2012 Year in Review by Robin Yasinsac-Gillespie


Veteran race promoter Howard Commander and his right-hand man, Lyle DeVore, took over the Saratoga County based Albany Saratoga Speedway from the Richards family and resurrected dirt racing for the 2012 season.

Commander put DeVore in charge of the promotional duties and DeVore did not disappoint.

It was clear from the turnout during the April 15th practice session that the duo had something to offer. They had race teams and race fans extremely curious.

It began with a two-day season opener [April 19 and April 20] which brought many to the 4/10 mile oval. The grandstands were packed to capacity and over 50 Sportsman automobiles and 30 Modifieds were registered for the initial event.

Modified sensation Brett Hearn was thrilled when the clay was put back down on the popular oval. Hearn’s had huge success at the speedway over the years and in early May he secured his 100th win at the Malta-based speedway. He was dominant all season.

Hearn also brought his successful Big Show 4 to Albany Saratoga Speedway. The title event was a 100-lap Super DIRTcar Modified Series event and it was a crowd pleaser. Race winner Bobby Varin took home the $6,000 paycheck for his exciting effort.

“I wanted a race where people went home saying ‘wow that was really cool — these guys were dicing with lap cars, it was wheel to wheel — that is what this race track is known for, if we had anything less than that it would be disappointing,” said Hearn regarding the successful event.

The mid-week event also hosted a visit from NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday.

Huge car counts in the Sportsman division continued all season which found management trying several different racing formats to try and give the race teams more opportunities for time out on the race surface.

The popular division also provided variety. In a 10 week span there were nine different winners picking up Sportsman victory lane photos. DeVore’s team also ran 18 consecutive shows, setting a new track record, before falling victim to mother nature.

A fitting tribute and souvenir program honoring the late Albany Saratoga Speedway owner, C.J. Richards, was held later in the season.

“I was really happy with how everything went last year,” said DeVore of his first year wearing the promoter shoes. “Things went pretty smooth and we learned some things so we took that and are applying it to this year. It was fun, it was a lot of work and I think people left happy so we are looking forward to doing even better this year.”

Congratulations to the first year champions: Brett Hearn [Modified], Bobby Hackel IV [Sportsman], Chad Jeseo [Pro Stock], Paul Mulrain [Street Stock], Dan Older [4 Cylinder Single] and Art Clement [4 Cylinder Duel].

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