew he had no room for error with Decker close behind.
“I gave it everything I had,” Sheppard explained. “I could feel my car was dying and I knew that if I didn’t drive the wheels off of it there was a good chance that Billy (Decker) and maybe somebody else would get by me and then I wouldn’t win the championship. I probably ran harder than I normally would have. I could feel it dying a little bit and I drove it as hard as I could. That’s all I had.”
While Decker basked in championship glory at the four-tenths-mile dirt track, Decker finished the season with the bitter taste of defeat lingering in his mouth.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Decker, who previously won the Super DIRTcar Series championship in 1998 and 2008. “We had a bad night last night and it cost us. We got back on our game tonight. We had two races where we finished out of the top five and one of them was last night. We had a great series.”
Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., and Tim Fuller of Edwards, N.Y., rounded out the top five in the race, which was completed without a yellow flag.
Sheppard won four races and racked up 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 15 starts, while Decker won twice and managed 13 top-five and top-10 efforts.
Sheppard will be honored at the Super DIRTcar Series banquet Nov. 19 at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, N.Y.
For more information on the Super DIRTcar Series, click www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.com .
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; Lowes Foods World Finals Presented by Tom’s Snacks, Coca-Cola and Nature’s Own; The Dirt Track at Charlotte; Concord, N.C.; Nov. 5, 2011
A-main (40 laps)
1. Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.
2. Matt Sheppard, Waterloo, N.Y.
3. Billy Decker, Unadilla, N.Y.
4. Jimmy Phelps, Baldwinsville, N.Y.
5. Tim Fuller, Edwards, N.Y.
6. Justin Haers, Phelps, N.Y.
7. Brett Hearn, Sussex, N.J.
8. Pete Britten, Brisbane, Australia
9. Gary Tomkins, Clifton Springs, N.Y.
10. Larry Wight, Phoenix, N.Y.
11. Danny Johnson, Rochester, N.Y.
12. Jimmy Horton, Neshanic Station, N.J.,
13. Carey Terrance, Hogansburg, N.Y.
14. Kenny Tremont, Jr., West Sand Lake, N.Y.
15. Billy Dunn, Watertown, N.Y.
16. Jerry Higbie, Goshen, N.Y.
17. Rick Laubach, Hellertown, Pa.
18. Tom Sears, Jr., Clay, N.Y.
19. Billy Pauch, Frenchtown, N.J.
20. Randy Chrysler, Tuscarora, N.Y.
21. Rob Bellinger, Dexter, N.Y.
22. Rich Scagliotta, Bound Brooks, Pa.
23. Tim Kerr, Picton, Ontario
24. Matt DeLorenzo, Cropseyville, N.Y.
25. Dave Rauscher, Waterloo, N.Y.
26. Tim Currier, Auburn, N.Y.
27. Rex King, Jr., Bristolville, Ohio
28. Roger Chrysler, Tuscarora, N.Y.
First Heat (8 laps): Sheppard, Britten, D. Johnson, Pauch, Bellinger, Kerr, Roger Chrysler. Did not start: Rex King.
Second Heat (8 laps): McCreadie, Haers, Laubach, Dunn, Tremont, DeLorenzo. Did not start: Mike Adderley, Corey Ziegler.
Third Heat (8 laps): Phelps, Fuller, Horton, Tompkins, Scagliotta, Terrance, Currier, King, Jr.
Fourth Heat (8 laps): Decker, Hearn, Higbie, Wight, Sears, Rauscherm, Randy Chrysler.
Time Trials (Held Nov. 3)
1. Matt Sheppard, 15.617
2. Jimmy Phelps, 15.625
3. Pete Britten, 15.665
4. Tim Fuller, 15.747
5. Billy Decker, 15.774
6. Tim McCreadie, 15.777
7. Billy Pauch, 15.794
8. Brett Hearn, 15.837
9. Rick Laubach, 15.880
10. Jimmy Horton, 15.959
11. Justin Haers, 15.983
12. Billy Dunn, 16.013
13. Rich Scagliotta, 16.054
14. Danny Johnson, 16.085
15. Gary Tomkins, 16.104
16. Jerry Higbie, 16.119
17. Dave Rauscher, 16.129
18. Matt DeLorenzo, 16.161
19. Carey Terrance, 16.187
20. Tom Sears, Jr., 16.190
21. Rex King, 16.244
22. Mike Adderley, 16.263
23. Larry Wight, 16.300
24. Tim Currier, 16.414
25. Randy Chrysler, 16.415
26. Kenny Tremont, Jr., 16.443
27. Rex King, Jr., 16.544
28. Tim Kerr, 16.548
29. Rob Bellinger, 16.624
30. Roger Chrysler, 17.397
31. Corey Ziegler, no time.
Final Super DIRTcar Series Unofficial Standings
1. Matt Sheppard, 2,529
2. Billy Decker, 2,514
3. Jimmy Phelps, 2,361
4. Brett Hearn, 2,300
5. Danny Johnson, 2,159
6. Justin Haers, 2,145
7. Pete Britten, 1,951
8. Rob Bellinger, 1,933
9. Larry Wight, 1,908
10. Tom Sears, Jr., 1,823
11. Rich Scagliotta, 1,805
12. Gary Tomkins, 1,770
13. Tim Currier, 1,716
14. Billy Dunn, 1,542
15. Kenny Tremont, Jr., 1,489
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, GM Performance Parts, Nationwide Insurance and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio and Chizmark Larson Insurance. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bert Transmissions, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Comp Cams, Intercomp, JE Pistons, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, R2C, Super Flow, Vicci Racing Apparel, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, Xtreme Lubricants and Extreme Mufflers.