MALTA, NY – After months of speculation and some recent negotiating between owner and driver, owner Jake Spraker confirmed Thursday that Rocky Warner will be driving the Spraker 1J modified at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2019.
During the winter, Spraker announced that Warner would drop back to sportsman racing following one season in a big block, but that all has changed.
“We’ve going to race at Malta and Fonda in a modified, and run a 602 at either Glen Ridge or Devil’s Bowl,” said Spraker Thursday.
Warner hasn’t been a Friday night regular at Albany-Saratoga Speedway since 2015, when he won five races, including the 602 Crate Nationals, in the sportsman division. Warner lost the points championship to Derrick McGrew Sr. by four points that season
After a frustrating 2018 campaign in a big block, which included just one win at Fonda Speedway, Spraker made the decision to go back to the sportsman division, but Warner changed his mind late in
“Rocky didn’t want to go back to sportsman,” said Spraker.
So Spraker and Warner finally came to an agreement. They’ll be running an open small block, which Spraker purchased last year from former Albany-Saratoga sportsman champion Mark Kislowski, on Friday nights.
“I also made a deal with Rocky that the car has to start bringing in some money before he gets paid,” said Spraker.
When Spraker thought he was going back to the sportsman division, he ordered two new 602s. He’s since sold one, but plans to pick up another in the near future.
“If we do well, I might buy a spec 358 to do some of the shows at the end of the year,” said Spraker. “But we have to wait and see.”
Spraker explained his decision to return to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway modified division.
“The deal was, Rocky wanted to race more,” he said. “I bought two high-dollar small blocks for Fonda, and with the other motors we had, we could run eight or nine races at the Ridge and two or three at the Bowl, but he wanted to race more.
“I told Rocky we could go back to sportsman and run all over the country, but that really wasn’t something he wanted to do. But I didn’t want to spend money on a big block for Malta if the car wasn’t going to pay for itself.”
So they compromised, adding another potent ride to the Albany-Saratoga modified division.