Matt Sheppard, who turned the most potentially adverse moment of his driving career into the most productive season of his life, will be among the honorees on Saturday.
Sheppard will be recognized at Motorsports for winning 29 feature races in 2016, five more than any other driver in the Area Auto Racing News readership area. Each of the wins were in the Dirt Modified category.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to put a team together,” Sheppard remarked of the organization he nad his supporters formed after his release from HBR Racing in early December. “I hadn’t planned on being a driver-owner but it has worked out pretty well I’d say.”
Sheppard, of Waterloo, N.Y. ,will receive a check at the Motorpsorts Show for $200 as a divisional winner and $500 for the overall Northeast winners. Sheppard earned his fifth Super DIRT Car Series title with a record twelve wins and claimed track titles at Canandaigua and Utica-Rome Speedways in 2017.
Asphalt Modified driver Keith Rocco, on the strength of fifteen 2016 wins, is the Northeast winner in that category, Rocco, of Wallingford, Ct., earned a total of 23 features in 2016, with his 15 asphalt Modified wins the standard in that bracket. He also won seven asphalt Late Model races Rocco will receive $200 from Area Auto Racing News.
Mike Sweeney, asphalt Late Model specialist of Nesquehoning, Pa. topped all others in the AARN readership with nine features and will receive $200 from Area Auto Racing News for that achievement.
Tyler Walton of Mifflintown, Pa.. topped the 600cc Micro Sprint division with twelve wins to earn the Area Auto Racing News Top Northeast Winner title for the second straight year. Like Sheppard, Rocco and Sweeney, Walton will be honored at Motorsports.
Two other Top Northeast winners will be unable to attend the Motorsports Show for the best possible reason: they will be racing.
Dirt Late Model standout Max Blair, Titusville. Pa., won twenty Dirt Late Model features in 2016, fifth overall over the AARN readership. Blair will be ‘on the road’ during the Motorsports Show, en route to Dirt Late Model races beginning the next week in Georgia and Florida.
And Central Pennsylvania 410 Sprint star Greg Hodnett of Thomasville. Pa., is already racing Sprint cars, in Australia where he will remain until early February.
Sheppard, Rocco, Sweeney and Walton will meet and greet race fans at the Area Auto Racing News Booth No. 224 beginning at 5:00 p.m. and running through 6:00 p.m. Each will sign the annual Motorsports Show commemorative Top Northeast Winner color poster and pose for pictures with admiring fans.
The Northeast Top Winners will be interviewed on stage prior to the 2017 Ms. Motorsports pageant on Saturday beginning at 7:00 p.m. commemorative plaques will be presented and checks will be presented on stage by members of the Area Auto Racing News staff.