RJ Rules At Albany Saratoga on Friday
Race Report By: Tom Boggie/Albany Saratoga Media
Photos By: Dave Dalesandro / RacersGuide.com
MALTA, NY – When opportunity knocks, the smart thing to do is answer the darn door.
That’s what Ronnie Johnson did Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
After recording just one top-five finish in a rain-plagued month of July, Johnson parlayed a third-row starting position into his third win of the season in the 35-lap modified feature at the Malta track.
But it wasn’t easy. Despite taking the lead following a restart on lap seven, Johnson first had to outduel Bodie Bellinger and then fend off Marc Johnson.
But when it was over, Ronnie Johnson was standing in victory lane at Albany-Saratoga for the 26th time of his career.
”We’ve had a few bad weeks, so I guess it was our turn to start up front,” said Johnson, who started sixth in the field. “But it’s not easy to lead like that. You don’t know who’s behind you, and you know the berm is out there, and you try not to get too far out.”
Johnson momentarily lost the lead on a restart on the 21st lap. Bellinger got a tremendous run going into the third turn and put the nose of his modified in front, but as he went through the fourth turn, he drifted too high, giving the lead back to Ronnie Johnson and allowing Marc Johnson, who had been flying on the inside early in the race, to move into second. Marc Johnson then continued his momentum to pull past Ronnie Johnson coming off the second turn.
But Ronnie Johnson was back in front by the time the leaders hit the flagstand to complete lap 23, and that’s where he stayed.
“It’s been a rough few weeks,” said Ronnie Johnson, who received a $500 bonus from Amsterdam Trailer Repair for the win. “Starting sixth helped, but I still had to race for it. I had to race for the lead, lost it, and then had to get it back.”
Jessey Mueller put on a late charge to finish second, and Ken Tremont Jr. nipped Marc Johnson at the finish line for third, with Bellinger fifth.
The King of Dirt pro-stock series ran a caution-plagued 30-lap feature, with Jason Casey of Canaan, Conn., a regular at Lebanon Valley Speedway, getting the victory. Casey and Josh Coonradt put on a show late in the race, swapping the lead on laps 23 and 24, and Casey finally got the lead for good on lap 27.
Chuck Dumblewski finished second, with Brandon Emigh third.
Daryl Nutting picked up his first win of the year in the 25-lap sportsman feature, coming from his fifth starting position to take the lead on lap 6, leaving Joey Scarborough and Connor Cleveland to battle for second. Cleveland won that battle, taking over the No. 2 spot with four laps remaining.
Randy Miller won the 20-lap Meltz Lumber Street Stock Spectacular, which paid $500 to win, and Paolo Pascarella used a restart with two laps to go to win the limited sportsman feature, stealing the victory away from Colin Clow with a last-lap pass.
The four-cylinder cars were also in action, with PJ Bleau taking the checkered flag. Robert Garney has the first single-cam car across the finish line.
MODIFIEDS: Ronnie Johnson, Jessey Mueller, Ken Tremont Jr., Marc Johnson, Bodie Bellinger, Keith Flach, Brett Hearn, Matt DeLorenzo, Neil Stratton, Demetrios Drellos, Ray Hoard, Don Ronca, Jack Lehner, Brian Gleason, Elmo Reckner, CG Morey, Jason Herrington, Hector Stratton, Rich Ronca, Lou Torres, Matt Depew, Bobby Hackel IV, Jim Nagle, Matt Pupello, Kenny Aanonsen Jr.
SPORTSMAN: Daryl Nutting, Connor Cleveland, Joey Scarborough, Tim Hartman Jr., Jason Gray, Chris Johnson, Robert Bublak Jr., Jeremy Pitts, Andrew Buff, Scott Duell, Adam McAuliffe, Jim Osgood, James Meehan, Dave Constantino, John Stowell, Jon Miller, Jake Scarborough, Fred Proctor, Joe Orlando, Chris Ronca, Pat Jones, John St. Germain Jr., Jack Speshock, Mike Ostrander, Butch Wilcox, Derek Bornt, Jesse Edwards, Mike Coffey Jr., Michael Sabia, Chad Edwards, Nick Lussier.
KING OF DIRT PRO STOCKS: Jason Casey, Chuck Dumblewski, Brandon Emigh, Josh Coonradt, Kim Duell, Jon Routhier, Devon Camenga, Scott Towslee, Jimmy Eaton, Rich Crane, Kenny Martin, Jason Meltz, Jay Casey, Nick Arnold, Dan Older, Dan Madigan, Matt Roberts, Mike Baker, Dave Stickles, Ed Thompson, Yates Lansing, Jason Corbin, Walt Brownell, Brandon Gray, Darrell Older, Norm Loubier.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Paolo Pascarella, Colin Clow, EJ McAuliffe, Travis Billington, Scott Bennett, Dylan Bokus, Justin Buff, David Boisclair, Derrick McGrew Jr., Dan Grignon, Emily Quinn, Josh Rozelle, Josh Laware, Bob Schmidt, Karl Barnes, Bryant Moore, Brandon Daley, Lenny Billings, Troy Scott, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Thomas VanVorst, Steve Burch, Jeff Jenkins.
STREET STOCKS: Randy Miller, Al Relyea, Damon Anderson, David Cook, John Filaracki, Jimmy Duncan, Jeff Meltz Jr., Phil Arnold, David Shippee, Pete Vila, John Hayes, Harold Chadderdon, Jordan Miller, Adam Tranka, Tim McFarland, Mark Burch, Dustin Stevenson, Scott Lawrence.