Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – In 1985, the Scottish band Simple Minds wrote a song called “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, which became the main theme of the movie “The Breakfast Club.”
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” could also be the theme for “Come ‘N Get It,” the 54-lap modified feature that will kick off “Malta Massive Weekend” on Thursday, Sept. 19. While all of the focus will be on the Sept. 21 100-lap Super DIRT Series race, which will pay $10,000 to win and offer a guaranteed starting spot in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 at Oswego next month, this is one case in which the opening act might turn out to be better than the main attraction.
“Come ‘N Get it”, which will pay $5,400 to win through sponsorship from Bart Contracting and Schaghticoke Wine & Spirits, was originally scheduled to be the season opener, but was rained out a total of five times, so it could easily be overlooked, had it not been placed at the beginning of “Malta Massive Weekend.”
Although heat races were completed on April 23, Albany-Saratoga Speedway promoter Lyle DeVore said during the summer that he would add consolation races and a last-chance qualifier to “Come ‘N Get It” that will give any driver who campaigns a big block or a small block a couple more chances to get into the show on Sept. 19.
Everyone already qualified for “Come ‘N Get It” knows who they will be chasing. The top two rows will consist of Anthony Perrego, the 2019 small block modified champion at Orange County Speedway; Billy Decker, the three-time Super DIRT Series champion who has over 280 career wins, including nine at Albany-Saratoga; Larry Wight, the No. 1 driver of the Gypsum Racing Team who pulled into Albany-Saratoga Speedway and went home with a win on opening night in 2015; and Matt Sheppard, who has dominated the Super DIRT Series this year, recording seven wins in 15 series starts.
But the thing that will make the 54-lapper really interesting is the quality of drivers who will be starting behind the top four. Peter Britten, Rocky Warner, Matt DeLorenzo and Brett Hearn, who combined for 10 wins at Albany-Saratoga Speedway this season, will all be starting outside the top 10, which will make for great racing.
And the list of drivers expected to take advantage of those consolation races and the last-chance qualifier includes Stewart Friesen. Friesen, who blew by Hearn coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap to win Hearn’s “Big Show 11” and a payday of $11,111 at the historic Malta track on June 25, couldn’t make the original “Come ‘N Get it” because of his commitment to the NASCAR Gander World Truck Series, but the series is off during “Malta Massive Weekend,” giving Friesen a shot at some serious cash.
The Sept. 19 card will include all the regular divisions that were scheduled to compete on April 23. The sportsman will be racing for a top prize of $1,000, compliments of John Ray & Sons. Pit wristbands and general admission tickets from the rained out program on April 23 will be accepted.
Night two of “Malta Massive Weekend” will be held on Friday, Sept. 20 and will be highlighted by a small block modified feature which will pay $4,000 to win. The primary sponsor for that race is Tom Clothier Trucking and will be part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness campaign. Bart Contracting has also come on board for the Friday night show, which will include modified time trials, with a $500 bonus going to the quickest driver around the four-tenths mile circuit. A Dean’s Electrical sportsman series race, street stocks and four-cylinders will also be on the program.
Night three of “Malta Massive Weekend” will be showcased by the 100-lap Super DIRT Series race. The modifieds will be joined by a DIRT Pro Stock Series race and limited sportsman on the Saturday, Sept. 21 program.
Sunday, Sept 22 has been set aside for a rain date if any of the three original nights have to be postponed because of weather.
Free camping on the speedway grounds will be offered throughout “Malta Massive Weekend.”