Rubber hits road for Evans in the Decker

July 28, 2011 at 1:20 PM

By Larry Ott
Special to The News

evans_buffalo_news.jpgJoe Evans is hoping that his efforts to win the George Decker Memorial 100 at Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex on Saturday do not get "tired out.

The 12th annual running of the race held in memory of George Decker, a longtime race supporter, has become the biggest for NASCAR Pro Modifieds at Holland.

This season, by track rule, the Pro Modifieds must use a new, harder compound Goodyear tire. The tire is designed to last longer, allowing teams to use a set for several weeks and saving them money.

Evans said the change has not worked out as intended due to an unsolved tire wear mystery.

"No one knows what is happening but the right rears which are grooved have been wearing out fast," the Holland resident said. "We are only allowed to buy a maximum of 10-12 tires for the season and after four races run at Holland so far this season, we're down to our last four new sticker tires and we're using those in the Decker Memorial. Many teams I've talked to are in the same situation.

"Our tires seem to wear out after three weeks and it's been worse for other teams. I know that Holland is concerned because there will be a Goodyear tire rep at Holland Saturday, and so far the Goodyear technicians have been great to work with.

"The tires have been used and have worked OK the last few years in the LAMOT Late Models at Holland, but I talked to a few LAMOT drivers this season and they have experienced similar problems. They say that Goodyear changed the tire to a different compound this season.

"I know that Holland officials are working to see what's up with the tires."

The Holland rule book includes a provision that allows for additional tires for teams if officials deem that circumstances are warranted. The current tire situation is a work in progress.

The 19-year-old Evans has proven to be a capable driver. He led much of the last race run at Holland before having problems on a late restart and settling for third.

In 2008, Evans parlayed a season of consistency into the SST Sportsman Modified Series championship. At the time the SST series included a schedule of events at Holland, Dunn Tire Raceway Park, Wyoming County, Chemung and Spencer Speedway. The cars are named NASCAR Pro Modifieds at Holland.

"Actually I'm not sure how it all worked out in 2008 but I placed second in the season points at Holland and second at Wyoming County and I also won three races at Wyoming County and another two at Holland and ended up winning the championship by a bunch of points," Evans recalled.

Evans, who drives the Kwik-Fill/Red Apple of Strykersville entry, is the son of retired racer Jeff Evans. The younger Evans never saw his father run a race until 2007.

"He was out of driving long before I was born," said Joe. "He last ran in 1992 so I never got to see him race until 2007. In early 2007 I started racing at Wyoming County full time because I was only 15 years old and you had to be 16 at the time to run at a NASCAR sanctioned track like Holland.

"So my dad started racing our car at Holland in 2007 while I was racing at Wyoming County. He was planning on running the whole 2007 season at Holland but when I turned 16 later that year, it was decided to put me in the seat at Holland and my first race at Holland was that year's George Decker Memorial.

"My best career finish in the George Decker Memorial is fourth but I know we can win it. A lot of good drivers will be there but it means a lot to win this race. I have nine wins in my career between Holland and Wyoming County."

Qualifying on Saturday at Holland for the supporting divisions commences at 5 p.m. with the NASCAR Pro Modified qualifying hitting the track at 6. All feature races will follow capped by the George Decker Memorial 100. Fan favorite driver Bobby Martin will take an hiatus from his 10-year racing retirement to run in the race.

Holland will host a concert with Ricky Lee at 2 p.m. Sunday.