Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – Albany-Saratoga Speedway promoter Lyle DeVore wasn’t going to let some rain spoil his 4th of July weekend celebration.
Hustling his show along because of a storm hovering in the west, DeVore managed to get in two features and a huge fireworks display to highlight Military/Law Enforcement/First Responders Night on Friday to kick off the holiday weekend.
Peter Britten took advantage of a good starting spot to dominate the 35-lap NAPA Modifieds feature, recording his second win of the year to overshadow a career-best second-place finish by Scott Huber.
Britten, coming off a disappointing 26th-place finish Thursday night in the Freedom 76 Super DIRTcar Series race at Land of Legends Speedway in Canandaigua, started sixth and only needed nine laps before charging around pole-sitter Derek Bornt. From there, Britten had to overcome a handful of restarts, which gave his closest challengers some hope, but nothing more.
When Rich Peterson threw the checkered flag, Britten was over three seconds ahead of Huber.
But then, he made his only mistake of the night. After going to the scales, he drove right to his pit, which is directly across from the scales, and had to be reminded by officials that he was needed in victory lane.
“That tells you how long it’s been since I had a win,” smiled Britten, whose first win this year came on opening night. “When I got cleared on the scales, I just headed for my pit.
“My guys told me I had them covered, but winning here is always hard, especially when it’s as hot as it in tonight. We’ve been off for a little while here, and starting closer to the front helped us tonight.”
Britten’s dominant performance doesn’t mean that the race lacked drama. Ryan McCartney, who started on the outside pole, led the first two laps, but on lap three, he went too high between the third and fourth turns and went off the racing surface, giving the lead to Bornt and putting Huber, who had started third, into second.
Following the restart, the top three cars began to run three-wide, with Britten in the middle. He rocketed by Huber on the outside of the fourth turn on lap five to take over second, then dove back to the inside, putting him in position to take the lead away from Bornt on lap nine.
Jeremy Pitts, who had started seventh, joined the lead group and took over the No. 2 position on lap 13. But on a restart on lap 16, he went off the backstretch coming out of the second turn, losing a number of position and giving the No. 2 spot to Demetrios Drellos.
Another caution flew on lap 19, when Bornt and Marc Johnson made contact in the first turn, bringing Bornt’s car to a stop. On that restart, Huber, who spent the entire feature hugging the bottom, took the No. 2 spot away from Drellos.
Drellos started to push up the track in the closing laps, allowing Mike Mahaney and Matt DeLorenzo to break into the top four. Drellos hung on for fifth.
“This is like a win for this team,” said Huber, whose previous best finish was a fourth on June 11 last year. “We just didn’t have enough for Peter tonight.”
Luke Horning held off defending champion Chad Jeseo to win the 30-lap Eastwood Detailing Pro Stock feature. Horning picked up a sponsor-inflated winner’s check for $2,000, as the “Tatanka Yotanka” feature was part of Ron Mensing’s Native Pride program.
This one should have been easy for Horning, who started fourth and went under early leader Jaxson Ryan to get the lead on lap four.
With Horning in the lead, Shane Henderson and Jordan Modiano began swapping the No. 2 position, and no one was really paying attention to Jeseo, who was mired back in the pack after starting 14th.
But by lap 16, Jeseo had sneaked up the inside to break into the top five, and on lap 20, went around by Modiano to take over third.
The next time around, Jeseo switched lanes, and took the high groove around Henderson, putting him in second.
Although he could see Horning, it didn’t look like he had enough time to catch him. But a spin by Chris Murray on lap 23 brought out a yellow, giving Jeseo the shot he needed.
Horning had been getting outstanding restarts, and it took Jeseo two or three laps to build up momentum on top. Just when it looked like he was ready to make his move on the leader, another caution flew on lap 27, when four cars, including Modiano’s, tangled in the first turn.
Another mishap on the next lap, involving seven cars that were running at the back of the pack, set up a two-lap shootout for the win and Horning held off Jeseo and Henderson to come away with his first win of the season.
Horning had praise for Mensing, who operates one of the tow trucks at Albany-Saratoga, after the win.
“He was part of the five grand race I won here a couple of years ago, and now, he’s part of this 2 grand race,” Horning said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person to be involved in racing.”
Despite DeVore’s efforts to get in the entire show, only four laps of the limited sportsman feature had been run before a thunderstorm rolled in and rained out the rest of the card.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: PETER BRITTEN, Scott Huber, Mike Mahahey, Matt DeLorenzo, Demetrios Drellos, Don Ronca, Adam Pierson, Marc Johnson, Ken Tremont Jr., Keith Flach, James Meehan, Jack Speshock, Brian Calabrese, Jeremy Pitts, Jessey Mueller, Jack Lehner, Kyle Armstrong, Derrick McGrew Jr., Brandon Daley, Derek Bornt, Ryan McCartney, Todd Morey, CG Morey, Rick Ronca, Rob Pitcher.
EASTWOOD DETALING PRO STOCKS: LUKE HORNING, Chad Jeseo, Shane Henderson, Jason Casey, Chucky Dumblewski, Kim Duell, Rob Yetman, Jay Casey, Mike Baker, Pete Vila, Rich Crane, Frank Hoard Jr., Chris Murray, Jaxson Ryan, Kyle Hoard, Jordan Modiano, Scott Towslee, Dean Charbonneau.