Drag Illustrated Issue 177, July / August 2022 - Page 40

Dirt

Mike Decker Jr . Takes Second NEOPMA Win of 2022 at Empire Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Challenge II

By Nate Van Wagnen

Defending Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association ( NEOP- MA ) champion Mike Decker Jr . picked up his second win of the season on June 18 at the Empire Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Challenge II at Empire Dragway . Decker and past NEOPMA champion Steve King put on a side-by-side 3.60-second show in the final round , with Decker ’ s 3.629 at 211.47 MPH defeating King ’ s 3.641 at 207.56 .

“ We have an awesome team ,” Decker said . “ As always , I ’ m going to thank the Lord first . We take it one round at a time . It ’ s going to fall where it falls , but we have a good group of guys behind me and we have good support . I have good support from the Tutterows as well . The end result is we ’ re getting our [ winner ’ s circle ] picture taken .”
It was a meaningful Father ’ s Day weekend win for Decker , who races with his family-based team at every race . His son , Mike “ Hollywood ”
Decker III , is both his teammate and his tuner , though he got some help from Wyo Motorsports ’ Todd Tutterow .
“ Each win is special because you never know when it ’ s going to be your last ,” Decker said . “ But it ’ s always special with my dad , my son , and my grandson is Mike Decker IV . That ’ s special . My wife is always behind me . We have a good support team and a good crew . And they work hard . That makes a difference . You ’ ve gotta work hard . If you aren ’ t gonna work hard , you don ’ t have a
shot at winning .”
The elder Decker qualified fifth in his screw-blown Decker ’ s Salvage “ Big Change ” ’ 20 Camaro and beat Bob Bauer Jr . in the opening round , then defeated “ Hollywood ” in the second round . He was unopposed in the semifinal , as No . 1 qualifier Melanie Salemi had to shut off on the starting line due to a mechanical issue .
Decker and his team will return to Empire Dragway along with the rest of the NEOPMA series on August 5-6 for the Empire Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Challenge III .
“ I love coming to this track ,” Decker said . “ The people are awesome . It ’ s an awesome track , and I can ’ t wait to come back .”
King enjoyed a successful outing in the Gene Pilot-owned , screw-blown “ Savage ” Corvette . He qualified third and set low E . T . of the first round over a red-lighting Joe Newsham . King then picked up a holeshot win over Todd Moyer . King , tuner Jon Salemi , and crew chief Jeff Miller made a big step up in their semifinal match against Kurt Steding . King set a new track record with
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID HILNER
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