Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Matt Sheppard Breaks Through at Accord, Sprint Car Silly Season Heats Up

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Matt Sheppard finally added a trophy from Accord Speedway in New York to his resume, comfortably taking the Battle of the Bullring feature with the Short Track Super Series Tuesday night (May 9).

Tuesday’s race saw treacherous track conditions make racing very difficult through all four corners of the racetrack, as a new track surface gave way to extreme bumps all night long despite two extended breaks for track work. 

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Speaking of those bumps, there was no bigger victim of the track conditions at Accord Tuesday night than Dylan Scribner, who went for a literal tumble during the opening heat race.

Scribner was uninjured in the incident.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Anyone that’s visited the part of New York that Accord Speedway calls home knows just how God-awful the road conditions are on I-84 going in either direction. Unintentionally, the folks at Accord have created a perfect simulator of those highway-driving conditions. There was no lack of effort from the track crew to make things better, but the reality is the extreme bumps in the corners made it damn near impossible to race through them, to the detriment of the on-track product.

Having said that, it was notable that the entirety of the drivers interviewed about the track conditions acknowledged how bad it was without being harsh or critical of the track crew. Read between the lines, that’s a high compliment for the folks at Accord. Besides, with as rainy as the spring has been throughout the Northeast, the struggles with the surface are no surprise. Just last week Bridgeport Motorsports Park in New Jersey literally removed their new clay surface due to ongoing issues with it.

Tuesday night marked the debut of Beaver Dam Raceway’s weekly racing programs being streamed live on DirtVision. No filler here, this was a quality addition to their streams. It will be very welcome to have an alternative Tuesdays on DirtVision to Millbridge’s go-karting program. My only complaint on the debut? The audio … for most of the features there were two mics going simultaneously and creating an overwhelming echo.

Honestly, the biggest news in dirt track racing was nowhere near Accord Speedway on Tuesday. Sprint car racing was rocked with two major driver departures earlier this week, first with Parker Price-Miller announcing he and the McCandless Motorsports team had mutually decided to part ways.

That was a drop in the bucket compared to Monday’s later news that Buddy Kofoid, already a winner on the World of Outlaws circuit in 2023, had left the CMS Racing No. 11 car. CMS Racing announced the decision as mutual via their Facebook page, while Kofoid’s own statement was a little more vague.

I’d like to let everyone know that myself and CMSRacing have parted ways. I’d like to clarify that out of integrity for…

Posted by Michael "Buddy" Kofoid Racing on Sunday, May 7, 2023

CMS moved quickly and has already announced that Cory Eliason will be taking over their 410 sprint car moving forward. Eliason is a qualified hire, but there’s no way to look at this as other than a downgrade behind the wheel. This story will be worth following once the actual circumstances make it public.

Finally, in one of the most viral Facebook posts dirt track racing has seen in 2023, the Caney Valley Speedway in Oklahoma has taken center stage for several new policies it will be implementing starting this weekend, including a ban on fan re-entry to the grandstands as well as for kids to bring sporting equipment into the stands.

Changes at Caney Valley Speedway! Please notice the change in the kid’s admission. Grandstands: 5 – 12 are now $5. 4…

Posted by Caney Valley Speedway on Saturday, May 6, 2023

Yes, these policies come off as draconian and the image of four signs with prohibitions on them is hardly friendly. But, Caney Valley is just one example of numerous racetracks that are dealing with unruly fan behavior, an issue that can’t be ignored. This column has already commented on All-Tech Raceway’s decision to put strict limits on the operation of ATV/UTV vehicles in and out of the pits during race events. And Central Missouri Speedway is also following suit after reportedly enduring a similar spate of fan misbehavior.

This will not likely be a popular or well-received post, but after last weekend's issues, we have no choice.Attention…

Posted by Central Missouri Speedway on Tuesday, May 9, 2023

I don’t fault these tracks one bit. It’s just sad to see the real world creeping into dirt racing. 

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

The shoutout goes to Accord winner Sheppard, because I actually had to go back and check to confirm that until Tuesday he had never won at Accord Speedway. That there was a modified track in the Northeast Sheppard was winless at was truly shocking. Seeing him end that streak made an unremarkable race night a bit more memorable.

Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night

Two drivers proved to be sacrificial limbs at Accord in the first heat race, falling victim to the treacherous track conditions without the benefit of having watched previous heats to learn the limits. As discussed earlier, Scribner’s flip was the most dramatic victim of the night, but also worth noting was local driver Nick Plumstead coming up limp in the opening laps after off-roading through the corners.

Numbers Game

2

Dirt tracks that ran an oval track program in the U.S. Tuesday night.

100

The nation’s largest car count Tuesday night, weekly racing at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.

$6,000

The nation’s top purse Tuesday night, paid to the Battle of the Bullring winner at Accord (Sheppard).

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Thursday morning (May 11) with coverage of the World of Outlaws from Lincoln Speedway and the Flo Racing Night in America tour from Spoon River Speedway in Illinois. Coverage can be found on DirtVision and Flo Racing, respectively.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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