MALTA, NY – On Tuesday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, both the turnout of big-block/small-block Modifieds and Matt Sheppard were “super.”
Sheppard, the Waterloo, N.Y., star known as ‘Super Matt’ defeated a talented 49-car field to win the inaugural Recovery Sports Grill ‘Stampede at ‘toga’ at Albany-Saratoga, the first-ever ‘Great Race Place’ appearance by the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By VP.
Round No. 6 of the STSS Halmar International North Region featured the red-hot Sheppard turning back several advances to collected the $5,000 winner’s share, plus a $500 bonus from Superior Remodeling as the Halfway Leader for a total of $5,500 for his Sweeteners Plus team.
Sheppard’s victory was the third of his career in STSS competition, previously winning at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y., in 2014 and Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, N.Y., last year.
“This ’92’ car runs pretty good,” Sheppard said after climbing out of the No. 92s he runs weekly at Outlaw on Friday nights and in select special events. “We’ve had some chances here before but didn’t have the starting spot we needed. Tonight, we had that opportunity.”
Sheppard rolled off second at the outset of the 50-lap event and was able to outgun Danny Creeden to take command of the event.
As Sheppard led, track and STSS regular Matt DeLorenzo moved into second on lap 10. DeLorenzo held the runner-up spot for just four turns of the oval until Kenny Tremont – making his first start in STSS competition – worked past.
The race’s first caution flew on lap 18. On the restart, Sheppard again inched ahead of Tremont.
DeLorenzo found the extreme outside of the Malta facility to his liking by the halfway point, driving his BBL-sponsored No. 3D back into second on lap 24.
Billy Decker, who started 16th, joined the lead battle after carving through traffic in the Jeremy Smith-owned No. 91.
Decker sat fourth when the caution lights flickered on with 26 laps down. When the green was unfurled, he shot by Tremont and a three-car scramble for the lead ensued.
Sheppard utilized the bottom lane, with DeLorenzo on top and Decker through the middle. DeLorenzo pulled even with Sheppard at times, but was not able to complete the pass as Sheppard adjusted his line to defend.
“Sometimes it’s harder when you start on the front row like that,” Sheppard said afterward. “You don’t know where the guys behind you are running or are faster.”
The final 15 laps of the race spun off caution-free, with Sheppard streaking under the checkered flag with an advantage of five car-lengths.
Decker, of Sidney, N.Y., completed his 16th-to-second effort after passing DeLorenzo on lap 37. He picked up the $300 Hard Charger Award courtesy of Elmo’s Speed and Supply. DeLorenzo, of Cropseyville, N.Y., ended his crowd-pleasing effort third with a blistered right-rear tire.
Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., advanced from eighth to finish fourth in the Madsen Motorsports No. 20. Ringoes, N.J., driver Ryan Godown drove the Petruska family No. 66 to a fifth-place result in his first-ever Albany-Saratoga appearance.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Tremont of West Sand Lake, N.Y., after fighting brake issues in the race’s second half; a rim-riding Frank Cozze of Wind Gap, Pa., aboard the Adirondack Auto No. 35; series regular Jeremy Smith of Triangle, N.Y., up from 18th starting position; two-time series champion Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass.; and Tommy Meier, who surged forward from 22nd in the Jeff Behrent-owned No. 3.
Five heat races were set for the 49-car field, with victories going to Rick Laubach, Sheppard, Ryan Jordan, DeLorenzo and Jeremy Wilder. The consolations were won by Decker, Demetrios Drellos and Jeremy Smith.
The accompanying King of Dirt (KoD) Sportsman 30-lap event was annexed by Rocky Warner of Gloversville, N.Y., driving the Jake Spraker-owned No. 1J. A strong 39-car field took part in the program.
Next up for the STSS is the ‘Hustlin’ the High Banks 53’ at Woodhull (N.Y.) Raceway on Tuesday, August 22 (rain date: August 23) featuring a 53-lap, $5,300-to-win event for the Modifieds plus GRIT Crate 602 Sportsman and Mini-Stocks. This is Round No. 7 of the Halmar International North Region.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP or BD Motorsports Media LLC, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com or www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com, call 845.728.2781 during business hours, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, “like” Short Track Super Series on Facebook or follow @ShortTrackSS on Twitter.
STAMPEDE SHORTS: A very strong crowd filled the Malta oval despite rain in Central New York just skirting south of the speedway during hot laps. Fans saw a diverse Modified field with drivers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Australian Peter Britten….
The efficient program saw the Modified checkered flag fly at 9:07 p.m., sending traveling fans home early on a week night….
The combination of sail panels and American Racer tires was new to many of the Capital District drivers. Many, including Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont, adapted quickly during qualifying….
Among the notable DNQ drivers was Mike Mahaney, whose Buzz Chew-owned small-block suffered a broken right-front shock tower during consolation action….
During the aforementioned consolation, Tommy Meier started dead last and drove to third, earning his qualifying spot with a bold, three-wide pass exiting turn four. Meier then drove forward some 12 positions from his starting position in the main event….
Unofficially, Billy Decker moves into the series point lead with 494 points over Andy Bachetti (474), Stewart Friesen (462), Anthony Perrego (444) and Jeremy Smith (411)….
The 2017 Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, VP Racing Fuel, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Hig Fab, Henry’s Exhaust, HyperCo, Keizer Wheels, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, K&N, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Speed51.com, Teo-Pro Car, Velocita, Weld & Wilwood.
RECOVERY SPORTS GRILL ‘STAMPEDE AT ‘TOGA’ RACE SUMMARY – ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY AUGUST 15, 2017
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP Halmar North Region Event No. 6 Big-Block/Small-Block Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Decker, Matt DeLorenzo, Brett Hearn, Ryan Godown, Kenny Tremont, Frank Cozze, Jeremy Smith, Andy Bachetti, Tommy Meier, Stewart Friesen, Anthony Perrego, Danny Creeden, Jimmy Wells, Don Ronca, Alan Barker, Ryan Jordan, Peter Britten, J.R. Hurlburt, Nick Nye, Jerry Higbie, Jeremy Wilder, Marc Johnson, Rick Laubach, Ronnie Johnson, Demetrios Drellos, Brett Tonkin, Craig Hanson.
Did Not Qualify: Randy Green, Keith Flach, Elmo Reckner, Mike Mahaney, Neil Stratton, Bodie Bellinger, Jessey Mueller, Allison Ricci, Jeff Sheely, Cass Bennett, Brian Gleason, Bobby Hackel, Jimmy Becker, Dan Humes, Matt Pupello, C.G. Morey, Bobby Varin, Ricky Davis III, Matt Depew, Erik Nelson, Cody Bleau.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE tire): Jeremy Smith (eighth) and Jimmy Wells (14th)
ATL Fuel Cell Bonus ($200 Certificate): Ryan Godown (fifth)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 gift card): Brett Hearn (fourth) & Andy Bachetti (ninth)
Elmo’s Speed & Supply Hard Charger ($300): Billy Decker (16th to second)
Fast Axle Bonus ($50 Certificate): Kenny Tremont (sixth)
Keizer Racing Wheels Bonus (FREE Wheel): Matt Sheppard (winner)
QA1 Hard Charger Bonus ($50 Certificate): Billy Decker (16th to second)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader ($500): Matt Sheppard (winner)
VP Racing Fuels Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Billy Decker (second), Anthony Perrego (12th) and Jeremy Wilder (22nd)
Weld Wheels Bonus ($50 Certificate): Alan Barker (16th)
Wilwood ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($50 Certificate): Frank Cozze (seventh)