PHOTO: Jake Zakrzewski, Jr., was a first-time winner at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. (VMM photo)

Carl inherits Pro Late Model win after McGrath penalty

-by Ricky St. Clair and Justin St. Louis

MALTA N.Y. — Joey Williams was an early favorite to win Friday night’s NASCAR Modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. After winning his heat race in convincing fashion, there was no question that Williams would be a front runner come feature time.

Williams did what many expected and took the lead on the second lap of the 35-lap feature from his fourth starting position. However, after having a straightaway lead on the entire field, a lap 19 caution for a three-car incident in turn two bunched everyone up for the restart.

Quietly making his way through the field in an attempt to pull the upset bid was “Wild Thing” Jake Zakrzewski, Jr., running his first full season in full-size stock cars.

Twenty year-old Zakrzewski, of Schuylerville, N.Y., managed to patiently work his way up from his 10th starting position in the 14-car field during the first half of the event and narrowly avoided the lap-19 tangle. Zakrzewski took the lead from Williams on lap 22 and the two would exchange the lead two more times in the span of nine laps, with Zakrzewski solidifying himself in the top spot on lap 31.

“I’m ecstatic, I couldn’t explain,” Zakrzewski said. “[Williams] is fast. He ran an awesome race, but when you’re out there you have to be aggressive. You’ve got to go out there and hit your marks and do as best as you can, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Williams, whose lead was as much as half a lap at one point, admitted that an error cost him the win.

“I was riding around. I was letting off at the flagstand, I thought I was gone,” Williams chuckled. “When [Zakzrewski] passed me I thought he was a lapped car. I saw the flagger give him two [laps] to go, and I go, ‘Uh-oh, we better get going.’ I had no idea. I don’t run any mirrors, and next week I’ll have a set of mirrors. It was my mistake.”

Sixteen year-old Bobby Hackel, IV, of East Greenbush, N.Y., finished in third place with Alex Bell fourth and John Proctor fifth. Cody Sargen, Fred Proctor, Hunter Bates, Ron Proctor, and Luke Klob completed the unofficial top ten.

American-Canadian Tour regular Jacob McGrath of Killington, Vt., grabbed the checkers in the Pro Late Model feature after fending off Twin State Speedway front-runner Chris Wilk and Albany-Saratoga regular Darryl Carl in the later stages of the race, but McGrath was stripped of the win for a weight violation.

Carl, of Voorheesville, N.Y., passed Wilk after contact on the final lap to cross the finish line in second place and later inherit the victory. Wilk, of Mendon, Vt., was awarded the runner-up finish with Sheldon Martin, Jim Monroe, and Dan Petronis completing the unofficial top five. McGrath was penalized to the rear of the 14-car field.

Thirteen year-old Matt Pappa of Nassau, N.Y., claimed his first victory in the INEX Legends by going flag-to-flag in the division’s first-ever main event at the Capital District track. David Schilling, 14, was second with Steve Miller third. Frank Monroe of Granville, N.Y., got the win in the Renegade feature while Gabriels, N.Y., driver Harold LaVair picked up the checkers in the Bomber Warrior race.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y.
Friday, April 22, 2011


NASCAR Modified
1. Jake Zakrzewski, Jr., Schuylerville, N.Y.
2. Joey Williams
3. Bobby Hackel, IV, East Greenbush, N.Y.
4. Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
5. John Proctor, Clifton Park, N.Y.
6. Cody Sargen, Greenfield Center, N.Y.
7. Fred Proctor, Clifton Park, N.Y.
8. Hunter Bates, Pittsford, Vt.
9. Ron Proctor, Clifton Park, N.Y.
10. Luke Klob, Greenville, N.Y.

Pro Late Model
1. Darryl Carl, Voorheesville, N.Y.
2. Chris Wilk, Mendon, Vt.
3. Sheldon Martin, Scotia, N.Y.
4. Jim Monroe, Mechanicville, N.Y.
5. Dan Petronis, Mechanicville, N.Y.
6. David Emigh, Ballston Spa, N.Y.
7. Mike Paquin, Greenwich, N.Y.
8. Carl Guilefuss
9. Kevin Van Chance, Mechanicville, N.Y.
10. Randy Miller

INEX Legends
1. Matt Pappa, Nassau, N.Y.
2. David Schilling
3. Steve Miller, Vergennes, Vt.

1. Frank Monroe, Granville, N.Y.

Bomber Warrior
1. Harold LaVair, Gabriels, N.Y.