2022 Short Track Super Series at Outlaw Speedway

Matt Sheppard Continues Outlaw Speedway Success With STSS Victory

Matt Sheppard Continues Outlaw Speedway Success With STSS Victory

Matt Sheppard returned to Outlaw Speedway and collected his 24th career Short Track Super Series victory on Tuesday night.

May 18, 2022 by Brandon Paul
Matt Sheppard Continues Outlaw Speedway Success With STSS Victory

DUNDEE, NY – For the 24th time in his career, Matt Sheppard triumphed in Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by Sunoco competition, capturing the third stop on the River Valley Builders North Region tour at the Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, N.Y., on Tuesday evening.

Sheppard banked $5,000-plus with the win – more than enough to pay for his right-rear tire that fell flat as he rolled into Victory Lane – and vaulted himself back into contention for the North Region championship worth $15,000.

“Definitely a lot of laps around this place; that certainly helped,” Sheppard, a former Outlaw regular, remarked with a smile on his face. “Everything worked out in our favor tonight.”

The Savannah, N.Y., driver, who ranks second all-time in STSS history with 24 wins, marched through the field from his sixth starting spot, beating Stewart Friesen, who is the all-time leader with 34 STSS wins, to the front of the pack of the 50-lap feature event. Friesen was strong enough for second, ahead of early-race leader

Billy Decker, strong-running Brett Haas and local young gun Alex Payne.

Decker led from the outset, launching from his outside pole starting spot to edge in front of Larry Wight, Brady Fultz, Danny Tyler and Alex Payne. Friesen and Sheppard battled one another for sixth and seventh before an early caution on lap two.

Once again, Decker led on the restart after choosing the outside lane and Danny Johnson, donning his famous No. 27J, rocketed around both Friesen and Sheppard on the outside lane and narrowed the gap to Payne and Fultz. By lap eight, Friesen was back past Johnson and also maneuvered Payne with Sheppard following behind. Then, just before Decker hit lapped traffic, the caution flew again for a spinning Pat Ward on lap 11, a pivotal moment of the event.

On that ensuing restart, Sheppard catapulted from sixth to second, shuffling Wight to third while Friesen followed to fourth, ahead of Payne. On lap 13, Friesen shoehorned under Wight for third as Sheppard set his sights on Decker. After a brief challenge, Decker pulled away using the outer edge of the surface before another caution on lap 15.

Decker held him off for a few laps but Sheppard eventually strangled the lead away from Decker on lap 18 on the very bottom of the track. Decker held second over Friesen and Wight as Mat Williamson rose to fifth after selecting the worst number in the redraw: 12.

The race halted again as Wight slowed with a flat on lap 21, surrendering a top-five position. When the green flag flew once more, Williamson scooted into the runner-up spot from fourth as he, Decker and Friesen briefly ran three-wide for the spot.


VIDEO: Watch highlights of the Short Track Super Series Outlaw Showdown on FloRacing.

Friesen settled into third and Decker fourth. On lap 27 and after a few corners of side-by-side action, Friesen took second from Williamson and began his hunt of Sheppard.

With 15 to go and Sheppard stuck in a pack of slower traffic, Friesen closed. Once Sheppard, aboard his traditional No. 9s, sliced through some two-wide action, he once more pulled away before Williamson suffered late-race heartbreak with a flat tire while running third.

The lap-46 caution bunched the field again but also gave Sheppard clean air as he jaunted away for the victory.

“The top was so far out at the end, and I wanted to get down on the bottom like I normally would,” Sheppard said. “But I was just afraid Stewie would roll around the outside of me.”

“This is a great team; three wins in a row, I’m just happy to be here,” he added.

Friesen tried to challenge right around the infield tires but settled for second.

“We were close,” Friesen said afterward. “On that long run with Matt searching in traffic, I was just saving my stuff on the bottom, but in clean air he could sneak away a little bit.

“The track has a good lip on the top that’s fun to rip, but we’ll build our notebook and try a little something different next time,” Friesen added.

Decker finished a solid third.

“We fired really good, just got loose,” Decker mentioned in Victory Lane. “I think we were a little soft on rubber and got loose. It would give up after a lap and a half, but a solid run nevertheless.

“We are getting closer,” said the driver of the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91.

Haas moved forward from eighth to score his best STSS finish of his career of fourth with the Dave Prime MAC Tools No. 55. Payne battled in and out of the top five all night and captured an impressive fifth-place finish.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Danny Creeden who battled all the way from 21st to sixth after qualifying through the consolation event, earning the $350 TAMCO Hard Charger; Andy Bachetti, another consolation qualifier, who went from 22nd to seventh; Mike Mahaney, who started 17th, rebounded for eighth after suffering a late-race issue in his heat; Wight bounced back from his flat tire for ninth; and Tyler rounded out the top-10 after reaching as high as third early in the race.

A stout field of 41 STSS Modifieds filled the pit area.

Kreg Crooker scored the win of the exciting 25-lap Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Crate 602 Sportsman feature event worth $1,500.

In the final five laps, Crooker led a ferocious battle for the lead with Tommy Collins, Steve Davis, Payton Talbot and Alex Payne. Crooker won, ahead of Collins and Payne, who rocketed into third on the final two circuits. Davis and Talbot were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Next on the Bob Hilbert Short Track Super Series Fueled by Sunoco tour is the ‘Dirty Jersey 50’ held at the New Egypt Speedway on Tuesday, May 24 and marks the third stop on the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply South Region for the Modifieds plus the Belmont’s Garage Crate 602 Sportsman South Region.

The River Valley Builders North Region is back in action on Tuesday, June 7 at the Bloomsburg Fair Raceway for a 50-lap, $7,000 to win feature event. The ‘Battle at Bloomsburg’ is a combination event that will count toward both the North and South Region championships.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.