For the second time in a month, a member of the Rutherford Racing team landed in Victory Lane at Holland Motorsports Complex Saturday in a big extra-distance race. The difference is, this time the win actually will count.
For the second time in three years, Rutherford Racing team driver Kirk Totten scored a victory in the NASCAR Pro Modified/Sportsman 14th annual George Decker Memorial 100. Totten’s car passed postrace technical inspection, allowing Holland officials to officially declare him the victor.
On July 6, Pete Brittain sailed to an apparent triumph at Holland in the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour 100, driving for the Rutherford camp. But about an hour after that race, Brittain’s car was disqualified for an altered tire violation, handing the win to Matt Hirschman.
In the Decker race Saturday, Totten sped off from his outside pole position and led the field until being passed by George Skora III following a restart with 59 laps remaining. Totten’s car appeared to bog down on the restart, dropping back to fourth.
Later, though, Totten mounted a strong charge back to the front, finally getting past Skora on a restart with 26 circuits left to go. Skora finished second. Jeff Brown was third after starting 20th.
Totten also won the Decker race in 2011.
While enjoying the Victory Lane celebration, and just moments before his winning car was taken to the postrace technical inspection garage, Totten confidently declared that there would be no repeat of July’s disappointment.
“It’s nice to win this twice,” said Totten. His father, Kirk Rutherford, “puts me in such a good car. I can’t thank him enough. That deal in tech last month was kind of a flaw in the system, but we think we’re good tonight. We’re clear and I don’t have a worry about tonight’s tech inspection at all.
“I lost the lead to George when I came out of turn four and the car popped out of gear all on its own. I was ready to go racing and it popped right out. Late in the race, I just made sure it stayed in gear and as it panned out, a couple of people weren’t staying in their lanes. We didn’t want any accident because we had a great car.
“I just love what the Decker family does for the sport and to win this race twice now is awesome.”
The Decker race is run each year at Holland by Barry and Phyllis Decker in remembrance of long-time area businessman and race supporter George Decker, who was the father of Barry and the husband of Phyllis.
Right after the race, Skora was still hopeful to be elevated to the win following the inspection.
“I had a good car tonight and we were hoping for a win but knowing that team getting disqualified in the ROC race here last month with the tire softer, I think it’s just a matter of time until they throw them out and I’ll be the winner,” said Skora.
Skora’s hope was dashed when Totten’s car was declared legal. Skora is having a fine season at Holland in 2013, posting a win and currently holding down the top spot in Holland’s NASCAR Pro Modified point standings.
“My car was the best tonight that it’s been all season. We’ve had a good year here and just need to stay strong to bring the point championship home to us,” he said.
Brown proved to be a factor despite his deep pack starting assignment. He ran as high as second with 37 laps remaining before settling for third.
“I had to dodge a few bullets on our way through but in the long run, I came home third,” Brown said. “I burned the right rear tire off by the end so I had to just ride at the end.”
One special moment occurred Saturday when Josh Hill, the grandson of former area standout driver the late Arleigh Hill, won his first career Holland feature, besting the Figure-8 field. Josh Hill also finished a strong third in the Hornet division race.
Hornet driver Ben Russo arrived at Holland Saturday riding a four-race win streak, but that ended when Russo placed second to his Dice Racing teammate Jeff Szafraniec.
Rich Carnes was triumphant in Holland’s NASCAR Charger race despite driving with an injured arm suffered in a racing accident there the previous week.
Elsewhere, the Merrittville Speedway will showcase the DIRT.car Modified Super DIRT.car Series Bob St. Amand Sr. 100 today at 7 p.m.