Story By: TOM BOGGIE / ALBANY-SARATOGA SPEEDWAY – MALTA, NY – Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good, but Adam Pierson had both of those characteristics Friday night as he chalked up his third win of the season in the 35-lap NAPA Modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
The lucky part came on the first lap, when a multi-car incident that red-flagged the race allowed Pierson to move from his 15th starting position to seventh before a lap was completed.
The good came later, as he ran a tight inside line and held off Mike Mahaney to get the victory, which paid $4,000 through dual sponsorship from John Ray & Sons and Dean’s Electrical Services.
“It’s unfortunate what happened on the first lap, but I’ll take it,” said Pierson after the win. “It allowed me to move from 15th to seventh, and that really helped.”
The big wreck started as the field came down to take the green flag from starter Rich Peterson. Don Ronca was on the pole and Matt Depew was on the outside, and as they passed the flagstand, Depew’s left front wheel made contact with Ronca’s right rear, sending Depew spinning in front of the 29-car field.
When the dust settled, six cars were stacked up n the first turn, and two more, including Depew, were down on the inside. In the first turn, Marc Johnson’s front end had come to rest on the hood of points leader Demetrios Drellos’ modified. While the field was under red, Drellos got out, quicky inspected the car and ran into the pits. When Johnson’s car was lifted up, pulled away from the pile and got back on four wheels, Johnson just drove away and rejoined the field. Drellos’ car was towed into the pits and his crew got him back out without losing a lap.
That incident moved Mahaney from his fifth starting position to the front row, and also put defending champion Matt DeLorenzo, back at the track after a two-week absence, in the No. 3 slot.
Mahaney jumped right into the lead, with Ronnie Johnson second and DeLorenzo third. After a restart on lap seven, things really heated up. Johnson started dive-bombing into the third turn, trying to work his way around Mahaney, but that left the top open for DeLorenzo. But it also allowed Pierson to make up ground quickly, and after sailing past DeLorenzo, he went by Johnson on lap 16 to take over the No, 2 position.
Pierson then dropped to the bottom, and after two more laps, drew even with Mahaney. Pierson then rocketed by Mahaney’s Adirondack Auto-sponsored No. 35 to take the lead for good on lap 19.
Another caution on lap 27 bunched the field, and gave Mahaney some hope, as he was able to pull up on Pierson’s rear quarterpanel through the turns. But Pierson was getting huge runs coming out of the second turn and came away with win No. 3, on the same night he was celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary.
“I got a good break at the beginning, and just kept rolling the bottom,” said Pierson, who recorded his second win 10 days ago on a night of make-up features.. “I could see him (Mahaney) out of the corner of my eye, but my car was real good again.”
“This is a tough second,” said Mahaney, who finished in the top five for the first time since June 30. “I’m sure there’s a big dropoff in the purse from first to second, so this one hurts.”
DeLorenzo finished third, keeping his hopes of repeating as the modified champion alive, while Ronnie Johnson finished fourth and Marc Johnson was fifth.
The sportsman ran dual 20-lap features, and the two drivers at the top of the point standings matched wins, with Andrew Buff taking the checkered flag in the first 20-lap feature, and defending champion Tim Hartman Jr. sitting in victory lane after the second feature. Buff’s victory was his second in a row, which allowed him to cash in on the Madsen Overhead Doors Back-to-Back Bonus, worth $250.
Hartman Jr.’s win was the 38th of his career, padding his lead at the top of the all-time sportsman win list. The sportsman also took part in the Four States Enterprises Dash for Cash, with Brendon Darrah getting the $200 bonus.
Kim Duell took advantage of a late restart to get in position for a victory and then passed Shane Henderson coming out of the third turn on the final lap to win the 25-lap pro stock feature. The win was the 29th of Duell’s career, and put him in sole position of the lead on the all-time pro stock win list, one victory ahead of Rob Yetman.
Duell, who had started 10th, was sitting third, behind Henderson and Jay Casey, when Jaxson Ryan brought the final yellow on lap 23. Duell got the jump on Casey on the restart and then pulled even with Henderson on the final lap. He forced Henderson to move up half-a-lane coming out of the fourth turn and beat Henderson to the finish line by 0.293 seconds,
“I knew I had to move up a little bit,” said Duell after win. “I could get under him, but I couldn’t pull away. When I got under him that last time, I thought he was going to go ripping by me again.”
Mike Parodi and Nick Arnold won the two 15-lap limited sportsman features. Parodi used a restart on lap 12 to take the lead for good after dueling with Chase Zimmer for a number of laps. Zimmer finished second, with points leader Dylan Grogan third.
Arnold started on the pole and led all 15 laps of the second feature, holding off Connor Crane and Dakota Green.
P.J. Cram continued his late-season surge, picking up his fourth win of the season in the 20-lap street stock feature. Dan Madigan looked like he was going to come away with his first win of the season, but drifted wide in the fourth turn on lap 17, allowing Cram to duck inside and go on to the victory. Madigan finished second, with points leader Jimmy Duncan overtaking Chris Stalker on the final lap for the No. 3 position.
David Frame recorded his fourth win of the year in the 15-lap four-cylinder feature, while Olivia Swinton finished second, her best performance of the season. John Mason finished fourth overall and was the first single-cam car across the finish line.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: ADAM PIERSON, Mike Mahaney, Matt DeLorenzo, Ronnie Johnson, Marc Johnson, Ken Tremont Jr., Brian Calabrese, Jack Lehner, Demetrios Drellos, Mike Trautschold, Josh Hohenforst, Ryan McCartney, Justin Stone, Neil Stratton, Rich Ronca, Rob Pitcher, Brandon Daley, Dexter Stacey, Garrett Poland, Don Ronca, Wallace Stacey, CG Morey, Keith Flach, Derek Bornt, Patrick Meehan, Robert Bublak Jr., Matt Depew, Jack Speshock, Vinnie Visconti.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (first feature): ANDREW BUFF, Chad Edwards, Mike Benson, Dylan Madsen, Cody Ochs, Taylor LaPlante, Jon Miller, Bryce Breault, Marty Kelly III, Chris Crane Jr., Scott Bennett, David Boisclair, Jeff Washburn, Cody Bleau, Floyd Billington, Dan Grignon, Elliot Lussier, Justin Barber, Taylor Wason, Travis Billington.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (second feature); TIM HARTMAN JR., Travis Witbeck, Joey Scarborough, Zach Buff, Brandon Darrah, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Tyler Rapp, Dave Baranowski Jr., Craig Wholey, Drew Cormie, Mike Coffey Jr., Scott Duell, Jim Osgood, Eric Mack, Tommy D’Angelo, Ron Proctor, Pete Jeske, Daryl Nutting, Alex Bell.
SARATOGA MASONRY SUPPLY PRO STOCKS: KIM DUELL, Shane Henderson, Jay Casey, Jay Corbin, Jason Casey, Luke Horning, Jordan Modiano, Josh Coonradt, Rich Crane, Brandon Emigh, Chad Jeseo, Josh Bussino, Chucky Dumblewski, Phil Difiglio, Kyle Hoard, Jaxson Ryan, Slater Baker, Pete Vila, Dean Charbonneau, Jimmy Eaton.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN (first feature): MIKE PARODI, Chase Zimmer, Dylan Grogan, Tanner Coon, Mike Baker, Walter Cook, Chad Gregory, Cordell Younger, David Zelker, Sara Arnold, Dan Seguin, Steve Miller, Zachary Graham.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN (second feature); NICK ARNOLD, Connor Crane, Dakota Green, John Santolin, Steve Burch, Mike Arnold, Alex Palmer-Swayer, Kyle Swart, Pat Miner, Connor Prokop, Nick Auspelmyer, Jordan Hill, Ron Delease.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: P.J. CRAM JR., Dan Madigan, Jimmy Duncan, Chris Stalker, Matt Mosher, Dana Van Veghten, Jeff Meltz Sr., Josh Hemming, Mike Bussino, Fred Shippee, Dan Buell, Ray Pierre Jr., Jason Barrett, Nick Napoli, Wayne Russell.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: DUAL CAM: DAVID FRAME, Olivia Swinton, Josh Ramsey, David Mullineaux, Justin Ramsey, Shawn Speed, Ashlynn Ramsey, Micah Grant, Chris Danylieko. SINGLE CAM: JOHN MASON, Daniel Joubert, Brandon Tyler, Tom Hill, Kyle Lanfear, Brittany Ladd, Andrew Palmer.