Drellos Goes Flag-To-Flag At Albany-Saratoga

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Demetrios Drellos (Dave Dalesandro photo)
Demetrios Drellos (Dave Dalesandro photo)

MALTA, N.Y. — Demetrios Drellos  won the first Super DIRT Series race of his career Saturday night, leading flag-to-flag in the 100-lap feature that put an exclamation point on the first Malta Massive Weekend at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

The win was worth $10,000, easily the biggest payday of Drellos’ career, and also gave him a guaranteed starting in the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 in October at Oswego.

After being showered with confetti in victory lane, Drellos told DIRT Series announcer Shane Andrews, “I’m speechless. I sat up in those seats and watched these guys for years. To say I beat them in a Super DIRT Series race is something I never even thought of.”

Drellos, who used to be a regular at Albany-Saratoga Speedway before branching out this season, drew the pole and led every lap, but what had the fans hootin’ and hollerin’ was the way he made his way through lapped traffic, with established DIRT Series stars like Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker and Larry Wight nipping at his heels. And with the first 41 laps being run under green, there was plenty of traffic to handle.

Drellos didn’t tiptoe around the lapped cars, he attacked them, and pounced on them like a hungry dog would pounce on a steak.

On a couple of occasions, it nearly cost him. On lap 35, he and Anthony Perrego slammed together right in front of the flagstand, hitting hard enough to send Perrego into the infield. But Drellos got away unscathed.

Then, on lap 66, Drellos came up on the lapped cars of Jackie Brown Jr. and JR Heffner going down the backstretch. Rather than wait to see which direction they were going to take, Drellos rocketed right between them and never lost any momentum,

“I’ve followed a lot of guys on this series, and they take risks in traffic,” Drellos said. “If you don’t go, someone else will pounce on you.”

Drellos spent most of the race running the top, and no one could really make a serious challenge from the bottom. At different times in the race, Sheppard, Decker and Mat Williamson all took a turn running second, but no one could catch the high-flying Drellos.

“Man, every lap that clicked by, I thought Billy or Matt or Larry or someone was going to go by,” Drellos said. “I knew it was a risk to run the top, but it was so much faster on the restarts.”

Decker had to settle for second, while Williamson, the hottest driver on the series, was third. He had been looking for his third straight series win.

Completing the top five were Stewart Friesen, who started 15th, and Wight.

When asked what he could have done differently to beat Drellos, Decker said, “Start about 20 lengths in front of him, maybe?”

Thirteen-time Albany-Saratoga Speedway champion Ken Tremont Jr. set fast time with a lap of 15.581 seconds during time trials.

The finish:

Demetrios Drellos, Billy Decker, Mat Williamson, Stewart Friesen, Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Mike Mahaney, Danny Varin, Anthony Perrego, Ronnie Johnson, Jessey Mueller, Brett Hearn, Tim Fuller, Erick Rudolph, Bobby Hackel IV, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack Lehner, Jimmy Phelps. Ryan Godown, JR Heffner, Jackie Brown Jr., Danny Johnson, Rusty Smith, Peter Britten, Marcus Dinkins, Ken Tremont Jr., Paul St. Sauveur, Marc Johnson.