Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – Most dirt tracks begin to scale back their programs after Labor Day. Not Albany-Saratoga Speedway. The historic Malta track just keeps picking up steam.
Two weeks ago, promoter Lyle DeVore announced that the modifieds would be added to the card for Friday, Sept. 10. Then, last week, he also announced that the modified winner will receive $3,500, thanks to sponsorship from Ron Mensing’s Native Pride program and Dirt Track Digest.
The jam-packed racing card on Military, Law Enforcement, Fire & Rescue Night will also include a 50-lap feature in the DIRTcar Eastern Region Sportsman Series, pro stocks, the final points races for both the limited sportsman and street stocks, and the second appearance of the season by the Tobias Slingshots.
The 35-lap modified feature will also serve as a test-and-tune for many drivers who haven’t been to Albany-Saratoga Speedway since opening day. Because the Super DIRTcar Series Horse Power 100 was rained out twice, first in June and then in July, many invading drivers haven’t really had a chance to get a good handle on the tricky Albany-Saratoga surface in preparation for the Super DIRTcar Series race that will highlight Malta Massive Weekend on Sept 24-25.
On opening day, Marc Johnson outlasted Mat Williamson and Billy Decker to win the 56-lap “Hell or High Water” feature, snatching the top prize of $5,600. That was Johnson’s debut for his new sponsor, S&S Asphalt Paving.
Stewart Friesen, who has racked up 28 wins since taking his first checkered flag of the season on Jan. 29 at Bubba Raceway, made his only appearance of the year at Albany-Saratoga on April 18, finishing seventh, and he has an open week in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs this weekend.
Matt Sheppard was also in the field on opening night, but early in the feature, he wheel-hopped through the third turn and banged into Jessey Mueller, doing significant damage to his car. He finished 28th.
The DIRTcar East Region Sportsman Series has run three events so far, with John Scarborough winning two, at Airborne Park in Plattsburgh and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. But the favorite on Friday will be two-time reigning Albany-Saratoga champion Tim Hartman Jr., who needs one more win to become the winningest sportsman driver in the history of the speedway.
In addition to crowning a champion, the limited sportsman division will be running for bonus money courtesy of Macson Industrial Services. The top 10 finishers in the limited sportsman feature will share in $1,000 of bonus money.