Matt Sheppard wins third Super DIRT Week finale for a $50,000 payday at Oswego
By Dick O’Brien (October 9, 2022)
For the second time in his illustrious DIRTcar big-block modified career, Matt Sheppard has swept Super DIRT Week 2022 clean.
After qualifying on the pole Thursday and winning his heat event Friday, the Savannah driver completed his unbeaten week by winning Sunday afternoon’s 50th annual Billy Whittaker Cars 200 finale at the Oswego Speedway and the $50,000 check that goes with it.
Sheppard scored his initial clean sweep on the New York Fairgrounds Mile back in 2017 and he also won on the NYS Mile back in 2005.
“The key to the race was the pit stop on the 97th lap,” said the winner “I had a left front tire going down and that caution period allowed me to take on tires and fuel and when I came out, we really started to roll.”
When the event started, Sheppard led the first forty-eight circuits on Oswego’s ⅝th-mile clay oval before pitting for the first time. Max McLaughlin then took over the lead wheeling a retro-painted modified numbered Z8 honoring his father Mike McLaughlin.
Max led through the 124th lap when Marc Johnson took over first. Sheppard began closing in on the Guilderland racer, but Johnson held his ground. Finally, Sheppard returned to the lead on 173rd lap. Johnson then began to fade and Mat Williamson moved into second.
Williamson, who was looking for his third straight win in this event, narrowly avoided losing some laps in an on-track tangle earlier. The St. Catharines, Ontario driver then began pressuring the leader, but Sheppard’s Bicknell modified kept picking up speed in the closing laps and he rolled to the $50,000 triumph.
Williamson ended up second, with McLaughlin third. His HBR racing teammate, Jimmy Phelps, was fourth and Marc Johnson faded to fifth at the finish. Tyler Dipple, Ryan Godown, Stewart Friesen, Tim Fuller and Justin Haers completed the top ten finishers.
Forty big-blocks started the feature grind and seventeen cars finished on the lead lap.