Decker Bags Pole Position Start In Quest For Fifth Straight Win In Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150
By Kevin Kovac, DIRTcar Racing P.R.
SYRACUSE, NY – Oct. 5, 2012 – Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., will begin his quest for an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory in the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 from the pole position after registering the fastest lap in Friday afternoon’s qualifying during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI at the New York State Fairgrounds.
The 47-year-old master of the Syracuse Mile clicked off a circuit of 31.702 seconds early in the 64-car session and it held up to the finish. He bested fellow DIRTcar circuit veteran Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., by 0.187 of a second to earn Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 fast-time honors for the third year in a row.
“It’s the same car – same everything – from last year,” said Decker, who established a new consecutive-win record for the 358-Modified event when he drove the Gypsum Racing Bicknell/Kevlar combination to the checkered flag in 2011. “This is all a product of being prepared. It shows the depth of this team and the work and dedication that goes into preparing stuff.”
Ronnie Johnson of Duanesburg, N.Y., was third-fastest at 31.918 seconds, followed by three drivers hailing from Watertown, N.Y. – Tim McCreadie (32.026), Billy Dunn (32.057) and Tim Fuller (32.061). The six fastest qualifiers locked into starting positions in the first three rows of Saturday’s Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150.
Decker’s 358-Modified lap was over one second quicker than the 32.997-second tour he turned in his big-block Modified on Thursday to earn the pole position for Sunday’s VP Small Engine Fuels 200.
“The track was a little better than yesterday,” said Decker, who has won the 358-Modified headliner of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week a record six times in 19 career starts. “There’s a little less water in the bottom of one, and turn three is not quite as rough. You’d probably have seen better speeds yesterday, but, typical of a clay racetrack, the speeds slow after a while – and yesterday there was considerably more practice on it (before big-block time trials) than there was today.”
Decker, who felt he left “maybe a smidgen” on the track in his qualifying effort, will enter Friday night’s Twin 20-lap heat races and Saturday’s 150-mile test with plenty of confidence. He said he’s not thinking about his streak of 358-Modified victories at Syracuse, however.
“It’s a new one tomorrow,” said Decker. “That’s what we’re looking at.”
Danny Johnson, who has two Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 wins in 22 career starts, also likes his chances for success behind the wheel of Mike Payne’s Morrison-powered Bicknell car. The 52-year-old star knows his machine still had some speed in reserve.
“It was a pretty good lap but it could’ve been better,” said Johnson. “It’s like I tell the guys – when you drive it into turn one and don’t lift, that’s a hairy situation. You have to have confidence to do that, and I wasn’t confident enough in my car to do that yet. This car is great, but I only made about three laps (of practice) in it because we were spending all of our time working on brake problems and other stuff with the big-block.”
The remainder of the Gander Mountain 358-Modified Championship 150 starting field will be determined by the finishes of Friday night’s Twin 20-lap heat races.
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|20||83xx||Tim Sears Jr.||32.725||1.023|
|35||115||Kenny Tremont Jr.||33.213||1.511|
|38||8c||Jimmy Cottrell II||33.252||1.55|
The Super DIRTcar Series and Super DIRT Week are brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, Gander Mountain, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio and Roush Yates Performance Products. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Beyea Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Draco Springs, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Pro Fabrication, Racing Electronics, Superflow, Vicci Racing Apparel, Wilwood Engineering, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, and Xtreme Lubricants.