MALTA, N.Y. — Bodie Bellinger got the biggest present of all Friday night, as he held off Jeremy Wilder and Stewart Friesen to win his first modified feature on “Christmas in July” night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
The 2012 rookie of the year led all 35 tours of the three-eighths-mile dirt oval, but the $2,500 win didn’t come easy. He had Wilder, Friesen, Kenny Tremont Jr. and Brett Hearn all chasing him on a surface that rolled out extremely wide, allowing three racing groves, all of which were used throughout the crowd pleasing feature.
Most of the full house expected Friesen to win from his third row starting spot but 11th-starting Matt DeLorenzo got the attention as he charged around the outside to second before going over the end on lap 14, passing second to Friesen. The fleet Canadian then got alongside Bellinger a few times but before he could complete the pass, Wilder got down inside him and dropped him to third.
In the meantime, Tremont had advanced from 20th to fourth and Hearn from 15th to fifth. Hearn got back by his arch-rival on a lap-25 restart but he too went over the end of turn one with but two laps remaining, though only Tremont and Marc Johnson passed him before he recovered to claim sixth ahead of Mark Kislowski, Jeff Trombley, Matt DePew and Don Ronca.
Rob Yetman claimed his fifth pro stock feature, worth some $800 with Mike Tholin celebrating an early Christmas as well with a drive from deep in the field to claim the $1,500 sportsman feature.