Perhaps no driver has shown more longevity in the Super DIRTcar Series than Billy Decker. The 51-year-old New Yorker finished the 2015 season second in points and continues to be a top contender in the premier Big Block Modified series of the Northeast.
But Decker enters the 2016 race season with a new team. No longer is he with Gypsum Racing. Decker is now with Mike Payne, and he believes that he won’t skip a beat when the new season gets underway at Fulton Speedway (NY) on April 30.
“I think we’re going to be fine,” Decker told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think I wouldn’t be going into this year thinking I would do any worse, I can tell you that. You have to be prepared. We’ll find out how well prepared we are moving forward. I have quite a bit of confidence that we’re going to be okay and I certainly expect to contend for the championship, I can tell you that.”
Decker said the key to winning the championship in his first year with a new team will be just adapting to his new surroundings and being able to “translate” his thoughts well.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate throughout my career that I’ve only switched teams a couple of times,” he said. “It’s just a feeling out process and a new translation. Just translating what I feel to what their crew chief usually sees. So we’ll need to figure that out so we can make good adjustments.”
If Decker pulls off the championship, it would be the fourth of his career. The first came way back in 1998. The second came 10 years later in 2008, and then he followed that one up with his third championship two years ago in 2014.
Ten years and eight years in between titles is a long time, but that’s what we mean when we say that Decker has shown great longevity.
The key to Decker’s longevity has been his drive and passion for doing one thing, and that’s winning. He doesn’t race for points. He just tries to win. However, that could be reason why Decker doesn’t have more championships to his name.
“We just try to win races. That’s all you can do,” he said. “Just let the points take care of themselves. We’ve never been really good points racers. You could probably go back through the years and there’s probably not too many people that have won more Super DIRTcar Series races than us. We’ve always been solid racers. I don’t think we’ve been to a race in a long time that we weren’t capable of winning. But the championship is something we’ve struggled at.”
Decker said in the past he hasn’t lost the championship because other drivers flat-out beat him. He said he’s lost championships because he beats himself. Decker said the goal for this year is for him and his new team to not beat themselves. If they don’t do that, then Decker believes he has as good a shot as any to win his fourth Super DIRTcar Series championship.
“That’s what we’re racing for obviously,” Decker said. “I’m not going out there to finish second or third.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Duane Canfield/Speed51.com photo