Britten Pulls Off Dramatic Win In Malta Opener

MALTA, NY – Temperatures in the 80s, over 170 cars in the pits, a standing-room-only crowd and a modified field that resembled a Super DIRTcar Series race. What more could you ask for in the first race of the season?  How about a dramatic last-lap pass for a $5,800 win?

Peter Britten, who looked like he was going to have to settle for second, pulled a slide job on leader Demetrios Drellos going into the third turn on the final lap to win Friday night’s 40-lap NAPA Modified feature that kicked off the 58th season of racing at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Britten won the opening-night feature at the historic Malta track for the second year in a row.
By virtue of a heads-up start, Britten started on the pole in the modified feature, which was sponsored by Bart Contracting and Schaghticoke Wine & Spirits, with Drellos, who ran his late model in Delaware on both Wednesday and Thursday, on his outside.
Britten set the pace for the first seven laps, but on a restart on lap eight, Drellos used a big run around the top to take over the number one position.
And that’s where he stayed. Even when the leaders got into lapped traffic on lap 22, Britten couldn’t make a serious challenge, because Drellos was getting a huge run on the top coming out of the second turn on every lap.
But after the race, Britten said he noticed something as he was sitting in second.
“I could see I was staying with him easier,” Britten said. “I knew I just had to wait for my shot.”
That came on the final lap. Heading down the backstretch, Drellos closed quickly on the lapped car of Ryan McCartney. Britten shot to the inside, drifted up into Drellos’ lane, and got his nose in front. Drellos tried to reciprocate, but made contact with McCartney’s car, had to feather the throttle, and watched as Britten took the checkered flag.
“I felt I had him there,” said Britten, “I didn’t know if I should try the bottom or wait for him to make the first move. He made the first move and then I got him.
“I’ve lost races like that,” Britten added. “It was nice to be on the winning side for a change.”
Drellos was nearly as upbeat as Britten after the race.
“I’m so pleased with the way the car performed,” he said. “I just need a little luck. The team is performing at 110 percent right now.”
Billy Decker crossed the finish line third, with defending modified champion Matt DeLorenzo fourth and Marc Johnson fifth.
Britten also won the Four States Enterprises Dash for Cash, with that $200 bonus pushing his night’s tally to an even $6,000.
Mat Williamson rebounded to finish sixth after shredding his right rear tire on lap 11, which forced him to duck into the pits and restart at the tail end of the field.
With 55 sportsman signed into the pits, promoter Lyle DeVore scrapped his plan to run a 25-lap feature, and instead, split the field and ran Twin 20s so all the competitors would have a chance to run a feature.
Daryl Nutting won the first feature, using a restart on lap five to get the lead from his front-row starting position, and Drew Cormie led flag-to-flag to come away with his second career victory in the second 20-lapper.
Nutting was well aware that he was being hounded by Chad Edwards in the first feature, as he continually came off the bottom to try to block Edwards’ run around the outside. “I could hear him the whole time,” said Nutting. “I knew he was there, and I knew that if I made a mistake, he was going to win it.
A late restart put Edwards right alongside Nutting for the final two laps. The duo ran side-by-side and even touched wheels coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap, but Nutting held on for his fifth career win.
Cormie handled a number of restarts perfectly in the second 20-lapper to hold off Dan Grignon and Dylan Madsen.
The 25-lap Saratoga Masonry Pro Stock feature was also full of drama, most of it provided by “Cousin” Luke Horning.
Horning originally started 19th in the feature, which paid $1,000 through sponsorship from Michael’s Automotive of Ballston Spa and Scotia, and was passing cars by the handful. He was up to sixth when a yellow came out on lap eight, and while the field was under caution, Horning ducked into the pits for a new left front tire, putting him at the rear of the field.
He worked his way back up to third by lap 17, watching as Jay Corbin and Jason Casey battled side-by-side for the lead.
Casey tried to make a low run on lap 22 to get the lead, but couldn’t complete the pass.
The next time around, it was Horning who went low, and he rocketed by Casey for second, and pulled off a slide job in turn four, coming up and making contact with Corbin to get the lead, and ultimately, the win.
“This is the first time out with this car,” said Horning in victory lane. “I probably roughed some guys up. My apologies.”
Casey finished second, with Chucky Dumblewski third and Corbin coming across the finish line fourth.
Mike Arnold won the 20-lap Haun Welding Limited Sportsman feature, holding off a strong challenge from Vermont invader Alex Layn, while Josh Bussino won the 20-lap Lake Auto Parts feature, taking the lead away from Chris Stalker coming down for the white flag after Stalker, who had led the first 18 laps, slid sideways in the fourth turn.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: PETER BRITTEN, Demetrios Drellos, Billy Decker, Matt DeLorenzo, Marc Johnson, Mat Williamson, Jeremy Pitts, David Hebert, Jessey Mueller, Tim Sears Jr., Dan Creeden, Mathieu Desjardins, Max McLaughlin, Jack Lehner, Mike Mahaney, CG Morey, Adam Pierson, Jack Speshock, Ken Tremont Jr., Darren Smith, Neil Stratton, Ronnie Johnson, James Meehan, Ryan McCartney, Jimmy Phelps. Derek Bornt, Michael Parent, Larry Wight, Don Ronca, Rob Pitcher, Steve Bernard.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (Feature 1, 20 laps): DARYL NUTTING, Chad Edwards, Tim Hartman Jr., David Baranowski Jr., Mike Fowler, Jason Gray, Tony Farone, Chris Crane Jr., Gordon Clair, Brent Warren, Taylor Wasson, Ryan Dolbear, PJ Gonyo, Kaven Poliquin, Jeff Washburn, Craig Wholey, Jeff Watson, Derrick McGrew Jr., Mike Coffey Jr., Andrew Buff, Brady Cordova, Tommy D’Angelo, Travis Billington, Joey Scarborough, Rob Maxon, Brandon Darrah, Pat Jones.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (Feature 2, 20 laps): DREW CORMIE, Dan Grignon, Dylan Madsen, Jon Miller, Cody Ochs, Vince Quenneville Jr., Bryce Breault, Tyler Rapp, Nick Scavia, Chris Jakubiak, Nick Lussier, Zach Buff, Taylor LaPlante, Eric Mack, Floyd Billington, Anthony Warren, Justin Barber, Cody Cordova, Brendan Gibbons, Mike Ballestero, Ron Proctor, Mike Benson, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Elliot Lussier, David Boisclair, Jim Osgood, Marty Kelly III, Scott Bennett.
SARATOGA MASONRY PRO STOCKS: LUKE HORNING, Jason Casey, Chucky Dumblewski, Jay Corbin, Josh Coonradt, Den Charbonneau, Shane Henderson, Rich Crane, Devon Camanga, Kyle Hoard, Chad Jeseo, Jordan Modiano, Steven Hankle, Shane Playford, Freddie Lee, Mike Baker, Pete Vila, Jay Casey, Kim Duell, Dave Stickles.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: MIKE ARNOLD, Alex Layn, Dylan Grogan, Gary English, Nick Auspelmyer, Steve Miller, Phil Arnold, Connor Crane Jr., Dakota Green, Craig Coons, Walter Cook, David Zelker, Scott Towslee, Shaedon Mosso, Damian Anderson, Anthony Maxon, Chad Gregory, Mike Yonta, Kyle Swart, Dan Seguin, Tanner Coon, Chase Zimmer, James Galarneau, Russ Farr, Mike Parodi, Steve Burch, Ron Delease.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: JOSH BUSSINO, Chris Stalker, Adam Tranka, Nick Napoli, Mark Burch, Josh Samrov, Josh Hemming, Al Relyea, Kaleb Shepard, Dana Van Veghten, Jason Samrov, Gary Brust, Jeff Meltz, Damian Ward, Cordell Younger, Jim Dellea, Jimmy Duncan, John Filarecki, Tim McFarland, Ray Pierre Jr., PJ Cram Jr., Joey Wilson, Wayne Russell, Andrew Fitzgerald.