Matt Sheppard Seizes Second Of Season At Canandaigua Motorsports Park
Canandaigua, NY – May 12, 2012 – Dave Roberts, Canandaigua Motorsports
Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, NY won his 24th career DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night before a good crowd at the Ontario County Fairgrounds.
It was Mothers of Racing Night with the first 200 moms through the grandstand gate getting a rose. It was also Scout Night as several local scouts and scoutmasters helped celebrate Mothers Day with an evening out at the popular routes 5 & 20 oval.
Sheppard slipped by leader Justin Haers on lap 26 and went on to the exciting victory. Sheppard, along with several of the front runners, had to deal with heavy traffic throughout the last 20 laps of the scheduled 35 lap main event.
'Super Matt' earned it as the race went without a yellow flag for the second straight week.
“This is a good win for us,” Sheppard said afterwards. ”I’m looking to keep the momentum up, keep this thing rolling. Our guys really worked hard for this one.”
It didn’t take long for something to happen on this night. As the field came across the finish line to complete lap one, four cars came together on turn one bringing out a red flag to check all involved in the incident. Billy Dunn, Rob Bellinger and Gil Tegg Jr were all able to pull away. Gary Tomkins was the only driver that needed help from a tow truck. Tomkins and Bellinger would not return to the racing surface.
Colton Chappius was the leader at that point but when the green flag appeared to start the race again, Ron Cartwright Jr. moved to the point.
On lap 12, Haers took over the top spot while Sheppard would follow through ahead of Cartwright into second. Both Sheppard and Haers had a pretty good run together when Cartwright had the lead. They would take the battle a little higher as both ran hard for the lead.
Lap cars became an issue as both Haers and Sheppard did a great job getting through the lapped traffic they had to endure.
On lap 21, both Haers and Sheppard had some clean air and continued the fight.. Sheppard fought tooth and nail with Haers but the Phelps, NY driver kept the two time and defending CMP Modified champion in his rear view mirror.
They entered lapped traffic once again on lap 25.
A lap later, Sheppard got an inside move on Haers and slipped by into the lead. Haers had a good shot in getting the lead back when he came upon the side of Sheppard in turn two but that would be as close as he would come to Sheppard for the remainder of the event.
Haers would find himself in another battle as the laps wound down to it’s final conclusion. Jimmy Phelps made Haers work for second as he was all over the back end of the runner-up.
In the end, it was Sheppard, Haers, Phelps, Danny Johnson and Alan Johnson.
Heat winners were Daryl Hilkert, Ron Cartwright and Dave Allen, who lost the motor just as he cross the finish line following his qualifying run. He was unable to find a ride for the feature. The consolation event was won by Tomkins.
In the 25 lap Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman feature, it was Rob Bussey winning his first main event at Canadaigua Motorsports Park since June of 2009. Bussey took the lead on lap 13 and was never headed en route to victory lane.
“We’ve got a brand new car and a new motor,” Bussey said afterwards. “It looks like we’re starting to work this thing out.”
Finishing second was points leader Dan Wiesner while Eric Giguere was third. Rounding out the top five was Todd Henderson and Dave Marcuccilli
Heat winners were Steve Gray, Paul Guererri and Kane Bristol.
The race was red flagged after lap one when James Maier was involved in an incident on the front stretch with Gray and Paul Guererri. Meier would go over on his side. The good news is that all drivers were alright following the accident.
In the 15 lap Parts Plus Street Stock event, Russ Marsden would go on to his third win of the season. The event would go caution free.
“We missed the set-up last week but it seems like we have it back where we want it to be,” Marsden said afterwards.
Marsden would finish far up the track ahead of second place finisher Blane Smith. Third was Mike Welch followed by Adam DePuy and Patrick Hobbs.
The heat winners were Jack Terrell and Nate Peckham.
In the 12 lap Pure Stock event, Marc Minutolo led all the way to win his first of the season. The victory broke a Vance Vanderwall four race win streak.
“This division don’t seem to get any easier,” said Minutolo, a second generation driver. “It was good to get a win tonight. It feels great.”
Following Minutolo to the finish line was Roger Bush, Eric Chapman, Vance Vanderwall and Rod Comfort. The feature event would go caution free.
The heat race was won by Comfort.
Josh Livingston won his second of the season at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in the New Legends Sportsman 10 lap feature.
Livingston took the lead on lap four and controlled the race for the remainder of the event. Polesitter Jeff Davoli led the first three laps.
“We were able to get through last week’s misses and get the win,” said Livingston afterwards. “I stayed on the bottom of the track the whole race. Our car was working very well there.”
Davoli held on for second while Billy Brown was third. Rounding out the top five was Kaitlin Pashina, who also was a heat race winner, and Daryl Nutting.
Along with Pashina, Davoli also won a heat race.
Mike Stelter was the winner of the 12 lap Castner Performance 305 Sprint feature. Second was Billy Jaycox followed by Dave Ferguson, Jeff Frasier and Mike Castner Jr. The heat race winner was Stelter.
A total of 86 cars filled the Canandaigua Motorsports Park pit area, including 27 Original Pizza Logs Modifieds.
Action returns Sat. May 19 with Empire Becks Recycling and the Ontario County Fairboard headlining a full show of Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified, Safety Awarness Solutions Sportsman, Parts Plus Street Stock, Pure Stock and New Legends Sportsman racing plus a $1,000-to-win Demolition Derby. Pit gates unlock at 4pm, grandstands open at 5pm and the first qualifying heat goes green at 7pm.