PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Troy DeCaire took advantage of a late-race error by leader Joey Aguilar to capture his seventh Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series victory of the season Saturday night at 417 Southern Speedway.
It was also his 10th pavement sprint car feature win of the season.
Tommy Nichols took the lead at the start of the 40-lap feature but quickly surrendered the lead to Aguilar on lap nine. It appeared Aguilar would be the man to beat as he began to build a sizable lead until a lap 16 caution.
The restart found DeCaire lined up beside Aguilar on a double-file restart. When the race resumed, Aguilar took the lead and began to build another sizable lead over the next 10 laps.
With 10 to go, DeCaire began to catch Aguilar as the race leader entertained heavy lapped traffic. The lapped traffic was clearly allowing DeCaire to close the gap.
On lap 33, with DeCaire glued to his bumper, Aguilar tapped the front straightaway wall and created a shower of sparks while trying to work around a lapped car.
Aguilar’s right rear tire began to lose air and he then spun in turn one. DeCaire assumed the lead at that point and went on to capture his seventh SSSS feature of the season.
“He took off like a rabbit,” DeCaire explained of Aguilar in victory lane. “I was waiting until I saw ten to go. I could keep him in sight, but he was definitely using his right rear. A couple lapped cars were kicking up sand down in four. He (Aguilar) had his wing so far back that when he hit the sand, he was on the gas and it threw the nose and he caught the wall with his right rear.
“I would have liked to race him for the win. Lapped traffic was something tonight.”
By winning the race, DeCaire all but assured himself of his first SSSS championship with one race remaining on Dec. 7. DeCaire also now has 10 total pavement sprint car feature wins this season, best in the nation.
In addition, the victory was DeCaire’s 50th career sprint car victory in the state of Florida.
“I know guys who have raced their whole lives and only have three or four wins in Florida and that’s something to still talk about,” explained DeCaire in victory lane. “Dave Steele always said winning a sprint car race isn’t easy, and its not. It damned sure wasn’t easy racing against him all those years because he was the best to ever do it.
“Fifty is special, that’s for sure.”
Troy DeCaire, Daniel Miller, Scotty Adema, Tommy Nichols, Travis Bliiemeister, Phil Haddad, Rex Keene, Charles Hambling, Joey Agulier, Clayton Donaldson, Ty DeCaire.