‘Super Matt’ No Longer A Short Track Super Series Bridesmaid: Sheppard Takes Delaware International ‘Diamond State 50’ Event
Story By: Brett Deyo/SSTS
Photos By: Ted Malinowski/RacersGuide.com
DELMAR, DE – After a pair of runner-up efforts in the first two Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco events, Matt Sheppard is no longer a bridesmaid.
The Waterloo, N.Y., driver had finished second in the two opening Velocita-USA South Region events.
On Thursday night, Sheppard drove the Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s to victory in the ‘Diamond State 50’ at Delaware International Speedway, pocketing $5,000 for his efforts.
Sheppard had competed at Delaware in mid-April for an unsanctioned event to tune up for the STSS stop, a race he ultimately won. Now, he’s two-for-two at the Cathell family’s half-mile track.
Sheppard complimented his Pro Power/Bicknell combination.
“Ryan (Watt) came rolling around the outside there,” offered Sheppard, who remained steadfast on the speedway’s lower lane. “Our car was really strong, I kept working the bottom. It looked like our groove came in as the race went on.”
Sheppard started the 50-lap main from third and wasted no time taking the top spot. He swept past the front row of Joseph Watson and Rick Laubach to press into the lead almost immediately.
Watt, meanwhile, charged swiftly toward the front utilizing the speedway’s upper lane.
Lap after lap, Sheppard and Watt thrilled the First State fans racing wheel-to-wheel for the top spot. Following the event’s lone yellow on the 13th lap, Watt was able to clear Sheppard.
But he couldn’t shake him.
Sheppard pursued Watt, diving to the inside through the sweeping corners, while Watt’s momentum allowed him to reclaim the edge down the straightaways.
Ultimately on lap 27, Sheppard powered off the inside lane to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Sheppard negotiated lapped traffic flawlessly through the final 23-lap run, opening up a lead of more than a straightaway en route to his fourth career STSS win and first in the series’ South Region.
Boyertown, Pa.’s Watt turned back repeated advances by Ryan Godown and Craig Von Dohren to earn a $3,000 runner-up finish. Ringoes, N.J.’s Godown, aboard the Mike Petruska-owned Atlas Paving No. 66, placed third after starting ninth, followed by Von Dohren, of Oley, Pa., and David Van Horn of Harmony, N.J., in the Fred Vahlsing-owned No. 323ov, up from 10th.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Hard Charger Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., after starting 20th; Rick Laubach of Hellertown, Pa., in the Ryan Kerr No. 1K; Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., driving for Norm Hansell; Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., in the Glenn Hyneman No. 126; and Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., who recovered nicely for 10th after being forced to spin in lapped traffic while running third on lap 13.
A field of 36 STSS Modifieds towed to Delaware for the event.
Van Horn was the Beyea Headers fast timer, receiving $100 cash.
Heat winners were Von Dohren, Watt, Sheppard and Van Horn. The consolation went to Frank Cozze.
New Yorker Adam McAuliffe’s first-ever visit to Delaware International had a memorable result. McAuliffe, after post-race technical inspection, was declared the winner of the 20-lap STSS Crate 602 Sportsman main event.
McAuliffe utilized a late-race restart to press his No. 234 into the runner-up position on the extreme outside.
That move ultimately proved to be a winning one.
Brad Roberts, who had paced the entire distance, saw his $1,000 winning drive nixed in the tech line.
McAuliffe took the win in a one-two-three sweep by Empire State invaders. Series point leader Corey Cormier was scored second, followed by Tom Collins Jr. Jim Housworth and Tom Moore Jr. completed the front five.
A solid field of 30 STSS Sportsman signed in for the event. McAuliffe, Joe Toth and Housworth won the heats. Bobby DeLeon annexed the consolation.
The Delaware Super Truck 12-lap main was won by David Smith, who repelled a late advance by Noah Vincent. Dale Elliott, Kirk Miles Sr. and Jerry Hill trailed.
The Short Track Super Series returns to action on Sunday (May 27) with the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y., Race No. 2 of the STSS Halmar International North Region for the big-block/small-block Modifieds offering $5,000 to win plus STSS Crate 602 Sportsman North Region Event No. 1 ($1,000 to win) and Street Stocks ($1,000 to win).
To learn more about the 2018 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail email@example.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
DELAWARE DIAMONDS: Memorial Day weekend traffic held up a number of teams en route to the southern Delaware facility, so the starting time was pushed back by a half-hour to accommodate. As hot laps hit the track, haulers were still rolling through the gate….
Delaware International promoter Charlie Cathell prepared a wide, multi-groove race track from the heat races through the main events….
Tough break for Delaware’s Michael White, who was in the STSS Modified feature only to have electrical woes prevent him from taking the green flag. White will receive the WELD Hard Luck Award….
The charge by Anthony Perrego through the field to finish inside the top-10 was remarkable without the aid of a caution flag….
The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman series in its inaugural season drew a number of ‘northern’ teams to Delaware International for the first time….
‘DIAMOND STATE 50’ RESULTS SUMMARY – DELAWARE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY MAY 24, 2018
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Velocita-USA South Region Event No. 3 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Ryan Watt, Ryan Godown, Craig Von Dohren, David Van Horn, Andy Bachetti, Rick Laubach, Duane Howard, Jeff Strunk, Anthony Perrego, Jordan Watson, Jimmy Horton, Billy Pauch Jr., Mike Mahaney, Joseph Watson, Shawn Ward, Mike Gular, Jim Britt, Frank Cozze, Danny Bouc, Neal Williams, Carson Wright, Matt Stangle, H.J. Bunting, Westley Smith, Jamie Mills.
Did Not Start: Michael White
Did Not Qualify: Jordn Justice, Howard O’Neal, Scott Van Gorder, Matt Hawkins, Kevin Sockriter, Robert Dutton, Clay Tatman, Dale Hawkins, Brad Trice.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire): Anthony Perrego (10th) & Mike Mahaney (14th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): David Van Horn (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Craig Von Dohren (fourth) & Jeff Strunk (ninth)
Beyea Headers Fast Time ($100): David Van Horn
Beyea Headers Heat Winners ($50 Gift Certificates): Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Watt, Matt Sheppard & David Van Horn
Beyea Headers Hard Charger ($200 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (20th to sixth)
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Jordan Watson (11th)
Precision Hydraulic Hard Charger ($200): Andy Bachetti (20th to sixth)
QA1 Hard Charger ($50 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (20th to sixth)
Racing Optics Bonus (Sleeve of Tear-Offs): Ryan Godown (third)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Credits): Ryan Watt (second), Jimmy Horton (12th) & Carson Wright (22nd)
VAHLCO Wheels Hard Charger ($50 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (20th to sixth)
WELD Wheels Hard Luck Award (FREE Wheel): Michael White (DNS)
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Award ($50 Certificate): Rick Laubach (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Event No. 3 Feature Finish (20 laps): ADAM McAULIFFE, Corey Cormier, Tom Collins, Jim Housworth, Tom Moore Jr., Dylan Swinehart, Adam White, David Crossman, Trent Van Vorst, Bobby DeLeon, John Stevenson, Sean Metz, Tom Wilkins, Joey Jarowicz, Jeff Marker, Joe Toth, Dwayne Crockett, Alex Yankowski, Stephen Kemery, George Richardson, Dan Fleming, Ryan Riddle, Jason Rush, John Criscione, David Jenkins, John Calloway.
Disqualified: Brad Roberts
Did Not Qualify: Jordan Long, Nick Alberti, Jeremy Harrington.
Delaware Super Truck Feature Finish (12 laps): DAVID SMITH, Noah Vincent, Dale Elliott, Kirk Miles Sr., Jerry Hill, Dick Beauchamp, Thomas “Action” Jackson, Tim Quay, Michelle Jackson, Bill Dean, Kirk Miles Jr., Mike Kennedy, Billy Lockwood.