Mueller records first career win at Malta
Race Report By: Tom Boogie/ Albany Saratoga Speedway Media
Photos By: Dave Dalesandro / Racersguide.com
MALTA, NY – Jessey Mueller may have set a record Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Does anyone have the official record for most photos taken in victory lane?
The 23-year-old driver from Olmstedville, N.Y., scored a wildly popular victory Friday night, holding off a late charge from Ronnie Johnson to record his first career win at the historic Malta track in the 35-lap modified feature.
Mueller began his open wheel racing career on the asphalt at Albany-Saratoga and Devil’s Bowl, and has 10 career wins on the old asphalt surface at Devil’s Bowl, but Friday night’s win was his first on dirt at Albany-Saratoga, and he knows it won’t be his last.
“I’ve been competitive here all year,” he said after a wild celebration in victory lane. “I knew it was just a matter of time. But I think getting the first one was the hardest. I’m sure there will be more.”
But this one nearly didn’t happen.
On a restart on lap 16, CG Morey grabbed the lead away from Don Ronca, but going into the fourth turn, Morey jumped the berm, which allowed Mueller, who had been third on the restart, to take over the top spot.
The next time around, Mueller also jumped the berm, is nearly the exact spot as Morey, but reined the car back in and maintained the lead.
“That was the first time all race I had run on the top, and I didn’t realize how big the berm was,” said Mueller. “It nearly jerked the car right around.”
Mueller was really wound up on top, but he didn’t know how hard Johnson was coming. Even though the top and the bottom both seemed to be working well, Johnson was making his own lane in the middle, and making it work, as well, as he chased down the leaders.
On lap 20, Mueller had a full straightaway lead over Marc Johnson, and seemed to still be in control six laps later when Ronnie Johnson moved into second.
But when Mueller got held up by the lapped car of Morey with four laps left, Ronnie Johnson was able to close within a couple of car lengths, but never got the opportunity to get up to Mueller.
“The car felt good all night,” said Mueller. “I had a good feeling about tonight.”
Following Mueller and Ronnie Johnson across the finish line were Marc Johnson, Brett Hearn and Ken Tremont Jr.
Jason Gray recorded his second win in a row in the 25-lap sportsman feature. Gray, who started eighth, came wide out of turn four on lap four to get the lead and did a masterful job in traffic. With the only caution coming out with four laps left, Gray had to work his way around lapped cars for most of the feature.
The yellow on lap 21 allowed Adam McAuliffe to get a shot at taking the lead, but Gray had a great restart and beat McAuliffe to the finish line by .0793 seconds.
Josh Coonradt picked up his third win of the season in the 25-lap pro stock feature. Coonradt took advantage of a restart on lap 15 to pull even with leader Brandon Emigh, and then had the lead the next time around, leaving Emigh and Jason Corbin to battle for second. Corbin then passed Emigh for the runner-up spot on the final lap.
John Stowell won the limited sportsman feature, while Jason Goff was first under the checkered flag in the USAC DMA midgets feature.
One week after having his winning streak snapped, Randy Miller made his way to victory lane for the sixth time in the street stock feature.
In the four-cylinder feature, Jared Powell and PJ Bleau were battling for the lead on the final lap when Bleau got into Powell between the third and fourth turns, sending Powell into a spin. Although
Bleau went on to cross the finish line first, he was disqualified for spinning Powell, giving the win to David Frame. Johnny Bennett had the first single-cam car across the finish line.
Albany-Saratoga will be running a full card of racing on June 29, and will also be celebrating the 4th of July holiday with a gigantic fireworks display.
MODIFIEDS: Jessey Mueller, Ronnie Johnson, Marc Johnson, Brett Hearn, Ken Tremont Jr., Demetrios Drellos, Neil Stratton, Matt DeLorenzo, Don Ronca, Matt Pupello, Bobby Hackel IV, Brian Gleason, Keith Flach, Jim Nagle, Bodie Bellinger, Matt Depew, Jack Lehner, Peter Britten, Hector Stratton, Jackie Brown, Chad Jeseo, Justin Barber, Lou Torres, Dylan Scribner, Rich Scagliotta, CG Morey, Jeff Rockefeller, Jeremy Wilder, Cass Bennett, Kris Vernold, Elmo Reckner.
SPORTSMAN: Jason Gray, Adam McAuliffe, Connor Cleveland, Tim Hartman Jr., Pat Jones, Scott Duell, Jeremy Pitts, Chris Johnson, Robert Bublak, Jack Speshock, Dave Constantino, Nick Lussier, Nick Fretto, Joey Scarborough, Chad Edwards, Josh Neal, Andrew Buff, Jake Scarborough, Brian Calabrese, Mike Ostrander, James Meehan, Derek Bornt, Jim Osgood, Nick Stone, Mike Fisher, Elliot Lussier, Chris Ronca, Jason Rheome, Scott McCoy, Jon Miller, Fred Proctor, Mike Coffey Jr., Daryl Nutting.
PRO STOCKS: Josh Coonradt, Jason Corbin, Brandon Emigh, Kenny Martin, Walt Brownell, Dean Charbonneau, Nick Arnold, Rob Yetman, Dave DePaulo, Luke Horning, Chuck Dumblewski, Dan Older, Chris Wemple, Scott Towslee, Dan Madigan, Darrell Older, Norm Loubier, Yates Lansing, Kim Duell, Matt Roberts, Ed Thompson, Brandon Gray.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: John Stowell, EJ McAuliffe, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Justin Buff, David Boisclair, Scott Bennett, Josh Rozelle, Derrick McGrew Jr., Jason Miller, Jeff Jenkins, Jerard LeClair, Bryan Jones Jr., Emily Quinn, Matt Rich, Thomas VanVorst, Travis Billington, Bob Schmidt, Gary VanAlstyne. Steve Burch, Brandon Daley, James Hinman, Paolo Pascarella.
STREET STOCKS: Randy Miller, Al Relyea, John Filarecki, Damon Anderson, Jimmy Duncan, Scott Lawrence, John Hayes, Harold Chadderdon, Dustin Stevenson, Jason Barrett, Pete Vila, Phil Arnold,
USAC DMA MIDGETS: Jason Goff, Seth Carlson, Justin Phillips, Adam Whitney, Joe Krawiec, Derek O’Hearn, David Moniz, Manny Dias, Randy Higginson, Brandon Emerson, Mike Chaffee, Jeff Champagne, Will Hull.