Record-tying 5th ‘Salute The Troops 150’ win brings Syracuse checkered flag count to 23
Syracuse, NY – October 9, 2010 – Open-wheel star Billy Decker continued his dominance of Super DIRT Week XXXIX on Saturday afternoon, scoring a third straight victory in the headline Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series ‘Salute To The Troops 150’ at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Opening the trackside action Friday with a pair of 20-lap qualifying race victories on the famous fairgrounds ‘Moody Mile’ in both Big-Block Modified and 358-Modified divisions, the Unadilla, N.Y. speedster pushed his SDW win total to 23 in DIRTcar Northeast’s biggest event of the season.
“I’m just surrounded by good people, and this is the kind of place where it really shows the most,” stated Decker, 45, in response to the success enjoyed on the Syracuse Mile that is unmatched for him anywhere else. “Preparation is more important here than any other track we run all year. I have to believe my crew is among the best as these guys continue to give me the best ride out there today.”
Similar to last October’s decisive victory in the 39th annual October motorsports extravaganza when he moved to the point on lap 100 when after Martin Roy pitted for fuel, this time around Decker inherited the lead as soon as Bobby Varin ducked down pit row for a quick fill-up and two-tire change on lap 106. From there, the vice-president of Quality Hardwoods in Sydney, N.Y. put the red hot LJL Motorsports no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l/Bicknell on cruise control to hold back second-generation chauffeur Tim McCreadie for the $20,000 triumph.
Pennsylvanian Rick Lauback from Quakertown shadowed McCreadie during the later stages of the 150-mile main while popular second-generation pilot Ronnie Johnson from Duanesburg, N.Y. and his brother in-law Andy Bachetti hauling in from Sheffield, Mass. filled out the front-five. Eastern New Yorker Marc Johnson, long-time chassis builder Pete Bicknell, Frenchman David Hebert, rising Canadian star Mat Williamson and last year’s SDW Sportsman winner Matt Billings rounded out the Top-10 with 13 of the 40 starters completing the entire 150-lap distance.
Ironically, it was Decker’s current car designer Bicknell that stood all alone in the Super DIRT Week record book until Decker grabbed yet another checkered flag in his annual autumn assault on the formidable fairgrounds oval. Not only did Decker match Bicknell’s all-time best mark of three consecutive SDW small-block victories in Syracuse, he tied the car builder’s career-high total of five since the event was first staged in 1980.
“I’ll have to chase down Brett, he’s next,” commented Decker, after learning that record five-time SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Big-Block winner Hearn has come out first on 29 occasions in Syracuse during his legendary career. “Now I kinda wish we raced there a little more, the fairgrounds has always been a special place and I can’t wait to come back every year.
After setting fast time in small-block qualifying then stopping the clocks second quickest in his Big-Block run on Wednesday, Decker’s sweep of the both divisional heat races on Friday set the stage for another first-place trophy on Saturday afternoon. Decker started on the pole and led every lap until taking his turn pitside on lap 44.
The scheduled exit left the door open for DIRTcar 358-Modified rookie Matt Billings and the Brockville, Ont. easily filled the number one position. With 50 laps in the books, Billings was scored out front of Bobby Varin, Marc Johnson, Kayle Robidoux and past Syracuse small-block winner Kenny Tremont.
Billings led the entire 30-lap distance a year ago to capture top Sportsman main event honors, yet on Saturday he gave up the point to 24th-place starter Marc Johnson after pacing the field for 15 circuits. Johnson nosed by Billings on lap 59 and would remain out front until taking his own trip down pit road on lap 77.
During that time a rare red flag flew after Canadian favorite Stewart Friesen made contact exiting turn four and slammed the outside retaining wall before the Buzz Chew Motorsports no. 99 GT Vodka/TEO Special ended up parked on its side to bring a sudden halt to the trackside action. The Niagara-o-t-Lake, Ont. driver was unhurt in the incident but called out Laubach for his involvement in the most dramatic incident of the day.
When racing resumed and Johnson got back on the gas aboard his Diamond Fabrication no. 3j Cliff Spenburg/Bicknell mount, Varin, 2005 race winner Tim Fuller, Hearn and Decker were the closest in pursuit with 65 laps complete. Decker slipped past Hearn under green flag conditions and moved into the top-three when Johnson made his pit stop to relinquish the top spot to Varin.
Decker disposed of his buddy Fuller on lap 91 then dogged Varin up front until the Sharon Springs, N.Y. chauffeur pulled pitside for fresh tires and a tank of fuel. Following Decker in his march to the front, McCreadie and Laubach ran two-three from lap 115 on, closing to within a couple car-lengths on occasion until finshing with a 2.2-sec. deficit when the final checkered flag unfurled.
“This car is such a pleasure to drive, I don’t know if I can be as comfortable tomorrow as I was today,” remarked Decker, who remains forever linked with Hearn (1989-90), Tremont (1996-97) and ‘Mr. Small-Block’ Bicknell (1982-83, 1998-2000) as the only drivers to capture back-to-back SDW 358-Modified races. Hearn’s all-time mark of five SEF 200 triumphs, with Hearn (1990) and Danny Johnson (2006) the only drivers ever to sweep Super DIRT Week Modified mains on the same weekend after Jeff Heotzler garnered the inaugural 15-lap BM&F Small-Block title in 1980.
“I hope I’m close to being as comfortable on Sunday as I was today, if it is we’re going to have another fun day. I’m a big fan of our troops and very patriotic, and very proud to be standing here today with these guys from the armed forces. Hope we can do it again tomorrow,” added Decker, who has also scored 10 Triple 20s Big-Block heat race victories and topped the field four more times in small-block preliminary events.
Settling for runner-up honors for the second consecutive feature event run on the Moody Mile —also finished 2nd in the 38th SEF 200 last October— McCreadie started third and was only able to improve a single position although it was still his first finish better than 30th in six previous attempts.
“It was good racing out there, we just gotta get handling down the frontstretch and then on the back a tad better,” figured McCreadie, who will go from owner Vinny Salerno’s Four Star small-block camp to the Sweeteners Plus Big-Block tent on Sunday looking to improve one position from the previous fall. “Those guys (LJL team) know how to do it … damn it if we didn’t have the best pit stop I think I’ve ever had here, just couldn’t get him. But I almost ran into (Decker) trying to stop on the end of pit road.”
“We struggled all week. These guys deserve it, they put so much time and effort into this. I come in here with a helmet and they make me look like a hero.”
“I learned that the way you gotta win this race is you can’t let Billy dictate. You have to go out there and run him hard from lap 50 and whenever he makes his pit stop. You better race him hard because if he controls the pace he’s gonna win the race,” said McCreadie straight out.
Posting a pair of Top-10 finishes two of the past three years in the 150, Laubach was content with a show position steering owner Cliff Krause’s Supreme Manufacturing no. 27 Blewett Scrap & Waste Recycling/TEO machine among the leaders throughout the duration.
“I know we got beat by the best today, Billy Decker here and I know Timmy McCreadie is not too far behind, that’s for damn sure,” beamed Laubach, who will be strapped into Gary & Lori Herrmann’s blue no. 7 Benton Elevator-Jones Racing Products-Blewett Scrap & Recycling/TEO entry tomorrow. “I’m honored to finish third today.”
“I know the track crew has been working hard this week and it’s the best it was today. I have a feeling its gonna be a good one tomorrow because what they’re doing to the track is finally working,” Laubach acknowledged.
With the Salute To The Troops 150 designated as show-up points race, current Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358 leader Danny O’Brien from Kingston, Ont. elected not to start.
Super DIRT Week XXXIX concludes Sunday with the prized jewel of DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast — SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented By Ferris/Simplicity/Snapper Mowers — for Big-Block Modifieds paying the winner a whopping $50,000. The ‘Dig Safely New York Modified Last Chance Qualifier rewards the top finishers with a handful of starting positions in the 200-mile main event with Rolling Wheels Raceway’s ‘Win And You’re In 25’ victor night earning the 45th starting spot in the 200-lap fairgrounds finale.
Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race #9 – New York State Fairgrounds, Oct. 9, 2010 “31st Salute To The Troops” 150 Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 1 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY ($20,000)
2 3 4* Tim McCreadie/Watertown,NY
3 9 27L Rick Laubach/Quakertown,PA
4 5 76a Ronnie Johnson/Duanesburg,NY
5 37 4 Andy Bachetti/Sheffield,MA
6 24 3j Marc Johnson/Guilderland,NY
7 6 42 Pete Bicknell/St.Catharines,ONT
8 15 1h David Hebert/St. Damase,QUE
9 19 6m Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
10 11 74x Matt Billings/Brockville,ONT®
11 31 32c Vic Coffey/Leicester,NY
12 34 27 Ryan Godown/Ringoes,NJ®
13 28 13 Tony Steiner/Jamesville,NY
14 30 46 Kayle Robidoux/St-Constant,QUE
15 39 27j Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
16 35 4j Jeff Sykes/Edwards,NY
17 10 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
18 16 22j Jeremy Wilder/Fort Plain,NY
19 27 48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY
20 20 10 Bobby Varin/Sharon Springs,NY
21 8 1w Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
22 4 14 Jimmy Horton/Neshanic Station,NJ
23 14 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
24 26 74 Tim Fuller/Edwards,NY
25 18 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ
26 2 45 Wayne Jelley/Pittsfield,MA
27 25 24 Patrick Dupree/Saranac Lake,NY
28 29 1ny Greg Atkins/Clintonville,NY
29 17 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT®
30 23 115 Kenny Tremont/West Sand Lake,NY
31 32 19 John Lazore/Hogansburg,NY
32 38 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
33 13 99 Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
34 21 1xx Todd Stone/Middlebury,VT
35 36 24 Chris Shultz/Pawling,NY
36 12 42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
37 7 1x Willy Decker/Vernon,NY
38 22 22L Larry Lampman,Jr./Port Colborne,ONT
39 40 34 George Foley/Saranac Lake,NY®
40 33 7g Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
LAP LEADERS: Decker (1-43), Billings (44-58), M.Johnson (59-76), Varin (77-105), Decker (106-150).
TOTAL LAPS LED: 88-Decker, 29-Varin, 18-M.Johnson, 15-Billings.
LEAD CHANGES: 4 among 4 drivers.
CAUTIONS: 10 for 46 laps; 1 RED FLAG (lap 64).
ELAPSED TIME: 2 hr. 7 mins. 10 secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 70.772 mph.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 2.220 sec.
FREIHOHER’S ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Matt Billings
A-1 RACE PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Andy Bachetti.
SHARON’S TOY FINAL FINISHER AWARD: Rick Laubach.
GATER RACING NEWS BEST APPEARING CAR & CREW: #13 – Tony Steiner.
NYSSCA ‘TOP MEMBER’ AWARD: Ronnie Johnson.
NATIONAL PARTS PEDDLER POLE AWARD: Billy Decker (32.637 sec/110.304 mph).
MID-STATE GOLF CARTS OUTSIDE POLE AWARD: Wayne Jelley (33.004 sec/109.078 mph).
PULLEN’S TRUCK CENTER TWIN-20s RACE WINNERS: Billy Decker, Wayne Jelley.
CONSOLATION WINNER: Vic Coffey.
RACE ROOKIES®: 4.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXIX 358-MODIFIED NON-QUALIFIERS RACE (12 Laps)
FIN CAR# DRIVER
1 32c Vic Coffey/Leicester,NY
2 19 John Lazore/Hogansburg,NY
3 7g Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
4 27 Ryan Godown/Ringoes,NJ
5 4j Jeff Sykes/Edwards,NY
6 24 Chris Shultz/Pawling,NY
7 tj1 Tom Jock Jr./Akwesasne,NY
8 34 George Foley/Saranac Lake,NY
9 14s Brian Swarthout/Beaver Dams,NY
10 4 Andy Bachetti/Sheffield,MA
11 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
DSQ 72 Tommy Flannigan/St.Catharines,ONT
DNS 27j Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
DNS 7* Danny O’Brien/Kingston,ONT
DNS 24x Mike Perrotte/Plattsburgh,NY
DNS 6 Pat O’Brien/Kingston,ONT
DNS 16 Kyle Hoffman/Averill Park,NY
DNS 3m Henry Maier/Spencerport,NY
DNS 85 Ted Lamb Jr./Clay,NY
DNS 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
*Top-6 advance to Salute To the Troops 150 starting grid.
The final Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified event of the season comes in just one more week during the 2nd annual running of the DIRTcar Northeast Fall Nationals at Brockville Ontario Speedway, Oct. 15-18. Valuable points are on the line towards the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRT 358-Modified Championship finale, with the biggest event scheduled in Brockville’s 41st Anniversary season.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXIX EVENTS SCHEDULE: Oct. 10, 2010
*All tmes and events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TIME EVENT
Sun-10/10 8am Pit Gates Open
9:15am Pro Stock Driver’s Meeting (in pit building)
9:30am Modified Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building)
10am Grandstands Open, Track Open for Pro Stock Final Practice
10:20am Modified Final practice
10:45am Pro Stock Last Chance Qualifier
11:15am Dig Safely NY Modified Last Chance Qualifier
11:45am Modified Top-30 Autograph Signing under grandstand (Top 30 in Thursday Time Trials)
12noon BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship (25 laps)
12:45-1:45pm Cold Pit Tour of Pit Row
1:30pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Pre-Race ceremonies
2:00pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Championship (200 laps)
Mon-10/11 -TBA- Rain Date for Saturday or Sunday events
2010 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Mon-May 24 Merrittville Speedway Brett Hearn
Thr-Jul 1 Autodrome Edelweiss Danny Johnson
Sun-Sep 5 Cornwall Motor Speedway Danny O’Brien
Fri-Sep 10 Autodrome Granby Steve Bernard
Sat-Sep 11 Autodrome Drummond Brett Hearn ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 17 Mohawk International Raceway Matt Sheppard
Sun-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park -cancelled-
Wed-Oct 6 Can-Am Motorsports Park -cancelled-
Thr-Oct 7 Brewerton Speedway Jimmy Phelps
Fri-Oct 8 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Danny Johnson
Sat-Oct 9 New York State Fairgrounds Billy Decker ($20,000 to win)
Sat-Oct 16 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
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, VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com and GM Performance Parts www.gmperformanceparts.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.