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Ballston Spa boy, 11, becomes youngest to win feature at speedway

Ballston Spa boy, 11, becomes youngest to win feature at speedway

He's the youngest and the Albany-Saratoga Speedway has been in operation since 1965.
Ballston Spa boy, 11, becomes youngest to win feature at speedway
Derrick McGrew Jr., 11, of Ballston Spa became the youngest feature winner ever at Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night.
Photographer: KUSTOM KEEPSAKES/ MARK BROWN/ RYAN KARABIN

MALTA — Talk about getting a head start.

Derrick McGrew Jr. of Ballston Spa, in his first season in an open-wheel race car, started on the pole and led all 25 laps to win the limited sportsman feature Friday at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

It was his first win at the speedway.

To be fair, he hasn’t been at the sport too long.

He is 11 years old.

Eleven.

He became the youngest driver to win a feature at the speedway, which has been in operation since 1965.

Rain hit the race track twice during the afternoon, but each time, track crews got the track back in racing shape. But as soon as the sportsman feature finished, rain began to fall again, postponing the special “Stan Da Man” feature, a tribute to DeVore’s father, who died two years ago, as well as the pro stock feature. Those features will be made up at a later date.

The star of the show was McGrew, whose father, Derrick McGrew Sr., had a very successful sportsman career of his own. Because all 25 laps of the limited sportsman feature were run under green flag conditions, McGrew Jr. had to negotiate some lapped cars in the second half of the feature. But he showed the poise of a veteran, and easily came away with the win.

Asked if he felt uncomfortable when he got into traffic, McGrew Jr. said, “I was just hoping no one wrecked in front of me.”

Although the win was Mc-Grew Jr.’s first career victory at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, he’s also got six wins at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and four at Fonda Speedway this season.

“There’s a lot more competition here, and there’s a lot more cars,” he said.

Emily Quinn of Cambridge finished second to McGrew Jr., her best finish of the season, as she held off Jeff Jenkins for the runner-up spot.

Jason Gray of East Thetford, Vt., drove to his third win of the season in the 25-lap sportsman feature. Nick Lussier jumped right into the lead from his third starting position, and Gray, who started fourth, went right into second, and that was the way they ran until lap 21.

Gray moved to the top on lap 21 and Lussier bobbled momentarily on the inside line. That allowed Gray to grab the lead and he outran Lussier and Adam McAuliffe to the finish line.

Damon Anderson won the 20-lap street stock feature, his first win in nearly a year and a half.

Before the remainder of the show was rained out, the modifieds did get in their feature, and each winner received a $320 bonus from Chris Grady Vintage Photos. The heat race winners were Ronnie Johnson, Ken Tremont Jr., who was back at the track after a one-week suspension, and Matt Depew.

SPORTSMAN: Jason Gray, Nick Lussier, Adam McAuliffe, Connor Cleveland, Jake Scarborough, Andrew Buff, Derek Bornt, Chris Johnson, Tim Hartman Jr., Jack Speshock, Scott Duell, Jon Miller, Jeremy Pitts, Dave Constantino, Chad Edwards, Pat Jones, Joey Scarborough, Marty Kelly III, Floyd Billington, John St. Germain Jr., James Meehan, Joe Orlando, Fred Proctor, Butch Wilcox, Chris Ronca, Robert Bublak Jr., Daryl Nutting, Jim Osgood, Mike Coffey Jr.

LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Derrick McGrew Jr., Emily Quinn, Jeff Jenkins, Colin Clow, Paolo Pascarella, Dylan Bokus, EJ McAuliffe, Stephen Kneer, John Stowell, Justin Buff, David Boisclair, Scott Bennett, Josh Rozelle, Gary Van Alstyne, James Hinman, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Bob Schmidt, Steve Burch.

STREET STOCKS: Damon Anderson, Al Relyea, Randy Miller, Jimmy Duncan, Hunter Sanchez, Scott Lawrence, Mark Burch, Pete Vila, Justin Taylor, Harold Chadderdon, John Hayes, Dustin Stevenson.

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