By: Bobby Sweeney
MALTA, NY – Stewart Friesen reached the lead early in the Modified feature event at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, then holding off a late rally by track champion Mike Mahaney to grab another Albany-Saratoga Speedway checkered flag.
Keith Flach pulled away from a hornets nest of race cars at the start of the 35-lap feature, putting a comfortable gap between himself and the battle for second in the first handful of laps. In these first handful of laps, Friesen picked off a couple cars, getting up to fourth before a lap six yellow. On the lap six restart, Friesen instantly shot from fourth to second, then switching from the top to the bottom to go after Flach. On lap eight, Flach hopped the cushion, and Friesen drove to the lead.
Once out front, Friesen slowly put some space between himself and Flach. By halfway, the lead for Friesen was up to 2.5 seconds, but new challengers were moving forward. Headlining these challengers was 2020 track champion Mike Mahaney, rolling the bottom to reel in Flach. Up front, Friesen had caught traffic, but his lane up top was relatively open and clear. This meant Friesen’s lead continued to grow, reaching 3.5 seconds over Flach as Mahaney continued to close up. On lap 24, the yellow waived, erasing Friesen’s advantage and giving everyone else one more swing.
Friesen got a great restart, immediately putting a sizeable buffer between himself and Flach. A lap after the restart, Mahaney rolled under Flach, but Friesen had already built up a good lead. With ten to go, Mahaney set his sights on Friesen and inched in, shaving a tick off of Friesen’s lead each lap. While Mahaney was taking a tenth off of Friesen’s lead every trip around the track, it was too little and too late, as Friesen made it to the checkered flag first in Albany-Saratoga’s penultimate race of 2020. Mahaney finished second, with Marc Johnson, Jack Lehner, and Flach rounding out the top five.
“We just had another great racecar again tonight,” Friesen said. “This Halmar team is firing on all cylinders getting ready for this big OktoberFAST event, we got good notes for this place but I’m sure it’ll be a real tough week. Hopefully when we get back here we’ll be able to get some fans back, it’s been a weird season being in victory lane looking at some empty stands. Fans or winning here again, hopefully we get to do that soon.”
Albany Saratoga Modified Feature Finish: STEWART FRIESEN, Mike Mahaney, Marc Johnson, Jack Lehner, Keith Flach, Anthony Perrego, Rocky Warner, Kenny Tremont Jr, Ronnie Johnson, Jessey Mueller, Neil Stratton, Bobby Hackel IV, Matt Depew, Kyle Armstrong, Don Ronca, LJ Lombardo, Rich Ronca, CG Morey, Brian Calabrese, Ricky Davis, James Meehan, Drew Cormie, Scott Huber, Matt DeLorenzo, Derek Bornt, Peter Britten, Jackie Brown Jr, Jeremy Pitts (DNS)