Matt Sheppard's last win at Super DIRT Week came in 2017. (Dave Dalesandro photo)

Sheppard Is Gunning For No. 6 At Super DIRT Week

Matt Sheppard may be a five-time Super DIRT Week winner, but his last time atop the podium at the renowned event was in 2017.

In one of the more dramatic finishes the Billy Whittaker 200 has seen over the years, Sheppard made a last-lap pass on Peter Britten to steal the victory and the $50,000 winner’s check.

Five years later, Sheppard is a perfect position to climb his way back to the top at the 50th running of Super DIRT Week. Sheppard has won a whopping 35 modified races, including six in Super DIRTcar Series competition.

“We’re excited about it. We’ve been having a really good year,” Sheppard said.

Barring any major catastrophes, he’s also in good shape to win his 10th Super DIRTcar Series title, with a 150-plus point lead over Mat Williamson. With all that’s been going his way, Sheppard feels he’s past the stage of racing for points. He just wants to win. And the next one he’s gunning for awaits him at Super DIRT Week.

“I really want to put that trophy in my trophy case,” Sheppard said with a smile.

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Matt Sheppard stands atop victory lane at Super DIRT Week in 2017. (Dave Dalesandro photo)

Although he’s looking forward to making the trip to Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway, he admits that it’s not necessarily a fun week to endure as a driver.  

“Maybe stressful, a lot of work, a lot of long hours,” Sheppard said. “It’s a busy week.”

The dedication has paid off for him several times in the past, as the Waterloo, N.Y., native has gone on to win Super DIRT Week in a number of fashions — and, in a number of cars. Sheppard remains the only driver to have won the event in a sportsman modified, a 358 modified and a big-block modified.

At this year’s event, he’ll also be back behind the wheel of a 358 modified for the first time since 2018.

As for his strategy, Sheppard said, “We’ll see what kind of race car we have and how the track conditions are and kind of play it by ear.”

While the week might involve a lot of work off the track, planning and preparing the car, things change once Sheppard climbs in the race car on Sunday afternoon. “You turn back into a race car driver,” he said. 

From that point on, it’s an all-out battle until the checkered flag waves.

Despite already having an impressive number of wins on his record in the Super DIRTcar Series, Sheppard continues to regard every victory he holds at Super DIRT Week as one of his greatest achievements.

“I mean, any time you win at Super DIRT Week, it’s special,” Sheppard said. “Now, the 50th anniversary this year, it’s definitely something we’re gunning for.”

Perhaps what makes Super DIRT Week so special to him is that he never thought he’d race there, let alone win it all five times. As a young man growing up in New York, he recalled how impossible it was not to notice how elite the competition was.   

“I can remember being a little kid and my dad coming over at lunchtime, Thursday of Super DIRT Week, and yanking me out of school so we could go up there and watch and camp and hang out,” Sheppard said. “Just never dreamed I’d be running at Super DIRT Week.”