Decker Wins the Salute to the Troops 150 at Oswego – DTD Exclusive

By Bobby Sweeney

OSWEGO, N.Y. (October 12, 2019) — Billy Decker mastered a late race restart to grab the win in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Salute to The Troops 150, scoring the $20,000 Oswego win. The win was Decker’s seventh in the 358 event during Super DIRT Week, but the first since 2011 and his first at Oswego Speedway.

“Damn good to be here,” Decker said. “I learned from Wight on what to do on that restart, I saw him pound the middle and drive away for a good three laps there before it started to give up some, so I had to do it and anyways I had to go where Rudolph was not. I’m super appreciative of everyone that was here, I had a lot of help to get here tonight.”

Jimmy Phelps showed the way at the start of the 150-lap main, followed by Erick Rudolph and Dave Marcuccilli. Rudolph hung close to Phelps in the first circuits, pulling the trigger with an inside pass for the lead on lap 10. Mike Maresca stopped with a flat the next lap, which saved Rudolph and Phelps from extremely thick lapped traffic.

The restart saw Mat Williamson and Larry Wight dart by Phelps, knocking him back to fourth. Rudolph was able to hold Williamson at about a second back for the next short run, before a few cars at the back of the field tangled on lap 22. When race pace resumed, Williamson stayed stuck to Rudolph, with Wight not far behind. The top two remained inseparable for the ten laps after the restart, but the back of the pack was being caught fast.

When the leaders hit traffic, Williamson used the first car as a pick to lead lap 37, and Wight followed through for second the next time by. However, Rudolph drove back by both to retake the lead on lap 39. Once back out front, Rudolph left Williamson to fight off Wight, opening up a two-second lead by lap 45.

With 53 laps in, Wight made his move on Williamson, driving around the extreme top to take second. Even with their battle, both drivers had reeled in Rudolph, but the yellow flag waived the next lap for Gary Lindberg. Wight got a great restart, launched off the top, and drove by Rudolph for the lead. Decker moved to third by Williamson, but that spot was far from secure as Williamson immediately fought back.

By lap 65, Wight was up by about a second and a half, but the gap was soon closing. Lapped traffic caused Wight’s lead to shrink, with Rudolph getting within a car length at halfway. As Rudolph gained on Wight, both Williamson and Decker closed in on them.

On lap 80, Rudolph took his first swing at the lead, pulling even with Wight. Wight hung on for the time being, but Rudolph remained locked to his rear bumper as the pair raced through traffic. Rudolph took another shot with 89 laps in, but Wight slid past three lapped cars in one turn to keep the spot. Dave Marcuccilli slowed with no fuel on lap 91, and the officials deemed it close enough to lap 100 to call it the pit break.

After the pit stops, the top two broke away from Decker, Williamson, and Tim Fuller. Rudolph stuck close to Wight, hanging within a couple car lengths as the field passed lap 100. On lap 105, Rudolph saw a gap and shot past Wight, reclaiming the lead for the third time in the event. From there, Rudolph stretched it out in traffic, up to three seconds by lap 120, as Wight now had Decker on his tail.

Decker finally wrestled second away from Wight on lap 128, but Rudolph was a full straightaway ahead. Rudolph’s lead evaporated in an instant, as Demetrios Drellos came to a stop on lap 133. On the restart, Decker blasted the top and drove by Rudolph, officially scored the leader on lap 137.

Gary Lindberg stopped on lap 138, setting up a single-file restart. Decker got a good jump, putting a second gap over Rudolph. This gap seemed stable and Decker looked to be sitting pretty, but Phelps slowed with no fuel with three laps remaining. This set up a two-lap dash for the win, with Decker leading Rudolph and Wight.

Decker got another great restart, and neither Rudolph nor Wight could match his speed. When the checkered flag fell, it was Billy Decker scoring his first Oswego win and seventh Salute To The Troops 150 triumph. Erick Rudolph crossed in second, with Larry Wight, Tim Fuller, and Mat Williamson completing the top five.

Rudolph led a lot of laps during the event, but gave up the lead and eventual win late.

“I think my tires got cold on the last restart,” noted Rudolph. “There’s a ton of competition here, and our car is really dialed in, it wasn’t for a lack of effort.”

Wight also had the lead a good portion of the race, including after the pit stop break, but settled for third at the end.

“We’re still on torsion bars,” Wight said. “Probably the only bar car here. It was really good when the brown was fading to black, but when it got super black, I just couldn’t get off the corner and that’s how Erick and Billy got me. I could get through the corners well, just struggled down the straights.”

Super DIRT Week
Salute to the Troops 150
DIRTcar 358 Modified Series
Oswego Speedway
Oswego, N.Y.
Saturday October 12, 2019

1. 91 – Billy Decker
2. 25R – Eric Rudolph
3. 99L – Larry Wight
4. 3RS – Tim Fuller
5. 6 – Mat Williamson
6. 18 – Anthony Perrego
7. 8RS – Ryan Susice
8. 49 – Billy Dunn
9. 3 – Justin Haers
10. 25ST – Steve Bernier
11. 124 – Alan Johnson
12. 9J – Jordan McCreadie
13. 15 – Todd Root
14. 25P – Michael Parent
15. 1 – David Hebert
16. 35 – Mike Mahaney
17. 47S – Corey Wheeler
18. 09 – Billy Whittaker
19. 98H – Jimmy Phelps
20. 1Z – Jessica Friesen
21. 71 – Mike Bowman
22. 83 – Danny Johnson
23. 1M – Dave Marcuccilli
24. 42P – Pat Ward
25. 32R – Ronnie Davis III
26. 20 – Brett Hearn
27. 17 – Tyler Meeks
28. 66 – Kyle Dingwall
29. 2 – Jack Lehner
30. 22C – Mario Clair
31. 28ZT – Gary Lindberg
32. 19M – Jessey Mueller
33. 111 – Demetrois Drellos
34. 33H – Chris Hile
35. 9X – Tyler Trump
36. 31 – Lance Willix II
37. 115 – Kenny Tremont Jr.
38. 39X – Alex Therrien
39. 7M – Michael Maresca
40. 21 – Yan Bussiere