Bernard, Desjardins and Bissonnette also honored for 2015 Series Championships
By Mike Mallett
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. – Nov. 23, 2015 – The 2015 Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series season officially came to a close on Saturday night with Matt Sheppard taking home top honors at the season-ending awards banquet. It was the fourth time in his career that the Waterloo, New York native has earned the series title.
Sheppard was the model of consistency throughout the 2015 campaign with his Heinke-Baldwin Racing owned Troyer car. In 24 starts on the season, Sheppard managed an impressive 23 top-ten finishes. He was in the top five 15 times while taking home checkered flags on four different occasions with the series. He earned track championships at all three of his home tracks.
“I’ll tell you what, this was a crazy year for us,” Sheppard said. “I think we beat everybody to death with consistency and overcoming adversity. Literally our two worst point nights were a second place at Drummondville where we messed up and came up light and when we were leading at Syracuse and had battery alternator issues. Our two worst nights all year long were where we were running first and second. Just consistency that’s all it was.”
Although it was Sheppard’s fourth championship, it was the first for car owner Al Heinke. The duo came up a few markers short in 2014.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Heinke said. “It’s been a fun ride. It’s great. There are so many great people. The competitors are so good in this series and this really means something. To have Matt (Sheppard) as a part of our team, he’s special. He’s fast, but there are a lot of fast cars. He doesn’t stop, his brain doesn’t stop. Every minute he’s around the team he’s planning and working on how to make the car go faster.”
Billy Decker finished 105 points back in second with Sheppard’s teammate Jimmy Phelps in third. Larry Wight and Brett Hearn completed the top five in the Super DIRTcar Series final points tally.
Quebec’s Steve Bernard was bestowed the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series championship. It is Bernard’s first series title and goes in tandem with the 2015 Autodrome Drummond track title. Bernard’s car owner Jocelyn Bernard was also honored. Like Sheppard, Bernard’s run to the title came down to the final night as he bested fellow Quebec-native David Hebert and Chris Raabe.
“It’s really hard, you know,” Bernard said. “It’s a long season and anything can happen. We had some really good racing this year. My team gave me the best car ever this season. I really appreciate it.”
Mathieu Desjardins picked up his second consecutive DIRTcar Sportsman Series championship. Desjardins earned two wins on the campaign while taking home seven top-ten finishes in eight events.
“It’s amazing to win it one year and now to win it two years in a row,” Desjardins said. “There is a lot of passion in this team. We work hard. There is no secret. I have to thank my crew members. They work so hard every week. I have to thank my sponsors. We are a young team but they believed in us.”
Dave Bissonette’s two wins and five top-tens in seven events were enough to win the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series title for the second time. He was also the 2015 Cornwall Motor Speedway Champion.
“If it wasn’t for the guys working on the cars this wouldn’t be possible,” said Bissonette. “And like I said earlier, if it wasn’t for the other teams that help out when we go on tour, everyone pulls together like one big family with the support and everything. It all worked out. We gave it 100 percent.”
Tyler Dippel was named the 2015 Motorsports Safety Systems/Number One Speed/GForce Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year. Dippel picked up one top-five and two top-ten finishes on the season with the series.
“I’m really excited to get this award,” Dippel said. “With all the challenges we had to overcome this season, I’m really happy about this.”
Other Motorsports Safety Systems/Number One Speed/GForce Rookies of the Year included Jean-Francois Corriveau in the 358-Modifieds, Tony Finch II in the DIRTcar Sportsman and Pascal Payeur in the Pro Stock division.
Also recognized during the banquet were the 2015 Mr. DIRTcar champions. These point standings are based on a drivers best 15 finishes at DIRTcar sanctioned facilities during the 2015 racing season. Brett Hearn earned the Mr. DIRTCar Big-Block Modified championship for the fourth consecutive year pocketing $7,500 and a $2,500 fuel certificate from VP Fuels.
David Hebert was the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified title winner scoring $3,000 and a $1,000 fuel certificate from VP Fuels. In the Sportsman ranks it was Desjardins taking home the honor and Bissonette bested the Pro Stock division.
World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter recognized Raymond and Claudette Lavergne of Cornwall Motor Speedway with the Promoter of the Year award.
The 2016 Super DIRTcar Series returns to action on Wednesday, February 17during DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
To learn more about the Super DIRTcar Series and to find out how to purchase tickets for all of the series’ events, visit http://www.SuperDIRTcarSeries.
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, Pole Position Raceway and Dig Safely New York. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, FX Caprara, Fox Shox, Impact Race Products, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mobil 1, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Performance, Racing Electronics, Superflow, TNT Rescue and Wrisco Aluminum.