Matt Sheppard powered to a victory at the Gerald Haers Memorial Saturday, winning his second straight Super DIRTcar Series feature at the Land of Legends Raceway.
Billy Decker posed a threat to the seven-time Super DIRTcar Series titleist, but it was Sheppard’s night. The win paid $10,000, and paired nicely with his win in the opening night of Cavalcade Weekend at Weedsport. Sheppard has now finished on the podium in four straight SDS Starts.
Sheppard is likewise no stranger to the confines of the Ontario County Fairgrounds oval, regularly calling it home en route to wins and track championships throughout his decorated Sportsman and Modified career. He has amassed nine total track championships at the half-mile.
“You gotta have a fast race car and a really good driver to win here,” said Sheppard of his Canandaigua success after the race. “There’s a lot of good drivers but it’s hard to put all the pieces together. Luckily for myself, I have a good race car and maybe a couple of laps around Canandaigua.”
Billy Decker took second at the final flag, and with it came the guaranteed starting spot in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at NAPA Super DIRT Week XLIX on Sunday, Oct. 10 that was up for grabs. Larry Wight raced to third.
Fuller assumed the point from the pole, but three laps in, Sheppard moved to the lead. Sheppard was more mobile in open air, and Decker pounced on Fuller to take second. However, the aggressive racing resulted in notable contact. Decker was able to complete the pass on a later restart.
Over the balance, Decker ran down the leader on a few occasions, but the mistake Decker needed never materialized from the unflappable Sheppard.
Larry Wight rallied to third, running down the top two through the final 50 circuits. He improved 13 spots overall, earning Hard Charger laurels. Erick Rudolph was fourth and Tim Fuller was fifth. Justin Haers raced to sixth ahead of Peter Britten, Jack Lehner, Mat Williamson and Chris Hile.
Matt Guererri scored a $1,000 payday in winning the 30-lap DIRTcar Sportsman Series Central Region Championship feature. It is the sixth stop on the tour this year. Guererri won the main over Zach Sobotka, Tyler Murray, Chris Mackey and Mike Fowler.
Opening Ceremonies included a moving tribute to remember Gerald Haers, and the Haers Family gave the command for the feature field to fire their engines.
The series next moves to Albany-Saratoga Speedway, where a $10,000 main event will headline a busy weekend in Malta, NY.
Stewart Friesen won the Fonda 200, the first iteration contested since 2019. He won then, too. And the top three mirrored the last recorded order, with Rocky Warner and Mike Maheny sharing the podium with the stalwart pilot of the No. 44.
The win paid $53,000 to win, with $20,000 set for Warner and another $10,000 for Mahaney. Danny Varin and Tyler Dippel rounded out the top five. Chad Edwards won the Sportsman series event over Payton Talbot, Will Shields, Tucker O’Connor and Michael Sabia.
Brett Deyo brought back the Fonda 200 in 2019. This year, the three-day weekend included preliminary features and full-fender racing on day 2. Matt Sheppard, Rocky Warner, Tyler Dippel and Danny Varin scored 15-lap qualifying race wins. Kenny Gates topped Josh Coonradt to win the Pro Stock feature, and Matt Mosher won the Street Stock feature. PJ Bleau (DOHC) and Ken Hollenback (SOHC) won four-cylinder trophies. Jordan Hutton won the CRSA Sprint Feature over Jeff Trombley and Dalton Herrick.
Brett Haas won the 33-lap Ultimate Underdog main at the start of the Fonda 200 weekend. The event was open to any driver who had not scored a feature win in 2021. Phil Vigneri III was second ahead of Brian Pessolano. It was his first career Fonda modified win.
In other action, Ryan Godown won the 51st running of the Freedom 76 at Grandview. He also won the Dash for Cash. Jeff Strunk was second in the 76-lap main. Mike Gular won the Minuteman 20.
At Devil’s Bowl, Jimmy Davis scored his first win at the Vermont oval since June 15, 1997. Two rain delays and a power outage delayed the show. Davis jumped to the lead and then held off Mike Fisher on a final restart with four to go.
Outlaw Readies for 6th fall Nationals
Tyler Siri wanted to establish four must-see events when he took the helm of Outlaw Speedway six years ago.
This weekend’s Fall Nationals is one of those events, with the Spring Nationals (April), Summer Nationals (July) and Dutch Hoag Memorial (October) serving as the other seasonal crown jewel events at the Yates County oval.
This weekend, the track will reopen for a double-header program, Sept. 24-25.
Friday’s card includes a $4,000-to-win 350 Patriot Sprint Tour feature and a Modified Dash to set the stage for the $4,000-to-win Modified feature on Saturday. The PST will also race the balance of their 20-lap event that was sidelined by rain Aug. 7. A double-winner could pull down a total of $8,000 in winnings with a sweep. Modified campaigners will have a chance to lock into the Saturday field by winning or taking second in a special modified event.
The opening night will also include $1,500-to-win American Racer Sportsman action, a $1,000-to-win Street Stock main — and the top two are guaranteed starters for Saturday’s race — and the 600cc Modifieds will race for $750. The Four-cylinders will battle in a $1,000 event, as well.
Saturday is the $4,000-to-win Modified Gunslinger 50, along with the $1,500-to-win Hoosier Tire Sportsman co-headline event. The card will include the $750-to-win open four-cylinder feature, a $1,000-to-win main for the Hobby stocks and the Street Stock feature will pay $1,250 to win. Saturday’s program will also include the 1-on-1 spectator races.
The top two finishers in each feature are guaranteed redraw spots for events at the Dutch Hoag Memorial next month.
A complete schedule and pricing is available online at www.outlawspeedwayllc.com.
Chris Marquart’s “Motorsports” appears every Tuesday during racing season. Contact Chris at (315) 729-3999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.