Column By: STEPHEN DURHAM / RPW – MALTA, NY – It was a very stout field of big block modifieds that signed into Albany-Saratoga Speedway Friday night, with 34 cars making entry.
When the Super DIRTcar Series visits “The Great Race Place,” some of tour’s regulars usually will be battling toe-to-toe with weekly regulars for the win.
The first four in the finishing order have all raced weekly at the speedway over the past few seasons, or even won the modified track championship, matter of fact, going back to 2016, 4 championships have been won.
Mike Mahaney, 2020 modified champion was the one at the end of the night who would come home victorious, battling it out with two time modified champion Marc Johnson multiple times over the course of the race.
Early on it could be seen, with Mahaney and Johnson starting on the front row, they would be hard to beat. They would battle for the lead, all while pulling away from the rest of the field in the middle of their own battles. Mahaney caught the inside wall of 1 and 2, that would give a left front flat tire, but that wouldn’t even matter at the end of the night. Mahaney basically never needed that tire, only during caution laps while pacing.
Mahaney would eventually pull away late in the race, and never look back, even after a few mid to late race cautions. Johnson would come in second. For Johnson, he felt like it was a very solid night all together.
“I think I stayed up top too long, should have moved to the bottom sooner, but that is easy to say now,” Johnson explains. For Johnson, he has made a total of 10 starts on the Super DIRTcar Series in 2022, including the trip to Volusia.
“It’s a big learning experience, I’ve been lucky the last two races to be racing at my home tracks have helped a lot, with two 2nd place finishes, but it definitely is a challenging experience,” Johnson says.
In third place, it was another Malta regular, Jessey Mueller. Mueller was flexing speed on the outside during the middle portions of the 71 lapper, reeling in and passing Marc Johnson for a while and made him feel pretty good putting up a strong showing.
“Feels real good, let them know it’s our home,” Mueller laughingly says, “no, but it really feels good, these guys are the best around , our goal was a top 5, so I am plenty happy with this, we’re just a small team and don’t race a lot.”
Another former track champion, and the defending 2021 modified champion was Anthony Perrego, who came home in 4th. Other weekly regulars in the top 10 was, fan favorite Kenny Tremont Jr in 6th, Peter Britten in 8th, and Matt Delorenzo in 9th.