Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
That was the case Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, where Matt DeLorenzo used a bizarre set of circumstances to record his first win of the season in the 35-lap NAPA Modified feature.
Not only did DeLorenzo become the fifth different modified winner in as many weeks at Malta, but he walked out with $3,200, as the winner’s share of the purse was $3,000 and he also won the Four States Enterprises Dash for Cash.
DeLorenzo, who started 10th in the 26-car field, originally took the lead on lap 10 and maintained the lead as he kept his right rear tire tucked against the cushion.
But a series of yellows, many for blown tires, changed the race dramatically.
First, DeLorenzo lost the lead to Jeremy Pitts following a restart on lap 20. DeLorenzo opted to start on the bottom, and Pitts used the high line to get the lead coming out of the fourth turn on lap 22.
Another caution, another restart, this time on lap 23. Pitts again took the top, but went too high coming out of the fourth turn and when the leaders passed starter Rich Peterson, DeLorenzo was back in front.
Two laps later, Pitts went low going through the second turn and slid up to break DeLorenzo’s momentum. But just as quickly, DeLorenzo crossed back over and Marc Johnson, who had started 14th, also got around Pitts for second.
Pitts brought out the next yellow on lap 26 for a flat tire, and on the subsequent restart, Johnson was extremely quick coming out of the second turn against the cushion and was the new leader.
Jessey Mueller then joined the battle up front and the three leaders diced back and forth, looking for an advantage.
Mueller, who was running against the cushion, made his move with two to go, but jumped the cushion in the third turn and spun out, bringing out another yellow. Seconds later, Johnson headed for the pits, as he had sheared the right rear radius rod right off his car.
That put DeLorenzo back into the lead, and he got a good jump on the restart to hold off Ken Tremont Jr., who had come from his 17th starting position to finish second.
“Wow, that was fun,” said DeLorenzo with a smile in victory lane. “I was just trying to be patient (late in the race). I was hoping one of them would mess up.
“I didn’t need all those cautions,” he added. “When Marc restarted behind me, I knew he would go to the bottom. That’s why I went down there first.
“That was wild, First, Jessey jumped the cushion and then Marc broke something. I think that would have a good race to the end.”
Mueller, who finished 17th, thought he had the winning car.
“The cushion bit me,” he said. “I’m surprised it didn’t bite me earlier. I was beating the car up pretty good.”
Peter Britten, who made a quick pit stop under caution on lap 3, came from the rear to finish third, followed by Mike Mahaney and Demetrios Drellos.
The Northeast Paving & Sealcoat Sportsman ran the second leg of the John Ray & Sons/Dean’s Electrical Services Sportsman Shootout Series, and Pat Jones led flag-to-flag in the 25-lap feature to take home the winner’s payday of $1.500.
Jones finished with a 7.603 second margin of victory over Mike Coffey Jr. Scott Duell, who won Round 1 of the series, got up for third.
The pole was also the place to be in the 20-lap Haun Welding Limited Sportsman feature, as Tommy D’Angelo also led flag–to-flag to notch his first win of the season.
D’Angelo was getting tremendous restarts in the Riberty Construction-sponsored car and had no problem outrunning Mike Parodi for the win. Dakota Green came across the finish line third.
Jason Casey picked up his first win of the season in the 25-lap Eastwood Detailing Pro-Stock feature, which paid $1,000 to win through sponsorship from RTC Roofing.
The pro stock feature got off to a bizarre start, as polesitter Jordan Modiano led the first lap and then slowed dramatically coming out of the fourth turn on lap two, setting off a chain-reaction incident. The feature then had three straight yellows before completing another lap.
When the field finally got sorted out, Jason Meltz was the new leader, and he hooked with Scott Towslee and Kim Duell in an edge-of-your seat battle. Meltz and Towslee took turns on the point, with Duell waiting for the right time to make his move, but Casey moved first, taking the lead on lap 10.
After Duell disintegrated his right rear tire on lap 13, Casey pulled away from Towslee, who gave up the No. 2 position to defending track champion Chad Jeseo late in the race.
Al Relyea came away with his second straight win in the 15-lap Lake Auto Parts Street Stock feature. Relyea snatched the lead away from John Filarecki with five to go, and despite having Filarecki running on his outside for the final handful of laps, Relyea won by half-a-car length.
Jon Sheppard posted his first win of the year in the 15-lap Greg’s Towing Four-Cylinder feature, easily holding off Elmer Montville and David Frame. Tim Meltz finished fourth overall and had the first single-cam car across the finish line.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: MATT DELORENZO, Ken Tremont Jr., Peter Britten, Mike Mahaney, Demetrios Drellos, Jack Lehner, Adam Pierson, Robert Bublak Jr., Scott Huber, James Meehan, Kris Vernold, Derek Bornt, Matt Depew, CG Morey, Don Ronca, Marc Johnson, Jessey Mueller, Rich Ronca, Jeremy Pitts, Keith Flach, Ryan McCartney, Jack Speshock, Bill August, Brandon Daley, Ronnie Johnson, Derrick McGrew Jr.,
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOAT SPORTSMAN: PAT JONES, Mike Coffey Jr., Scott Duell, Jim Osgood, Darryl Nutting, Travis Billington, Tyler Rapp, Chris Jakubiak, Dan Grignon, David Boisclair, Mike Ballestero, Tim Hartman Jr., Brendan Gibbons, Jim Nagle, Dave Baranowski Jr., Chris Johnson, Gerard LeClair, Dylan Madsen, Nick Lussier, Elliot Lussier, Cody Ochs, Andrew Buff, Brock Pinkerous, Drew Cormie, Justin Barber, Taylor LaPlante, Ron Proctor, Travis Witbeck, Zach Buff.
EASTWOOD DETAILING PRO STOCKS: JASON CASEY, Chad Jeseo, Scott Towslee, Rob Yetman, Chuck Dumblewski, Rich Crane, Jason Meltz, Jay Casey, Norm Loubier, Dean Charbonneau, Pete Vila, Jaxson Ryan, Chris Murray, Kim Duell, Luke Horning, Mike Baker, Shane Henderson, Dave Stickles, Jordan Modiano.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: TOMMY D’ANGELO, Mike Parodi, Dakota Green, Chris Crane Jr., Ron Delease, Craig Wholey, Mike Arnold, Steve Burch, Ashton Pierson, Phil Arnold, Dan Seguin, John Santolin, Nick Auspelmyer, Wesley Sutliff, David Zelker, Kyle Swartz, Walter Cook, Taylor Wason, Scott Bennett, Russ Farr, Nick Arnold, Mark Burch, Tanner Coon, James Galarneau, Chris Bisson.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: AL RELYEA, John Filarecki, Jeff Meltz, Dan Madigan, Norm Lanphear, Jason Samrov, Patrick Cram Sr., Josh Hemming, Cordell Younger, Dana Van Veghten, Fred Shippee, Gary Brust, Nick Napoli, Damian Ward, Ray Pierre Jr., Paul Braymer, Matt Mosher, Jimmy Duncan, PJ Cram Jr., Riley Pedrick.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: JON SHEPPARD, Elmer Montville, David Frame, Tim Meltz (first single-cam), Chris Duffney Jr., Robert Garney, John Sullivan, Jason Mason, Joey Batho, Justin Ramsey, Bradley Batho, Gary Dotten, Allana Jordan, Kyle Lanfear, Brittany Ladd, Olivia Swinton, Chyanne Garney, Daniel Joubert.