MALTA, N.Y. — After sitting on the pole for nearly five months, Anthony Perrego wasn’t about to let a big payday slip away.
Perrego came out on top of an early battle with Billy Decker and went on to win Thursday night’s 54-lap “Come ‘N Get It” shootout that kicked off the three-day “Malta Massive Weekend” at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
“Come ‘N Get It,” which paid $5,400 to win through sponsorship by Bart Contracting and Schaghticoke Wine & Spirits, was originally scheduled as the season opener at the Malta track, but was rained out four times.
Decker, who started on the outside of the front row, slipped under Perrego on lap two to get the lead and the two leaders continually swapped lanes, looking for the quickest way around the track.
Following a restart on lap 14, Perrego built up momentum on the high side and got the lead on lap 16.
On three subsequent restarts, Perrego chose the outside lane in the Graham Racing No. 18, and each time, was able to pull away from Decker. When Perrego got into lapped traffic on lap 39, Decker was finally able to close the gap between himself and Perrego. But the final yellow came out with four to go, and Perrego was able to hold off Decker for the final four laps to get his first career win at Albany-Saratoga.
Perrego, the 2019 small block modified champion at Orange County Speedway, had finished second in last Friday night’s small block modified race at Albany-Saratoga, and those laps around the track seemed to pay off on Thursday.
“I had a good idea what the track was going to be like after running the small block here Friday,” said Perrego. “It got a little slipperier than it was Friday, but it wasn’t too bad. We threw this thing [his car] together in three days. We’ve been on a pretty good run as of late, and I hope we can keep it going.”
The four heat winners from April 23 started in the first two rows, and finished the same way they started, with Decker second, Larry Wight third and Matt Sheppard fourth. Matt DeLorenzo, who had started 20th, was the first Albany-Saratoga regular across the line, finishing fifth.
Andrew Buff won the John Ray& Sons 25-lap sportsman feature, which paid $1,000 to win.
Dave DePaulo was in the right place at the right time to notch his first win of the season in the 20-lap pro stock feature.
Bill August held off David Boisclair in the 20-lap Haun Welding limited sportsman feature.
Anthony Perrego, Billy Decker, Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Matt DeLorenzo, Keith Flach, Marc Johnson, Peter Britten, Stewart Friesen, Bobby Varin, Rocky Warner, Jessey Mueller, Bobby Hackel IV, Mike Mahaney, JR Heffner, Matt Depew, Bodie Bellinger, Scott Huber, Justin Barber, Ronnie Johnson, Matt Pupello, Jeremy Pitts, C.G. Morey, Jackie Brown Jr., Rick Ronca, Don Ronca, Demetrios Drellos, Tyler Thompson, Danny Varin, Jack Lehner, Ken Tremont Jr.