MALTA, NY – What a difference a week makes.
After looking completely out to lunch on opening night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, former track champion Mike Mahaney bounced right back and put on an impressive run to win the 35-lap NAPA Modified feature Friday night at the historic Malta track.
Mahaney, who started fifth by virtue of a heads-up start, used a power move on a restart on lap 27 to take the lead away from Demetrios Drellos and then outran Drellos and defending track champion Matt DeLorenzo to put the George Huttig-owned modified into victory lane.
“Last week, we were not fast,” said Mahaney after his win. “During the week, we threw the kitchen sink at it and even tonight, we changed things all around, I’m just glad it worked out.”
DeLorenzo started on the outside pole and went right to the lead, but Drellos, who started seventh, was sitting on a rocketship for the second week in a row and was sitting fourth after just six laps.
A multi-car incident in the first turn on lap seven, which put Ronnie Johnson out for the night, brought put a yellow flag and Drellos moved into third on the restart.
The yellow flew after the field had completed just one more lap, and on the subsequent restart, Drellos tried a crossover move on the second-place car of Jack Lehner, but Drellos ended up going too high, allowing Lehner to remain in the runner-up spot.
But that was short-lived, as Drellos used another restart on lap 11 to rocket by Lehner to take over the second spot.
DeLorenzo and Drellos quickly pulled away from the field in a two-car breakaway, and on lap 17, Mahaney went past Lehner for third.
When the leaders got into lapped traffic, DeLorenzo’s momentum was broken by the lapped car of CG Morey, and Drellos pounced, going around the outside of DeLorenzo of lap 19 to take the lead.
Mahaney continued to gain ground and was making big move on restarts. After a yellow flew for Neil Stratton on lap 25, Mahaney used that restart to get around DeLorenzo and two laps later, on another restart, Mahaney got a good jump, drifted to the top to block Drellos’ lane and came away with the lead going down the backstretch.
“I just drove in harder,” said Mahaney of the winning move.
Drellos finished second for the second week in a row, with DeLorenzo third. Lehner finished fourth, with Jessey Mueller charging from his 12th starting position to finish fifth.
Anthony Perrego, the 2021 modified champion at Albany-Saratoga, was shaking down the Vinnie Salerno-owned 4-Star car Friday and was battling for a top-five finish when he blew a tire on lap 32. He finished 19th.
Because 52 sportsman signed into the pits, promoter Lyle DeVore again opted to run Twin 20-lap features.
Joey Scarborough won the first 20-lapper, leading Dylan Madsen and four-time champion Tim Hartman Jr. across the finish line, while Zach Buff outdueled Canadian invader Cedric Gauvreau in the second feature. Pat Jones finished third.
Madsen also won the Four States Enterprises Dash for Cash, pickling up a $200 bonus.
Chad Jeseo inched ahead of Rich Crane on lap seven and went on to record his first victory of the year in the 25-lap Saratoga Masonry Pro Stock feature, which paid $1,000 to win through sponsorship from Crane’s Outdoor Power Equipment. Kim Duell, who started on the pole, fell back as far as fourth before putting on a late rally to finish second to Jeseo.
The 20-lap Haun Welding Limited Sportsman feature was marred by six caution flags and two red-flag periods, the second for an accident that sent Mike Arnold, the opening night winner, to an ambulance, complaining of neck and back pain.
John Santolin started on the pole and led the first 14 laps, but Dylan Grogan used a restart on lap 25 to duck under Santolin in the second turn to get the lead for good. Santolin finished second, with Gary English another couple of cars lengths back in third.
The 20-lap Lake Auto Parts Street Stock feature was also plagued by caution flags, but Jeff Meltz Sr. avoided all the carnage and came away with his first win of the season. PJ Cram and opening-night winner Josh Bussino completed the top three.
The Greg’s Towing Four-Cylinders made their first appearance of 2023, with the Montvilles dominating the 15-lap feature, as Adam finished first and Elmer crossed the finish line second. Robert Garney finished fifth overall and had the first single-cam car across the fiish line.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: MIKE MAHANEY, Demetrios Drellos, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack Lehner, Jessey Mueller, Jeremy Pitts, Matt Depew, Steve Bernard, Jack Speshock, Peter Britten, Ken Tremont Jr., Dan Creeden, Adam Pierson, LJ Lombardo, Darren Smith, Keith Flach, Brian Calabrese, Ryan McCartney, Anthony Perrego, Alissa Cody, Marc Johnson, Justin Stone, Neil Stratton, CG Morey, Brandon Daley, Felix Roy, Don Ronca, Ed Kitchell, Robert Bublak Jr., Scott Huber, Ronnie Johnson, Derek Bornt, James Meehan, Elmo Reckner (subbing for Rich Ronca).
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (first feature, 20 laps): JOEY SCARBOROUGH, Dylan Madsen, Tim Hartman Jr., Derrick McGrew Jr., Travis Billington, Bryce Breault, David Boisclair, Gabriel Cyr, Jon Miller, Troy Audet, Nick Lussier, Cody Ochs, Michael Fitzgerald Wagner, Mike Ballestero, Ron Proctor, Floyd Billington, David Baranowski Jr., Brady Cordova, Mike Coffey Jr., Marty Kelly III, Brendan Gibbons, Drew Cormie, Brandon Darragh, Tommy D’Angelo, Justin Barber, Tony Farone.
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOSTING SPORTSMAN (second feature, 20 laps): ZACH BUFF, Cedric Gauvreau, Pat Jones, Daryl Nutting, Andrew Buff, Chris Jakubiak, Mike Benson, Taylor Wason, Craig Wholey, Taylor LaPlante, Jeff Washburn, Elliot Lussier, Eric Mack, Brent Warren, Chad Edwards, Rob Maxon, Justin Cyr, Tyler Rapp, Mike Jeske, Travis Witbeck, Chris Crane Jr., Dan Grignon, Jim Osgood, Scott Bennett, Ricky Thompson.
SARATOGA MASONRY PRO STOCKS: CHAD JESEO, Kim Duell, Chucky Dumblewski, Luke Horning, Rich Crane, Jay Corbin, Jason Casey, Shane Henderson, Kyle Hoard, Jay Casey, Steven Hankle, Dan Older, Freddie Lee, Pete Vila, Randy Miller, Jordan Modiano.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: DYLAN GROGAN, John Santolin, Gary English, Chase Zimmer, Alex Layn, Kyle Swart, Tanner Coon, Nick Arnold, Craig Coons, Connor Crane Jr., Mike Parodi, Nick Auspelmyer, Alex Palmer-Sawyer, Anthony Maxon, David Zelker, Chad Gregory, Steve Burch, Damian Anderson, Ron Delease, Frank Twing Jr., Scott Towslee, James Galarneau, Walter Cook, Brent Bouplon, Shaedon Mosso, Mike Arnold, Aaron Clark, Phil Arnold, Mike Baker, Dan Seguin, Dakota Green, Steve Miller.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: JEFF MELTZ SR., PJ Cram, Josh Bussino, Jimmy Duncan, Kaleb Shepard, Mark Burch, Nick Napoli, Josh Hemming, Joey Wilson, Jason Samrov, Dana Van Veghten, Fred Shippee, Al Relyea, Chris Stalker, Josh Samrov, Maclan Campbell, Ray Pierre Jr., Steve Young, Adam Tranka, Tim McFarland, Jason Barrett, Cordell Younder.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: ADAM MONTVILLE, Elmer Montville, David Frame, Damian Ward, Robert Garney (first single-cam finisher), Daniel Joubert, John Mason, Micah Grant, Josh Rheome, Chris Duffney Jr., Kyle Lanfear, Matt Tedrow, Brittany Ladd, Tom Hill, Jeff DeGroat, Chayanne Garney, Olivia Swinton, Andrew Palmer, James Guertin.