Not Today: Friesen Stops Sheppard for $10,000 ‘Sunshine Swing’ Finale

Not Today: Friesen Stops Sheppard for $10,000 ‘Sunshine Swing’ Finale

Written by Chris Moore

LAKE CITY, FL – Not today.

Stewart Friesen slammed the door shut on Matt Sheppard’s hopes of sweeping the ‘Sunshine Swing’ presented by Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches.

Friesen earned $10,000 in the finale for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco at All-Tech Raceway.

The win for Friesen capped a week of frustrations for his 42nd career STSS victory, returning him to sole possession of the STSS all-time win list.

“This place is so tricky,” Friesen smiled. “I didn’t feel really gripped up on the bottom… I just kept waiting for Matt (Sheppard) to drive around me.”

Both Friesen and Sheppard had to march their way forward in the 50-lap main event, coming from 11th and 10th, respectively, following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw.

Wurtsboro, N.Y.’s Danny Creeden and Phoenix, N.Y.’s Larry Wight occupied the front row following the top-12 redraw.

Creeden quickly marched out to the lead and set the early pace, while Friesen was making hay in the early going.

After an early yellow, Creeden continued to lead Alex Payne, and Friesen had made his way into the top five on lap five.

Sheppard found a rhythm and followed Friesen to the sixth spot two laps later. Friesen, however, wasn’t content with fifth, racing by Darren Smith for the fourth spot.

The next restart came 16 laps into the feature, and both Friesen and Sheppard continued to walk their way forward, along with another young star.

Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Alex Payne took the lead after starting from the fourth position on the ensuing restart.

Meanwhile, Friesen moved around Darren Smith for third, while Sheppard slid around Larry Wight and Smith to take the fourth spot.

Friesen moved into the runner-up spot two laps later, rolling the middle groove to slip around Creeden to chase Payne for the top spot.

Seventh running Marc Johnson brought out a yellow on lap 20 for a mechanical failure, giving Friesen a chance at Payne on the restart.

The Halmar No. 44 took advantage.

Friesen drove in alongside Payne into the first turn, and Payne missed his mark on the bottom. Ensuing contact with Friesen cut Payne’s right-front tire.

Payne brought out the yellow flag, and Friesen and Sheppard inherited the front row with 30 laps remaining.

Over the next 30 laps, Friesen navigated the technical racetrack that continued to evolve over the course of the race.

While Friesen and Sheppard planted themselves on the bottom groove for much of the remaining 30 laps, drivers like Mat Williamson, Zack Payne, and Matt Caprara were making ground on the outside groove.

Ultimately, Friesen prevailed with the $10,000 victory.

“Usually, we fire off really good and our (behinds) are dragging by the end of the week,” Friesen laughed. “We’re trying to stay in a little better shape this year and it’s working out.”

Sheppard came home second, good enough to earn him the weeklong Wegner Automotive ‘Sunshine Swing’ championship.

“What a phenomenal week for our whole team,” Sheppard proclaimed. “We were every bit as fast as him (Friesen), we just didn’t win the race to the front.”

St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada’s Mat Williamson rounded out the top three after starting from the 18th spot.

“Definitely not a bad night for us after last night’s wreck,” Williamson said with a smile. “Have to thank all my guys for busting their butts to get us back out today.”

Clayton, N.Y.’s Matt Caprara raced from the back after starting third to finish in fourth and Larry Wight rounded out the top five after finishing second in each of the first three races.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Stanley, N.Y.’s Zach Payne, who was the Hard Charger of the race; East Canaan, Conn.’s Chris Curtis who came from 21st to finish seventh; Australia’s Peter Britten finished eighth after starting 22nd; Alex Payne, who rebounded from the flat tire to get ninth; and Fonda, N.Y.’s Danny Varin after climbing as high as fifth from his 17th starting spot.

Twenty-nine STSS Modifieds signed for competition for the final night of the ‘Sunshine Swing.’

Heat winners were Bobby Hackel IV, Smith, and Friesen. Seth Zacharias won the consolation event.

South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot capped off his banner week with his third ‘Sunshine Swing’ victory of the week with the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman.

The win was the sixth of Talbot’s STSS career, moving to second on the all-time win list in the Crate 602 Sportsman division after leading all 30-laps for the $2,500 payday.

Tanner Warner, Matt Janczuk, Dylan Madsen, and Cedric Gauvreau rounded out the top five.

The STSS lays dormant until March 9 at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway for the ‘Jake Marine Memorial’ to kick off the NJ Quality Drywall South Region for the STSS Modifieds and the Belmont’s Garage South Region for the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman.

The entire STSS racing season will be broadcast live on FloRacing ( via the annual subscription.

All-Tech Raceway is located off Interstate 75 at 1024 SW Howell Rd. Lake City, FL 32024. Learn more at, call 386.754.RACE (7223) or like All-Tech Raceway on Facebook.

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.


Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches ‘Sunshine Swing’ Night No. 4 Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): 1. 44-STEWART FRIESEN[11]; 2. 9S-Matt Sheppard[10]; 3. 6-Mat Williamson[18]; 4. 11-Matt Caprara[3]; 5. 99L-Larry Wight[2]; 6. 7Z-Zach Payne[25]; 7. 35C-Chris Curtis[21]; 8. 21A-Peter Britten[22]; 9. 70A-Alex Payne[4]; 10. 01-Danny Varin[17]; 11. 25R-Erick Rudolph[16]; 12. 12S-Darren Smith[8]; 13. 15M-Daniel Morgiewicz Jr[24]; 14. 97H-Bobby Hackel IV[6]; 15. 28T-Michael Trautschold[20]; 16. 34-Rusty Smith[5]; 17. 3-Seth Zacharias[19]; 18. 29J-Julien Raymond[27]; 19. 01VD-Tanner Van Doren[12]; 20. 5*-Tyler Siri[23]; 21. 38-Jean Mathieu Raymond[26]; 22. 6B-Danny Bouc[13]; 23. 6S-Matt Stangle[9]; 24. 16X-Dan Creeden[1]; 25. 65-Austin Hubbard[14]; 26. 9-Marc Johnson[7]; 27. 7-Rick Laubach[15]

Did Not Qualify: 35-Francois Bellemare; 27-Jason Reome

Wegner Automotive ‘Sunshine Swing’ Modified Champion ($1,500): Matt Sheppard

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificate): Alex Payne (ninth) & Mike Trautschold (15th)
ATL Fuel Cell ‘Hot Lap Hero ($100): Stewart Friesen (20.720)
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses ($50 Gift Cards): Matt Caprara (fourth) & Alex Payne (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Tanner Van Doren (Redrew 12th)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Bonus (Oakley Sunglasses): Matt Sheppard (Champion)
Eibach Springs Bonus ($100 Certificate): Zach Payne (sixth)
Elite Welder/Hard Clay After Hours/STSS Fantasy Football Hard Charger Award ($350): Zach Payne (25th to sixth)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Erick Rudolph (11th)
NPS First Car One Lap Down ($100): Julien Raymond (18th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Stewart Friesen (first – $150 certificate); Matt Sheppard (second – $75 certificate); Mat Williamson (third – $50 certificate); Matt Caprara (fourth – $25 certificate)
Schultz Racing Fuel Cells Bonus ($100 Certificate): Danny Varin (10th)
TV 12 Race Products Bonus (Two Wheel Covers): Darren Smith (12th)
Wilwood Brakes ‘Lucky 7’ Bonus ($100 Certificate): Chris Curtis (seventh)

Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches ‘Sunshine Swing’ Night No. 4 Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (30 laps): 1. 14T-Payton Talbot[1]; 2. 5EJ-Tanner Warner[5]; 3. 11Z-Matt Janczuk[9]; 4. 89-Dylan Madsen[12]; 5. 22C-Cedric Gauvreau[3]; 6. 5C-Ayden Cipriano[16]; 7. 14J-Joe Toth[7]; 8. 72-James Friesen[11]; 9. 21C-Brian Calabrese[2]; 10. 49-Chris Jakubiak[14]; 11. 16S-Tom Moore Jr[15]; 12. 21B-Yan Bussiere[13]; 13. 5K-Kenny Peoples Jr[8]; 14. 61L-Donovan Lussier[22]; 15. 85-David Langlois[18]; 16. 23-David Dickey[21]; 17. 29-Matt Ellery[6]; 18. 813-Jason Quenneville[17]; 19. 27-Michael Ballestero[4]; 20. 28L-Eric Lauziere[23]; 21. 17T-Kris Thompson[24]; 22. 142-Justin Zook[25]; 23. 44-James O’Hara[26]; 24. 38-Kevin Stevens[19]; 25. 42-Darryl Nutting[20]; 26. 73-Paulie Hartwig III[10]

Did Not Qualify: 6-John Santolin; 26-Maddy Broedel; 30T-Robert Tete

Wegner Automotive ‘Sunshine Swing’ Crate 602 Sportsman Champion ($1,000): Payton Talbot

American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Brian Calabrese (ninth)
Belmont’s Garage Hard Charger Award ($100): Ayden Cipriano (16th to sixth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Dylan Madsen (Redrew 12th)
Brookfield Speedway Last-Place Bonus ($100): Paulie Hartwig, III (26th)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Bonus (Oakley Sunglasses): Payton Talbot (Champion)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Tanner Warner (second) & Yan Bussiere (12th)
Fastline Performance ‘Hot Lap Hero ($50): Tanner Warner (20.871)
Henry’s Exhaust Power Position ($50 Certificate): Tom Moore Jr. (11th)
TV 12 Race Products Bonus (Two Wheel Covers): Yan Bussiere (12th)