Dirt Central | Chasin’ Racin’: Albany Saratoga Speedway sees holiday racing action

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By Mark Kane

For Capital Region Independent Media

The Memorial Day weekend usually produces some great racing action in the Capital District, and this year “The Great Race Place,” Albany Saratoga Speedway, kicked it off in a big way.


Efficiency must have been the word of the night at Albany Saratoga with the lineup of qualifying and features for the full pit area, but that just seems to be the norm. Heat races went off one right after the other, as one heat left the track the next was coming out and ready to take the green for another action-packed heat

The NAPA Modified feature had 667 Matt Depew with the early lead with rookie Brandon Darrah 14B all over the leader, with Brian Calabrese 21C having the best seat in the house, running third. Lap 5 would find the lead change hands with Darrah the new leader out of turn 2 as the battle in the top 5 was heating up, with Jesse Mueller 19 ending up on the top side.

Back in the field, Matt DeLorenzo 3D and Marc Johnson 3J were racing hard mid-pack after starting deep in the field. With the rookie Darrah still in command the caution was out after a tangle off turn 4 that found David Schilling 20 sitting on the front stretch infield.

Back to green Darrah would lead the NAPA Modifieds into 1 as the High Slider Jesse Mueller quickly worked his way to second, with Jeremy Pitts working his way to third. Former champion Marc Johnson and last week’s winner, Jack Lehner 2, had worked their way into the top five in the first 10 laps. Using the high side with perfection, Mueller would be the new leader on lap 11 with a power move through turns 3 and 4. Once out front Mueller left Darrah to deal with Lehner, Marc Johnson and Pitts as Matt DeLorenzo was now just outside the top 5 and battling for more.

Don’t look now but here comes Peter Britten 21A, who has been nothing but plain and simple, bad FAST each week coming from deep in the talented starting field; this week it was 25th. The caution would bring the field back to Mueller with Darrah, M. Johnson, Lehner and DeLorenzo, who worked past Pitts for fifth before Don Ronca slowed.

Back to green and Mueller again had the lead as M. Johnson moved to second and Lehner to third as Darrah battled Pitts for fourth and fifth, with DeLorenzo losing two spots.

Making his return to the racing wars was Todd Ryan in his 19 ride, who would bring out the last caution along with Derek Bornt. Back to green and again it was Mueller with the lead, but Marc Johnson was never far off his back bumper.

The on-track racing stayed tight as they were  racing three-wide for the top 5 with Pitts, Calabrese having a good season, and Britten racing hard and nerf bar to nerf bar.

As the laps wound down Johnson would make one last ditch effort out of turn 4 but it was Mueller in for the win after using the high side with perfection holding off Marc Johnson, Jack Lehner, Peter Britten and Brian Calabrese rounding out the top 5.                                                                                               

In other action on the night Marc Johnson won his second in the Modifieds by picking up the Di Carlo Auto Body 358 Shootout win over early leader Andrew Buff, Robert Bublak Jr., Matt DeLorenzo and Chris Curtis rounding out the top 5.

The Sportsman feature was dominated by Brendan Gibbons in the Dave Boisclair 02 ride that he took over a few weeks back with Craig Wholey, Zach Buff, Taylor Wason and Dan Grignon rounding out the top 5.

It was Kim Duell picking up the popular Pro Stock win, his 30th, that now has him back in front as the All-Time win leader with Rob Yetman with 29 wins. Following Duell to the checker was Jason Casey, Kyle Hoard, Chucky Dumblewski, and Rick Crane in the top 5. The Limited Sportsman had Nick Brundige in with the win and Chris Stalker getting the Street Stock win.

Please remember to support those who sponsor our local dirt tracks as well as the teams that put on the show for us, the fans.