Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – Well, that slump’s over. After four weeks of frustration, Ken Tremont Jr. finally showed the form that carried him to 13 modified championships and posted his first win of the season in Friday night’s 35-lap modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
After starting third in the 32-car modified field, Tremont went right to the lead and never gave it up, winning a spirited battle with Jack Lehner to record his 78th career victory at the historic Malta track.
“At least I didn’t give this one away,” said Tremont with a smile after the win.
Since finishing 11th in the first race of the season at Albany-Saratoga, Tremont hadn’t even finished a race in his last three starts, and in two of those features, he was involved in wrecks while leading the race.
“This one helps … a little bit,” he said. “It’s going to be tougher when I start toward the back. I’ve still got work to do.”
Despite getting the lead early, Tremont never really had a chance to relax, as Lehner, who had started sixth, moved into second on the third lap and was building up a lot of momentum by hugging the bottom.
On the 10th lap, it appeared like Lehner was going to get the lead as he and Tremont roared down the backstretch, but at almost the same time, Jackie Brown Jr., driving Reggie Bonner’s car, and Danny Varin tangled coming out of the fourth turn, putting Tremont back in the lead.
“That was a game-changer,” said Lehner after the race. “I thought I had passed him before the caution came out.
Four more restarts prevented Lehner from putting any real pressure on Tremont, but once Tremont got into lapped traffic late in the race, Lehner was able to make another strong bid for the lead. But the lapped cars forced Lehner to come off the bottom and follow Tremont, which played right into Tremont’s hand.
“I thought if we got in lapped traffic, I could catch him,” said Lehner. “My car was fast. I could roll through the middle and I could run the bottom, and I thought once we got into the lapped cars, I could get him. But he ran a perfect race.”
Lehner had to settle for second, his best finish ever at Malta. His previous best was a third, behind Matt DeLorenzo and Brett Hearn, on July 13, 2018.
“I think the restarts helped me,” said Tremont as he looked at some serious wear on his right rear tire after the race. “I went with a softer tire because I didn’t want to take too long to get hooked up.”
Jessey Mueller also had his best run of the season, coming across the finish line third. He was followed by Rocky Warner and Mike Mahaney.
Andrew Buff notched his first win of the year in the 25-lap sportsman feature. Buff, who started 12th, took control of the feature just past the halfway point and left former track champions Tim Hartman Jr. and Connor Cleveland to battle for second. Hartman, who had pulled out of the previous feature with rear end problems, got past Cleveland for the runner-up spot with two laps to go, but Buff was too far ahead by then, winning by nearly two seconds.
Nick Stone came away with the victory in the 25-lap pro stock feature. Chad Jeseo, who was involved in a frightening wreck the previous week, came back with his Lebanon Valley car, started on the pole and took control of the race, but Stone had other ideas.
Stone, who started 12th, stuck to the low groove, and eventually got by Jeseo on lap 20 to take the lead. Chuck Dumblewski finished third.
Ron Delease Jr. dominated the limited sportsman division, First, he picked up the $200 prize in the Service Tire Truck Center Dash for Cash, and later, after starting on the pole, then led flag-to-flag in the Haun Welding 20-lap feature, which was run under all green-flag conditions. Tommy D’Angelo finished second, with Craig Wholey third.
Josh Hemming took the first checkered flag of his career in the 15-lap street stock feature. Hemming started third and got the lead coming out of the second turn on lap 10. He was followed by John Filarecki and Matt Mosher.
Jim Bleau broke David Frame’s four-race winning streak in the four-cylinder division, which featured a tribute to Ray Galusha and some bonus money. Bleau picked up $180 for his win while Steve Ryan was second overall and had the first single-cam car across the finish line, which allowed him to pocket $130. Frame crossed the finish line third, and immediately had something erupt in the engine compartment.
MODIFIEDS: Ken Tremont Jr., Jack Lehner, Jessey Mueller, Rocky Warner, Mike Mahaney, Ronnie Johnson, Peter Britten, Anthony Perrego, Keith Flach, Danny Varin, Don Ronca, Neil Stratton, Jeremy Pitts, Matt DeLorenzo, CG Morey, Brian Gleason, Ricky Davis, Brian Berger, James Meehan, Don Mattison, Justin Barber, Bobby Hackel IV, Derrick McGrew Jr., Alissa Cody, Cass Bennett, Matt Depew, Marc Johnson, Jimmy Cottrell, Jackie Brown Jr., Kenny Aanonsen Jr., Rich Ronca, Drew Cormie.
SPORTSMAN: Andrew Buff, Tim Hartman Jr., Connor Cleveland, David Boisclair, Derek Bornt, Travis Bruno, Joey Scarborough, Pat Jones, Scott Duell, Tony Farone, Justin Buff, David Baranowski Jr., Daryl Nutting, Cody Ochs, Jon Miller, Kyle Inman, Nick Lussier, Dylan Bockus, Tucker O’Connor, Jack Speshock, Brian Calabrese, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Mike Ballestero, Jim Osgood, Mike Coffey Jr., Fred Proctor, Jim Nagle, Robert Bublak, Nick Scavia, Jeff Washburn.
PRO STOCKS: Nick Stone, Chad Jeseo, Chuck Dumblewski, Jason Meltz, Luke Horning, Brandon Emigh, Kim Duell, Dean Charbonneau, Rob Yetman, Josh Coonradt, Dan Older, Nick Arnold, Rich Crane, Jim Normyle, Jay Fitzgerald, Jordan Modiano, David Cook, Mike Ostrander, Tom O’Connor, Yates Lansing.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Ron Delease Jr., Tommy D’Angelo, Craig Wholey, Bill August, Brandon Jacobsen, Bryce Breault, Shane Larman, Yule Cook, Travis Witbeck, Tyler Rapp, Scott Bennett, Kevin Groff, Troy Zilles, Dylan Madsen, Chris Bisson, Taylor Wason, David Zelker, Joe Smith, John Santolin, Garrett Poland.
STREET STOCKS: Josh Hemming, John Filarecki, Matt Mosher, Jeff Meltz, Paul Braymer, Al Relyea, Mark Burch, Kaleb Shepard, John Hayes, John Williams, Harold Chadderton, John Burst.