Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – BARBERSVILLE, FL – There was just one driver carrying the Gypsum Racing colors at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night and that was Billy Decker.
Teammates Larry Wight and Pat Ward did not make the trip. Wight had a good reason as his wife, Brooke, gave birth to their second child on Monday. Congratulations to them.
Decker, however, did the team and their fans proud, finishing second in his heat race and racing his way from sixth at the green flag in the 30-lap DIRTcar Nationals feature to race as high as third.
With just a handful of laps remaining, Max McLaughlin got around the “Franklin Flyer” but Decker persevered to retake the position on the final circuit and brought the 91 home in third.
“Our Gypsum Wholesalers car was really good tonight,” Decker said. “It was a tough track tonight just blazin’ the outside there pretty hard.”
Decker knew his Bicknell chassis was stout on this night but he just didn’t have enough for the top two. Unfortunately, lap traffic played a factor in his race.
“I got into third there on a restart and then got into lap traffic,” he said. “That’s when Max got by us and then we got into more lapped traffic and I got back by him on the last lap.”
All in all, through a hard-fought battle, Decker was pleased with a podium finish Tuesday night at Volusia.
“I’m happy to come out of here with a top three tonight,” he said. “We’ll keep working hard and see what we can scrounge up tomorrow.”
McLaughlin had to settle for a fourth place finish on the night. While it was a strong run for his Sweeteners Plus team, he wasn’t happy. He wanted third.
“We were forced into the fence on the last lap by a lapped car,” McLaughlin said. “Fell back to fourth but it was a good run though. We’ll be back tomorrow (Wednesday) for night two.”
After capturing the win in his heat race early in the night, pulling a slide job on leader Jack Lehner to grab the top spot, McLaughlin understood that track position was going to be key in the feature event. That proved to be right.
“Jack schooled me on the start,” he said. “They did straight up starting positions tonight so it was a matter of starting fourth or eighth. These aren’t very long races so that’s pretty crucial.”
Racing action resumes on Wednesday night at Volusia Speedway Park for the Super DIRTcar Series as night two of Big Block Modified competition will take place.