Weedsport, NY — April 2, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Jeff Martz Photo
The 2010 Super DIRTcar Series is just underway and Billy Decker is right back where he wants to be: one win down, 20 more to go and a comfortable perch in the point standings.
Round two arrives next weekend at Fulton Speedway and Decker will be chasing a second checkered flag as an early favorite in the headline ‘VP Racing Fuels Spring Fever 100’ closer to home.
“We go out trying to win every race, that’s our biggest motivation,” stated Decker, 45, who already found success in the tour opener last week scoring his first career tour triumph at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway. “Right now we have all the pieces in place, so if we don’t (win) we feel like we failed somewhere along the line.”
“There’s nothing really new in our game plan. We’re just trying a few different things, double-checking and hoping to hone in on what works. Everybody has good days, limiting the bad ones is what keeps you at the top,” Decker noted.
On paper, the return trip to Fulton on April 10 points toward another Series win for Decker as the Unadilla, N.Y. veteran chases a third overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship in the Northeast’s premier touring division. He is the reigning track points king fresh off his win in the Fulton 200 last autumn, and one of his 16 Big-Block wins at the high-banked third-miler was scored in the 2008 Series show.
“I don’t think there’s any advantage on tour anywhere nowadays,” remarked Decker, who ranks third all-time with 54 Super DIRTcar Series wins and has posted a tour-best 42 fast times in qualifying. “Especially at Fulton where a lot of guys run. And being the first race of the year, you just don’t know what the track conditions are going to be.”
“All the series guys are good enough and have seen enough places to win any race. Whoever can find the fast way around and adapt the quickest will be the one to beat. And that leaves the door wide open to a lot more drivers that have been running Fulton lately,” figured Decker, now enjoying his 25rd season of Big-Block competition with more than 200 DIRTcar Modified feature wins to his credit.
Car owner John Wight is banking on one more climb up the podium when Decker pulls trackside the second Saturday of this month. Not only does Wight fund the LJL Racing no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l-Quality Hardwoods operation throughout the season, the successful businessman and wife Laura from nearby Phoenix, N.Y. also hold the deed to Fulton Speedway itself.
“John and Laura have certainly provided us with a great foundation to build from and Scott (Jeffery, crew chief) has continued to elevate the team year after year,” praised Decker, who joined Jeffery on the Gypsum payroll in 2004. “With any good program you’re surrounded by a good team, and we’re just blessed with a lot of good people that always seem to make good things happen.”
“I think John is just competitive as me. Sometimes there’s a good second-place finish, maybe even a good third, but we only show up to win. That’s all we think about. We really don’t want to points race, just want to race every one to win and let the points take care of themselves,” Decker said.
There was no need for a recount in 2008 when Decker earned the first Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block title for the Wights, posting a career-high 22 feature wins after matching the all-time single-season Series mark of 10 victories. Last year was only a tad less productive, winning four extra-distance races and settling into fourth on the points chart.
“With fewer races on the schedule every finish becomes more important, you just have to be ready to win every time,” Decker pointed out. “Unless you’re winning a lot, you can’t afford to have more than one bad race and still have a chance (championship).”
“And you can’t be content anymore with just running consistently, you have to consistently run up front. Obviously, you have to be racing at the end, and if not on the lead lap then you’re in big trouble.”
Harboring high hopes of giving Decker trouble on Saturday will be all-time Series race winner and defending Mr. DIRTcar champion Brett Hearn, along with two-time and defending track tour winner Alan Johnson. The list of Series standouts already signed up are ’09 Fulton regulars Jimmy Phelps, Michael Storms, Dale Planck, Tom Sears Jr. and Billy Dunn plus current Series points leader Matt Sheppard and top tour travelers Danny Johnson, Justin Haers, Gary Tomkins and Steve Paine. Jim Witko, Chuck Bower, Mike Bowman and Mike Mahaney lead the weekly contingent when spring fever hits Oswego County on April 10.
Fulton pit gates are scheduled to unlock Saturday at 3 p.m. and grandstand seating begins at 4 o’clock. Hot laps will start at 5 p.m. followed immediately by time trials, with heat race qualifiers taking the first green flag at 6 o’clock. Modified teams are encouraged to arrive early as pre-race technical inspection will begin as early as 1 o’clock before the pits are cleared at 2:30 p.m. The speedway is located south of the city on Route 57.
For more information, contact DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566) or log into www.superdirtcarseries.com for additional news & notes. Be sure to sign up on http://www.twitter.com/SuperDIRTcar and receive updates anywhere at anytime. The speedway office can be reached by phoning 315/593-6531 and the track website is www.fultonpeedway.com.
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.