Sheppard captures Summer Nationals at Big R

Matt Sheppard poses after winning his second Summer Nationals on Tuesday night at Ransomville Speedway.

“Super” Matt Sheppard from Waterloo won the 36th running of the Summer Nationals for the Big-Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series on Tuesday night at Ransomville Speedway.

For the fourth time at the Big R in 2021, Newfane's Scott Kerwin was victorious in the inaugural Mike Bonesky Memorial for the Investor’s Service Sportsman in round one of the Western Region for the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series. Stirling Lubricants, Wendt’s Propane, National Maintenance Contracting Corp, Fisher’s Auto Repair, Lawns Unlimited and Busch Beer presented the racing program.

“Money Mat" Williamson and Sheppard brought the field to the green flag for the Summer Nationals with Williamson showing the way. Stewart Friesen quickly moved into the top three and would start to battle with Sheppard for second. Garrison Krentz would slow on the front straightaway to bring out the race's first caution on lap 10. On the ensuing restart, Sheppard would take the lead by using the outside of the speedway to clear Williamson. Chad Brachmann would slow on the back straightaway to bring out the caution on lap 18.

Peter "Batman" Britten would make his charge toward the front and pass Friesen to move into third place before lap 25. Britten would then start to challenge Williamson for second as Sheppard started to pull away from the field. The field would encounter lap traffic by lap 40 and the leaders would get bunched up, allowing fourth-place Friesen and fifth-place Mike Mahaney to close the gap on the top three of Sheppard, Williamson and Britten.

Chris Hile would enter the top five on lap 42 as he passed Mahaney and then went after Friesen for fourth. At the halfway mark, Sheppard continued to show the way over Williamson, Britten, Friesen and Hile, with Mahaney, Matt Farnham, Erick Rudolph, Demetrios Drellos and Larry Wight racing in the top 10. The yellow flag would wave on lap 60 as Williamson’s second-place run came to an end after shredding a right rear tire.

The battle between Sheppard and Britten would begin on the restart as Sheppard would start to pull away from the field again. The yellow would immediately come out as Kevin Root spun entering turn three on lap 65. Jordan McCreadie also went behind the wall on lap 65 after suffering damage to the left rear of his car.

Several late-race cautions bunched the field up and in the end it was Sheppard scoring the win over Britten, with Friesen, Mahaney and Rudolph completing the top five. Last Friday night’s feature winner Ryan Susice finished seventh after starting 20th on the grid. For Sheppard, it was his second career triumph in the Summer Nationals. He won his first in 2017.

Adam Hilton and Zach Sobotka brought the Investor’s Service Sportsman to the green flag for the Mike Bonesky Memorial with Sobotka taking the lead and Austin Susice, Dylan Duhow and Kerwin racing inside the top five. A multi-car incident involving Ricky Thompson, Derek Wagner, Clayton Cain, Justin McKay and Mike McCarthy slowed the field with one lap completed. Sobotka would take the lead on the restart as Susice and Kerwin went three-wide with Hilton for second place.

Brett Senek would challenge Duhow for fifth place and would complete the pass on lap five, just as Susice would take over second from Hilton and Kerwin would move into third. Sobotka, Susice and Kerwin pulled away from the field, followed by Senek and Hilton. As the lead trio pulled away, Senek would close the gap to make it a four-car battle for the lead.

After the halfway mark, Susice and Kerwin would take off into the lead as Sobotka fell outside the top five. Susice and Kerwin put on a battle for the ages over the last half of the event. Kerwin and Susice would trade the lead several times, battling into turn four on the final lap. Susice spun, and Kerwin would win his fourth feature of the season. Senek and Brett Martin would complete the top three. Susice ended up crossing the line in fourth place and early race leader Sobotka would complete the top five. Alex Payne drove from 25th to position number seven at the end of the 30-lap feature.

The Big R is back in action Friday as VandeMark Chemical and East Coast Speed presents “The Ones That Left Us to Early 30” for the RUSH Crate Late Models as well as the Richard Wilkinson Memorial. Joining the RUSH Late Models will be the Krown Undercoating Modifieds, KiPo Chevrolet Street Stocks, Sunflowers of Sanborn Mini Stocks and the Kevin’s Carpet Cleaning Novice Sportsman.

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