MALTA, N.Y. — Who better to win Brett Hearn’s Big Show 5 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway than the track’s all-time leading winner — Brett Hearn?
The “Jersey Jet” notched his first Super DIRTcar Modified Series win of 2013 Tuesday night, leading 14th-place starter Billy Dunn and Gary Tomkins to the checkered flag in the one race Hearn promotes each season.
It was nearly a repeat of 2012, when Bobby Varin ran Hearn down to steal his money, but this time a lap-86 yellow flag just as he caught the leader took Dunn’s momentum away and the Northern New Yorker had to settle for second.
“I sure didn’t need that caution,” declared Dunn. “I needed traffic to catch him. He’s got way more laps here than I do and he’s really consistent unless somebody messes him up. I was picking cars off one by one but I needed to get just one more.”
Tomkins had taken command from polesitter Dale Planck on lap 10, but Planck kept drawing alongside on the faster outside line and took it back briefly a few times through the 50-lap range, when Hearn, up from eighth, became a factor. On lap 61 he drove around both third-running Billy Decker and Planck in turns one and two and set off after Tomkins, repeating the rim-riding move seven laps later to take command.
“I was having a hard time seeing but when I could, I strung some good laps together,” declared Hearn. “I couldn’t get the shield on my helmet closed and had to use one eye or the other most of the time.”