Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – Here’s some bad news for the rest of the modified drivers at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Stewart Friesen may have hit on the perfect set-up Friday night.
Friesen has dominated the modified division at the historic Malta track this season, finishing second, first and third in the first the first three races of the season. But on Friday night, he took dominance to another level.
After starting 16th in the 35-lap modified feature, Friesen easily worked his way to the front, took the lead on lap 20, and survived a couple of late restarts to cruise to his second win of the season.
“We’re trying to race as much as we can, and it’s really starting to pay off,” said Friesen after the win, his 14th of the season. “Mat Williamson came in and kicked our butt a couple of weeks ago, so we’ve been tweaking the package for the last couple of weeks, and this is the best the car has felt all year here.”
One of Friesen’s best moves of the night came on lap 15, when he was part of a four-wide foray down the backstretch, coming out of it in third place. Following a yellow flag on lap 18, Friesen ducked low in turn two to take second place away from Ricky Davis, and then rocketed past Brian Berger the next time around to get the lead.
Friesen went on to open up a huge lead, leaving Berger, Bobby Hackel IV and Davis in a battle for second. Defending modified champion Marc Johnson would later join that battle, and would wind up second after dropping a big block in his Troyer chassis for the first time this season.
Peter Britten came across the finish line third, with Hackel fourth and Jack Lehner fifth. Hackel and Lehner both finished in the top five for the first time this season.
The pro-stocks ran for $1,000 to win as part of the Native Pride program, ad produced a scary finish.
Chad Jeseo, who earlier in the night had won a $200 bonus in the STTC Pro Stock Dash for Cash, and Scott Towslee were running side by side for the final five laps of the 25-lap feature, following a yellow flag on lap 20, with Jeseo on top and Towslee hugging the bottom.
Coming through the fourth turn for the final time, Towslee drifted up and made contact with the front of Jeseo’s car, sending both cars into the outside concrete wall. Jeseo’s car took the brunt of the contact, climbed the wall, and rolled into its roof, with a fire breaking out in the engine compartment.
After a few anxious moments, the fire was extinguished and Jeseo crawled out of his car.
That contact between Towslee and Jeseo allowed Luke Horning to mash the gas, and beat Towslee to the checkered flag. Josh Coonradt finished third.
The 25-lap sportsman feature also featured some great racing, with Brian Calabrese recording his first win of the season. In the final few laps of the race, Calabrese made his car as wide as possible, doing everything he could to hold off defending champion Connor Cleveland. Andrew Buff got past Cleveland on the final lap for the No. 2 spot.
Jeff Meltz started on the pole and led flag-to-flag in the 25-lap street stock, which paid $500 to win through sponsorship by N3 Motorsports. Meltz had to survive a couple of late restarts, but easily posted his second straight win, beating Hunter Sanchez to the checkered flag by .75 seconds.
Travis Witbeck chalked up win No. 2 in the 25-lap Haun Welding limited sportsman feature, while David Frame remained undefeated in the four-cylinder class, picking up his fourth win in as many tries. Steve Ryan finished second overall, and had the first single-cam car across the finish line.
MODIFIEDS: Stewart Friesen, Marc Johnson, Peter Britten, Bobby Hackel IV, Jack Lehner, Mike Mahaney, Jackie Brown Jr., Brian Berger, Matt DeLorenzo, Jessey Mueller, Rocky Warner, Danny Varin, Rich Ronca, Ronnie Johnson, CG Morey, Neil Stratton, Matt Pupello, Anthon Perrego, David Schilling, Ken Tremont Jr., Keith Flach, Matt Depew, Jeremy Pitts, Ricky Davis, James Meehan, Todd Stone, Jimmy Cottrell, Don Ronca, Drew Cormie, Demetrios Drellos.
SPORTSMAN: Brian Calabrese, Andrew Buff, Connor Cleveland, Pat Jones, Ron Proctor, Justin Buff, Jim Nagle, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Dylan Bokus, Jon Miller, Robert Bublak, Cody Ochs, Mike Coffey Jr., Jeff Washburn, JaMike Sowle, Derek Bornt, Mike Ballestero, Stephen Kneer, Jack Speshock, David Boisclair, Daryl Nutting, Thomas Van Vorst Jr., Justin Stone, Dan Grignon, Jim Osgood, Larry Niemic, Tim Hartman Jr., Colin Clow, Fred Proctor, Scott Duell.
PRO STOCKS: Luke Horning, Scott Towslee, Josh Coonradt, Dean Charbonneau, Kim Duell, Rob Yetman, Chuck Dumblewski, Dan Older, Tony Markou, Jordan Modiano, Yates Lansing, Phil Arnold, Nick Arnold, Mike Baker, Chad Jeseo, Jay Fitzgerald, Dan Madigan, Brandon Emigh, Jason Meltz.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Travis Witbeck, Bryce Breault, Brandon Jacobsen, Kevin Groff, Tyler Rapp, Chris Bisson, Shane Larman, Craig Wholey, Garrett Poland, Ron Delease Jr., Jon Cook, David Zelker, Tommy D’Angelo, Dylan Madsen, Gary Derocher, Scott Bennett, John Santolin, Taylor Wason, Bryant Moore.
STREET STOCKS: Jeff Meltz, Hunter Sanchez, Bill Duprey, Al Relyea, John Filarecki, Ed Hatch, Chris Stalker, Jim McKiernan, PJ Cram Jr., Jim Dellea, Josh Hemming, John Hayes, Jacob Zennaiter, Kaleb Shepard, Paul Braymer, Matt Mosher, Anthony Tarantino, Zach Daniels, Jason Barrett, Curtis Condon.