Fulton, NY – Billy Decker hauled off with the winner’s loot from the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Highbank Holdup 100 Saturday at Fulton Speedway to begin defense of his 2014 Series crown.
Decker, of Unadilla, N.Y., started 11th in a 30-car field in the Gypsum Express No. 91. He took the lead from 2014 Fulton champion Larry Wight for the first time on lap 50, yielded to Wight a lap later and then retook the point for keeps on lap 61 as the leaders began working through lapped traffic.
Wight, who was the Pole Position Raceway Fast Qualifier, remained in hot pursuit until mechanical failure sidelined him on lap 87, relegating him to 25th overall.
Decker’s winning margin was six car-lengths over Matt Sheppard, who began on the pole and swapped the early lead with Stewart Friesen. Danny Johnson came from 27th and passed Jimmy Phelps for third with two laps remaining.
Despite three cautions over the final 25 laps and nine overall, there was no shortage of side-by-side racing from the front down through the field. Decker ruled the late restarts, using the high side of the track at one end and dropping to the bottom in the other.
“After the heat, Scott (crew chief Jeffries) and I went to the notes from last year and made some changes,” said Decker, the three-time and defending series champion. “The car got really good. It made me look like a big shot. First and foremost I’d like to thank the fans for coming out and playing with us tonight. It was a great show, I think, well I’m a little partial to it. This is just a great place to race.”
Sheppard charged out to an early lead in his Heinke-Baldwin Racing machine and challenged Decker late for the win.
“It was a good run for us,” said Sheppard, a three-time series champion from Waterloo, N.Y. “We were just a little off the pace, that’s all there is to it. We didn’t have the best car here tonight but we had a really good car. It was a really good finish and a good start to the series.
Johnson, together with sixth-place finishing Gary Tomkins, started in the back half of the field but found themselves with a shot a podium finish after racing hard for 100 laps around the 3/8-mile high-banked dirt oval.
“Turn two was my best part,” said Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y., who had worked from 27th to 10th in the first 65 laps before making his way to third down the stretch. “The track was really great. I thought at first we might have to go home without even qualifying. I was ecstatic just getting in and then I got worried that we might get lapped early.”
Jimmy Phelps started and finished fourth while Tim Fuller, who was second-quick in qualifying and won his heat before drawing 12th in the Dig Safely NY redraw, rounded out the top five.
The Super DIRTcar Series’ second event of the 24-race tour is set for Wednesday, May 20, at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
For more information on Canandaigua Motorsports Park, click www.canandaiguamotorsportspark.com .
Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Statistical Report; Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway; April 25, 2015
Highbank Holdup 100 (Pos./Car/Driver/Hometown): 1. 91 Billy Decker, Unadilla, N.Y. ($6,000); 2. 9H Matt Sheppard, Waterloo, N.Y.; 3. 27J Danny Johnson, Rochester, N.Y.; 4. 98h Jimmy Phelps, Baldwinsville, N.Y.; 5. 19 Tim Fuller, Edwards, N.Y.; 6. 93 Gary Tomkins, Clifton Springs, N.Y.; 7. 99 Ryan Phelps, Newark, N.Y.; 8. 66x Carey Terrance, Hogansburg, N.Y.; 9. 4* Tim McCreadie, Watertown, N.Y.; 10. 5H Chris Hile Syracuse, N.Y.; 11. 3H Justin Haers Phelps, N.Y.; 12. 20 Brett Hearn, Sussex, N.J.;13. 51 Stewart Friesen Sprakers, N.Y.; 14. 74M Matt Billings, Brockville, Ont.; 15. 1T Tyler Dippel, Walkill, N.Y.; 16. 42P Pat Ward, Genoa, N.Y.; 17. 7Z Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y.; 18. 2K Vic Coffey, Caledonia, N.Y.; 19. X Chad Phelps Baldwinsville, N.Y.; 20. 99B Chuck Bower, Lansing, N.Y.; 21. 07 Tim Kerr, Pinkerton, Ont.; 22. 8 Rich Scagliotta, Bound Brook, N.J.; 23. 43 Keith Flach, Ravena, N.Y.; 24. 8R Rob Bellinger, Cicero, N.Y.; 25. 99L Larry Wight Phoenix, N.Y.; 26. 62S Tom Sears Jr., Clay, N.Y.; 27. 83X Tim Sears Jr., Clay, N.Y.; 28. 16 Mike Bowman, Baldwinsville, N.Y.; 29. 24 Jim Witko Jr., Clarks Summit, Pa.; 30. 14b Peter Britten, Brisbane, Australia.
DNS: 88 Joe August Jr.; 97 Michel Chicoine; 109 Billy Whittaker; 55 Matt Hulsizer; 5* Tyler Siri; 48t Dave Rauscher; 28 Chris Mackie; 15 Matt Fink; 02 Roy Bresnahan; 26 Ricky Richner; 41 Jim Davis; 19w Justin Wright.
Qualifying Heats (8 laps; top 5 transfer; top 3 redraw)
Heat 1: Wight, Sheppard, J. Phelps, Hile, Cofffey, Rudolph, Bellinger, McCreadie, Johnson, August Jr., Scagliotta.
Heat 2: McCreadie, Hearn, Friesen, Flach, Kerr,Dipple, Davis, Hulsizer, Whittaker, Chicoine, Rauscher.
Heat 3: Ward, Decker, Billings, Sears Jr., Haers, Bresnahan, Roberts, Bowman, Tomkins, Wright, Richner.
Heat 4: Bower, Phelps, Sears Jr., Terrance, Britten, Siri, Witko Jr., C Phelps, Mackey
VP Race Fuels – Carey Terrance ($50 cash)
ASI Racewear – Ryan Phelps ($50 cash)
Pole Position Raceway Fast Qualifier Award – Larry Wight ($100 cash)
Bilstein Shocks – Tim Kerr ($50 cash)
Bicknell Racing Products – Billy Decker ($100 product certificate)
Cometic Gasket – Matt Billings ($50 cash)
Comp Cams – Chris Hile ($50 cash), Matt Sheppard ($50 product certificate)
Edelbrock – Justin Haers ($50 cash)
Fox Shox – Garry Tomkins ($50 cash)
JE Pistons – Gary Tomkins ($50 cash), Pat Ward (product), Tim Kerr (product)
KSE Racing Products – Danny Johnson ($50 Hard Charger product certificate)
MSD – Matt Sheppard ($50 cash), Rob Bellinger ($25 cash)
Mobil 1 – Gary Tomkins ($50 cash), Tim Kerr (20% product discount)
SuperFlow – Matt Billings ($50 cash)
Wrisco Aluminum – Matt Sheppard (product valued at appr. $200)
JRI Shocks – Tim Kerr ($50 cash)
DIRTcar Series PR – Photo: syracuse.com