Saratoga Springs, NY ― On Saturday night, March 9th, Albany Saratoga Speedway hosted their awards party at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs. The voice of the speedway, Dan Martin, was the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The 2012 race season at the Malta oval was called “The Resurrection” of the dirt at Albany Saratoga Speedway, and the first season under the helm of renowned promoter Howard Commander and Lyle DeVore.
“I want to thank Howard for giving me this opportunity, for having faith and letting me do what I do” said DeVore, who was given the promotional duties for the duo’s new endeavor.
The Albany Saratoga team honored the top ten racers in each division.
Brett Hearn accepted honors for securing another Modified point championship title at the Malta speed plant.
“I couldn’t have been happier about the dirt surface getting put back on that place,” stated Hearn. “I’ve always loved it up there and we’ve had a lot of success up there.”
The Jersey Jet’s six wins and 18 top five finishes allowed Hearn to lay claim on the title.
Bobby Hackel accepted honors in the Sportsman ranks. The fourth generation driver used three wins, nine top five runs and 14 top 10 finishes to lock in his title.
“We wanted to prove that we weren’t just a Lebanon Valley car ― but the first night out we didn’t even qualify,” recalled Hackel. “There were a lot of cars and there was tough competition so I knew it was going to be a tough year.”
‘Bad’ Chad Jeseo was very thankful for the championship hardware in the ProStock division. Jeseo had three wins, seven runner up spots and 17 top five finishes. He also picked up the Toro sponsored mini-series that was part of the Pro Stock schedule last season.
Paul Mulrain was up under the lights for securing the Street Stock championship title. Mulrain made five visits to victory lane in 2012 and had 15 top five finishes and 18 top 10 runs.
The ‘Media Award’ was presented to Don and JoAnn Davies.
‘Rookie of the Year’ honors went to: Bodie Bellinger (Modified), Brett Wright (Sportsman), Dan Older (ProStock) and Jody Thew (Street Stock).
DeVore also presented an award for the ‘Malta Memorable Moment’ of the year. Yule Cook picked up the honors in the Street Stock division for the season long excitement Cook provided to those in attendance. Bill Smith picked up honors for his patience and perseverance after taking his first career win after an 18 year wait. Andy Durie was the Sportsman representative after destroying his race car and then coming back the following week (in his boss’ car) and landing in victory lane. Mike Perrotte was honored with the Modified moment. Perrotte has secured wins at the speedway for 12 seasons and is currently believed to be the oldest modified racer.
Four-cylinder racers Art Clement and Dan Older Jr. were honored for their efforts.
DeVore informed the group that new clay was added to the oval since closing the doors on the 2012 season in September.
“Over the course of the season there were some concerns about the racetrack ― about it being too narrow,” said DeVore. “We took that into consideration and off season we widened the corners and resurfaced the track. If things go right we sure have one hell of a surface.”
And according to DeVore, rumors regarding sale of the Richards’ owned property which houses the speedway, are not true.
“It’s all false ― I’ve talked to Bruce. Not only are we racing in 2013 but we are moving ahead and planning for 2014,” said DeVore.
Modified: Brett Hearn, Ken Tremont Jr., Matt Delorenzo, Ronnie Johnson, Jeff Trombley, Don Ronca, Marc Johnson, Mark Kislowski, Bodie Bellinger and Elmo Reckner.
Sportsman: Bobby Hackel IV, Tim Hartman Jr., Jeremy Pitts, Derrick McGrew, Mike Tholin, Brian Gleason, Jack Gentile, Andy Durie, Mark Hughes and Scott Duell.
Pro Stock: Chad Jeseo, Dan Older, Rob Yetman, Rob Langevin, Bill Smith, Dean Charbonneau, Ken Martin, Kevin VanChance, Dave Emigh and Brandon Emigh.
Street Stock: Paul Mulrain, Ken Conroy, Yule Cook, Randy Miller, Josh Coonradt, Rowdy Burch, Jody Thew, Dave Stickles, John Hayes, Nathan Dahoda.
Congratulations to our 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 Dual).