MALTA, N.Y. – Marc Johnson drew the pole for Friday night’s 35 lap DIRTcar modified feature at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway and most of the large crowd figured he’d claim win number three on the season in a cakewalk.
In the end, he did claim the $3,500 win, but not without Ronnie Johnson trying to take his cake away.
With the top three cars in each heat redrawing for the feature, Marc Johnson pulled the pole with Bobby Hackel III to his outside. Third starting Anthony Perrego dropped Hackel a spot on the green and made a few runs on the lead but by their fifth tour of the three-eighths-mile oval, Ronnie Johnson had arrived on the scene from seventh and began working Perrego hard, allowing Marc Johnson to slip away.
Back in the pack, Mike Mahaney was on the move from ninth, showing fifth at lap 10, by which time Ronnie Johnson had finally put Perrego away and started chasing the leader. At halfway it was Marc Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Perrego and Mahaney, with the leaders winding in and out of lapped traffic as they battled each other. Lap 28 saw Mahaney finally dispose of point champion Perrego and begin closing on the Johnson but the checkers flew before he could mount a serious challenge.
“I needed 50 laps or a better draw,” offered Mahaney with a big laugh. “It would have been fun to race with them but it took me the whole race just to catch’em!”
At the checkers, it was Marc Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Mahaney, Stewart Friesen, Perrego, Adam Pierson, Peter Britten, Keith Flach, Jeremy Pitts and Matt DePew, with visiting NASCAR Camping World Truck series star Friesen having an uncharacteristic tough night, though for most of the others in the field fourth would have been a good finish.
“I saw guys taking pictures there late in the race so I knew somebody was there,” offered Marc Johnson in victory lane. “I don’t really like starting on the pole because there’s only one way to go from there. I found that if I got off the bottom for lapped cars, it hurt me because I was tight off the turns, so I stayed right there and just kept passing them on the bottom.”
“He’s good here,” said Ronnie Johnson of Marc Johnson, who is not related to him. “I’ll take second to him here any day. I was waiting for a shot at him in traffic but it never happened. That’s racing,”
Chuckie Dumblewski led the Pro Stock home with Dean Charonneau, Kim Duell and Shane Henderson trailing.