MALTA, NY – Jack Speshock has had a lot of ups and downs since moving up to the modified division at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2021, but on Friday night, he finally reached the pinnacle.
Despite starting 12th on a tricky racing surface, Speshock charged to the front and held off a late charge from defending champion Matt DeLorenzo to chalk up his first modified victory in the 35-lap NAPA Modified feature at the historic Malta track.
Speshock, who has had three runner-up performances since 2021, finally had everything fall into place on Friday and came away with a payday of $3,000.
“The car was great,” said Speshock of his Bicknell chassis after the race, and after he received a beer shower from his jubilant crew in victory lane. “I could even run on the bottom, and I hate the bottom.”
But it was the outside groove that really carried Speshock to the win.
Running the top and helped by a couple of cautions, Speshock worked his way up to third by lap 16 and after another caution of lap 17, Speshock took over the No. 2 spot when CG Morey, who had been running second since the fourth lap, suffered a mechanical problem.
Rich Ronca, who started on the pole and had opened up a huge lead before a rash of restarts slowed the 35-lap feature, had committed himself to the inside, and Speshock rocketed around him in the fourth turn to take the lead for good on lap 20.
DeLorenzo, who also likes to ride the rim, took second place away from Ronca on lap 26, but wasn’t really a threat until Speshock got into heavy traffic late in the race.
With two laps to go, Speshock had to check up when he came up on the lapped car of Kris Vernold. That allowed DeLorenzo to close right up on Speshock’s rear bumper, but once Speshock cleared Vernold, he beat DeLorenzo to the finish line by about two car lengths.
“I thought I had him,” DeLorenzo said after the race. “But I was too loose on the bottom.”
Speshock said that Vernold was just one of his problems.
“He scared me. He was screwing up my line and was running right when I wanted to go,” Speshock said. “I also kept hitting a big hole in three and four. I Charlie-horsed myself twice, and I kept tightening my belts because I thought I was going to fall out of the seat.”
Ronca came across the finish line third, his best finish of the season, while Jack Lehner and Peter Britten completed the top five. Britten made the top five despite starting 18th.
Adam Pierson won the $200 Four States Enterprises Dash for Cash and started sixth in the feature, but was hindered by a flat left front tire and faded to 11th.
The bulky sportsman field again ran dual 20-lap features, with Tyler Rapp and Mike Coffey Jr. coming away with victories. Rapp’s victory was his first career win in the division, while Coffey hadn’t been to victory lane since the 2019 season.
Rapp outran veteran Chad Edwards in the first 20-lapper, while Coffey used a restart with one lap to go to get by Cody Ochs and come away with the win in the second feature. Ochs chose the top for the final restart, but Coffey was quicker on the bottom on the restart and stole the win.
The 25-lap pro stock feature also saw a first-time winner, as Shane Henderson came out of his fifth starting spot, got the lead for the first time on lap eight, and then survived a wild finish to end a long winless drought.
Henderson was still leading the race when a caution for a multi-car incident in turn one on a restart on lap 18 put Devon Camanga into the No. 2 position. Another restart on lap 19 allowed Camanga to grab the lead, but Henderson wasn’t done yet. He regained the top spot going down the backstretch on lap 22 of the 25-lap feature and walked off with $1,500, courtesy of sponsorship from Meltz Lumber.
“This is my first win in about six and a half years,” said Henderson in victory lane. “I’m usually the nice guy who finishes second.”
The street stocks were competing for $1,000 to win, with that bonus also added by Meltz Lumber, and that extra money made everyone greedy early in the 20-lap feature. But once things got sorted out, Chris Murray came from his 12th starting position and got the victory, with Al Relyea second and Jimmy Duncan third.
The limited sportsman again ran dual 15-lap features, with Ron Delease Jr. and Alex Palmer-Swayer notching victories. Delease, who also won one of the features on April 28, claimed the Doug Wholey’s Ideal Excavating Back-to-Back bonus of $250.
The wild night ended with the 15-lap four-cylinder feature, which was dominated by Adam Montville. But Montville made one mistake, drifting too wide in the fourth turn on lap 12, which allowed David Frame to take the lead and get the victory. Daniel Jourbert finished sixth overall and had the first single-cam car across the finish line.
NAPA MODIFIEDS: JACK SPESHOCK, Matt DeLorenzo, Rich Ronca, Jack Lehner, Peter Britten, Neil Stratton, Demetrios Drellos, Anthony Perrego, Mike Mahaney, Keith Flach, Adam Pierson, Ken Tremont Jr., Brian Calabrese, Jeremy Pitts, Ryan McCartney, Justin Stone, Derek Bornt, Paul St. Sauveur, Kris Vernold, Brandon Daley, CG Morey, Robert Bublak, Jessey Mueller, Ronnie Johnson, Matt Depew, Don Ronca, Marc Johnson.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (first feature, 20 laps): TYLER RAPP, Chad Edwards, Jim Osgood, Andrew Buff, Taylor LaPlante Daryl Nutting, Dave Baranowski Jr., Chris Crane Jr., Elliot Lussier, David Boisclair, Bryce Breault, Mike Benson, Mike Jeske, Nick Lussier, Tommy D’Angelo, Joey Scarborough, Justin Barber, Eric Mack, Brandon Durrah, Jeff Washburn, Mike Ballestaro.
NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (second feature, 20 laps): MIKE COFFEY JR., Cody Ochs, Brendon Gibbons, Travis Witbeck, Jon Miller, Tim Hartman Jr., Taylor Wasson, Zach Buff, Chris Jakubiak, Craig Wholey, Pat Jones, Floyd Billington, Drew Cormie, Travis Billington, Dan Grignon, Tony Farone, Scott Bennett, Derrick McGrew Jr., Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Scott Duell, Dylan Madsen.
SARATOGA MASONRY SUPPLIES PRO STOCKS: SHANE HENDERSON. Jay Corbin, Rich Crane, Devon Camenga, Chucky Dumblewski, Randy Miller, Jay Casey, Steve Hankle, Jason Casey, Chad Jeseo, Kyle Hoard, Luke Horning, Jordan Modiano, Pete Vila, Brandon Emigh, Nick Stone, Jaxson Ryan, Phil Defiglio, Kim Duell, Jimmy Eaton.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN (first feature, 15 laps): ALEX PALMER-SAWYER, Phil Arnold, Nick Arnold, Mike Parodi, Mike Arnold, James Galarneau, Walter Cook, Nick Auspelmyer, Tanner Coon, Mike Formont, Mike Baker, Wesley Sutliff, Damian Ward, Steve Miller.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN (second feature, 15 laps); RON DELEASE JR., Dylan Grogan, Dakota Green, Dan Seguin, Chase Zimmer, Connor Crane Jr., Brent Bouplon, David Zelker, Scott Towslee, John Santolin, Chad Gregory, Ben Balzer, Kyle Swart.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: CHRIS MURRAY, Al Relyea, Jimmy Duncan, Chris Stalker, Jason Meltz, Jeff Meltz Sr., PJ Cram, Josh Hemming, Dana Van Veghten, Milo Campbell, Ray Pierre Jr., Josh Bussino, Mark Burch, Mark Lester, Nick Napoli, Fred Shippee, Damian Ward, Dan Buell, Joey Wilson, Gary Brust, Matt Mosher, Russ Miller.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: DAVID FRAME, Adam Montville, Tim DeGroat, Micah Grant, Josh Rheome, Dan Joubert (first single-cam finisher), Justin Ramsey, Tyler White, Robert Garney, Josh Ramsey, Chris Duffney Jr., John Mason, John Sullivan, Kyle Lamfear, Dave LaBarge, Brittany Ladd, Ashlynn Ramsey, Chayanne Garney, Andrew Palmer, Matt Tedrow, Tom Hill, Olivia Swinton, Chris Danylieko, John North.