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One Wild Night: Sheppard Emerges Victorious at Fonda Speedway ‘Firecracker’


Short Track Super Series

One Wild Night: Sheppard Emerges Victorious at Fonda Speedway ‘Firecracker’

Written by Chris Moore

FONDA, NY – One Wild Night.

Matt Sheppard claimed his second consecutive ‘Firecracker 50’ win on Wednesday night at Fonda Speedway with the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco.

Sheppard netted $10,000-plus after trading the lead back-and-forth with Mat Williamson through the second half of the 50-lap affair in what was the 43rd trip to Bicknell Racing Products Victory Lane for the STSS.

“What a crazy race, we started sixth and fell back to like seventh early,” Sheppard proclaimed. “Then we got a good restart and next thing I knew we were third and in the mix.”

The win for Sheppard inched him closer to Williamson in both the River Valley Builders North Region and the Ollie’s Overall Championship chase for the STSS.

Duanesburg, N.Y.’s Ronnie Johnson and Guilderland, N.Y.’s Marc Johnson occupied the front row following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw.

It was RJ who raced to the early at his home track, with Williamson getting to second on the opening lap.

Williamson wasted no time getting by Johnson after a yellow flag flew on lap two. Williamson raced around Johnson to get to the early lead, but Sparkers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen was on the charge to the front from fifth.

Friesen got by Ronnie Johnson for the runner-up spot before another restart came with six laps in the books, putting Friesen alongside Williamson for the top spot.

Williamson chose the outside for the restart, and that was all Friesen needed to wrestle the lead away.

Friesen paced the field from there until his fate changed on lap 28. The Sprakers, N.Y., native went into turn one and slid all the way to the wall with a right rear flat tire.

Friesen pitted and returned to the tail of the lead lap in the 16th position. Williamson inherited the lead with Walden, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego pulling into the runner-up spot.

Sheppard restarted in the third position but found an extra gear in his No. 9S machine, quickly racing by Perrego for second and then slipping by Williamson for his lead of the race on lap 29.

His lead was short lived however, as Williamson slipped around Sheppard on the top of the ensuing restart after another yellow flag flew as soon as Sheppard took the lead away.

The next 10 laps clicked off without incident before a yellow flag flew on lap 40, giving Sheppard another chance at Williamson.

Sheppard raced to the bottom of turns three and four to get by Williamson and take the lead back for good.

Two more yellow flags gave Williamson another pair of chances, but Sheppard was up to the task to pick up the victory.

“What a weird night with the tire cycles,” Sheppard explained. “I’d feel really good and then I’d feel really bad, I think Mat (Williamson) was battling the same thing.

“It’s about time I won one of these things,” he continued with a laugh. “I didn’t want you guys to forget about me.”

The win was Sheppard’s first STSS since his Speed Showcase triumph at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway back in March.

Williamson settled for the runner-up position in his Behrent’s Performance Warehouse No. 3.

“I couldn’t make anything happen on the top after a couple laps,” Williamson explained. “The top would just get crumbed up, hopefully it was a good show for the fans.”

Perrego rounded out the top three in the Bob Hentschel owned No. 4.

“Our car was better on the longer runs,” Perrego stated. “If I could’ve got by Williamson before Stewy got that flat, I think our night could’ve been much different.”

Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski continued his consistency in his family-owned No. 84y and Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel made his first STSS start of the year and came home fifth.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Stewart Friesen who rebounded for sixth; Alexandria, Ontario, Canada’s Chris Raabe who came from the 22nd starting position; Marc Johnson in the S&S Asphalt Paving No. 9 machine; Sprakers, N.Y.’s Jessica Friesen piloting the One Zee Tee’s No. 1Z; and Baldwinsville, N.Y.’s Michael Maresca in his St. Lawrence Radiology No. 7MM.

Heat winners, each receiving $100, were Perrego, Rocky Warner, Marc Johnson, and Sheppard. Consolations were topped by Maresca and Raabe.

Thirty-seven STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds signed in for competition in the ‘Firecracker 50.’

Payton Talbot claimed Round No. 3 of the Madsen Overhead Doors North Region for the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman.

Talbot came from the fourth starting position to pick up the $2,000 victory over Brian Calabrese, Chad Edwards, Ricky Quick, and Brendan Gibbons.

The win for Talbot moves him into the point lead of the Madsen Overhead Doors North Region.

The STSS continues its jam-packed month of July on Sunday, July 7 with the ‘South Jersey Shootout’ at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in Swedesboro, N.J. The STSS Modifieds go for 50 laps and a $5,000 top prize in Round No. 6 of the NJ Quality Drywall South Region and Round No. 10 of the Ollie’s Overall Championship. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman are also on the docket for a 25-lap, $1,500 top prize in Round No. 5 of the Belmont’s Garage South Region.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit, e-mail, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook, @ShortTrack_SS on Twitter or @ShortTrackSS on Instagram.

The Short Track Super Series is presented by Bob Hilbert Sportswear, FloRacing, American Racer, Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, BDR Speed, NJ Quality Drywall, River Valley Builders, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Saint Lawrence Radiology, Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches, Bicknell Racing Products, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Madsen Overhead Doors, Belmont’s Garage, Wegner Automotive, DIG Race Products, ATL, Dirt Draft, Swagger Factory Apparel, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel LLC, Beyea Custom Headers, Design for Vision, Sunglass Central, Dirt Track Digest TV, DKM Fabrication, EIBACH, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Headers & Exhaust Systems, JK Signworks, JLR Technologies, Dave Prime Jr. MAC Tools, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Superior Remodeling, TV 12 Racing Products, VAHLCO Wheels & Wilwood Disc Brakes.


‘Firecracker 50’ Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco River Valley Builders North Region Round No. 4: 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[6]; 2. 3W-Mat Williamson[3]; 3. 4P-Anthony Perrego[4]; 4. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[8]; 5. 1D-Tyler Dippel[7]; 6. 44-Stewart Friesen[5]; 7. 01-Chris Raabe[22]; 8. 9J-Marc Johnson[2]; 9. 1Z-Jessica Friesen[17]; 10. 7MM-Michael Maresca[21]; 11. 02-Jack Lehner[13]; 12. 35M-Mike Mahaney[16]; 13. 34-Dave Constantino[19]; 14. 4-Cody Clark[15]; 15. 21-Gary Edwards III[18]; 16. 19JR-Roger Henion Jr[27]; 17. 2RJ-Ronnie Johnson[1]; 18. 111-Demetrios Drellos[10]; 19. 42-Tucker O'Connor[24]; 20. 24P-Brian Pessolano[20]; 21. 879-Darryl Mitchell[25]; 22. 22W-Brandon Walters[23]; 23. 35B-Francois Bellemare[26]; 24. 28T-Michael Trautschold[14]; 25. 70A-Alex Payne[9]; 26. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[11]; 27. 1-Rocky Warner[12]

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Marc Johnson (eighth) & Dave Constantino (13th)
ATL Fuel Cell ‘Hot Lap Hero’ ($100): Mat Williamson (18.057)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Alex Yankowski (fourth) & Jessica Friesen (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Rocky Warner (Redrew 12th)
Eibach Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Stewart Friesen (sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Jack Lehner (11th)
PEM Engineering Bonus (Quick Change Gears): Anthony Perrego (third)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (first - $150 certificate); Mat Williamson (second - $75 certificate); Anthony Perrego (third - $50 certificate); Alex Yankowski (fourth - $25 certificate) Schultz Racing Fuel Cells Bonus ($100 Certificate): Michael Maresca (10th)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Chris Raabe (seventh)

Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Madsen’s Overhead Doors North Region Round No. 3 (25 laps): 1. 14T-Payton Talbot[4]; 2. 21C-Brian Calabrese[1]; 3. 10%-Chad Edwards[2]; 4. 84-Ricky Quick[3]; 5. B24-Brendan Gibbons[8]; 6. 89-Dylan Madsen[11]; 7. 1B-Brett Mortensen[5]; 8. 117N-Butchie Irwin[14]; 9. 78-Tanner Warner[16]; 10. 12T-Tyler Peet[18]; 11. 96-Michael McCallion[9]; 12. 82H-David Hackett[19]; 13. 31J-John Dumond[17]; 14. 12P-Connor Prokop[20]; 15. 9K-Blaine Klinger[24]; 16. 03-Joshua Jock[25]; 17. 00X-Josh Coonradt[23]; 18. 123-Dale Welty[26]; 19. 14J-Jeremy Tyrrell[13]; 20. 63-Chip Constantino[6]; 21. 42H-Kadon Hohensheldt[10]; 22. 38SP-Jared LaBagh[7]; 23. 25-Stephen Gray[22]; 24. 7J-Dan Santabarbara[21]; 25. 1M-Mark Mortensen[27]; 26. 314-Clayton DuMond[12]; 27. 27-Michael Ballestero[15]

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Tanner Warner (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Clayton DuMond (Redrew 12th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Brian Calabrese (second) & David Hackett (12th)
Fastline Performance ‘Hot Lap Hero ($50): Brian Calabrese (19.502) Henry’s Exhaust Bonus ($50 Certificate): Michael McCallion (11th)

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Bob Hilbert Sportswear
American Racer
Flo Racing
BDR Speed
NJ Quality Drywall
River Valley Builders
St. Lawrence Radiology
Capital Custom Trailers
Bicknell Racing Products
Madsen Overhead Doors
Belmont Garage
Wegner Automotive
Dirt Draft
Swagger Factory Apparel
FX Caprara
Algonkin Motel
Beyea Headers
Design For Vision
Sunglass Central
Dirt Track Digest
DKM Fabrication
Eibach Springs
Flasch Performance
Henrys Exhaust
JK Signworks
Lias Tire
MAC Tools
Schultz Fuel Cells
Superior Remodeling
TV12 Race Product
Vahlco Wheels