Some drivers will go to great lengths to win a race.
But Sean Wanat went a great distance instead.
Wanat made the long tow from Riverhead, Long Island, to Malta pay off Saturday, as he won the Hangover 100 enduro at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Wanat and his traveling companion and racing buddy, Mitch Patern of Suffolk, are no strangers to Albany-Saratoga, as they frequently make the long haul for the track’s high-paying enduros, which include the Hangover 100 and Halloween Havoc. They left Long Island at
6 a.m. Saturday to get to Malta on time.
“We’re just here to have fun,” said Wanat, who took home $1,500 for the victory. “We like coming up here.”
But Wanat admitted he couldn’t live up to the title of the race.
“I just had a couple last night,” he said.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway first ran the Hangover 100 in the late 1990s, and this year’s race marked the first time the January enduro has been run on the asphalt track. The race wasn’t held last year because the asphalt was new, and promoter Bruce Richards didn’t want to put cars on the new surface in the winter.
Track preparation wasn’t much different, according to Richards. The only major difference was the somewhat balmy 45-degree temperature at race time.
“I didn’t come in to plow [the pits] until this morning,” said Richards. “I didn’t want it to get too muddy.
“This is a lot cleaner. If the track was still dirt, we’d be up to our ankles in mud.”
The asphalt surface was wet and slippery, and many of the drivers were glad they kept their windshield wipers in place, as the field was kicking up a lot of spray.
And except for a couple of forays into the infield, which created rooster tails of snow, there were no major incidents on the track.
“It was just a little more slippery than usual, but I always drive that way,” said Wanat with a smile.
Mike Kamm of Albany led the first five laps, but he then got sideways in the fourth turn, which allowed Wanat to get the lead for good on lap six.
Wanat went on to dominate the race, putting every other car in the 23-car field at least one lap down.
Jim Wood was second, while Kamm was third.