April 21 – DuPrey, Langevin and McCreadie win features on second opening night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway
MALTA — The 2012 opening twin-bill of racing at Albany-Saratoga Speedway was promoted as “The resurrection” by the Lebanon Valley Speedway owner Howard Commander, promoter Lyle Devore and race director Mike Burns who have taken over the day-to-day operations from the Richards family, returned the clay surface to the Malta speedway and two back-to-back sell-out crowds proved that “The Great Race Place” is back.
Three divisions competed in Thursday’s opening night with Stewart Friesen held off Albany-Saratoga legends Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont Jr. in the modified division and the legends returned on Friday night to chase Clifton Park’s young gun, Chris Busta for 27 of the 35-lap modified feature.
“We really have that zero to hero feeling going,” Busta said. “We couldn’t get anything going yesterday (failed to qualify for feature). If we were right, we were guessing.
“We’ve got a good attitude, we all had ideas, we all put something into it and it worked tonight,” Busta said. “It really worked on the bottom, when I had to bring it up on the top on the cushion it worked.”
Busta qualified up front, winning his heat and burst out to a commanding lead throughout the first 27 laps of the 35-lap modified feature before Tim McCreadie loaded up on the high line to take over first place and hold on for his first modified feature win at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
“The track was pretty equal and it didn’t really seem to matter where you were at and they were all kind of stuck on the bottom of things,” McCreadie said. “I knew if I didn’t get to the lead before Brett (Hearn) I wouldn’t be able to get him. We blistered our right rears (tire) so we have to figure out what to do about that later.”
McCreadie outlasted legends Hearn, Tremont with Busta and Marc Johnson rounding out the top five.
“Anytime you can beat anybody in any type or racing anymore it’s tough, especially Brett,” McCreadie said. “This is his favorite place and it’s our car owner Vinnie Salerno’s favorite place too. It took me a few laps to get going and we blistered the right rear and it wouldn’t fire well.
“I didn’t know how close he was when the yellow came out, but I hated to see him beside me,” McCreadie said. “When I saw him beside me, I thought if I got to the bottom in (turn) three and four he wouldn’t roll me. It was just one of those deals where we hit it right tonight and we didn’t last night, so it was good that we had two nights of racing.”
The Watertown racer knows the pain that Busta felt after enjoying an extensive lead for three-quarters of the race.
“I didn’t realize that he was that far you out,” McCreadie said. “You get racing and when I got to the guy in second, I thought he was the leader, he (Busta) was so far out.
“It’s tough. I had it happen at New Egypt earlier this year, we led 58 laps and a couple restarts at the end and here comes Stewart Friessen who went on to beat us,” McCreadie said. “You lead so many laps and you don’t move, you don’t see a guy beside you, by the time he saw me it was just a little too late.”
Busta took the first-to-fourth finish in stride.
“It was an awesome experience, to race with the company that I was racing with, the best in the business,” Busta said. “T-Mac (Tim McCreadie) an awesome win for him, Brett Hearn, Kenny (Tremont Jr.) he got me in the end, I lost my tires, and I knew they were gone.
“Not too many guys that are that good on the bottom and Kenny is one of them, he just slipped by me,” Busta said. “Hey, fourth in company like that, we’re going to get one this year.”
The pro stock division saw fireworks on the 4/10ths-of-a-mile clay oval and in the pits as Rob Langevin re-joined the full fender pro stock division, taking his No. 82 BNC Motorsports ride into victory lane, holding off Chad Jeseo, Chip Smith, Bill Smith and Jeff Washburn to the finish.
“I forgot how to drive one of these pro stocks,” Langevin said. “I had to take a couple of laps to get back into it.
“I’m used to sitting in the middle of the car and going into the turns sideways, but we got it done, we got in the old Cannizzaro chassis and got it done tonight.
“It was a good thing I started up front tonight,” Langevin said. “I didn’t know what was going on (behind) but all the cautions made it tough.”
Langevin was haunted by the No. 7 of Rob Yetman throughout the 25-lap feature and was side-by-side on the front stretch for the white flag lap, knocking doors before Yetman fell back to finish 10th and Langevin came around for the victory.
There was pressure on the No. 83 as Langevin may have only had once chance to impress race car owner Bernie Companion.
“Bernie came up to me today and said ‘If you don’t win, you’re out,’ so I had to do what I had to do, this is it, it’s my only ride,” Langevin said. I missed the modifieds for the action, running with the big guys but there are a lot of big guys down here (pro stock division) that don’t get the credit they deserve.
“It takes a lot to run one of these,” Langevin said. “I’ve been a pro stock (driver) and won a lot of races in one and it’s like putting on an old set of shoes.”
Before his car owner celebrated, he had words for Langevin as he entered the pits. Those words turned into a donnybrook with Companion being pulled out of the passenger side of Yetman’s racer.
The three-feature Friday night started with another pole sitter earning another win as Billy DuPrey brought his No. 44D Woodard Marine street stock into victory lane on the clay surface.
“We ran the asphalt here for a couple of years with OK success,” DuPrey said. “I like the dirt much better. It’s a great feeling to be back on the dirt and into victory lane.”
DuPrey led Rowdy Burch, Phil Sherman, Randy Miller and Paul Mulrain to the checkered flag.
The 20-lap feature saw four caution flags come out with Burch forcing the issue throughout the race, jockeying for race position in the aggressive full-fender division.
“I knew them guys would be behind me, I didn’t get to see anybody, but I knew they were there,” DuPrey said. “I got the luck of the draw, inside of the third row so it was a good start. I just tried to stay smooth. The car was working well and the track was nice, so everything worked out.”
PIT NOTES — Racing returns with a full-slate of racing in the modified, budget sportsmen, a $500 to win Outerzone Laser Tag pro stock feature, street stock and the second appearance of the 4-cylinder racers. — Brett Hearn recorded the fastest lap in the modified feature, 83.232 mph on lap 33. — Rob Langevin had the fastest lap in the pro stock feature, 75.666 mph on lap 17. — Jason Harrington pulled into the infield during lap 20 of the modified feature as the driveshaft broke, hitting his ankle. He was treated and released by the EMT’s on site — Companion, Langevin and Yetman were pulled into a meeting below the pit tower after the races. No word of any suspensions have been made official.
35-lap modified feature
1. (4*) Tim McCreadie, Watertown. 2. (20) Brett Hearn, Sussex, NJ. 3. (115) Ken Tremont Jr., West Sand Lake. 4. (41) Chris Busta, Clifton Park. 5. (3J) Marc Johnson, Guilderland. 6. (21J) Jeff Trombley, Altamont. 7. (43) Keith Flach, Ravena. 8. (17) Elmo Reckner, Ballston Lake. 9. (1X) Todd Stone, Middlebury, VT. 10. (3D) Matt Delorenzo, Cropseyville. 11. (2RJ) Ronnie Johnson, Duanesburg. 12. (18B) Bodie Bellinger, Fultonville. 13. (16) A.J. Romano, Johnstown. 14. (39) Dustin Delaney, Mayfield. 15. (6H) Josh Hohenfordst, Gloversville. 16. (7) Don Ronca, Clifton Park. 17. (57) Donnie Corellis, Averill Park. 18. (21P) Pep Corradi, Altamont. 19. (87) Hector Stratton, Bennington, VT. 20. (35) Mike Perrotte, Elizabethtown. 21. (8) Jimmy Cottrell, Rock City Falls. 22. (4) Rich Ronca, Scotia. 23. (30) Brian Whittemore, Brandon, VT. 24. (19L) Joe Williams, Scotia. 25. (3) Mark Kislowski, Ballston Lake. 26. (17) Justin Barber 27. (18) Neil Stratton, Bennington, VT. 28. (518) Kyle Sheldon 29. (77J) J.C. Flach, Ravena. 30. (667) Matt Depew, Argyle. 31. (1) Jason Herrington, Brunswick Center. 32. (3) Kim LaVoy, Nassau.
25-lap pro stock feature
1. (83L) Rob Langevin 2. (25) Chad Jeseo 3. (116S) Chip Smith 4. (41) Bill Smith 5. (25J) Jeff Washburn 6. (00) Joe Santoro 7. (11) Ed Thompson 8. (87) Walt Brownell 9. (93) Ken Martin 10. (7) Rob Yetman 11. (21) Kevin VanChance 12. (2) Brandon Emigh 13. (128) Kent Clark 14. (56) Jay Fitzgerald 15. (14) Kim Duell 16. (4) Dean Charbonneau 17. (97) Dan Older 18. (12) Dave Emigh 19. (83) Cole Lawton 20. (93J) Justin Knight (DNS).
20-lap street stock feature
1. (44D) Billy Duprey 2. (76) Rowdy Burch 3. (99) Phil Sherman 4. (12) Randy Miller 5. (55) Paul Mulrain 6. (55S) Dave Stickles 7. (10) Paul Braymer 8. (62D) Yule Cook 9. (00J) John Lindblade 10. (44) Ken Conroy 11. (22) Fred Harris 12. (7) Jay Severson 13. (00) Josh Coonradt 14. (117) John Hayes 15. (27B) Jim Bleau.
April 19 – Friessen roars to opening night victory at Albany-Saratoga Speedway
Courtesy Albany-Saratoga Speedway/Robin Yasinsac-Gillespie
Malta ― Stewart Friesen is one of the hottest drivers on dirt right now and he showed that to a packed facility on Thursday night when Albany Saratoga Speedway hosted their season opener at the Malta oval.
The 2012 opener, which management refers to as ‘the resurrection’ brought the fans out in droves and they witnessed an impressive starting lineup which boasted over 30 Modifieds and over 50 Budget Sportsman automobiles.
Friesen, who secured the win in the second qualifying event, started the 30-lap feature event from the front row alongside Todd Stone. The Canadian native took the lead on lap three and never looked back despite some challenges from Matt DeLorenzo and a real strong challenge by Kenny Tremont in the late stages of the event.
“Definitely starting up front helped us tonight, this is incredible,” said Freisen during post-race ceremonies. “I could hear Ken the whole time and I wanted to take his lane away and I guess it worked. We were bumping and banging the whole way.”
Over the last few years Freisen has been adding his name to the stat books at many different ovals and Thursday nights win was his first at the 4/10 mile oval.
“This is huge, we had a good draw, we were up front in our heat race and everything worked out for us tonight, said Freisen.
Tremont started the event in ninth place and wasted little time getting towards the front of the field. He was already in third place when the fifth circuit was recorded.
Tremont, Brett Hearn, Matt DeLorenzo and A.J. Romano rounded out the top five.
Brett Hearn, who holds the title for the most opening night wins, came from the 13th starting spot to finish in third place.
The Budget Sportsman race proved just as exciting. Joey Budka appeared to be the man of the evening. Budka easily won his qualifying event and was fast the entire evening. He took off with the lead at the drop of the feature event but on lap 13 Derek McGrew had Budka in his view.
Lap traffic was becoming an issue so the duo were forced to cut in an out keeping the crowd in suspense. With only four laps remaining McGrew passed Budka and the two continued to put on a fantastic showdown until the checkered flag deemed it official.
Jeff Rockefeller, Tim Hartman, Jr. and Fred Proctor rounded out the top five.
Bits: Don Ronca lettered his race car for the 2012 race season with his brother Mike’s familiar number seven. Mike passed away over the winter months at way too young an age… Budget Sportsman driver Bobby Hackel loaded up early in the evening due to a skip in the motor… The Flach boys, Keith and J.C. were on hand for the season opener and will become weekly residents at the Malta oval… Jeff Trombley was taken from the speedway by way of the wrecker during the first modified consi, he would not start the feature event… Joey Scarborough won the Budget Sportsman ‘Rookie’ feature. Scarborough’s dad, Don, won on both the dirt and asphalt surface when the Richards family ran the speedway… Lebanon Valley Speedway owner
Howard Commander was on-hand to watch his promoter [Lyle DeVore] and race director [Mike Burns] pull off a successful first run…. Commander was impressed when he saw how racy the track was and what a good show the 4/10 mile has always been able to rave about… The duo get another chance since the season opener consists of a duel show with a Thursday and Friday [April 19 and April 20] schedule planned…
Modified Heats: Todd Stone, Stewart Friesen, Matt DeLorenzo,
Modified Feature [30 laps]: STEWART FRIESEN, Kenny Tremont, Jr., Brett Hearn, Matt Delorenzo, A.J. Romano, Ronnie Johnson, Dustin Delaney, Tim McCreadie, Mark Kislowski, Bodie Bellinger, Donnie Corellis, Don Ronca, Mike Perrotte, Jimmy Cottrell, Neil Stratton, J. C. Flach, Patrick Dupree, Matt Depew, Hector Stratton, Brian Whittemore, Pep Corradi, Todd Stone, Bob Savoie, Keith Flach, Elmo Reckner. DNS: Rich Ronca, Justin Barber, Joe Williams, Jeff Trombley, Kim LaVoy, Chris Busta, Jason Herrington, John Lutes, Jr., Marc Johnson.
Budget Sportsman Heats: Joe Budka, Jeff Rockefeller, Derek McGrew, Fred Proctor, Frank Hoard
Budget Sportsman Rookie Feature: [15 laps] JOEY SCARBOROUGH
Budget Sportsman Feature: [25 laps] DEREK MCGREW, Joey Budka, Jeff Rockefeller, Tim Hartman, Jr., Fred Proctor, Mike Tholin, Frank Hoard III, Jim Eaton, Anthony Perrego, Anthony Marro, Dan Santabarba, Jeremy Pitts, D.J. Brundige, Jon Miller, Andy Durte, Robert Bublak, Mark Hughes, Steve Akers, Joey Scarborough, Scott Duell, Jeremy Digert, Ray Hall, Jr., Brian Gleason, Mike Minick, Mike Burdo, Jack Gentile, Rocky Warner, Jeremy Pitts. DNS: Jeremy Campbell, Bert Film, Chuck Dickinson, Mike Jeske, Paul Dunham, Bobby Hackel IV, Butch Wilcox, Mark Mortensen, Frank Hoard, Jr., Pete Carlotto, Tyler Dippel, Jack Swinton, Nick Lussier, Mike Ostrander, Skip Shippee, Luke Klob, Matt Shadic, Shannon Donnelly, Joe Eastman, Stan Lemiesz, Dave Baranowski, Jr., Leo Sousie, Elliott Lussier, Joe Orlando.
4 Cylinder Dual Cam Feature: [15 laps] CHRIS VANDEPUTTE, Art Clement, Dan Collins, P.J. Bleau, David Frame, Pete Vila. DNS: Todd Goldstein
4 Cylinder Single Cam Feature: [15 laps] DAN OLDER, Keith Tesiero, Mark Drescher, Lance Robertson, Josh Dupree, Brooklyn Wescott, Dave Labarge, Blake Schwarting.
April 19 – Get your motor running – Dirt surface returns to Albany-Saratoga Speedway for 2012
The Malta speedway is under new management and after a two-year run on its original roots as an asphalt track, back to the familiar and popular clay surface that helped pack the stands each Friday night during the spring and summer months.
“In the late summer, C.J. Richards, Bruce Richards, Howard Commander and I met and the family wanted to have someone else run the race track and we struck a deal where we are leasing it and we are going to operate it as long as it’s a race track,” Lyle DeVore said during Sunday’s test and tune day at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. “We finalized it during Super DIRT Week (Oct. 7), but we couldn’t announce it. We started putting clay down on the track the week after.”
For the past decade, the track has been sold, both on paper and in the rumor mill, but nothing has ever reached fiscal finalization. With Global Foundries just miles down the road, a concern is the effect the auto racing venue will have on the clean air rooms, hence the always present “as long as it’s a race track” statement by DeVore.
DeVore will share duties as race director at both the Lebanon Valley Speedway complex and Albany-Saratoga Speedway and is aware of excitement around the return of dirt racing to the Route 9 facility.
“This is actually turned into being the most positive sense of buzz in the racing industry that I have ever seen,” DeVore said. “When you take something away and you get it back, people become more appreciate of what they have.”
The switch to asphalt wasn’t a surprise as previous race director Bruce Richards made it public over the years that it could happen, mainly to reduce the manpower hours dedicated to maintain a clay surface versus an asphalt surface, many of those hours, his own on a grader, a water truck or tractor.
The switch was made and like a light switch, the car count was also turned off, falling well below the traditional high car count standards seen on Friday nights.
More than 100 cars arrived at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Sunday for a test and tune day, one of the biggest turnouts ever for a day dedicated to practice.
“A lot of the race teams just wanted to be back here and I think some of the unique stories that I have been hearing, people taking cars that have been abandoned for 10 years and bringing them back to life because there was another opportunity to race at Malta on the dirt,” DeVore said. “We’ve got a pretty good reputation for how we handle ourselves from a professional standpoint and the concession end of it.”
Wearing two hats, DeVore hopes to see both tracks prosper with their new affiliation.
“Some of the race teams will race here and Lebanon Valley, some of the race teams are going to race here and Fonda,” DeVore said. “Ultimately we want to make the people here aware about Lebanon Valley and visa-versa.
“We want to introduce some of the people who have never been down there to see what we have down there because it is a complete different monster,” DeVore said. “It’s a high-bank half-mile track with tremendous speeds where here it is more of a bull ring type racing.”
Albany-Saratoga Speedway was called the home of small block racing, but that has also changed, now opening its modified division to traditional big block engines.
“It was a sense of what we wanted to do was make this place conducive for anybody in racing should be able to come here and race whether it is a modified, pro stock,” DeVore said. “Fonda cars can come here, the Lebanon cars can come here, and anyone from the surrounding tracks can race here.”
Another change is geared towards the fans is at the concession stands.
“We want people to come in and eat their dinner on Friday night and we’ve priced our food so that it’s reasonable, it’s very good quality,” DeVore said. “We’re offering some different items, pizza, sausage, peppers and onions, we’re going to do a fish fry and there are some other items. Our intent is to keep our prices as low as we can because we want everyone to eat.”
On the track, the four-cylinder mini stock division will now be an occasional division, racing throughout the season versus a weekly feature. Each week will see the street stock, pro street stock, budget sportsman and modified division racing at the small oval.
Racing opens Thursday, April 19 with the four-cylinder, budget sportsman and modifieds taking to the dirt surface and follows-up with its traditional opener Friday, April 20 with the pro street stock, street stock and modified providing racing action beginning at 7 p.m.
Below is a press release from Albany-Saratoga Speedway announcing that the 4/10th-of-a-mile back to dirt oval in Malta will join DIRTcar for the 2012 season and planned opening for the season will be a two-day spectacular, Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20.
Malta, NY ― January 09, 2012 ― On Saturday Joe Skotnicki, DIRTcar’s Director of Series & Sanctioning, announced that Albany Saratoga Speedway would be joining the DIRTcar family for the 2012 race season. Skotnicki made the announcement during the Eastern Motorsport Press Association’s (EMPA) annual Convention held in King of Prussia (PA) on January 6-8, 2012.
“We’re very excited about Albany-Saratoga coming on board,” said Skotnicki. “Albany-Saratoga is a premier Friday track in that Region and to have it under the DIRTcar banner is a real feather in our cap. It is steep in tradition and synonymous”
At the end of the 2011 race season the Richards family put the Malta (NY) based oval up for sale. Pending a sale Lebanon Valley Speedway owner/promoter, Howard Commander, struck a deal with C.J Richards to lease the speedway.
Lyle DeVore, Commander’s general manager at the West Lebanon oval, will oversee the daily operation of the facility and the promotional end of the venture.
“When we first signed the lease *with Richards+ our biggest concern was getting the clay on the track before the weather turned,” recalled DeVore. “Once we built our package and listened to what everyone wanted we knew bringing DIRTcar with us was the way to go ―they are a nice fit ― they are the backbone of dirt modifieds in the Northeast.”
Skotnicki and team, who sanction many racetracks through the DIRTcar Northeast and DIRTcar UMP Midwest program, welcomed the duo.
“We are looking forward to continuing our great relationship with Lyle and Howard,” said Skotnicki. “My job is to get, and to keep, as many sanctioning tracks as we can. The history that goes along with Albany Saratoga is unrivaled so we knew it was a priority to have the racing sanctioned under the DIRTcar banner.”
The new management team will continue with a Friday night format. DeVore has set a tentative ‘Opening Nights‘ race program for Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20, 2012. The modified class will compete on both dates. DeVore expects to announce the dates for two warm-up sessions in the very near future.
“We are looking forward to getting things rolling with the racing season. The DIRTcar Nationals are right around the corner,” stated Skotnicki.
DeVore sang the same song.
“The enthusiasm from everyone is unbelievable and I wish we could start racing tomorrow,” said DeVore.
For race night sponsorship, signage availabilities or information visit the Albany Saratoga Speedways website at: www.albany-saratogaspeedway.com or call the speedway at: (518) 587-0220.