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What you need to know for 07/28/2017

Stock car racing: Albany-Saratoga asphalt project on schedule

Stock car racing: Albany-Saratoga asphalt project on schedule

The clay has been removed from Albany-Saratoga Speedway, which will run its first asphalt racing pro

Do you know the biggest difference between Halley’s Comet and the asphalt racing surface at Albany-Saratoga Speedway?

Halley’s Comet is only visible once every 76 years. The asphalt at Malta has “resurfaced” after only 19 years.

All the clay on the 4/10ths-mile track has been cleared off, revealing the original asphalt surface that was used when the track began oper­ation in 1963.

“The asphalt is in great shape, just like I thought it would be,” said Albany-Saratoga promoter Bruce Richards on the Champlain Valley Racing Association Web site.

“Everything still has the green light.”

The first racing on the asphalt will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17, with the annual Halloween Havoc. The popular enduro has returned to its original format — 200 laps, with $1,000 to win — but this year, will be limited to four- and six-cylinder, front-wheel-drive cars. There will also be a 30-lap powder puff enduro, just for women.

Also running on Oct. 17 will be budget sportsman, limiteds and mini/Duke stocks. Racing will begin at noon, and the enduro, which will be run last, will begin no later than 4 p.m.

Modifieds will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 24, with the Dirt Modified Asphalt Assault. That card will include budget sportsman, pro-street stocks, limiteds and mini/Duke stocks, and racing will also begin at noon.

Richards is hoping to schedule some test-and-tune sessions on the asphalt as soon as the racing surface is cleaned and brushed.

“Drivers and fans should keep checking our Web site at because once we get the track ready, we’re going to get some cars out here in a hurry,” said Richards.

The spring schedule at Albany-Saratoga will include tour races with the ACT late models, ISMA supermodifieds and True Value modifieds. The exact dates have yet to be confirmed.

The last time cars raced on the asphalt at Albany-Saratoga was in 1991, when Richards’ father, C.J., took the clay off in late September and ran one race on the asphalt

before resurfacing the speedway.

McDonald’s Weekend

Ronnie Johnson probably isn’t a big Cher fan, but you can bet he’s spent a little time this week thinking, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

Johnson has suffered through a rough season at Fonda Speedway, and heads into McDonald’s Weekend, the curtain-closer for the 2009 campaign, without a win at the Track of Champions.

So he’d like to close out the year the same way he did last season, when he won both the Saturday and Sunday features, and walked off with $15,300.

McDonald’s Weekend will begin Saturday, highlighted by a 40-lap, $4,000-to-win feature for mod­ifieds. The 602 limited sportsman will be competing for $1,000 to win, and IMCAs, street stocks and four-cylinders will also be in action. The Empire Super Sprints will also be holding their final race of the season Saturday at Fonda. All the action will begin at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, the modifieds will be running 100 laps for $9,500 to win, the sportsman will be battling for a winner’s payoff of $1,500 and the pro-stock feature will pay $1,000 to win. Racing will also begin at

2 p.m.

Sunday’s feature will also conclude the Dual Track Thunder Series between Fonda and Utica-Rome. Fonda Speedway track champion Bobby Varin has a

16-point lead over Pat Ward in the battle for the series title and a $4,500 bonus.

Varin has a busy weekend scheduled, as he’ll be driving the Matt Demitraszek sprint car in the ESS show on Saturday.

Reward offered

Car owner Vinny Salerno and sponsor Don Kruger have posted a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those involved in the theft of the Four Star hauler last weekend in Drummondville, Quebec.

Surveillance video show the hauler being taken out of a motel parking lot at 5:19 Saturday morning. The truck and hauler were later found about 30 minutes from the motel, but the entire contents of the stacker trailer, from the team’s two race cars to every nut and bolt that was in the cabinets, were cleaned out.

Salerno has been a familiar face in the pits at Albany-Saratoga, as he helped Brett Hearn become the winningest driver in the history of the speedway until the team split up last month. The Four Star team was in Dummondville to compete in a Super DIRT Series race.

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