Andrew Buff & Mother Nature…The Only Victors Friday Night At Albany-Saratoga

Column By: LAURIE FALLIS / RPW – MALTA, NY – There was racing at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Friday night, but it was short lived. Mother Nature once again found the right set up to dominate the evening.

Friday was NYSSCA Safety night at the Great Race Place. This is a great organization that has been around for nearly 50 years. I highly recommend that anyone that is a part of racing become a member.

Also a part of the night’s activities was the annual bike giveaway’s. Several teams and sponsors donated bicycles that were raffled off for young fans. Amazingly, there were 91 bikes in total given away Friday. What a great gift that many of the young fans will never forget.

Early in the night, with clear skies and not a cloud around, everyone was ready to go racing. The track conditions were the best shape to date and the first event on the speedway was the heldover Sportsman feature from May 4th.

Jake Scarborough jumped out into the early lead from the drop of the green flag, followed by Darryl Nutting and Andrew Buff.

Caution flew on lap two for the car of Jason Gray who stopped on the front stretch.

As racing resumed, it was the #24 of Scarborough once again in the top spot. Meanwhile, the battle was heating up for second as Buff was knocking on the door of Nutting. He took the second away with an outside move and as the laps were clicking down, Buff began to reel in the leader.

Caution would fly once again on lap nine which also brought the red flag. Adam McAuliffe had a hard hit with two other competitors in turns three and four, blocking the track. All drivers were okay, but got out of their cars very slowly.

The restart had Buff on the outside and he was ready to make his move. That’s exactly what he did as he powered his way into the lead with Nutting following. Scarborough was pushed back to third with Jeremy Pitts and Chris Johnson knocking on his back door.

As the laps were clicking off, Buff was well in command, but Connor Cleveland was now creeping into the top 5.

The leader hit lap traffic on the 21st circuit, but he let them know that he was coming through. It was safe to say nobody was denying Buff on this night as the young driver took home his second career Sportsman victory in dominating fashion.

Scarborough got back to second with Nutting, Cleveland and Johnson rounding out the top 5.

“The top was really good tonight,” Buff said after his win. “I took advantage of the outside line and that’s what got us to victory lane.”

At the conclusion of the feature, clouds started rolling in and the sky was getting very grey. The wind also started picking up and many fans were hoping that it would pass through.

Heat race action for the regularly-scheduled night’s action took to the track next. Pro Stock winners were Brandon Gray and Brandon Emigh. Limited Sportsman were won by Travis Billinton, David Boiscleir and Stephen Kneer. The Modifieds heats went to Jim Nagle. Kris Vernold and CJ Morey.

As the modified were finishing up, up the weather became gloomier, and as time passed, several fans started making their way to their cars. However, the hopefuls remained seated.

Last heats of the night were for the Sportsman with Joey Scarborough, Jack Speshock and Jim Osgood grabbing the victories. In the first heat, Nick Lussier looped his car in front of the field. Another car made contact sending Lussier barrel rolling down the back stretch. Floyd Billington also went over. Both drivers walked away but their cars received heavy damage and were done for the night.

Street Stocks were brought out on the track to start their feature, however the skies opened up and let the rains in on lap three. John Filarecki was leading at the time.

As fans scrambled, the rain came harder, and let me tell you, everybody got soaked.

Once again, the rain put a halt on what was gearing up to be a great night of racing. My pick of the night was the guy who has the most victories at the track…Brett Hearn. It’s still amazing to say that “The Jet” has yet to see victory lane at the “Great Race Place” in 2018, but has been the most consistent of all the drivers.

The 50/50 was up to $1,200 already for someone to go home with a nice chunk of change

Well, as we made our way back to our vehicle, going from one tree to the cover of the food shack then on to another tree and then finding cover under a tarp with a bunch or other folks, it was as if we all were running our own race of trying to stay dry. But, that was a race we were not winning.

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