Max McLaughlin led green-to-checker to take victory in the season opener for the Super DIRTcar Series at Volusia Speedway Park, holding Matt Sheppard at bay as he attempted his patented late race charge and challenge. This was McLaughlin’s third DIRTcar Nationals victory.
. @dirtvision WINNER: Night #1 for the Super DIRTcar Series at @VolusiaSpeedway goes to @MaxMcLaughlin_ !! Matt Sheppard came home 2nd and @StewartFriesen Rounds out the podium! @federatedap @DIRTcarNats pic.twitter.com/WN5NlOSJqz
— Super DIRTcar Series (@SuperDIRTcar) February 16, 2023
McLaughlin, who hails from Mooresville, North Carolina, drew outside pole for the feature race then led all 30 laps to capture the win.
McLaughlin is just 22-years-old, but he’s already familiar with Volusia Speedway Park and the victory circle there. He holds the 2021 Big Gator Championship title and has two previous DIRTcar Nationals feature wins.
Erick Rudolph drew the pole for the race, but never led a lap. McLaughlin blasted past him on lap one and everyone spent the rest of the race chasing him. Nine-time champion Matt Sheppard was the strongest contender. Sheppard started seventh but quickly made his way to second place where he finished the night.
McLaughlin made one mistake with ten to go and it almost cost him the race. He reached to pull a tear-off and accidentally tore them all off. Visibility becam a problem as clay continuously spattered on his visor. It got so bad that McLaughlin jumped the cushion in the closing laps of the race. Sheppard was able to cut into his lead but not enough.
“I was pretty tight there at the end,” McLaughlin said. “Definitely would have liked to be a little freer in the center. I just caught good breaks and got through lapped traffic pretty good. I was just able to stay out front. It’s pretty cool to get the first win right off the bat. First start, first win. We’ve been working hard and have a great team behind us.”
Up Next: The Big Block Modified Series will be at it again at Volusia Speedway Park on Thursday, February 16. It will be another 30-lapper paying $5000 to win.
- Max McLaughlin
- Matt Sheppard
- Stewart Friesen
- Erick Rudolph
- Demetrios Drellos
- Mat Williamson
- Ruck Laubach
- Danny Johnson
- Marc Johnson
- Larry Wright