By Larry Ott
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Even as the rain moved in at race time Saturday afternoon at Holland Motorsports Complex, nothing could dampen the spirit and mission of Barry and Phyllis Decker to keep the memory of the late George Decker alive, even if it means waiting for another day to run the 15th annual George Decker Memorial 100.
George Decker was a long-time supporter and sponsor of local racing and race teams before his death in 1999. Following his death, George’s son, Barry, and wife, Phyllis, conceived, organized and raised sponsorship dollars in order to present the race in his memory each season at Holland.
Storm clouds washed away Saturday’s event, which annually showcases the NASCAR Pro Modifieds/Sportsman Modifieds, but the race has been rescheduled for Sept. 6 at Holland.
Barry Decker wasn’t discouraged.
“It’s been 15 years that the Decker Memorial has been going on and we tried hard to get it in tonight but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” he said. “But we know that even with the rains, George’s spirit is here and we’ll now get it taken care of in September.”
Long before the Decker race gets the green flag each season, the Decker family and other supporters are extremely busy raising the purse and sponsorship dollars needed to fund the race. Event sponsors and lap sponsors are key to the event’s success. Each year is a big challenge but the Decker family has always persevered.
“The sponsorship drive has gone well this year but there’s always room for improvement,” Barry said. “We did sell all 100 laps but the event sponsor money which helps pay the purse – that we’re still short on. But now we’re still going to take money if anybody is interested whether it’s for laps, event sponsors, NASCAR invader money, hard charger awards, or anything else. …
When the rains struck Saturday more than 20 cars were signed into the pit area, with a few more teams arriving just as the race was postponed.
“There are 22 cars here tonight that I knew for sure and I just saw three more come in a few minutes ago as the race was being called,” said Barry. “I think Sept. 6 will be a good day from the standpoint that a lot of the other tracks are off. We would like to start 26 cars, so let’s do it.”
Working right along in partnership with Barry to make the Decker race happen each year is Phyllis.
“I am always so grateful to all the people for helping out each year to help make the Decker Memorial going and for working so hard to keep the memories of George alive,” said Phyllis Decker. “George loved local racing and the local racers and I miss him.”
In the 14 previous editions of the Decker Memorial, the race had never been postponed although it was once rain-shortened.
“Without Phyllis, believe me this race would not happen,” said Barry. “She is the silent partner of it all both financially and emotionally. She does so much work. We’ll see, it gets tougher and tougher collecting the money every year and we would love to continue doing it but it’s tough without a major business corporate type sponsor.
“We’ll keep trying because it’s for the drivers and the fans, so I hope everyone comes out Sept. 6.”
• Little Valley native Jared Zimbadi, who now resides in Bradford, Pa., appeared to win the Patriot Sprint Tour event Friday at Ransomville Speedway but he was discovered in a post-race technical inspection to have used an unapproved tire. Zimbardi, the PST point leader, was disqualified and Jason Barney was declared the official winner.
• Merrittville Speedway will host the Super DIRT.car Big Block Modified Series Bob St. Amand Memorial 100 at 7 tonight.