Stock Car Racing: Albany-Saratoga to utilize asphalt surface again

Last week, before the CVRA vs. the World race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, promoter Bruce Richards a

Last week, before the CVRA vs. the World race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, promoter Bruce Richards announced his plans for the remainder of the 2009 season and changes for the 2010 campaign.

The next two weeks will feature racing in all the regular Champlain Valley Racing Association div­isions, with track champions to be decided on Friday, Sept. 11.

The following week, the track will host the Northeast Karting Nationals on Sept. 18-19, and Richards will then begin removing the clay, returning to the original asphalt surface.

The first event on the asphalt, according to Richards, will be the annual Halloween Havoc on Saturday, Oct. 17. The following week, on Oct. 23, the track will host the Dirt Modified Asphalt Assault, which will include racing for modifieds, budget sportsman, pro-stocks, limiteds and mini/Duke stocks.

In the spring of 2010, Richards already has commitments for events from Tom Curley of the Amer­ican-Canadian Tour late models, Howie Lane of the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) and the True Value Asphalt Modified Series and Race of Champions (ROC) Asphalt Modified Series in a combined event. Richards has also contacted NASCAR about a mod­ified tour race, but has heard nothing back from that sanctioning body.

Then, Richards will put new clay back down on the track in mid-May to start his dirt racing season.

“Success wasn’t made by sitting on your butt,” Richards said. “We are the only track in the Capital District to be able to do what we are doing. We have been working on this for awhile, and it is still a work in progress, but there will be something for everybody here at Albany-Saratoga for the remainder of this year and next year.”

After C.J. Richards purchased Albany-Saratoga Speedway, it was converted to a dirt surface in 1977, after being born as an asphalt track in 1963. Since the changeover to the dirt surface, one race was held on the original asphalt surface, on Sept. 29, 1991, when C.J. pulled off the clay when he was in the process of resurfacing the speedway.

Bruce Richards feels that the move to asphalt will open up a lot of opportunities for tour events to come in to Albany-Saratoga.

“Even though it has been done before, people say that it won’t work again,” Richards said. “But I am going to prove them wrong. Both Tom [Curley] and Howie [Lane] have a big following from both New Hampshire and Canada, and our races at Albany-Saratoga will give them the chance to travel to our track and compete. With our location just off the Northway, it will be easy enough for drivers to get to if they want to race.”

Richards has wanted to resurface the speedway at Albany-Saratoga because the ciay is wearing thin in spots. When he puts the new clay down next May, he can put it back down evenly, like it should be. The weather this summer has been less than favorable to do any kind of resurfacing project this year.

“People are already saying that the track is going to be rough when we put the clay back down next May,” he said. “The last time that we resurfaced the track, we brought in over 200 truck loads, and it was fine. I have found that the best time to resurface the speedway is during a long dry spell in the weather, in either the spring or summer, instead of the fall when you have to let it sit all winter long. Another key is to find soil that is the right consistency.”

Richards has already talked to Mike Perrotte, who races at Albany-Saratoga and is also the promoter at the Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburg, where Perrotte runs the current DIRT-style modifieds on his asphalt track, about tire rules and other things.

“I am planning to run an open tire rule to give everyone an opportunity to race at our track on either Lebanon Valley, Syracuse or Orange County tires,” Richards said. “A lot of the regulars want to give racing on asphalt a try with their dirt cars, and I feel an open tire rule will ease them into giving it a try. The blacktop racing community is buzzing about racing at Albany-Saratoga, and I am looking forward to it.”

Through all of the changes at Albany-Saratoga, Devil’s Bowl will not be affected at all, and will remain a dirt race track.

“1975 was the last year of racing on asphalt here at Albany-Saratoga and the track was closed in 1976 before we reopened it as a dirt track in 1977,” Richards said. “So it has been over 30 years since an asphalt race has been held at Malta.”

Look for some big shows on the CVRA on the dirt surfaces, as well, according to Richards.

“We are looking to have the World of Outlaws sprint cars at Devil’s Bowl next year, and if that doesn’t work out, maybe we’ll get a World of Outlaws late model event,” he said. “Running on asphalt at Albany-Saratoga will be something different instead of the same old same old.”


The Brewerton Speedway the World of Outlaw Late Models held their first-ever event at the track called the “D-shaped Dirt Demon” on Wednesday. Former dirt mod­ified racer Tim Fuller won the event in a car owned by John Wight, who also owns the Brewerton Speedway.

Fuller took the lead from another dirt modified racer, Vic Coffey, on lap 45 of the 50-lap event and held on for his sixth win in the last nine WOO late model events. Coffey ended up finishing second, with other notable finishers being Tim McCreadie (sixth), Billy Decker (ninth) and Matt Sheppard (16th).


Tonight at Albany Saratoga Speedway, “The Masters” will be held with all divisions in action, along with an enduro. There will also be kiddie rides and bicycle giveaways, with racing starting at 6:45.

On Saturday, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will hold “Championship Saturday,” with double points in all divisions deciding the track champions. The Midstate Vintage cars will also be on hand with racing set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Both Albany-Saratoga and Glen Ridge will be holding “Ridge Runner” series races for budget sportsman this weekend. Unofficially, Jack Gentile leads the series after four races.

Categories: Sports

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