Stock car racing: Albany-Saratoga streak at 17 nights and counting
If it’s Friday, Lyle DeVore is at work.
Granted, there’s nothing unusual about a grown man working a full week, but when DeVore, the general manager at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, kicked off the season on April 19, he probably figured on a couple of rainouts to get a little time off.
When Albany-Saratoga opens the gates tonight, it will mark the 18th consecutive night of racing, breaking the record of 17 in a row, set during the 1999 season. Ironically, DeVore was also working at the track then, as the right-hand man to promoter Bruce Richards.
Eighteen in a row may seem like a lot, but after doing some research, I’ve found it’s not even close to some of the longest streaks.
First, let me throw in a disclaimer. The research isn’t all-encompassing. Until about five years ago, I kept records of the results from every dirt track in the Northeast. That may seem a little compulsive, but I wanted to stay on top of the stock car beat. So the research was through my own records.
The longest streak I could find was that Fulton Speedway ran 28 consecutive shows during the 1987 season. That year, the track ran two shows in March, rained out on April 3, then ran off 28 in a row. As a sidelight, Mike Arminio of Amsterdam had four victories that year.
That must have been a really dry summer, because Canadaigua Speedway ran 25 in a row and Flemington ran 21 in a row. Canandaigua had no rainouts, going 25-for-25; Flemington ran two shows, had a rainout, then ran 21 in a row.
Orange County Speedway had one rainout, running 25 shows.
Eighteen may seem like a lot, but Albany-Saratoga still has a long way to go to get to the top of the list.
Varin heading north
After Bobby Varin received a one-race suspension for an incident in the pits at Fonda Speedway on July 21, he said he wasn’t sure if he would be going back to Fonda this season.
He made it official this week, posting on his website that he’s going to ran at Fulton on Saturday nights for the remainder of the season.
Ironically, Varin never served his suspension, as Fonda’s late model show on July 24 (the original suspension date) was rained out, and the track rained out again last Saturday.
Honoring ‘The Shoe’
The first Ken Shoemaker Dash for Cash will be held Saturday night at Fonda.
The top 10 drivers in the modified point standings will run the 10-lap race. The payoff began at $500, and will be increased through 50-50 sales on Saturday.
The event was created by Michael Sheridan.
“Michael was one of the kids in the neighborhood that my father took under his wing,” said Keith Shoemaker. “This dash for cash will be an annual event, and the winner will receive a unique trophy in the shape of a shoe.”
Shoemaker still sits fourth on the all-time win list at Fonda with 54 victories. He also won the track championship in 1958 and 1965.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday will be the guest speaker when the Saratoga Auto Museum’s “Meet and Greet” series with NASCAR personalties resumes on Wednesday.
The program will begin at 6 p.m. at the auto muesum, located on the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Sorings. Tickers are available online at www.saratogaautomuseum.-org, or at the museum. Tickets will also be sold at the door. All tickets are $15.
Hornaday, a California native, won his first two series championship driving for Dale Earnhardt, then claimed two more for the team owned by Earnhardt’s replace at Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick. Hornaday also drove in the Sprint Cup series for A.J. Foyt and in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series for Childress.
From the archives
It’s amazing the facts you can discover (or rediscover) while looking up old stock car racing results.
Do you remember . . . that in 1997, when Mike Romano won the track championship at Fonda Speedway, that he finished every lap of every modified feature, and never finished out of the top 10? His worst finish was an eighth in the Skoal qualifier that year.
Or do you remember when Brookfield Speedway reopened in 1995, and ran 358s as its top division? The list of winners that season included Bob Vedder, Harry Shaffer, Ray Zemken and Doug Matthewson.
Around the tracks
Fonda Speedway only has three weekends of racing left before closing for the Montgomery County fair. Stewart Friesen has a 136-point lead over Varin in the chase for the modified point championship. The way Friesen has been running, he’ll be able to skip the Night of Features that concludes the regular season and still win the championship.
Good runs by Dustin Delaney (fourth) and Jamike Sowle (fifth) last Friday at Albany-Saratoga. Delaney is running a new Teo car after he wrecked earlier this year at The Ridge. Sowle had been a regular at The Ridge, but began to branch out about a month ago, showing up at Albany-Saratoga and Fonda. His fifth in the modified feature last weekend was his first top-five finish ever at the Malta track.
Brian Gleason joined the list of first-time winners at Albany-Saratoga with a win in the budget sportsman feature last Friday. In the last month, Gleason, Mike Jeske and Dan Santabarbera have all notched their first budget sportsman wins. The division has had 15 different winners in 16 races this season. The only multiple winner is Bobby Hackel IV, who won back-to-back features on April 27 and May 4.
Vince Quenneville Jr. picked up his fourth modified win of the year at Devil’s Bowl last Friday and took the points lead away from defending champion Ron Proctor. Quenneville, who started his driving
career at Devil’s Bowl 25 years ago and won the 2003 modified track championship, is also in the hunt for the NASCAR regional Rookie of the Year title because, as a first-time NASCAR license holder, he’s considered a rookie in the Whelen All-American Series.
Proctor was the regional Rookie of the Year last season at the age of 57.