Decker gets first Shootout win at Petaluma
By Stephanie OdomWest Coast Shootout
PETALUMA, Calif., (Sept. 8) — Jeff Decker of San Jose, Calif., used lapped traffic to pick the lead from Rob Sanders of Bakersfield, Calif., in Saturday night’s M. Maselli and Sons Classic feature at Petaluma Speedway and raced to a $2,000 victory sanctioned by the West Coast Late Model Shootout.
Decker, who earned his first-ever series victory, topped John Silva of Fremont, Calif., at the finish line while Paul Guglielmoni of Vacaville, Calif., finished third and Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif., and Mike Meazell of Gilroy, Calif., rounded out the race’s top five finishers. Sanders ended up ninth in the final rundown.
Series points leader Clay Daly of Watsonville, Calif., retired before completing a lap in a race that took four attempts to get started.
Rob Sanders started the night strong and was in route to his first West Coast Shootout victory until contact was made through lapped traffic.
Sanders and Daly led the field to the initial green before Daly dropped out with a broken birdcage. Papich and Tony Toste, both in the top five in points, were involved in a tangle in turns one and two and had to go into the pits to make repairs.
Sanders, who qualified fast time and dominated his heat race, quickly pulled away once the feature got started and put a straightaway lead between himself and Decker while working his way through lapped traffic.
Behind the leaders, Papich worked his way back through the field and into the top five by lap 10. A caution came out on lap 15 for Mike Meazell as he spun onto the berm.
Two lapped cars were put between the first and second place contenders allowing Sanders to get a jump on the start. It took six laps for Decker to clear the lapped traffic and gained on Sanders as he worked through lapped traffic himself.
Trailing a car that was spewing water into his view, Sanders dove to the bottom exiting turn four to make the pass with Decker going below him forcing a three-wide exit. The cars raced down the front stretch, pushing Sanders up the track nearly into the wall.
Sanders held onto second place, but a partially broken front end forced him to retire from the race on lap 30.
Decker ran uncontested through the remaining distance to score the victory.
M. Maselli and Sons Classic: (1) Jeff Decker, (2) John Silva, (3) Paul Guglielmoni, (4) Jason Papich, (5) Mike Meazell, (6) Tony Toste, (7) Rich Shafer, (8) Steve Johnson, (9) Rob Sanders, (10) Rob Arnold, (11) Michael Paul Sr., (12) Dennis Souza, (13) Clay Daly, (14) Dean De Volder, (15) Anthony Restad. Fast qualifier: Sanders, 14.45 seconds. Heat race winners: Paul, Daly, Johnson.