Weedsport, NYOctober 28, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director

Once Billy Decker gets out front, there isn’t much chance of getting back by again. At least that was the case in the 2008 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series as Decker went on to tie an all-time single-season Big-Block Modified win mark en route to securing his second overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship.

In all 10 Advance Series races that Decker won, he also ended up in victory lane. And when the final checkered flag flew, the Unadilla, New York driver had climbed to the top of the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series lap leaders list on DIRTcar NorthEast’s premier Modified tour.

In reward of his latest feat, Gater Racing Photo News will be recognizing Decker as the Advance Auto Parts Series lap leader through a special bonus award program that was developed at the start of the new millennium. While this is the eighth successive year of presentation, it is just the first time that Decker has earned the “Gater Leads The Way” lap award and in 2008 will collect a prize package valued in excess of $1,000, including a gift certificate from Leaf Racewear, Gater News subscriptions and a commemorative trophy.

The award will be presented by Gater News editor Joe Patrick at the upcoming DIRTcar Racing NorthEast ‘Night of Champions’ Banquet on Nov. 15 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. “This is an award that demands consistency up front throughout the year so its something both racers and fans can pay attention to all season long,” said Patrick, whose father Norm Patrick —retired publisher of Gater and ’97 Northeast Modified Hall of Fame Inductee— co-founded Central New York’s top-rated tradepaper in 1966. “We’re proud that this award has grown in stature over the years and retained its unique quality at the same time.”

From the inception of the Gater News lap award in 2001, Decker had led over 2000 feature race laps and pocketed nearly 20 first-place checks in Advance Series competition. After finishing second in the Gater lap leader contest on two previous occasions, the ‘Franklin Flyer’ left no doubt in ’08 as he paced the field for 618 circuits, totaling the most laps led in eight of the 10 events that he won during the 26-race tour.

Past “Gater Leads The Way” Award winners include Brett Hearn (2007), who also led the most laps in 2001, ’02 and ’04, fellow overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Champions Alan Johnson (2006) and Tim Fuller (2005), and Tim McCreadie, who led the most Advance Auto Parts Series laps in 2003.

Editions of Gater Racing Photo News continue to be printed 37 times annually with one-year subscriptions available for $42.00 (US funds) and can be ordered by phone (315/457-0175) or writing to P.O. Box 2187 – Syracuse, N.Y. 13220. Be sure to check out the website at www.gaternews.com for additional information including an opportunity to subscribe on-line to the electronic version of the print publication e-Gater for just $29.95.

2008 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series
Gater Racing News Big-Block Modified Lap Leaders
618 Billy Decker(10)
287 Dale Planck(5)
280 Brett Hearn(4)
130 Gary Tomkins(3)
128 Alan Johnson(4)
119 Tim Fuller(2)
97 Jimmy Phelps
77 Frank Cozze
74 Matt Sheppard(3)
73 Justin Haers(5)
73 Danny Johnson
65 H.J. Bunting
63 Duane Howard(2)
54 Tim Hindley
50 Frankie Caprara(2)
49 Carey Terrance 
43 Steve Paine (3)
39 Billy Dunn
35 Vic Coffey(2)
32 Andy Bachetti
29 J.R. Heffner
27 Tommy Meier
21 Vince Vitale
12 Robbie Krull
11 Jeff Heotzler Sr.
10 Ryan Phelps
10 Jamie Mills
9 David Hebert
8 Josh Richards
8 Scott Parliament
4 Kenny Brightbill
3 Pat O’Brien

2008 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Events
May 1 Virginia 60 30-Howard, 22-Sheppard, 8-Richards
May 4 Rolling Wheels 50 50-Decker
May 4 Rolling Wheels 50 31-Paine, 19-Planck
May 25 Cayuga County 76 56-Planck, 20-Haers
Jun. 7 Fulton 101 101-Decker
Jul. 3 Ransomville 100 88-Decker, 12-Krull
Jul. 10 Brockville 100 97-Decker, 3-P.O’Brien
Jul. 11 Granby 100 60-Hearn, 39-Dunn, 1-Paine
Jul. 12 Drummond 100 100-Planck
Jul. 16 Grandview 100 63-Decker, 33-Howard, 4-Brightbill
Jul. 17 Georgetown 75 65-Bunting, 10-Mills
Jul. 31 Orange County 75 75-Hearn
Aug. 4 Merrittville 100 97-J.Phelps, 3-Haers
Aug. 9 Canandaigua 50 27-Coffey, 23-Decker
Aug. 9 Canandaigua 50 21-Decker, 11-Paine, 10-R.Phelps, 8-Coffey 
Aug. 15 Brewerton 100 51-Planck, 38-Decker, 11-A.Johnson
Aug. 16 Can-Am 100 80-Tomkins, 12-Caprara, 8-Parliament
Aug. 17 Cornwall 100 61-Planck, 39-Tomkins
Aug. 31 Cayuga County 54 38-Caprara, 16-A.Johnson
Aug. 31 Cayuga County 54 29-Decker, 11-Haers, 11-Tomkins, 3-Sheppard
Sep. 1 Rolling Wheels 115 108-Decker, 7-Haers
Sep. 7 Lebanon Valley 200 133-Hearn, 32-Bachetti, 29-Heffner, 6-Meier
Sep. 20 Canandaigua 100 78-Fuller, 22-A.Johnson
Sep. 27 Rolling Wheels 128 79-A.Johnson, 49-Terrance
Oct. 12 NYS Fairgrnds 200 77-Cozze, 49-Sheppard, 32-Haers, 21-Vitale, 12-Hearn, 9-Hebert
Oct. 19 Orange County 200 73-D.Johnson, 54-Hindley, 41-Fuller, 21-Meier, 11-Heotzler Sr.

Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.

The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.