Friesen Fast In Big Show X
Race Report By: Tom Boggie / Albany Saratoga Speedway Media
Photos By: Dave Dalesandro / Racersguide.com
MALTA NY – Wasn’t it Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over?
Berra would have loved Brett Hearn’s “Big Show 10” at Albany-Saratoga Speedway Tuesday night.
About 15 minutes after it looked like Matt Sheppard of Waterloo was going to complete a total domination of the 100-lap Super DIRT Series race, Stewart Friesen of Sprakers was standing in victory lane, saying “We’ll take them any way we can.”
“Them” was a reference to the win, but Friesen could have also been talking about the $10,000 he got for his second win on the Super DIRT Series. “Big Show 10” also offered a guaranteed starting spot for the NAPA Super DIRT Week in Oswego in October, but because Friesen already had one, the guaranteed spot went to second-place finisher Max McLaughin.
Now, getting back to Yogi.
Sheppard, who won “The Tribute” race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway two weeks ago, drew the pole for the 100-lap feature and the packed house was just waiting for the inevitable. After all, Sheppard won last month’s Super DIRT Series race at Brewerton, leading all 100 laps after starting on the pole.
Sheppard had to contend with Albany-Saratoga Speedway regular Matt DeLorenzo early in Tuesday’s night race. DeLorenzo, who had started fourth, got his Bicknell chassis hooked up in the outside groove and stayed right with Sheppard, even taking the lead on lap 15. But three laps later, Sheppard was back out front, and hit the cruise control.
Because of a long run of green flag laps, Sheppard quickly got into lapped traffic, but easily worked his way around the slower cars, easily extending his lead.
He avoided disaster on lap 55 when he made contact with the lapped car of Willy Decker in turn three, but Sheppard only bobbled for a second, and was back on his way
Sheppard went on to open up a seven-second lead, and the “Big Show” was bordering on becoming the “Sheppard Show.” But Sheppard’s big lead was wiped out on lap 80, when Danny Varin got a right rear flat, bringing out the yellow flag.
That put Friesen right on Sheppard’s rear bumper, and when the green came back out, Friesen was running as high as he possibly could, with Sheppard hugging the tires on the inside. But there was nothing left on top, and Sheppard began to inch away.
Then it all changed.
On lap 95, Sheppard and Decker made contact again, this time in the short chute between the first and second turns, and the contact was enough to spin Sheppard’s car around.
Five laps later, Friesen was $10,000 richer.
“The track got super slick,” said Friesen. “Everybody was plugging the bottom. I could roll through one and two for a while, but then it totally killed the top. But the guys on my crew work hard and it just seems like we always wind up being good at the end of the night.
“This is a marquee event on our schedule. I have to thank Brett and all the sponsors for putting on a show like this, and all the fans for coming out to support us. I wish I could have gotten [Sheppard] in open track conditions, but we’ll take them any way we can.”
Following Friesen and McLaughlin across the finish line were Jimmy Phelps, Tom Fuller and Billy Dunn. Of the top five cars, Friesen started ninth, Fuller was 10th and Phelps lined up 11th.
“Big Show 10” also included twin 20-lap features for sportsman, each paying $1,000 to win. Chris Johnson outran Scott Duell and Robert Bublak to win the first 20-lapper, and Jeremy Pitts made a last-lap pass to win the second feature. Adam McAuliffe had led the previous 19 laps, but got into traffic with one to go, and Pitts used a lapped car as a pick to get around McAuliffe and come away with the win.
BIG SHOW 10: Stewart Friesen, Max McLaughlin, Jimmy Phelps, Tim Fuller, Billy Dunn, Brett Hearn, Peter Britten, Tim McCreadie, Keith Flach, Marr DeLorenzo, Erick Rudolph, Matt Sheppard, Anthony Perrego, Pat Ward, Danny Varin, Bobby Varin, Josh Hohenforst, Jack Lehner, Jessey Mueller, Rich Scagliotta, JF Corriveau, Adam Roberts, Willy Decker, Dave Rauscher, Bodie Bellinger, Kenny Wallace, Billy Decker, Ronnie Johnson, Demetrios, Ken Tremont Jr., Danny Johnson.
SPORTSMAN #1: Chris Johnson, Scott Duell, Robert Bublak, Jason Miller, David Schilling, Andrew Buff, Brian Calabrese, Scott Bennett, Leo Fotopoulos, Jason Gray, Bobby Flood, Josh Sunn, Derrick McGrew Jr., Dave Baranowski, Corey Cormier, Thomas VanVorst, Don Bellen, Nick Plumstead, James Meehan, Kathy Bellen, Nick Lussier, Jack Speshock, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Jesse Edwards, Collin Dubois, Bill August, Mike Senecal, EJ McAuliffe.
SPORTSMAN #2: Jeremy Pitts, Adam McAuliffe, Connor Cleveland, Tim Hartman Jr., Dave Constantino, Daryl Nutting, Adam Pierson, Chad Edwards, Pat Jones, Joe Williams, Mike Coffey Jr., Tyler Thompson, Jon Miller, Cole Hentschel, Joey Scarborough, Todd Buckwold, Milton Mann, Paolo Pascarella, Marty Kelly III, Robert Tucker, Dylan Bokus, Joe Orlando, Charlie Tibbitts, Jim Osgood, Rob Maxon, Danny Carlough, Ricky Quick, Justin Buff, Cody Ochs.