Two different races, two completely different drivers, and two great stories emerged from the weekend that was across dirt nation as Willie Milliken and Billy Decker won their respective national touring feature events in two different fashions.
We start in Fayetteville....
|Daylon Barr Photo|
There are several compelling reasons to buy a ticket for a national touring event. To see the best of the best among the country's top drivers, to see how well they do against your weekly favorites, and also the slim to none chance that maybe, just maybe you'll actually get to bear witness to one of them beating the touring regulars. Willie Milliken served that last particular reason and then some on Saturday night at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in World of Outlaw Late Model action.
And not only did he pull off the miracle, he did so with the complete hat trick earning quick time, winning his heat, and then crossed the line first at the end of 50 laps to earn the $10,000 plus payday. There were some breaks, sure. He managed to pull the #1 pill in the redraw. And the track was said to be challenging to pass on. Also at work for him were some cautions that kept him from entering thick lapped traffic. And absolutely none of that really matters.
It just so turned out that the Lucas Oil Series was rained out and a couple drivers made their way to Fayetteville to join the Outlaws on this night with the likes of Jonathan Davenport and Earl Pearson Jr. competing. So the competition level factor was definitely turned up a level. Oh, and let's not forget Josh Richards was there of course. To win any race with those three drivers in the mix not to mention a hungry pack of Outlaws that could use a win (Other than Richards) is an achievement in an of itself. To win in those circumstances takes complete concentration, you've literally got to make sure to hit your marks every lap and never make a mistake, you've got to almost drive flawlessly. And Milliken did that. And to be fair, when the stars of the sport pull a number one pill in a redraw and win from the pole, most people just say, they couldn't be caught anyway. Neither could Milliken and the fans went wild!
And the best part about it, is it gives us one more story in the book of racing that fans in attendance will remember forever, we could use more of those nights, the night when the local driver bested the field in front of a packed house. It's what we love about the Outlaw vs Home Track driver concept. The miracle almost never happens, but we still have to be there...just in case it might. Well done Mr. Milliken!
For our own Daylon Barr's photo album of the WoO Fayetteville Show Click HERE
Now then...in Fulton
|Photo Courtesy of Brian E Walsh|
Back in December, times were not so good for one Billy Decker. He'd enjoyed a career that had seen hundreds of weekly and touring wins. Many of those came in a very familiar looking car, the Gypsum Express #91 entry, the red and yellow beast that tortured drivers at tracks all over the north east modified geography. How many times have we seen that car lurking at the start of the race in the front to the middle of the pack running down the top five drivers en route to victory? Too many to count frankly! It was a great team to be sure, great equipment, great crew members, and lots of support. And in December, it released Mr. Decker who very nearly went on to back to back Super DirtCar Series titles just a month beforehand.
|Brian E Walsh Photo|
It's business we suppose. And businesses are allowed to make tough decisions. But Decker's SDS tour victory at Fulton on Saturday night had to make you feel great for him. Decker took his new car, the familiar blue machine from Page Trucking/Mike Payne Racing entry, and parked it on a track he has dominated at for years, besting his good friend Tim Fuller in the process as he battled through intense lapped traffic on a changing surface en route to victory.
For Decker to win the first race at Fulton, in front of those who'd moved on from him was a sweet dose of vindication. Even the team Gypsum guys had to like it. Okay we're being a bit facetious there, but still, there was something that was just so right about the moment which was actually foretold by our own Daylon Barr here.
Two great stories unfolded this weekend, and they're some of the reasons that we love coming to the track, sometimes better scripts couldn't be written...