Decker Holds Off Wight and Pauch to Win DIRTcar Nationals Opener for Super DIRTcar Series

BARBERVILLE, FL – The Super DIRTcar Series big-block Modifieds took the green for the first time in 2019 for a 30-lap feature, led to the start by Gypsum teammates Billy Decker and Larry Wight.

“I can’t thank John Wight enough, I’m just happy,” Decker said after his first win at Volusia Speedway Park win since 2005.  “It was a wrestling match out there.  I had to move around with the lapped cars, but I needed to be on the bottom. I had to get down there and stay straight, but I needed to turn too. It was tough.”

Wight got the initial jump, nosing out Decker to lead lap one. Wight’s stint up front was short-lived, as Wight grabbed the cushion wrong on lap three and surrendered the lead to Decker.

Wight continued to have issues, catching the cushion wrong in the same spot in turn three the next couple of laps, surrendering second and third to Matt Sheppard and Anthony Perrego. Just as Sheppard closed in on Decker for the lead, the caution waived with five laps complete.

After the restart, Sheppard hung close to Decker, within half of a second by lap 10. Right as Sheppard reached the rear bumper of Decker, Sheppard suffered the same fate as Wight, repeatedly shoving the nose up the racetrack and losing tons of time.

The yellow flag flew for Justin Haers on lap 12, negating the pass Perrego had just made on Sheppard for second.

Sheppard was on the attack when the green flag waived, looking under Decker for the top spot. On lap 15, Sheppard was ready to make his move, diving under Decker going into turn three. However, Decker was already headed towards the bottom, and Sheppard’s right front made slight contact with Decker’s left rear. While the contact was slight, it was enough to turn Sheppard sideways and to a stop. The caution lights turned on, and Sheppard went pitside.

Now, Decker was left to contend with Perrego and Wight. Perrego was able to hang within a couple car lengths, but the yellow waived again for Mario Clair’s flat tire after just two laps under green.

Like many had before, Perrego got tight and pushed up the track when racing resumed, sliding back to fourth. Wight went to second, and Billy Pauch clawed up to third. Pauch, ripping the cushion, drew even with the hub-hugging Wight, and both Wight and Pauch slowly drew in on Decker despite being side-by-side for laps on end. With five laps to go, Decker was out front, but it was far from comfortable.

While Decker stretched the lead out the next few laps, Wight reeled him in as Decker hit traffic. The traffic forced Decker off the bottom, and Wight tore into Decker’s small lead.

As the white flag waived, Wight showed the nose under Decker, but Decker hung tough down the backstretch. Entering turn three, Decker went to the bottom, but Wight went even lower, all over Decker’s left rear tire coming to the finish.

With Wight in the bite down low, he was able to draw alongside Decker off of turn four, but it was Billy Decker beating Wight to the line to win the 2019 season opener.

Decker fought Wight throughout the race, from the drop of the green to the finish. Wight poked a nose under Decker a couple times on the last lap, but couldn’t get the pass done.

“I thought I saw him flash under me earlier,” noted Decker. “I knew when I was giving up ground that Wight was close, but I needed to stay where I was. I probably could have done a little bit better job there at the end, but we got ‘er done.”

While Wight has a DIRTcar Nationals championship, he had never won a feature at Volusia. That almost changed tonight.  He came up one spot short.

“I think we had the fastest car out there,” said Wight. “We just made it a little too tight and it never came around to us. We just need to make a couple of adjustments to get the right front to bite into the track more and we’ll be right there for the rest of the week. I got a big gator, I just need to get a little one now.”

Pauch put on a high-flying display of driving in the final laps, nearly charging up to the lead. However, he was happy to finish in third.

“The car wouldn’t turn, and I was trying to make it turn,” stated Pauch. “I went up top and backed it in there and figured that was the best I could do with it. We had a pretty good run, but I was getting mist in my face. I thought it was Decker, but it was my radiator overheating. It got hard to see at the end, so I had to sit down the last couple laps and finish.”

Perrego, making his debut for Graham Racing, finished in fourth with the third member of the LJL Racing Team finishing fifth in Pat Ward.

VOLUSIA SPEEDWAY PARK SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES FEATURE FINISH (30-LAPS): 1. 91-Billy Decker [1]; 2. 99l-Larry Wight [2]; 3. 1-Billy Pauch [3]; 4. 18-Anthony Perrego [6]; 5. 42p-Pat Ward [14]; 6. 25-Erick Rudolph [5]; 7. 9s-Matt Sheppard [4]; 8. 20-Brett Hearn [23]; 9. 7-Rick Laubach [8]; 10. 88-Mat Williamson [10]; 11. 5-Ryan Godown [21]; 12. 21a-Peter Britten [9]; 13. 111-Demetrios Drellos [17]; 14. 118-Kim Britt [19]; 15. 44-Stewart Friesen [7]; 16. 27j-Danny Johnson [20]; 17. 19m-Jessey Mueller [12]; 18. 23-Kyle Coffey [26]; 19. 9t-Will Thomas [11]; 20. 2L-Jack Lehner [24]; 21. 35c-Mario Clair [25]; 22. 46-Jeremy Smith [15]; 23. 19-Tim Fuller [13]; 24. 3-Justin Haers [22}; 25. 21-Yan Bussiere [18]; DNS: 5st Tyler Siri [16]

Contingency Sponsor Bonuses:

Brett Hearn – VP Fuels – $50
Stewart Friesen – Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux Fast-Time Award – Stewart Friesen
Billy Decker – Bicknell Racing Products – $100 in product
Peter Britten – Cometic Gasket – $50
Mat Williamson – Comp Cams – $50
Billy Decker – Comp Cams – $50 in product
Erick Rudolph – Drydene Performance Products
Billy Pauch – Fox Racing Shox – $50
Pat Ward – JE Pistons – $50
Stewart Friesen – JE Pistons – Product
Jack Lehner – JE Pistons – Product
Ryan Godown – KSE Racing Products – $50 Product
Billy Decker – MSD Ignition – $50
Justin Haers – MSD Ignition – $25
Anthony Perrego – NGK Spark Plugs – $50
Jim Britt – NGK Spark Plugs – Product
Billy Decker – Wrisco Aluminum – Product
Matt Sheppard- ASI Racewear – $50
Danny Johnson – Drydene Performance Products – $50 Product
Will Thomas – Dart – $100 Product
Rich Laubach – Dart – $50
Larry Wight – Dart – $100 Product