By JAMES A. ELLIS
MALTA — With two laps to go, Matt DeLorenzo got the break he was looking for in Friday’s 35-lap modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
The caution flew when Ronnie Johnson came to rest against the inside barrier in turn one just before race leader Don Ronca took the white flag.
As he had done on previous restarts in the feature, Ronca opted to restart from the outside of the front row. DeLorenzo restarted on the inside, out dragged Ronca into turn one and held off the two-time track champion for his first win of the season and a $4.000 payday.
“It’s a new car and we are still trying to figure it out. My brother keeps grinding on it,” DeLorenzo said in Victory Lane. “The car was tight early on, and on the last restart it really went. I didn’t think Ronca was going to take the outside but I knew there was four grand on the line. This is an awesome racetrack and Lyle [track promoter Lyle DeVore] does an awesome job on the track.”
Proctor came home in second with Matt Depew third, Demetrios Drellos fourth and Adam Pierson fifth. Kenny Tremont Jr., Robert Bublak Jr., Keith Flach, Peter Britten and JF Couriveau rounded out the top 10.
Chad Edwards and Eric Mack won the dual 602 Sportsman features on the program.
Edwards started 12th on the grid in the first 20-lap feature and wrestled the lead away from Brandon Darrah with four laps to go and pulled away for his first win of the season and third of his career at Albany-Saratoga.
“We have been close this year with three seconds,” Edwards said in Victory Lane. “John Kollar is a great owner and gives us everything we need. He is right on top of it.”
Darrah placed second followed by Jim Osgood, Joey Scarborough and Dave Baranowski.
Mack, who was inducted into the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2022, returned to racing this season and picked up his first win of the season on DKM Night and first feature win at Albany-Saratoga since 2001.
“Earlier tonight, I sat in the car before the feature and thought Bob Savoie taught me a lot about this place and I said ‘OK Bob, let’s do it,’ ” Mack said in Victory Lane. “I have to thank car owner Pete LeClair. I am having a great year and enjoying life. Things are going good. This just tops it off. I am very happy I won this in a DKM!”
Mack is a co-founder of DKM Chassis Fabrication.
The second feature was marred by a chain-reaction, multi-car accident on the opening lap that knocked six cars out of the running.
Mike Ballestero challenged Mack several times for the lead but could not complete the pass as Mack was up to the challenge to stave off Ballestero’s bids.
The drama built when the caution flew with six laps remaining, bringing Ballestero, Mike Jeske, Jon Miller and Zach Buff to within striking distance.
Mack surged ahead on the restart, leaving Ballestero fighting for second with Jeske and Miller.
Mack capped off his green-to-checkers run with a significant lead over Ballestero as he held off Miller for second with Buff and Jeske completing the top five.
Luke Horning became the first two-time winner of the season in the Pro Stock division after a thrilling race-long battle with Jay Casey.
The duo swapped leads mid-race before Horning took the point with five laps remaining.
The lone caution of the night came on the final lap, setting up a one-lap shootout between Casey and Horning for the victory.
Casey took the lead before Horning slid up in front of him exiting turn two. Casey pulled a crossover move to get alongside Horning on the backstretch. The leaders ran door-to-door through turns three and four with Horning winning the drag race to the checkers by 0.880 seconds.
Jason Casey finished third followed by Kyle Hoard and Chad Jeseo.
The 66-year-old Steve Miller took home his first feature win in the Limited Sportsman feature, while Jimmy Duncan topped Al Relyea for the feature win in the Street Stock division and Adam Montville and Kyle Lamfear were the dual- and single-cam 4-cylinder feature winners.
ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY RESULTS
NAPA MODIFIEDS: MATT DELORENZO, Don Ronca, Matt Depew, Demetrios Drellos, Adam Pierson, Ken Tremont Jr., Robert Bublak Jr., Keith Flach, Peter Britten, JF Couriveau, Rich Ronca, Mike Mahaney, CG Morey, Marc Johnson, Jack Lehner, Ryan McCartney, Jessey Mueller, Jeremy Pitts, Neil Stratton, Jack Speshock, Brian Calabrese, Derek Bornt, Kris Vernold, Vinnie Visconti, Ronnie Johnson, Justin Stone.
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (first feature, 20 laps): CHAD EDWARDS, Brandon Darrah, Jim Osgood, Joey Scarborough, Dave Baranowski Jr., Andrew Buff, Chris Crane Jr., Elliott Lussier, Bryce Breault, Daryl Nutting, Chris Jakubiak, Drew Cormie, Mike Benson, Dan Grignon, Jeff Washburn, Dylan Madsen, Tommy D’Angelo, Craig Wholey, Pat Jones, Travis Billington, Justin Barber.
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (second feature, 20 laps): ERIC MACK, Mike Ballestero, Jon Miller, Zach Buff, Mike Jeske, Nick Lussier, Mike Coffey Jr., Cody Ochs, Tim Hartman Jr., David Boisclair, Ron Proctor, Floyd Billington (sub for Derrick McGrew Jr.) Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Scott Duell, Scott Bennett, Tony Farone, Taylor LaPlante, Travis Witbeck, Taylor Wasson, Tyler Rapp.
SARATOGA MASONRY SUPPLY PRO STOCKS: LUKE HORNING, Jay Casey, Jason Casey, Kyle Hoard, Chad Jeseo, Rich Crane, Shane Henderson, Steven Hankle, Devon Camenga, Brandon Emigh, Kim Duell, Jordan Modiano, Jay Corbin, Dan Older, Chucky Dumblewski, Pete Vila, Jaxson Ryan.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: STEVE MILLER, Mike Arnold, Scott Towslee, Connor Crane Jr., Craig Coons, Dakota Green, Tanner Coon, Ron Delease Jr., Joe Venditti, Brent Bouplon, Nick Auspelmyer, Nick Arnold, Chad Gregory, Walter Cook, Steve Burch, Dan Seguin, Mike Parodi, James Galarneau, David Zelker, Chase Zimmer, Kyle Swart, Jon Santolin, Wesley Sutliff, Alex Palmer-Sawyer, Ben Balzer, Dylan Grogan.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: Jimmy Duncan, Al Relyea, Mike Bussino, Jeff Meltz Sr., Jason Meltz, PJ Cram, Josh Bussino, Jason Barrett, Matt Mosher, Milo Campbell, Ray Pierre Jr., Jim Dellea, Chris Stalker, McClain Campbell, Nick Napoli, Dan Buell, Damien Ward, Josh Hemming, Joey Wilson.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: ADAM MONTVILLE, David Frame, Elmer Montville, Kyle Lamfear (first single-cam finisher), Robert Garney, Jordan Terry, Josh Ramsey, Tom Hill, Chris Duffney Jr., Brittany Ladd, Matt Tedrow, Olivia Swinton, Chris Danylieko, Ashlynn Ramsey, Daniel Joubert, Andrew Palmer.
SHEPPARD IS 3-FOR-3 AT UTICA-ROME
VERNON — Matt Sheppard posted his third win in as many races and his 63rd career modified feature win Friday to tie him with Stewart Friesen at the top of the all-time modified win list at Utica-Rome Speedway.
“It’s cool [tying Friesen], I’m kind of getting a one up on him right now,” Sheppard said of tying the record. “He’s off doing the NASCAR deal in the trucks and we’re here doing the NASCAR [Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series] deal here at Utica-Rome now.”
Rain fell over the speedway midway through the night’s program, however the track crew managed to get the surface back in race shape to continue the program.
Alex Payne jumped out to the early lead, before Sheppard, who started 11th in the field, benefitted from a pair of restarts to quickly move to the front and challenge Payne for the lead by the fourth lap.
Payne held off Sheppard until lap nine when the defending track champion took the lead and was never headed.
Alan Johnson ran in the top five for the majority of the race and came on late to take home second, while Pat Ward, Andy Bachetti and Payne rounded out the top five.
Payton Talbot returned to Victory Lane, driving from his 20th starting spot to claim the 20-lap Crate 602 Sportsman feature.
Talbot benefitted from a late-race restart after race leader Matt Janczuk slowed with two laps to go. Talbot moved past Blaine Klinger on the restart to pick up the victory. Klinger placed second over Jim Rothwell, Tanner Warner and Willy Decker Jr.
Josh Coonradt snagged his first Pro Stock win of the season at Utica-Rome, leading green-to-checkers for the win over Ivan Joslin, Jason Morrison, Nick Stone and A.J. Walters.
Zack Welch picked up his second Limited Sportsman win of the season over Connor Prokop and Nick Zielinski, while Rudy King Jr. and Wayne Russell Jr. won the dual-cam and single-cam 4-cylinder features, respectively.
Brett Putnam won his second All-Star Slingshot main event of the season, while Trevor Houghton won the Junior Slingshot feature.
UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY RESULTS
3 BASTARDS BREWING MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Alan Johnson, Pat Ward, Andy Bachetti, Alex Payne, Bobby Hackel IV, Erick Rudolph, Alex Yankowski, Alan Barker, Mike Trautschold, Addison Bowman, Randy Shantel, Ron Holmes, Eric Leet, Tim Mayne, Michelle Courcy, Billy Decker, Brad Poppleton, Rocky Warner, Willy Decker.
WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE (25 laps): PAYTON TALBOT, Blaine Klinger, Jim Rothwell, Tanner Warner, Willy Decker Jr., Alex Hughes, Josh Amodio, Allan Hodge, Chip Constantino, Ed Lukas, Jim Nagle, David Hackett Jr., Seth Martin, Matt Richardson, Bobby Heintz, David Dickey, Joey Buonagurio, Blake Sarpriacone, Ed Downing, Jason Reome, Matt Janczuk, Stephen Denton, Teddy Clayton Jr., Jeremy Slosek, Mike Richmond.
NEXT GENERATION GRAPHIX PRO STOCK FEATURE (20 laps): JOSH COONRADT, Ivan Joslin, Jason Morrison, Nick Stone, A.J. Walters, Beau Ballard, Bret Belden, Jim Normoyle, Ken Griffin, Tim Wood, Johnny Holmes, Mike Kazlauskas, George Cushman, Mike Keith, Gus Gould, Don Collins, Shane Playford, Andy Graves.
FASTLINE PERFORMANCE LIMITED SPORTSMAN (20 laps): ZACK WELCH, Connor Prokop, Nick Zielinski, Eric Jensen, Dalton Doyle, Kirsten Swartz, Carson Rothwell, Ernie Staelens, Timmy Wilmot, Dylan Piersall, Matt Bukovan, Dylan Nichols, Bobby Newman, Brodie Davis, Maddy Broedel, Hunter Tarbania, Zack Falciani.
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE (12 laps): RUDY KING JR. (DOHC), Sophia Denova, Kyle Coley, David Denova, Jeff Weeks, WAYNE RUSSELL JR. (SOHC), Jacob Kimball, Hank Wedgren, Hank Wedgren Jr.
Disqualified: Tim Vandermark
SENIOR SERVICES INC. ALL-STAR SLINGSHOT FEATURE (20 laps): BRETT PUTNAM, Justin House, Chris Darrow, Scott Sprague, Paul Holic, Jason Dufel, Nicholas Jenkins, Kevin Loveless, Alexandine Boisvert, Addison Still, Corky Warner.
JUNIOR SLINGSHOT FEATURE (15 laps): TREVOR HOUGHTON, Bodie Marks, Sullivan Dickey, Chase Spoor, Blake Banek, Addisyn Roger, Jayden Wust, Preston Trautschold, Brody Janczuk, Ayden Goodier.
Algonkin Motel Hard Luck Award: Rocky Warner
Fonda Speedway, Lebanon Valley Speedway and Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Vermont all had their Saturday night race programs rained out.
Fonda Speedway was slated to host the Tezos All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 sprint cars as part of its race program minus the 602 Crate Sportsman division. No return date has been announced for the 410 sprinters to return to the Track of Champions.
Devil’s Bowl opted to move its Saturday race card that included an Enduro to Sunday.
Lebanon Valley was scheduled to host the 11th Annual $2,000-to-win Andrew Sherman Memorial for the Sportsman division as part of its full regular race card with both big and small block modifieds on tap.
YOUNG MCGREW JR. HAS TOP 10 RUN
Derrick McGrew Jr. qualified 10th for Saturday’s Dutch Boy 150 at Flat Rock Speedway in Michigan, overcame a pair of spins and brought the Rise Motorsports No. 31 home with a top 10 finish in his NASCAR Menards ARCA debut.
Team owner Tim Goulet was obviously impressed with the 15-year-old’s performance in a car normally piloted by Goulet’s wife, Rita.
After the race, Tim Goulet posted on Facebook:
***PERSONAL STATEMENT ***
***THIS STATEMENT DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF OUR TEAM OR OUR SPONSORS. IT IS SIMPLY MY OWN OPINION ***
“Good morning everyone. I want to make a statement that could impact our team and probably even make Rita mad, but I have to do the right thing.
“Derrick McGrew Jr. is truly the real deal. Period.
“In my NASCAR truck, Xfinity, Cup series and now ARCA career I’ve seen a ton of drivers. Not many like McGrew though. This kid has more talent at his age than most have their entire lives. I certainly gave him a good car yesterday. There’s no doubt. However, I promise you when he got settled in last night he drove that car beyond its limits. At his young age, his feedback is that of a veteran. The results don’t show the whole story. If not for getting turned twice last night (1 truly being an accident that the 65 truly apologized for. Thank you) One can only imagine what could have been.
“I can’t selfishly hold him back. It would be a disservice to our sport. We don’t have the racing budget that would allow us to give away rides. I certainly wish we did. If we could, I would go chase championships with him as the driver.
“If any of you big teams have the luxury of putting talent before money, please, please consider this kid. There is a reason this kid wins races. It isn’t just because of the hard work of Derrick McGrew.”
FRIESEN PLACES 13TH AT NORTH WILKESBORO
After a poor qualifying run, Stewart Friesen started 33rd in the Tyson 250 for the Craftsman Truck Series Saturday at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Friesen picked his way into the top 10 before coming home in 13th after making a pit stop with the leaders during a late-race caution.
It was the first race for the trucks at the rejuvenated speedway in 27 years.