Sun Shines On Decker’s 358-Modified 150 Qualifying Effort At NAPA Super DIRT Week
Veteran Star Claims Pole Position For Saturday’s Small-Block Spectacular At Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Oct. 9, 2014) — The sun shined on Billy Decker’s ‘Salute to the Troops’ 358-Modified Championship 150 qualifying effort Thursday afternoon during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week — literally.
Taking advantage of the rays of sunshine that broke through the clouds and made the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds surface faster just before his spot in time trials, the 49-year-old star from Unadilla, N.Y., blazed his Gypsum Wholesalers Bicknell car around the historic oval in 31.116 seconds to earn the pole position for Saturday’s 150-mile small-block finale.
“We were late (in the qualifying order) and the sun was high (in the sky) at that time so that obviously helped,” said Decker. “The sun was out from behind a cloud and I think that got the track a little faster for us.”
Decker nipped Carey Terrance of Hogansburg, N.Y., for the pole by less than a tenth of a second, giving him 358-Modified fast-time honors at the Moody Mile for the fourth in the last five years. He has won the 358-Modified 150 a record six times, most recently in 2011 when he captured the race for the fourth consecutive year.
“The race car was balanced pretty dog-gone good there,” said Decker, who drove a brand-new machine powered by a Kevlar engine. “I was very happy with it. I got a tick twitchy and bent just a tick in (turn) one, but other than that I thought I cut a pretty clean lap.
“This is a new car this year that (crew chief) Scott (Jeffery) put it together. We got two hot-lap sessions on it and it had speed, so we’re tickled. “
Terrance, who turns 34 next week, improved his career-best 358-Modified qualifying performance by one position. He timed third-fastest last year and was running fourth in the headline event when his car ran out of gas, leaving him one lap down in 25th in the final rundown.
“I feel like I could’ve been a little bit faster,” said Terrance, who drove a Teo-Pro car equipped with a Kevlar powerplant. “We went out early and didn’t really know what to expect, and then sun started coming out a little later and that caused the track to start taking a little bit of rubber and get faster.
“But finishing second to Billy Decker is a good day, so we’ll take it.”
Chris Raabe of Napanee, Ont., was third-fastest with a lap 31.219 seconds to earn the inside second-row starting spot. Ronnie Johnson of Duanesburg, N.Y., will start fourth after turning a lap of 31.278 seconds in Alton Palmer’s machine; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., claimed the fifth starting spot with a clocking of 31.396 seconds in Vinnie Salerno’s 4-Star Racing machine; and Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., was the final driver to lock into the feature with a circuit of 31.426 seconds that puts him sixth on the 150’s starting grid.
The balance of the 358-Modified 150 field will be determined with the results of Twin 20-lap heat races that are part of Friday evening’s Camping World Friday Night Lights program. The card of heat races, which also includes Triple 20s for the Big-Block Modifieds and Triple 10s for the Sportsman-Modifieds, is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.
‘Salute to the Troops’ 358-Modified Championship 150 Qualifying Results
|14||83x||Tim Sears Jr.||31.819|
|37||115||Kenny Tremont Jr.||32.628|
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