SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Oct. 4, 2012 - Billy Decker captured the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified VP Small Engine Fuels 200 pole award for the fifth time in his career on Thursday afternoon at the New York State Fairgrounds during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week.
Decker, of Unidilla, N.Y., was one of the final competitors to qualify in a field of 65 cars, and he surged to the top of the charts with a stunning lap around the Moody Mile in 32.997 seconds.
David Hebert, of St. Damase, Quebec, and Peter Britten, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, were second and third quickest, marking the first time in the 41-year history of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week that an American, Canadian and Australian will occupy the top three starting positions in Sunday's VP Small Engine Fuels 200.
Seven-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Brett Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., Bobby Varin, of Johnstown, N.Y., and Gary Tomkins, of Clifton Springs, N.Y., rounded out top six qualifiers, all of whom are locked into the top six starting positions for Sunday's VP Small Engine Fuels 200.
"It's day one but you want to be the fastest every time you go out," said Decker, who also won the pole in 2011. "It's a start, it's a long week and it's certainly how we wanted to start it, now we need to finish. â?| Right now we want to be the best every time we roll onto the track."
Britten was the 21st car to qualify, knocking Hearn from the top spot at that point. Britten then waited â?| and waited â?| and waited to see if his lap of 33.330 seconds would last through the end of time trials. He almost made it. Decker and Hebert were among the final five qualifiers, but they posted the two quickest times of the day.
"I didn't even expect to stay in the top six," said Britten, who won the Big-Block Futures Race last year in his first attempt at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. "You see how these things go. Normally the guys keep coming and coming and coming later on, and they just never did. We kept watching, we got the qualifying list and looking over at the guys to come and they were dropping off and you start thinking, 'Maybe. Maybe.' Then Billy Decker comes out. He's got so many laps around here. To get beat by him, and then right at the end by David Hebert, I'll take that, third place in my second time here. It's kind of disappointing when you stay in the number one spot for so long, but third place is awesome for us. Hopefully now that we're locked in there's less pressure and we can concentrate on getting better for Sunday."
Qualifying time trials for the Gander Mountain 150 358-Modified event will be run on Friday morning.
The entry list is posted at SuperDIRTWeekOnline.com. For the latest news and updates about Super DIRT Week and DIRTcar Racing, "like" the Super DIRT Week and DIRTcar Racing Facebook pages or follow the Twitter feeds, @SuperDIRTWeek and @DIRTcarNE.
Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; VP Small Engine Fuels Qualifying; New York State Fairgrounds; Oct. 4, 2012.