Story by Steven Ovens- Photo By www.rickattheraces.com
– It’s not hard to make the statement that Billy Decker couldn’t have been pleased with the performance he and his LJL Racing Team had at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. They struggled in the fuel mileage department; an area that Decker has been known for and made a living out of at the Moody Mile in the early 21st Century.
But at Super DIRT Week XLII, Decker ran out of gas in both the 358-Modified ‘Salute to the Troops 150’ and the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified ‘Syracuse 200’. To say they came up short on fuel might be an understatement- they were 7 laps short in both races. Bringing home 27th place and 28th place finishes respectively. The last handful of Syracuse 200’s has brought fuel mileage blunders and blown motors for the Unadilla, NY hot shoe.
The one bright spot for Decker and the Gypsum Wholesalers, Stadium International 91 team was taking their first Super DIRTcar Series win in a long time at Rolling Wheels Raceway on October 8th. After taking the win and clearing the scales, Decker took the 91 through the muddy infield for some celebratory donuts. This kind of emotion and passion is something some fans have criticized the ‘Franklin Flyer’ for not displaying more often.
Come the week after Super DIRT Week, Billy Decker was on a mission to turn around what had been a pretty disappointing October. After the weekend’s events at the Brockville Ontario Speedway and the Penn-Can Speedway in Susquehanna, PA- mission accomplished.
Decker started the weekend at Penn Can for the 14th edition of the year-end “King of the Can”. This is a track that Billy cut his teeth on in a supporting division that doesn’t even exist at the speedway any more. Decker took a third place starting position and used it to his advantage to take home the $5,214 winner’s share of the event purse.
Said Decker to reporters of the win, “We weren’t that good last week, but tonight wasn’t bad.” He had to hold off ‘Super Matt’ Sheppard in the remaining laps, while working heavy lap traffic, to score the win.
The traveling road show then packed up and headed to the Brockville Ontario Speedway for their two-day 1000 Islands RV Centre Fall Nationals. Decker had no plans to run the 358-Modified Series race, but the DIRTcar 358-Modfied Series ended their 2013 points trail at the Ontario, Canada speed plant. Erick Rudolph won an exciting 100-lap race to propel him to the 2013 Small-Block series championship. This won’t be the last time you hear the name ‘Erick Rudolph’ here on Race Chaser.
Come Sunday, for the finale to the 1000 Islands RV Centre Fall Nationals, Bill Decker propelled himself to the top of the heap again. Scoring another victory in what had already been a great weekend on the track. This time Decker had to fight a slick surface that saw two days worth of DIRTcar series events on it, making Hoosier tire management key in the victory.
Decker took the lead from his front row redraw starting position and kept his fellow competitors at arm’s reach for the majority of the event. This wasn’t an easy task as yellow flags and tricky lap traffic made it difficult to make a Right Rear Hoosier last the entire distance. Drivers like Jimmy Phelps took advantage of caution periods around the halfway mark to take on fresh tires for the remainder of the event.
Equally impressive in this race was the climb made by ‘The Doctor’ Danny Johnson. The Rochester, NY pilot chose to drive his small-block Bicknell chassis affectionately named ‘Old School’ as the car resembles a car Danny drove to many victories in the 80’s. With the short track and slick surface, ‘The Doctor’ performed his patented full-throttle surgery to come home in 2nd place after starting on the back half of the Top 10.
In the end, nobody had anything for Decker. Johnson came home 2nd in a small-block, Super DIRTcar Series points leader Brett Hearn stretched his points lead coming home 3rd, ‘The Natural’ Dale Planck finished 4th & the highest finishing Canadian Brian McDonald (Cornwall, Ontario) rounded out the Top 5.
The series heads to the Orange County Fair Speedway for ‘Eastern States Weekend’ in Middletown, NY. Then the stars and cars will head South to the Dirt Track at Charlotte for the World of Outlaws World Finals in November.