Matt Sheppard Survives A Late Caution To Pick Up The Narrow Big Block Modified Win At Fulton Speedway

Matt Sheppard
Matt Sheppard

FULTON, NY August 7, 2010 (By Dave Medler) – Matt Sheppard who started 15th looked to be heading to an easy victory Saturday night at Fulton Speedway, but a late caution on lap 32 changed all of that. Over the final laps Sheppard had to hold off a furious challenge from Dale Planck and Jimmy Phelps to pick up the narrow 35 lap DIRTcar Big Block Modified win. Sheppard now trails Jimmy Phelps by 28 points in the race for the track championship.

Other winners on Canale Insurance/ Novelis Can Collection night were Tim Sears Jr. SUNY canton Sportsman, Dale Caswell NAPA Late Models, Josh Blackwell E&V Energy Novice Sportsman, Jerry Herbert Gladiators, Chris Ketch, Don Larmon and Jim Hilimire picked up wins in the Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club.

Johnny Hill out raced Tony Steiner to lead the opening lap of the 35 Big Block Modified feature. One lap later, Steiner went to the top side to take the lead just before a yellow for Michael Storms. Storms appeared to make contact with another car sending him to the pits ending his night.

On lap 4 Steiner slid up the banking in turn four, this allowed Mike Bowman to drive under Steiner to be shown the new leader on the SUNY Canton scoring tower.

With 10 laps complete Bowman built up almost a full straightaway lead on Alan Johnson. Behind the top-two Steiner, Dale Planck and Matt Sheppard ran in a tight pack for third through fifth.

Sheppard looked like he was shot out of a cannon on lap 16 as he quickly closed in on and passed Bowman for the top spot running the bottom of the speedway.

With 20 laps complete Sheppard bolted out to a full straightaway lead over the field, Planck and Bowman ran side by side for 2nd with Pat Ward and Chuck Bower keeping the leaders in sight.

When the starter gave the 10 to go sign Sheppard was on rails out front, Planck ran alone in 2nd with Ward, Bower and Jimmy Phelps showing In the top-five.

Just when it looked like Sheppard would cruise to the win Adam Roberts would have a rear tire fly off bring out the final caution on lap thirty-two setting a shootout to the checkers.

Over the final 3 laps Planck and Phelps used every inch of the speedway trying to find a way around Sheppard. Sheppard held his line despite heavy pressure as he was the first under the checkers. Dale Planck, Jimmy Phelps, Chuck Bower and Pat Ward rounded out the top-five. Jim Witko Jr. picked up the Dig Safely New York $500 bonus with his 8th place finish.

“I’ll tell you this car was good tonight, we got right up through traffic. I’ll tell you what it’s tough at the end of the race, the grooves change around so much. When you’re leading you don’t know where you should be, where it’s fast where it’s not.” said Sheppard after exiting his Xtreme Lubricants No.9s Bicknell. “I kind of missed my line a couple laps there in three and four. I figured on the last lap as long as I stayed on the bottom I’d be alright.”

Sheppard was asked if something was wrong on the last lap when Planck and Phelps were all over him. “When you run the bottom here it’s such a rhythm track, I really could have done without that caution,” on lap thirty-two. “It kind of breaks your rhythm, it messes you up a little bit, but I would of rather been leading than trying to hold them off than running second or third trying to pass for the lead.”

Tim Sears Jr. looked like he was going to have a long night starting 25th in the 20 lap SUNY Canton Sportsman feature. Sears survived caution periods as he worked his way forward through the field. On lap 16 Sears was able to drive by Greg Kimball and into the lead, once out front nobody had anything for Sears as he picked up his third win of the 2010 season. Greg Kimball, Rich Townsend, Sammy Reakes IV and Tim Schneider rounded out the top-five. With his win from last place Sears picked up the SUNY Canton $100 Hard Charger Award.

Dale Caswell backed up his NAPA Late Model win Friday night at the Brewerton Speedway with a 20 lap win Saturday night at the Fulton Speedway. Caswell got by Tim Devendorf on lap 16 and was never headed from there for his 3rd win of the year. Tim Devendorf, Alan Fink, AJ Kingsley and Gus Schmidt rounded out the top-five.

Josh Blackwell used a last lap pass coming out of turn four to get around race long leader Justin Thomson for his first victory of the year in the 15 lap E&V Energy Novice Sportsman feature. Matt Emmons, Scott Kline and Bill Thomas finished third through fifth.

Jerry Herbert and Chris Bonoffski put on an exciting 20 lap Gladiator feature. The pair ran nose to tail and side by side with Herbert picking up the narrow win. Eric M Zirbel, Keith Zirbel and Andrew Felmaster chased the top two across the line.

Coming this Saturday August, 14th Canale Insurance/Cam’s Pizzeria of Oswego Presents Family Autograph Night featuring DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, SUNY Canton Sportsman, NAPA Late Models, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Gladiators. Adult grandstand admission is $12 with everyone 18 years old and younger admitted free to the grandstands. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00 p.m.

For more information please go on line to www.fultonspeedway.com. The track office number is 315-593-6531 with the race line reached at 668-RACE. The track is located at 1603 County Route 57 just south of the city of Fulton.

(Big Block Modifieds 35 Laps) – MATT SHEPPARD, Dale Planck, Jimmy Phelps, Chuck Bower, Pat Ward, Roy Bresnahan, Ryan Phelps, Jim Witko, Tom Sears, Mike Bowman, Alan Johnson, Larry Wight, Chris Hile, Billy Decker, Tony Steiner, Roy Shields, Mike Mahaney, Adam Roberts, Willy Decker, Johnny Hill, Tim Harris, Chad Phelps,Michael Storms.

(SUNY Canton Sportsman 20 Laps) – TIM SEARSJR., Gregg Kimball, Rich Townsend, Sam Reakes IV, Tim Schenider, Matt Hulsizer, Brandon Hagan, Beth Schneider, Matthew Parkhurst, Stewart Garrison, Greg Mrzywka, Katelyn Kane, Joe Harrington, Jason Occhino, Joe Kline, Sean McCarthy, Jeremy Pitcher, Dave Emmons, Ryan Jordan, Bob Bennett, Bill Clark, Jason Parkhurst, Jordan Bennett, Jon Tesoriero, Gregg Carner.

(NAPA Late Models 20 Laps) – -DALE CASWELL, Tim Devendorf, Alan Fink, AJ Kingsley, Gus Schmidt, Gordy Button, Shane Tenace, Laslow Hollyfeld, Joe Gwilt, Jordan Keruskie, Dave Talbot, Joe August Jr., Jim Southard.

(E&V Energy Novice Sportsman 15 Laps) – JOSH BLACKWELL, Justin Thomson, Matt Emmons, Scott Kline, Bill Thomas, Ed McCarthy Jr., Brian Freese, Jim Graham, Colton Donath, Doug Cook.

(Gladiators 20 Laps) – JERRY HERBERT, Chris Bonoffski, Eric M Zirbel, Keith Zirbel, Andrew Felmaster, Mark Johnston, Terry Royce, Les Baker, Mike Ryan, Jeremy Scaggs III, Skip DeGroff.

(Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club 12 Laps) – Jim Hilimire (Modifieds), Chris Ketch (Sportsman), Don Larmon (Limited Sportsman).