OSWEGO — Billy Decker and Matt Sheppard will lead the Super DIRT Week Billy Whittaker Cars and Trux 200 field to the line this Sunday as they topped the 80 cars attempting to qualify Thursday in time trials at Oswego Speedway.
Gypsum Wholesaler Decker, of Unadilla, was timed at 20.316 to sit on the pole while Sheppard, of Waterloo, was .18 of a second off the leaders’ pace with a 20.496.
“It feels good. You want to win every time out and this was one of them,” Decker said. “We’re optimistic the track will be similar to what it has been the past couple years, and whatever swing it takes, the best in the business are here to react accordingly.”
Decker continued, “Anyone of us in the top six could have been there on the pole and track record is the result of the race track.”
Decker was the 73rd car to take time and then outlasted just a handful of other competitors. Sheppard, the dominant modified driver in the Northeast, will be alongside the veteran as both are former winners of this event.
One of the hottest Modified drivers in recent week has been St. Catherines, Ontario native Mat Williamson. He earned the third spot on the starting grid with a 20.51 lap.
Tim Fuller, of Edwards, locked into the fourth position with a 20.697. Anthony Perrego of Middletown is in Ray Graham’s No. 18 racecar and starts fifth with a 20.709.
The sixth and final driver locked into the field is Justin Haers, of Phelps, with a best lap of 20.71. Ironically, Haers and Jimmy Phelps had identical fast laps, but due to Haers having the other lap quicker than Phelps he earned the sixth position.
Top 32 cars broke the existing track record. Notable drivers who didn’t lock in included defending champion Larry Wight, who timed in at 20.744 for the eighth quickest lap. K&N East competitor Max McLaughlin was 16th (20.943).
Stewart Friesen timed a 20.983 and was 19th among around the 80 drivers who took time. He will not be present for today’s heats at the speedway, as he is headed to Talladega to continue his quest for the NASCAR Trucks crown. He has a provisional spot and will start far back in the field at Sunday’s big race.