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Mike ‘Hollywood’ Decker III Gets First Pro Mod Win in Father-Son Final Round at NEOPMA Season Opener

AJ Pinder photos

For the second time in three years, the father-son duo of Mike Decker Jr. and Mike “Hollywood” Decker III met up in the final round of the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Association (NEOPMA) season opener. Racing at Maryland International Raceway’s 16th annual Atomizer Racing Injectors Door Wars presented by ATI Performance Products, Decker III defeated his father to earn his first win in Pro Modified competition. 

In qualifying, the Deckers went to the No. 1 and 2 spots, with Decker Jr. in his screw-blown Decker’s Salvage ’17 Camaro going No. 1 with a 3.576-second pass at 211.06 MPH. Decker III wasn’t far behind with his 3.591 in his screw-blown Decker’s Salvage ’23 Camaro. Dave Texido in his screw-blown GFY Racing ’68 Firebird just missed the 3.50s with his 3.600 at 208.01 to qualify third. Derek Ward, the reigning NEOPMA champion and winner of the 2024 World Series of Pro Mod, qualified fourth in his screw-blown ’68 Firebird with a 3.603 at 210.64. Canada’s Jay Santos laid down a 3.638 at 206.86 in his screw-blown ’69 Camaro to round out the top five. 

“Qualifying No. 1 and 2 is always an awesome feeling,” Decker III said. “You feel like you’ve got an upper hand on the field. We had ‘Uncle Todd’ Tutterow there this weekend doing the tuning for us. Whenever he’s there, you know you have a very good shot at qualifying at the top and a very good shot at winning the whole thing. Uncle Todd isn’t always there, but when he is, you’ve got a little bit more confidence when he’s around.”

Decker III started eliminations with a 3.637 at 206.61 to get the first-round win over Matt Deitsch, who ran a 3.737 in his nitrous-fed ’69 Camaro. He improved to a 3.628 at 207.02 to get the win over Jay Santos, who slowed to a 6.626. That set up a semifinal pairing with the red-hot Derek Ward. As expected, it was a side-by-side race, with Decker III’s 3.628 at 207.43 beating Ward’s 3.632 at 209.33 by just 13 thousandths of a second.

“That race against Derek was the race,” Decker III said. “If I won that round, a Decker was going to win the race. If I lost that round, it was going to be between him and Dad. Winning that round was more important than winning the round against my dad because by beating Derek, we were going to lock it up. There was a lot of pressure there. He’s been on his game. He just won the World Series, so he beat the best of the best, so therefore you could call Derek the best out there right now. To beat Derek, it was an awesome feeling. He’s an awesome competitor and a great friend. It was very rewarding to get it done.”

On the other side of the ladder, Decker Jr. got a tense first-round win with his 3.662 at 206.92 when opponent Kevin Fortney crashed into the retaining wall in Decker’s lane. The incident happened behind Decker, and Fortney walked away without major injuries. Decker Jr. posted a 3.648 at 206.92 to win his second-round match with James Beadling, who coasted to a 7.576. That gave Decker Jr. a bye to the final round. He launched hard and lifted to a 4.633, giving “Hollywood” lane choice in the final round. 

In the final round, Decker III fired off low E.T. of eliminations, a 3.597 at 207.82, to get the decisive win over his father, who started to get sideways and lifted to a 4.924 at 100.90. Decker III collected a $7,000 payday for his win. 

“Three times we’ve met in the finals, and finally I had the upper hand,” Decker III said. “I’m still behind on the scoreboard – he’s 2-1. Racing Dad was amazing. At the top end, he was just as happy for me to win as I was happy to win. It was a special moment with just the two of us on the top end.”

With a win at the NEOPMA season opener, Decker III now has the confidence boost and the points he needs to pursue a NEOPMA championship to go along with Decker Jr.’s two titles in the series. 

Decker Jr. shared his gratitude for tuner Todd Tutterow, as well as his team and family and friends that supported him all weekend. 

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“I’m thankful to Todd for making the trip up this weekend,” Decker III said. “He usually helps us out at two or three races throughout the year. The knowledge I gain from him each time is priceless. I’m thankful that my dad and grandfather allow me to drive the car and give me such an awesome opportunity. To be surrounded by family and friends, you couldn’t ask for a better weekend.”

The NEOPMA will head north to Empire Dragway in Leicester, New York, on June 21-22 for the Northeast Outlaw Pro Mod Challenge VI. For more info, visit

This story was originally published on April 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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