Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – It looks like Ken Tremont Jr. isn’t over the hill after all.
After suffering through three frustrating weeks at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Tremont showed the form that carried him to 13 modified championships at the historic Malta track by winning Friday night’s 35-lap NAPA Modified feature.
Tremont used an advantageous starting position and his years of experience to hold off Adam Pierson to record his 81st career victory at Albany-Saratoga.
A week ago, Tremont was little more than a spectator after losing a wheel on the third lap of the feature, and he hadn’t finished in the top 10 in the first three weeks of the season. But that misfortune on April 29 helped him land the seventh starting position on Friday night, and that played a big part in his victory.
“What made our night was finishing fifth in the heat and getting into the handicapping,” said Tremont, who turned 60 last November. “That gave me a good starting spot. If I hadn’t gotten into a handicapped position and had to start farther back, I’m not sure I could have done as well as I did.”
Jack Speshock, who has had just as much, if not more, frustration than Tremont, started on the outside pole and jumped right into the lead, but Tremont didn’t waste any time moving forward. He ducked under polesitter Matt Depew coming out of turn two on lap eight to take over third, and six laps later, again made a big move out of the second turn to take over second.
The second caution of the race came out on lap 18, when Jessey Mueller and Mike Mahaney made hard contact in turn three, resulting in a Mueller spin. On the restart, Pierson got a good jump and rocketed by Tremont for second, but another yellow came out the next time around, and this time, Tremont used his inside starting position to regain the No. 2 position when Pierson got too high in the second turn.
“The bottom was good for us,” said Tremont. “Starting on the bottom on that restart was a plus for us.”
Despite the restarts, Speshock was still comfortably in the lead and didn’t see the great battle for second that Tremont and Pierson were waging. But Tremont soon began pressuring Speshock for the lead, and then finally moved out on the point coming out of the fourth turn to complete lap 26.
Five laps later, Speshock’s night was done, as he pulled off the third turn and rolled to a stop when something broke in his suspension. Four laps later, Tremont had his 81st career win.
Pierson, who was looking for his second career win at Albany-Saratoga, settled for second, while Demetrios Drellos, who started 16th, finished third, ahead of Marc Johnson and Peter Britten.
Twelve-year-old Brock Pinkerous put his name into the Albany-Saratoga Speedway records book by notching his first career win in the 25-lap Northeast Paving & Sealcoat Sportsman feature. Pinkerous, who also won his heat race, started fifth and rode the outside early the race, then dove back to the inside to take the lead away from Nick Lussier coming out of the fourth turn on lap 11.
From there, it was a matter of surviving a couple of restarts to take the checkered flag. The win was worth $1,000, through additional sponsorship from DKM Fabrication.
“This is, like, one of the craziest moments of my life,” said an overjoyed Pinkerous in victory lane.
Tyler Rapp, who started on the pole, was second, followed by Tom Hartman Jr., who started 17th, Chris Johnson and Dave Baranowski Jr.
Andy’s Speed Shop ran its Pick 5 Challenge, with the five drivers who finished in randomly selected positions taking home $100 bonuses. The bonuses went to Hartman Jr. (third), Lussier (eighth), Michael Wagner Fitzgerald (11th), Jim Osgood (18th), and Joe Toth (24th).
Craig Wholey was also a first-time winner, easily outrunning Dylan Grogan to win the 20-lap Haun Welding Limited Sportsman feature. Wholey started 14th, but used a couple of early cautions to quickly move up with the leaders, and then grabbed the lead on lap seven.
A restart with one lap to go jangled Wholey’s nerves a bit, but he finished with a 1.829 margin of victory over Dylan Grogan.
Chucky Dumblewski recorded his first win of the year in the 25-lap Eastwood Detailing Pro Stock feature. The win was worth $1,000, thanks to additional sponsorship from Malta Farm and Garden.
Dumblewski started in the outside of the front row and only needed three laps to snatch the top away from pole-sitter Jordan Modiano, who earlier in the night had won a $200 bonus by winning the Four States Enterprises Dash.
Dumblewski then had his hands full with Kim Duell, who was looking for his second straight win, and Duell almost got his big break on lap 21, when the lapped car of Pete Vila carried Dumblewski high in the second turn.
But Dumblewski regrouped, and beat Duell to the finish line by about two car lengths. Rob Yetman, who started 14th, charged up to grab a spot on the podium.
Al Relyea notched his first win of the season in the 15-lap Lake Auto Parts street stock feature, while David Frame dominated the 15-lap Greg’s Towing Four-Cylinder feature, easily getting his second straight win. Daniel Joubert finished second overall, and had the first single-cam car across the finish line.
MODIFIEDS: Ken Tremont Jr., Adam Pierson, Demetrios Drellos, Marc Johnson, Peter Britten, Jack Lehner, Matt DeLorenzo, Keith Flach, Jessey Mueller, Jeremy Pitts, Don Ronca, Matt Depew, James Meehan, Scott Huber, Derrick McGrew Jr., Mike Mahaney, Rich Ronca, Kris Vernold, Ryan McCartney, Jack Speshock, CG Morey, Robert Bublak, Brandon Daley, Derek Bornt.
SPORTSMAN: BROCK PINKEROUS, Tyler Rapp, Tim Hartman Jr., Chris Johnson, Dave Baranowski Jr., Davis Boisclair, Dylan Madsen, Nick Lussier, Andrew Buff, Jon Miller, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Elliot Lussier, Cody Ochs, Jim Nagle, Travis Witbeck, Mike Ballestero, Gerard LeClair, Jim Osgood, Chris Jakubiak, Drew Cormie, Brendan Gibbons, Joey Scarborough, Justin Barber, Joe Toth, Scott Duell, Mike Coffey Jr., Ron Proctor, Taylor LaPlante, Bryce Breault, Jake Scarborough, Dan Grignon.
PRO STOCKS: CHUCKY DUMBLEWSKI, Kim Duell, Rob Yetman, Luke Horning, Rich Crane, Jason Casey, Chad Jeseo, Shane Henderson, Scott Towslee, Chris Murray, Jay Casey, Dean Charbonneau, Jordan Modiano, Jaxson Ryan, Pete Vila, Mike Baker, Jason Meltz.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: CRAIG WHOLEY, Dylan Grogan, Chris Crane Jr., John Santolin, Mike Parodi, Chris Bisson, Ashton Pierson, Nick Arnold, Mike Arnold, Steve Burch, Phil Arnold, Ron Delease, Dan Seguin, Taylor Wason, Scott Bennett, Dakota Green, Wesley Sutliff, Walter Cook, Nick Auspelmyer, David Zelker, Tanner Coon, Kyle Swartz, Tommy D’Angelo.
STREET STOCKS: AL RELYEA, PJ Cram Jr., Matt Mosher, Jimmy Duncan, Paul Braymer, Dan Madigan, Jeff Meltz, Dana Van Veghten, Cliff Haslun, John Filarecki, Norm Lamphear, Gary Brust, Fred Shippee, Ray Pierre Jr., Patrick Cram Sr., Brian Goodall, Josh Hemming, Tim McFarland, Cayden Dumblewski.
FOUR-CYLINDERS: DUAL CAM: DAVID FRAME, Elmer Montville, Justin Ramsey, Olivia Swinton.
FOUR-CYLINDERS: SINGLE CAM: DANIEL JOUBERT, John Mason, Tim Meltz, John Sullivan, Chris Duffney, Austin McDonald, Brittany Ladd, Damian Anderson, Robert Garney.