MALTA, NY – Since winning his first modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2006, Matt DeLorenzo has had an up-and-down career at the tricky 4/10ths mile Malta track. There have been years when he sat in victory lane after big races, like the CVRA vs. The World 100-lapper in 2009, when he walked off with $5,000.
And there have been years when he never made it to victory lane, like 2017. But DeLorenzo is enjoying a milestone season in 2018.
The Cropseyville driver chalked up two career highlights Friday night, as he won back-to-back races at Albany-Saratoga for the first time in his career, and also has three wins in a season for the first time.
This one didn’t come easy. DeLorenzo started 10th, and by the time he took over second place, on lap 10, leader Matt Pupello had opened up a huge lead.
“I wasn’t even sure Pupello was leading,” said DeLorenzo in victory lane after the 35-lap feature. “I thought I saw him take off, but I wasn’t sure. When I looked down the straightaway, I didn’t see anybody. But then I saw him on the high side in traffic, and figured he was leading.”
By lap 24, DeLorenzo had pulled to within three cars lengths of Pupello, who was looking for his first win of the year, and DeLorenzo had Bobby Hackel IV glued to his rear bumper.
DeLorenzo kept reeling Pupello in and made a pass for the lead coming out of the second turn on lap 26, but before the lap was completed, the yellow flag came out for Kris Vernold, who had stopped in the fourth turn, putting Pupello back in the lead.
But on the restart, DeLorenzo and Brett Hearn restarted in the outside lane, and both rocketed past Pupello to take over the top two spots. From there, DeLorenzo easily pulled away from Hearn to get the win.
“My car was real good on top,” said DeLorenzo, who has looked impressive since making an adjustment on his Bicknell chassis two weeks ago. ” I just thought it was better to keep up my momentum on top. It’s easier to drive on top and I didn’t want to work the brakes too much, so I took the easy route.”
Following Hearn across the finish line were Pupello, Marc Johnson and Bodie Bellinger, who had his first top-five finish of the season.
Connor Cleveland drove to his third won of the year in the sportsman feature. Cleveland, who started 11th, got the lead coming out of the fourth turn on lap 11 and pulled away from Chris Johnson on his way to the checkered flag. Derek Bornt, who started fourth, crossed the finish line third.
The DIRT Pro-Stock Series brought the top pro stocks in the Northeast and Canada to Albany-Saratoga, with Chuck Dumblewski of Amsterdam getting the victory in a wild finish. Late in the 35-lap feature, Dumblewski was tip-toeing through traffic, leaving Ivan Joslin and Rob Yetman to battle for second and looking forward to what looked like a comfortable margin of vlctory.
But on the final lap, Dumblewski trapped himself behind a single-file line of lapped cars in the bottom groove and Joslin and Yetman both pounced. But somehow, Dumblewski managed to wiggle out of his predicament just in time, and maintained the lead while bouncing off Joslin. That allowed Yetman to nip Joslin for second.
“I thought maybe I had a good enough lead to be safe, but then I saw the 49 [Joslin] and had to lean on him,” said Dumblewski . “The lapped cars really held me up.”
Paolo Pascarella went flag-to-flag to win the limited sportsman feature, and Jimmy Duncan recorded his second straight win in the street stock feature.
Steve Ryan put his car on literal cruise control to chalk up his third win of the year in the four-cylinder feature. Brandon Ely was the first single-cam car across the finish line.
MODIFIEDS: Matt DeLorenzo, Brett Hearn, Matt Pupello, Marc Johnson, Bodie Bellinger, Ronnie Johnson, Jack Lehner, Bobby Hackel IV, Jim Nagle, Neil Stratton, Keith Flach, Brian Gleason, Jessey Mueller, Don Ronca, Ray Hoard, Elmo Reckner, Jackie Brown Jr., Hector Stratton, Lou Torres, Dylan Scribner, Matt Depew, Kris Vernold, Rich Ronca, Justin Barber.
SPORTSMAN: Connor Cleveland, Chris Johnson, Derek Bornt, Robert Bublak, Andrew Buff, Jack Speshock, Chad Edwards, Tim Hartman Jr., Jeremy Pitts, Daryl Nutting, Joey Scarborough, Jon Miller, Mike Coffey Jr., Jake Scarborough, Jason Gray, Pat Jones, Scott Duell, Nick Lussier, Joe Orlando, James Meehan, Jim Osgood, Brian Calabrese, Marty Kelly III, Adam McAuliffe, Fred Proctor, Chris Ronca, Dave Constantino, Jesse Edwards, Elliot Lussier, Josh Neal, Mike Ostrander.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Paolo Pascarella, Thomas Van Vorst, John Stowell, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Travis Billington, EJ McAuliffe, Stephen Kneer, Jeff Jenkins, David Boisclair, Justin Buff, Josh Rozelle, Emily Quinn, Brandon Daley, Dylan Bokus, Steve Burch, James Hinman, Gary VanAlstyle, Lenny Billings, Colin Clow, Scott Bennett.
DIRT PRO-STOCK SERIES: Chuck Dumblewski, Rob Yetman, Ivan Joslin, Brandon Emigh, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Martin, Rich Crane, Kim Duell, Jocelyn Roy, Byron Wescott, Darrell Older, Chris Wemple, Rock Aubin, Dan Older, Norm Loubier, Marc Lalonde, Nick Arnold, Guy Viens, Pascal Payeur, Yates Lansing, Jocelyn Chicoine, Mike Baker, Scott Towslee, Brandon Gray, Ed Thompson, Walt Brownell, Matt Roberts, Bruno Cyr, CD Beauchamp, Jason Corbin, Dan Madigan.
STREET STOCKS: Jimmy Duncan, Damon Anderson, Al Relyea, Randy Miller, John Fllarecki, Scott Lawrence, Justin Taylor, Jake Currier, John Hayes, Luke MacIsaac, Harold Chadderdon, Chris Murray, Jason Barrett, Dustin Stevenson, Mark Burch, Pete Vila, Adam Tranka, Phil Arnold, David Shippee, Tim McFarland.
4-CYL SINGLE CAM: Brandon Ely, Robert Garney, Wayne Russell, Johnny Bennett, Dan Mitchell, Cordelle Younger, Tyler Burch, Elmer Montville, Dave LeBarge, Brett Horlacher.
4-CYL DUAL CAM: Steve Ryan, P.J. Bleau, Jason Lang, David Frame, Dave Mullineaux, Johnny Bruno.