PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – Troy DeCaire emerged victorious in a wild sprint car affair Saturday night at 417 Speedway.
DeCiare captured the season opener for the BG Products Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series, and in the process, also captured the first sprint car event held anywhere in North America this year.
DeCaire’s night was anything but easy. Due to job commitments, DeCaire didn’t arrive on speedway grounds until well after the heat races had been completed. He immediately hopped into an Outlaw Modified and won the 25-lap feature starting from the tail.
Track and Southern Sprint Car Shootout officials allowed DeCaire a handful of hot laps prior to the 40-lap feature event to make sure the scoring transponders were working properly. This would be the only track time DeCaire would have prior to the start of the sprint car feature.
When the green flagged waved Joey Aguilar assumed the top spot after the first lap. Aguilar began distancing himself from the field until a caution on lap seven after Ryan Adema spun exiting turn four.
With the field bunched up with a double-file restart, DeCaire used the opportunity to move into second position a lap later. DeCaire was able to pull alongside Aguilar and the duo had the huge crowd on its feet as they battled side-by side for several laps. The battle was intense and neither driver wanted to give the other driver any advantage.
Aguilar eventually managed to put himself in front of DeCaire and back in the lead. With 16 laps remaining, DeCaire’s machine ran into the back of Aguilar as they roared down the backstretch. DeCaire would take the top spot from Aguilar one lap later and would hang on for the victory.
Aguilar would fade to fifth in the closing laps due to presumed damage to his car during the lap 24 carnage with DeCaire. Shane Butler followed DeCaire closely to the finish only 2.155 seconds behind after starting in seventh position. Scotty Adema rounded out the top three.
Troy DeCaire, Shane Butler, Scotty Adema, John Inman, Joey Aguilar, Mike Tharp, Tommy Nichols, Travis Bliemeister, Ryan Adema, Ty DeCaire, L.J. Grimm, Billy Bridges, Phil Haddad, Johnny Gilbertson.