Malta, NY – Stewart Friesen made another appearance at Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night and he was certain to make his presence known to those in attendance by the time the night concluded. Friesen was fearless as he came from his 15th place starting position to win the 35-lap Eastside Metals & Recycling Corp and New York State Stock Car Association’s sponsored feature event.
Friesen appeared fast all night long and he wasted little time getting to the front of the field, breaking into a top ten slot as early as the sixth circuit. This year’s winningest driver, Brett Hearn, followed Friesen up through the pack. By lap 12 Friesen had already set the Jake Spraker owned automobile in a top five position.
Up front it was a father and son thing with the race being owned by Neil and Hector Stratton who each owned the lead [at one point] for a portion of the first 18 laps. But Friesen was on fire and was all over the Vermont duo. Friesen, referred to as “Mr. Freeze,” got both on lap 19 and never looked back.
It was Friesen’s second win this season — he won the opening night event at the “Great Race Place.”
“I’ve got to thank Jake and Nancy — it’s a hell of a race car and a hell of a team,” said Friesen during post-race ceremonies. “It was a great group effort tonight for us.”
It was no surprise to see Brett Hearn come across the finish line behind Friesen, since Hearn is so dominant at the oval this year. Hearn cracked the top five on the 15th time around the oval and put the Madsen Motorsports in the runner up spot with 10 laps remaining but Friesen had a huge lead on the field.
Impressive runs were put in by Mark Kislowski, Hector Stratton and Matt Depew who were swapping spots back and forth and rounded out the top five.
About a month ago Budget Sportsman driver Floyd Billington showed up at the Malta oval for the first time in the 2012 race season. And Billington, a former Modified chauffeur at AS, placed his Billington Plumbing and Heating sponsored race car in victory lane already.
Billington, who started on the outside of the second row, took the race lead from Shannon Donnelly on the 5th time around the oval. And despite some really strong challenges from Bobby Hackel IV, for the last handful of laps, Billington never faltered and went to victory lane.
“The car was good, I could go high or low,” said Billington. “We’ve been trying some different stuff and it seems to be working so we are real happy. We know our way around this track pretty good.”
Hackel, who was in search of his third win of the season, had to settle for second while Rocky Warner, Dan Santabarbara and Jon Miller rounded out the top five.
Warner was the fastest on the clock prior to the night’s racing action while both Warner and Santabarbara won their qualifying events early on.
With two laps to go in the 25-lap Pro Stock feature event you could have thrown a blanket over the top four of race leader Kenny Martin, Bill Smith, Rob Langevin and Chad Jeseo.
Bill Smith kept a top five run going for the entire event and ended up behind race leader Kenny Martin on the 9th circuit. But as the flagger was getting ready to drop the checkered flag Smith went for a ‘last corner, last lap’ pass on Martin to take the win.
It was Smith’s first career win and it was a very popular win by the looks of the grandstand crowd.
“For 17 years I’ve been trying and I’ve finally got it,” said a very elated Smith in victory lane. “I just can’t believe it. I did everything I could tonight, I took a shot on the last lap and went for it and it worked. I can’t believe it.”
Martin, who was also in search of his career first, followed Smith. Rob Langevin, Chad Jeseo and Kevin VanChance rounded out the top five.
Street Stock driver Josh Coonradt has been hot at the Malta speedplant — in more ways than one. Coonradt picked up his second consecutive feature event and while in victory lane there was a fire under the hood of his automobile.
“We like running at the end on a slick track, the car was real good tonight,” said Coonradt accepting his fourth stand in victory lane this season.
Randy Miller, Paul Mulrain, Nathan Dahoda and Phil Sherman rounded out the top five.
Bits: Ronnie Johnson was the fastest Modified in pre-race hot laps… Rocky Warner was the fastest in warm-ups for the Budget Sportsman division. Warner went out shortly afterwards and easily won his qualifying event… Anthony Marro was penalized two spots during his qualifying event but came back up through to land a spot into the feature event when all was said and done… Jeremy Pitts won his Budget Sportsman qualifying event by about one inch over Joe Orlando… Justin Barber spun during his qualifying event which resulted in Jason Harrington’s car going on its side and Mike Perrotte suffered front end damage on his mount… Mr. Freeze, Stewart Friesen, is back at Albany Saratoga. Friesen was behind the wheel of the Jake Spraker owned automobile that use to be driven by Alan Johnson… Matt DeLorenzo was the fastest in Modified hot laps just prior to the feature event… Bad night for Budget Sportsman point leader Tim Hartman. He failed to qualify in his heat and finished 22nd in the main event… Early in the evening we were told that Walt Brownell would not start the feature [Randy Brownell would] due to an emergency at home. Brownell left the oval and handled things and was back behind the wheel for the feature where he finished 13th…
Eastside Metals & Recycling Corp and New York State stock Car Association Modifieds (35 Laps) – 1. Stewart Friesen, 2. Brett Hearn, 3. Mark Kislowski, 4. Hector Stratton, 5. Matt Depew, 6. Don Ronca, 7. Marc Johnson, 8. Matt Delorenzo, 9. Neil Stratton, 10. Jeff Trombley, 11. Bodie Bellinger, 12. J.C. Flach, 13. Keith Flach, 14. Rich Ronca, 15. Ken Tremont Jr, 16. Jimmy Cottrell, 17. Justin Boehler, 18. Elmo Reckner, 19. Donnie Corellis, 20. Chris Busta, 21. Ronnie Johnson, 22. C.G. Morey, 23. Mike Perrotte, 24. Chris Johnson, 25. Erik Nelson, 26. Dylan Schribner, 27. Justin Barber, DNS. Pep Corradi, DNS. Jason Herrington
Budget Sportsman A-Feature (25 Laps) – 1. Floyd Billington, 2. Bobby Hackel IV, 3. Rocky Warner, 4. Dan Santabarbara, 5. Jon Miller, 6. Chuck Dickinson, 7. Derek McGrew, 8. Jeremy Pitts, 9. Mike Tholin, 10. Brian Gleason, 11. Butch Wilcox, 12. Andy Durie, 13. Mike Burdo, 14. Jack Swinton, 15. Robert Bublak, 16. Paul Dunham, 17. Mike Ostrander, 18. Anthony Marro, 19. Jack Gentile, 20. D.J. Brundige, 21. Adam McAuliffe, 22. Tim Hartman Jr, 23. Dan Boni, 24. Shannon Donnelly, 25. Stan Lemiesz, 26. Scott Duell, 27. Joe Orlando, 28. Jerry Campbell, 29. Brett Wright
Budget Sportsman B-Feature #1 (15 Laps) – 1. Paul Dunham, 2. Jack Gentile, 3. Jack Speshock, 4. Mark Hughes, 5. Brian Peterson, 6. Jeremy Digert, 7. Tom Proctor, 8. Jim Osgood, 9. Milo Campbell, 10. Skip Shippee, 11. Matt Atwood, 12. Joey Budka, 13. Luke Klob, 14. Leo Sousie
Budget Sportsman B-Feature #2 (15 Laps) – 1. D.J. Brundige, 2. Brett Wright, 3. Tim Hartman Jr, 4. Mike Jeske, 5. Dave Baranowski Jr, 6. Chris Murray 7. Nick Anatriello, 8. Mike Pinke, 9. Lenny Peckham, 10. Greg Catlin, 11. D.J. Mabb, 12. Rick Lamont, 13. Nick Hotaling
Pro Stocks (25 Laps) – 1. Bill Smith, 2. Ken Martin, 3. Rob Langevin, 4. Chad Jeseo, 5. Kevin VanChance, 6. Kim Duell,7. Dan Older, 8. Chip Smith, 9. Rob Yetman, 10. Luke Horning, 11. Dean Charbonneau, 12. Jeff Washburn, 13. Walt Brownell,14. Dave Emigh,15. Ed Thompson, 16. Tony DeRose
Street Stock (20 Laps) – 1. Josh Coonradt, 2. Randy Miller, 3. Paul Mulrain, 4. Nathan Dahoda, 5. Phil Sherman, 6. John Lindblade, 7. Jody Thew, 8. Jay Severson, 9. John Hayes, 10. Shannon Popp, 11. Ken Conroy, 12. Yule Cook, 13. Matt Mosher, 14. Rowdy Burch, DNS. Scott Lawrence