Billy Decker Wins TMS Championship
by Kyle Young
Center Lisle, NY – The 2020 racing season at the Thunder Mountain Speedway came to a close after one final night of action. With cooler temperatures than we’ve seen in recent weeks, the track was gripped up and presented a fast and competitive surface for drivers in all divisions.
The Open Modified feature started out with Marc Goodwin leading the early laps before Nick Nye took it away. Nye got himself comfortable at the front of the field while a brawl was going on behind him. Billy Decker, Brandon Walters, Marc Goodwin, Shaun Walker, Chris Stull, and Michael Maresca were all battling hard for the top five positions throughout the first half of the race. The first caution came out just beyond halfway after Walker and Stull touched in lapped traffic battling for 2nd, sending Stull to a sliding stall. Nye had Decker and Walker behind him for the restart, which created an instant battle for the lead off the restart. Decker went to the top and took the lead away from Nye. Nye dropped back to fourth as both Walker and Maresca got their way around him. As Decker led, Maresca got to second and soon challenged Decker for the lead. Maresca was pounding the cushion on the top of the track, which eventually bit him. He got himself just a little bit too high in turns one and two, jumped the cushion, and spun himself out with four laps to go. With Maresca out of the picture, Shaun Walker was given one last shot at Decker for the win. Walker put up a valiant effort, but Decker kept Walker at bay and scored the victory in the season finale. Walker finished in second with Brandon Walters, Nick Nye, and Alan Barker rounding out the top five. With the victory, Billy Decker was crowned the track champion.
The intense battle for the track championship in the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds finally came to an end with a spectacular performance by the champion. Jeff Taylor led the early laps through some early race cautions, which kept things tight at the front of the field. Points leader Ronnie Davis III worked his way up from his sixth place starting spot and took the lead away from Taylor. He pulled away from the field and looked very strong while doing so. As Davis led, Michael Maresca once again made his presence known and got himself up to second from his eleventh place starting spot. He had a very lengthy and competitive battle with Jeff Taylor for second and eventually took the spot away. Maresca started closing in on Davis in lapped traffic, but the gap was just too much for him to overcome. Davis would take the checkered flag ahead of Maresca in second, Jeff Taylor landed a third place finish, Michael Stanton Jr. was fourth, and Alan Barker got himself his second fifth place finish of the night. Ronnie Davis III entered the night with a five point lead over Brandon Walters and was awarded the track championship with his victory. This is Davis’ first career championship in a DIRTcar 358 Modified.
The only points lead that changed on championship night was the one in the DIRTcar Crate Sportsman division. Will Eastman took the lead from the outside pole over pole sitter Steve Marshall and led the opening circuits. Some early cautions took control, but the green flag laps eventually came and created some fierce battles. Eastman led the first half of the race, but did not do it easily. Brandon Carvey started to close in and challenged hard, but was unable to take over. Alan Fink closed in and it became a three car battle. The final caution of the race came with eleven laps to go and put the battling on a brief hold. The race went green from that point on and allowed Eastman to pull away from the field. Carvey and Fink continued their war for the second spot, and right behind them, Hunter Lapp and Tommy Collins fought for fourth. Will Eastman went on to take his second win of the season with Alan Fink finishing second, Brandon Carvey third, Hunter Lapp fourth, and Rocco Leone in fifth. Leone took the fifth position from Tommy Collins on the final lap of the race, which ultimately had a major impact on the championship. With that pass and a second place finish by Alan Fink, Fink overcame the ten point difference between himself and Tommy Collins to win the track championship by a single point.
Wheeler’s Excavating Street Stocks kicked off with Damon Decker getting the early race lead. Steven Deinhardt got himself to second place and joined Decker at the front to pull away from the field. Deinhardt closed in and started peaking low before the first yellow came out with seven laps to go. Off the restart, everyone started fighting for position on the bottom of the track. Deinhardt saw how difficult it would be to pass Decker for the lead on the bottom, so he switched to the top side and made the pass a lap after the restart. One last caution with four laps to go gave Decker a chance at redemption, but a huge restart for Deinhardt denied him of that opportunity. Deinhardt led the final four laps and took the checkered flag ahead of Lanson Albanese, Jerry Lobdell Jr., Doug Stack Jr., and Mike Wilbur. Jerry Lobdell Jr.’s third place finish allowed him to clinch his first career track championship.
Nick Robinson led the first five laps of the 600cc Modified feature after a short battle with Devon Green before the first caution flew. Robinson held off points leader Doug Windhausen for the lead off the restart, then started to pull away. Windhausen, Tom Donahue, Justin LaDue, Jake Waibel, and Ryan Jordan started battling hard for position behind him. After a caution with six laps to go, Jordan and Waibel got caught up in a spin just a lap after the restart and took them out of contention for the race win. Robinson continued to lead and had to hold off Tom Donahue in a close battle in the final laps. Donahue tried getting to Robinson’s outside on the final lap, but he was unable to get the job done and Nick Robinson went to Victory Lane. Tom Donahue, Justin LaDue, Doug Windhausen, and Jared Green completed the top five. Doug Windhausen entered with a 36 point lead and his fourth place finish was good enough to get his first Thunder Mountain Speedway track championship.
The track championship was already locked up for the Pop’s Automotive Factory Stocks heading into the last race, but there was still one more feature win up for grabs. Luke Mills led the early laps until a caution took his lead away. Mike Morse got himself to second before the caution, so he got to line up next to Mills for the restart. The two had a great battle for the lead for multiple laps. Mills had better speed through the turns, but Morse out powered Mills going down the straightaways. Morse finally cleared Mills for the lead and pulled away from there on to go back to Victory Lane for his championship season. Luke Mills held onto second over Jake Fowlston, Buck Mills Sr., and Buck Mills Jr.
A first time winner graced Victory Lane in the Rookie Sportsman finale. Bryan Pospisil and Jamie Kamrowski led the field to the green. Kamrowski had a nasty push in turn four on the opening lap, tried to recover, but made contact and triggered a multi-car crash. That gave Pospisil the race lead for the restart, but he too pushed tight and gave up control to James Costlow. Jordan Millard got to second place and challenged Costlow the best he could. Millard showed a lot of strength on the restarts, but Costlow was able to gap him once they got into a rhythm. Despite multiple attempts to take over, Millard couldn’t find what he needed to beat Costlow and Costlow ended his season with his first win. Millard was second followed by Jamie Kamrowski, Blake Sarpriacone, and Ryan Barrett. Jonathan Fowlston finished in seventh place to lock up his first career championship after a season filled with consistent finishes and a couple wins along the way.
Logan LaDue’s Rookie 600cc Modified championship season ended in disappointing fashion. He was only able to complete one lap this week before mechanical woes forced him to go pit side. Although his final night was a struggle, his overall season has not been. Logan said the biggest thing he’s learned this season is how much of a difference in speed the adults have compared to the rookies and that it’s much more challenging to keep up with them. He’s also already looking forward to defending his championship next year.
Our 2020 racing season is now officially complete! We do have one more event to be held at the track before we go silent until 2021. The Versus Monster Trucks will come to the Thunder Mountain Speedway for a “Wheelie Big Weekend” on Saturday, September 26th and Sunday, September 27th. We’d like to thank everyone who supported us and helped us make our 2020 season safe, fun, and entertaining all the way through!