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Decker sweeps Modifieds in opener

Jeff Decker's problems at the Southwest Speedway appear to be in the past. The Dickinson IMCA Modifieds driver won his heat race, the dash for cash and the feature on Sunday afternoon to kick off his 2008 season with a sweep. Decker's performance...

Jeff Decker's problems at the Southwest Speedway appear to be in the past.

The Dickinson IMCA Modifieds driver won his heat race, the dash for cash and the feature on Sunday afternoon to kick off his 2008 season with a sweep.

Decker's performance was a complete turnaround from last season, when engine problems in the season opener caused him to miss the rest of the season.

"I'm just happy I actually finished a race for a change," Decker said with a laugh. "That's one extreme to the other it seems like. I'm just glad the car stayed together."

Decker, who won Season Championships at the Southwest Speedway in 2002, 2003 and 2004, was extremely pleased with his victory in the feature race.

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"It was real important. I needed the confidence booster, no doubt about it. I was down on myself," Decker said. "A guy gets in that rut, he can't get out. I needed that confidence booster for sure."

Cal Praus started off the year strong with a Pure Stocks feature win while Bismarck's Randy Meyer won his feature and heat races.

Praus, sporting a new color scheme on his No. 12 car, took a backseat to Hebron's Zach Fredrick in both his heat and the trophy dash before edging Frederick for the feature win.

Praus went side-by-side with Frederick on the final lap and won by only a few feet.

"I knew Zach was going to be tough this year," Praus said.

It was the first career feature win for Praus, who along with co-drover Jerry Praus won the Season Championship last season.

"For the first race, it is a good feeling," Praus said. "That really made it feel good."

Meyer took third in the tight race for the WISSOTA Street Stocks title last season, but started out the year strong, winning both his feature and heat races.

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The Street Stocks were dominated by out-of-area drivers. Jamestown's Scott Bintz won the trophy dash while Bismarck's John Feist won the first heat. Both regularly race at the Southwest Speedway.

The races were postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of wet and cold conditions and the drivers felt the effect of Saturday mornings snowfall, especially on turns 2 and 3.

By the time the six heat races had finished, the low side of the turns became a little tricky for drivers to accelerate through.

"It was kind of like a sponge," Decker said. "It was so rutty and grooved up in the corners. If you got your right rear tire stuck in that groove, it just was a handful."

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