Billy Decker has plenty of wins throughout his Dirt Modified racing career, but coming into this week, none of them were at Eldora Speedway. That all changed Tuesday night when the Super DIRTcar Series returned to western Ohio for the second straight year, with Decker bringing in a great car and a fantastic opportunity, winning his heat race, starting on pole, and leading every lap around the high-banked half-mile to take down a major career victory.
“This place has been a little bit of a thorn in my side. I had a pretty good race here (last year) and (Tim) Fuller and I were dicing it out with a lapped car. Feel like one got away from me. I really wanted to win at Eldora, one of the marquee speedways. It’s big, it feels really good,” Decker told the media after the race.
Fortune was also in the favor of Decker on the night, as he had drawn the pole position, giving him prime position from the start of the night and the ability to choose the ideal line on the track. After a little uncertainty after practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and an extended track prep, that line would be on the outside, right where most expected it to be.
“We were fortunate to draw a good number tonight. So far this year I’ve been drawing good numbers backing up, I really did not do that. The first time we had a really fast racecar when we got here tonight, and we didn’t fall down,” Said Decker. “They tilled the track a little bit, I think I was going to end up there anyhow and it just made it a little more forgiving when you pull a good number. It makes you feel good when you have a forgiving racetrack and couple that with a fast racecar, you feel pretty good about it.”
All though Decker was dominant, he did not get any help from his fellow competitors as yellow flags set up multiple restarts over the 75-lap Tuesday Night Tailgate feature. But Decker was perfectly content with that, given his strength on restarts, and the unpredictable nature of lapped traffic.
“I was okay, the lapped traffic was getting a little bit dicey there, a couple guys were running a line and then move in the next turn, which makes it hairy. I thought I fired really good on the restarts, given that restarts went so well, I didn’t really mind the cautions.”
Decker’s biggest threat on the night came from Pat Ward who had also started second to begin the feature. With Decker choosing the outside on restarts, Ward had to make the inside work. On a couple of occasions it nearly worked well enough to almost snag the lead away.
“Once he got to the top in one and two, I could almost drag up even with him in three and four a couple of times, but you would lose your momentum when you tried to run down on the bottom like that and he just pulled away after that,” Ward said at the end of the night.
Wednesday night sees the fulltime Super DIRTcar teams race for money and a trophy at Eldora in a 25-lap all-star sprint race. Thursday night it’s back to work with a 100-lap feature at Sharon Speedway in eastern Ohio, all before the Big-Block Modifieds head to Canada for the following three series events.
Decker’s night Tuesday helps begin a recovery after losing the points lead to Larry Wight, and gives him some momentum as this time away from the Series’ base in New York State.
“Winning fixes a lot of things, it doesn’t fix everything. You can’t get that stuff back that you give away, we’ve had a couple of tough Series races ourselves. But when you come back and win, you look forward rather than look back. Hopefully we can build a little of momentum on it. The last few years we haven’t done so well in Canada. Maybe we can get over that hump too. We just look at it one race at a time, we just got to do the best we can. Looking forward to going to Sharon in a couple of nights, we had a solid run there last year and we can do the same thing this year.”
Speed51.com will be back both Wednesday and Thursday with Trackside Now coverage from Eldora and Sharon, with highlights to follow on the Speed51 Network.
For an on-demand replay of Tuesday night’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JRi Shocks, click here.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com