WEEDSPORT, N.Y. — Seven-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard showed the fast way around Weedsport Speedway to pick up round one of the Cavalcade Cup and a big $7,500 paycheck on Saturday night.
Polesitter Max McLaughlin failed to fend off Sheppard’s early-race charge and settled for second. Tim Fuller finished third to complete the podium.
Max McLaughlin got the hole shot and took the lead. That left third-place starter Sheppard, to battle side-by-side with Stewart Friesen. While McLaughlin led, Sheppard hooked up on the low side and powered away from Friesen.
The Waterloo, NY native in the cool blue No. 9s got into a rhythm following McLaughlin for the first seven laps. Then Sheppard found something.
“I road behind him and was running the same speed for a little there,” said Sheppard. “Then I don’t know if he slowed down or if I gained speed, but I felt like he was holding me up. I gave the top a shot and everything worked out. I rolled around the top and cleared him.”
It was lap nine that Sheppard made the move around the outside and stuck the pass for the lead. After that, it was a game of lapped traffic management as the race went on without a single caution flag.
Sheppard led the rest of the way and mounted Victory Hill to celebrate Super DIRTcar Series victory No. 82.
McLaughlin finished second.
“Sheppard was really good all day,” said McLaughlin “He was consistently a tenth or two ahead of us. We changed a lot of stuff tonight. Even though we had speed, we knew we weren’t fast enough to beat him. We changed shocks. We changed springs. We changed all sorts of stuff to get better, but we were just a little bit off of him. We definitely gotta get better for tomorrow.”
Fuller charged to third at the checkered flag. Few drivers are able to coax their Big Blocks around slippery tracks as well as Fuller, but he came up short in a run for the win.
“I was running half throttle at most,” Fuller noted of his racing line. “All the crumbs above the bottom line made it hard to venture out there. I wanted to take a run but what can you do?”
Feature (60 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard [$7,500]; 2. 32C-Max Mclaughlin [$4,000]; 3. 19F-Tim Fuller [$2,500]; 4. 44F-Stewart Friesen [$1,800]; 5. 91D-Billy Decker [$1,600]; 6. 25R-Erick Rudolph [$1,400]; 7. 5H-Chris Hile [$1,300]; 8. 44P-Anthony Perrego [$1,200]; 9. 121T-Gary Tomkins [$1,100]; 10. 35M-Mike Mahaney [$1,000]; 11. 22W-Brandon Walters [$800]; 12. 21A-Peter Britten [$700]; 13. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$600]; 14. 99L-Larry Wight [$575]; 15. M1-Dave Marcuccilli [$550]; 16. X-Chad Phelps [$525]; 17. 3H-Justin Haers [$500]; 18. 42P-Pat Ward [$500]; 19. 88W-Mat Williamson [$500]; 20. 27J-Danny Johnson [$500]; 21. 83X-Tim Sears [$500]; 22. 111D-Demetrios Drellos [$500]; 23. 34R-Kevin Root [$500]; 24. 2L-Jack Lehner [$500]; 25. 32R-Ronnie Davis ; 26. 28M-Jordan McCreadie