Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – The season-ending Sept. 24-25 weekend at Albany-Saratoga Speedway is officially known as Malta Massive Weekend.
But it could easily turn into The Anthony Perrego Show.
With three chances to cash in over two nights, the 2021 Albany-Saratoga modified champion, who has been arguably the most consistent driver in the Northeast this season, could easily dominate the weekend.
The action will kick off on Friday, Sept. 24, highlighted by the 50-lap Fall Foliage 358 Spectacular, which will pay $4,000 to win. The 358 Spectacular will be run under DIRTcar rules, and is being sponsored by Big Al’s Sealcoating and Crack Filling, and Bart’s Contracting.
In addition, Albany-Saratoga promoter Lyle DeVore announced last weekend that there will also be a 20-lap modified Winner’s Classic, which will pay $1,200 to win. The field for that race will consist of Perrego, three-time winner Marc Johnson, 13-time champion Ken Tremont Jr. and fan favorite Ronnie Johnson, as well as 2020 track champion Mike Mahaney, Jack Lehner, Matt DeLorenzo, Peter Britten, Keith Flach, Jessey Mueller, Demetrios Drellos, Jeremy Pitts, Rich Ronca, James Meehan and Adam Pierson.
Sportsman drivers also have a shot at a big payday on Sept. 24, in the inaugural 75-lap Malta Massive Sportsman Classic, which will pay $3,000 to win. No modified or limited sportsman drivers will be allowed to compete in the Sportsman Classic, which will send a field of 30 cars to the initial green flag. There will be a draw for heat races, and a redraw prior to the feature. Street stocks, four-cylinders and a big block practice session will also be part of the Friday night card.
That will all just be a tune-up for the 100-lap Super DIRT Series race on Saturday, Sept. 25, which will pay $10,000 to win. The racing on that night will also include the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series, and limited sportsman.
So how does Perrego fit into all this?
The 27-year-old driver out of Montgomery, N.Y., is hitting his peak at the right time. Although he only has seven wins in 61 starts this season, he’s a threat every time he goes out on the track.
He recorded his only win of the season at Albany-Saratoga on Friday, Aug. 27, leading just the final lap after a turn two miscue at Neil Stratton. The next night, he won the small block modified feature at Orange County Speedway, securing the track title in that division and a $10,000 bonus. He came back with his first big block victory at Orange County on Sept. 2, taking the winner’s check of $5,000. That win also allowed him to secure the big block modified championship at the Middletown track, which was worth $25,000. Twenty-four hours later, he wrapped up his first championship at Albany-Saratoga.
Last year, he won the 60-lap DIRTcar OktoberFAST at Albany-Saratoga, pocketing $7,500, and in 2019, he kicked off the first Malta Massive Weekend by winning the “Come ‘N Get It”, the season opener that was pushed back into September because of constant rain in the spring. That was Perrego’s first career win at Malta.
So he’s definitely got a history of pulling out big wins on the final weekend of the season.
One of the invading drivers who is hungry to get back to victory lane at Malta is Larry Wight. During the first Malta Massive Weekend in 2019, he finished third, fourth and fifth in the three feature races. He also finished fifth in last year’s OktoberFAST. He’s only visited victory lane once at Albany-Saratoga, in the season opener in 2015.
Drellos will be hoping that lightning strikes twice for his family-owned team. Two years ago, he started on the pole and led all 100 laps during Malta Massive Weekend to record the first, and so far only, Super DIRTCar Series win of his career.
Racing on both nights of Malta Massive Weekend will begin at 7 p.m., and will be available on Dirt Track Digest TV pay-per-view. In the event of bad weather, Sunday, Sept. 26 will be used as a rain date.