Malta, NY — Excitement was in the air as well as a packed house for the first ever Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and when it was over Matt Sheppard stampeded the field in “The Stampede at ‘Toga.” Sheppard won $5,000 for his efforts as well as the $500 halfway bonus.
Sheppard drew the pole in the redraw held for the top twelve qualifiers from the heat races. Driving the number 92 car he drives each Friday night at Outlaw Speedway (Dundee, NY) rather than his familiar number 9s, Sheppard was strong throughout the 50-lap event and was able to hold off all challengers.
Second place finisher Billy Decker, who made the field via the consolation event, stormed through the field from his 16th place starting spot into the top five by lap 15 and began to pressure Sheppard for the lead. Decker’s runner-up finish allowed him to take over the point lead in the Short Track Super Series from Andy Bachetti. Decker now leads the North Series by 20 points.
Third place finisher Matt DeLorenzo had a couple of shots at getting by Sheppard on a handful of restarts but each time “Super Matt” was strong to the challenge and would pull away from the field after a couple laps. DeLorenzo used the top side of the speedway, riding the cushion for much of the event, on the beautifully prepared Malta oval.
Brett Hearn, the all-time winningest driver at Albany-Saratoga, finished in fourth. Ryan Godown rounded out the top five. Kenny Tremont, who at one point was up to second from his 13th starting spot, faded late with brake issues and finished in sixth. Frank Cozze, Jeremy Smith, Andy Bachetti (the Short Track Super Series points leader going into the night) and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top ten.
Rocky Warner captured the “King of the Dirt” Sportsman 30-lap feature. Warner fired from the sixth position and although outside pole-sitter Chad Edwards was out to the early lead with Joey Scarborough in tow, Warner wasted little time in making his presence known. He moved the Jake Spraker owned 1j into third on lap seven and began to work on gaining the race lead.
On a lap 21 restart, Edwards bobbled coming off of turn two going high, leaving the bottom open for Warner to rocket into the race lead. Edwards slipped back to third but was able to retake second from Tim Hartman before the checkered flag fell. Warner would go on to earn his seventh career King of the Dirt Sportsman win, adding to his points lead in the series.
Edwards would settle for second with Hartman third. Connor Cleveland charged from eleventh to fourth and JaMike Sowle completed the top five.
Friday night August 18 “The Great Race Place” swings back into action with “Autograph Night”. The Featherfoot Warrior Pro Stock Series will be on the card along with double features for the 4-Cylinder division as they make up a feature from June 23. All other divisions will be in action.
Racing will start at 7 p.m. Grandstand admission is $10 for adults and $2 for children under 11. Pit admission is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m.
Malta Mudbits- 49 Modifieds were on hand to attempt to qualify for the Short Track Super Series event. 39 Sportsman attempted to make the “King of the Dirt “Feature. The entire event was over by 10 p.m. Two wild flips took place in the Sportsman feature. On lap six Jack Speshock tumbled in turns 3 and 4. Although his night was done, Speshock was unhurt. On lap 14 Nick Lussier got turned around in the backstretch and Scott Duell flipped along with Richie Simmons. Both drivers were unhurt.
The sail panels used on the Modifieds were an unknown to many of the Albany-Saratoga regulars. However, Matt DeLorenzo, Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont, in particular, adapted well to the sail panels.
DeLorenzo put on a show on the high side of “The Great Race Place.” Hearn drove the wheels off his number 20 Madsen Overhead Doors Teo in the heat race from ninth place to second place, not only qualifying for the feature but also getting into the redraw. Tremont started eighth in his heat and charged to third getting him into the feature and then also charged from the thirteenth to second at one point during the feature before settling for sixth.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP
Halmar North Region Event No. 6 Big-Block/Small-Block Modified Feature Finish (50 laps):
MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Decker, Matt DeLorenzo, Brett Hearn, Ryan Godown, Kenny Tremont,
Frank Cozze, Jeremy Smith, Andy Bachetti, Tommy Meier, Stewart Friesen, Anthony Perrego,
Danny Creeden, Jimmy Wells, Don Ronca, Alan Barker, Ryan Jordan, Peter Britten, J.R.
Hurlburt, Nick Nye, Jerry Higbie, Jeremy Wilder, Marc Johnson, Rick Laubach, Ronnie Johnson,
Demetrios Drellos, Brett Tonkin, Craig Hanson.
Did Not Qualify: Randy Green, Keith Flach, Elmo Reckner, Mike Mahaney,
Neil Stratton, Bodie Bellinger, Jessey Mueller, Allison Ricci, Jeff Sheely, Cass Bennett, Brian
Gleason, Bobby Hackel, Jimmy Becker, Dan Humes, Matt Pupello, C.G. Morey, Bobby Varin,
Ricky Davis III, Matt Depew, Erik Nelson, Cody Bleau.
AUGUST 15, 2017 1-800-GOT-JUNK? King of Dirt Racing DIRTcar East Sportsman Series Presented by Andy’s Speed Shop, Dodson Construction, & Dean’s Electrical Feature Finish (30 Laps) – 1) Rocky Warner, 2) Tim Hartman Jr., 3) Chad Edwards, 4) Connor Cleveland, 5) JaMike Sowle, 6) Joey Scarborough, 7) Jeremy Pitts, 8) Robert Bublak Jr., 9) Jack Lehner, 10) David Schilling, 11) Andrew Buff, 12) Michael Sabia, 13) Chris Johnson, 14) Brian Pessolano, 15) Darryl Nutting, 16) Kevin Chaffee, 17) Jeff Watson, 18) Nick Heywood, 19) Jim Morgan, 20) Josh Neil, 21) Mike Coffey Jr., 22) Justin Barber, 23) Rob Maxon, 24) Jason Gray, 25) Nick Lussier, 26) Scott Duell, 27) Richie Simmons, 28) Jon Miller, 29) Jack Speshock, 30) Pat Jones