MALTA, N.Y. — Off-and-on rainstorms through the afternoon caused the Albany-Saratoga Speedway surface to roll out sticky and fast with a big cushion for Tuesday night’s Super DIRTcar series feature and visiting late model star Tim McCreadie took full advantage of it to claim the $10,000 winner’s share of the “Brett Hearn’s Big Show” purse.
After watching polesitter Larry Wight and Stewart Friesen swap the lead for three-quarters of the 100-lapper, McCreadie went to the cushion on a lap-75 restart and drove from fourth to the lead in three laps, drawing gasps and cheers from the sellout crowd as he rocketed through the ledge built up on the top of the three-eighths-mile track.
“Timmy is one of only a few drivers in the country that could have handled that cushion without crashing,” declared Friesen, who almost got the lead back with the checkers in sight but had to settle for second ahead of Matt Sheppard, Wight, Brett Hearn, Billy Decker and late charger Alan Johnson.
“I don’t know about my late model but here in New York with my big block modified, I can hit it,” said McCreadie. “I grew up racing with a big cushion and I feel really secure with the right rear on this car It wasn’t that fast on the bottom but it was really good up there!”
Wight led early on with front-row companion Max McLaughlin in tow, but the third-starting Friesen soon shot the youngster down, as did the sixth-starting McCreadie, who soon passed Friesen as well. Wight was long gone by the teens and caught the backmarkers on lap 19, with McCreadie eventually running him down in traffic only to go over turn two, losing second to Friesen again. Wight and Friesen then ran off to a substantial lead as Sheppard, who started 12th, disposed of Hearn to show fourth on lap 44.
Two laps later Friesen got alongside the high-flying Wight briefly, then drove under him a lap later for what many thought was the win.
A yellow flag that ate up most of the 50-lap range let Sheppard shoot past McCreadie on the restart, but the race’s final yellow on lap 68 brought the most exciting action and a shake-up of the finishing order.
Wight blew Friesen off on the green while McCreadie went into and over the cushion, blasting by Sheppard, then rim riding around Friesen and Wight as well to take command with 22 to go. But he wasn’t home free just yet, as Friesen disposed of Wight in traffic with three to go and, with the crowd up and cheering, almost got McCreadie on the white-flag lap.
“I saw him there on the bottom but I didn’t know what lap it was,” said McCreadie. “I was too free and couldn’t run the bottom to block him, so I just kept digging and all of a sudden it was over.”
“That was a little too exciting at the end,” added a grinning Friesen. “I found the top and got going, then I jumped the cushion and gave it all back. I recovered and with a couple of more laps, I might have gotten under him because we were better on longer runs, but we’re happy. We were way better than we’ve been lately.”
As for Sheppard, he said he “didn’t need that last yellow just as we were passing Wight. We went back for the restart, then had trouble getting through the lapped cars to get back to third. They don’t hold their line and they’re tough on everybody.”
In the split-field Sportsman features, Robert Bublak bested Connor Cleveland and Dave Constantino in the hard-fought 20-lapper opener, while Rocky Warner scored an easy win over Adam McAuliffe and Nick Lussier in the finale.
Tim McCreadie, Stewart Friesen, Matt Sheppard, Larry Wight, Brett Hearn, Billy Decker, Alan Johnson, Tim Fuller, Max McLaughlin, Erick Rudolph, Pat Ward, Jimmy Phelps, Brandon Walters, Danny Varin, Jeremy Smith, Marc Johnson, Bodie Bellinger, Keith Flach, Kenny Tremont Jr., Mike Mahaney, Billy Whittaker, Rich Scagliotta, Jessey Mueller, Brian Gleason, Ronnie Johnson, Jeremy Wilder, Michael Maresca, Billy Dunn, L.J. Lombardo, Peter Britten.