The 4th Turn: 6/17/21

~ By Tom Boggie

So far in the 2021 racing season, fans have seen a lot of upsets and unexpected results.

If you were at Albany-Saratoga Speedway last Friday, you saw another one, with Scott Huber finishing fourth in the modified feature.

Huber later posted on his Facebook page, “That’s a win for this team.”

Damn right it was.

The 38-year-old Huber, who is based in Cambridge, began racing a budget sportsman at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in the early days of the budgets. But for the last nine years or so, he has been behind the wheel of a modified.

Huber, who works as a machinist at the Watervliet Arsenal, is old school. Growing up in Schuylerville, he spent a lot of Friday nights at Albany-Saratoga, where he became infatuated with the skills of Jack Johnson and Ken Tremont Jr. As he got older, he began working on cars with longtime friend Erik Yager (who is still his crew chief and fabricator), and later got behind the wheel.

His racing career looks like a long ride down a country road … a lot of twists and turns. He ran a sportsman for a while, even trying the asphalt at Airborne Park in Plattsburgh at one time. But he also parked his car for the entire 2009 season, when his work load at the Arsenal kept him too busy to prepare and race his car.

Huber doesn’t shy away from being called a low-budget racer; he actually embraces it. He pays all the bills to keep his car on the track. His major sponsor is Hunt’s Machine, because one of Dave Hunt’s LSX7 spec engines sits under the hood of his Bicknell chassis. He doesn’t race for glory; he races because it’s his passion.

He moved up to modifieds in 2013, running a partial schedule, and didn’t begin a full-time program until 2016. His best season came in 2018, when he ran 18 races at Fonda, finishing in the top 10 eight times and winding up ninth in the modified point standings.

This is Huber’s first full season at Albany-Saratoga. He spent the last couple of years racing at Fonda, but wasn’t getting the finishes he was looking for on American Racer tires, and opted to get back on Hoosiers this year, hoping to change his luck. Early in the season, he said his goal was to “run consistently in the top 10, maybe knock off a couple of top fives.”

How rare is it for Huber to finish in the top five? He’s only accomplished that feat five times in 98 starts in the last nine years, according to Northeast Modified Race Stat Central. In the 2018 season, he had back-to-back top fives at Fonda, finishing fourth on July 28 and then chasing Stewart Friesen across the finish line on Aug. 2. The night he finished second to Friesen was also his son Owen’s second birthday.

Last Friday, Huber finished behind Tremont, Matt DeLorenzo and Anthony Perrego, all former modified champions at tracks in New York. But he finished ahead of Marc Johnson, Mike Mahaney and Ronnie Johnson, also all former modified champions at tracks in New York.

Who knows if Scott Huber will ever get the opportunity to celebrate in victory lane? But I’ll tell you one thing, if he doesn’t, it wasn’t be because he didn’t give 110 percent every week, both in the garage and on the race track.

What a difference a week made for DeLorenzo.

Two weeks ago, DeLorenzo didn’t even make the modified feature, after breaking the ring and pinion in the rear end of his car during his heat race.

But last Friday, DeLorenzo finished second, his best run of the season. He even led 13 laps before Tremont used a restart to grab the lead for good.

“I wanted to stay on the bottom to conserve tires, but about halfway, the outside came in,” said DeLorenzo after the race. “By the time I went up there, everyone was in line.”

DeLorenzo finished about a half-a-length behind Tremont (officially a margin of 0.116 seconds), after Adam Gage blocked Tremont’s path on the last lap.

“I just made a split-second-too-late decision getting back to the bottom,” said DeLorenzo.

Tremont earned the Madsen Overhead Doors/Flach Performance Products $500 Back-to-Back Challenge bonus for recording consecutive wins for the first time since the 2015 season. He admitted that he and his crew made some more changes to his Bicknell chassis after his first win.

“We did some testing with the spring smasher, stuff like that, in the shop,” he said. “You don’t ever want to get to the point where you say, ’I’ve got it.’ My father would never let me say, ‘I’m all set.’ That’s been ingrained in me for I don’t know how many years.”

Scott Duell ended a long winless streak by winning the sportsman feature in one of the Dick Bisson team cars. Duell was fast from the get-go, also winning his heat. His last win came in 2019, when he was behind the wheel of one of Jon Miller’s cars.

After running the “Hoosier Daddy” Father’s Day Special card on Friday, Albany-Saratoga will be back in action on Tuesday with the Horsepower 100 Super DIRTcar Series race. Friesen is expected to make his first appearance of the season on Tuesday and will be considered one of the favorites to win the 100-lapper, as he leads the Northeast drivers with 16 victories so far this year. Sportsman will also be on the racing card, which will begin at 7 p.m.

Everyone knows how I hate to bet favorites, so I’m going to pick Marc Johnson to chalk up his first Super DIRTcar Series win

Remember those upsets and expected results I was talking about earlier?

Add Ryan Darcy’s win at Lebanon Valley last Saturday to the list.

Darcy won the ninth annual JC Flach Memorial, taking the top prize of $5,000 and an additional $500 bonus for being a first-time winner. The upset part comes because that was Darcy’s fourth night out in a big block modified, and he hadn’t even made it to the end of the previous three features.

Granted, Darcy won two small block modified features, the last in 2014, earlier in his career at the Valley, but he hadn’t raced for the last couple of years as he was helping coordinate his family’s new business.

Kaleb Shepard (single cam) and Mike Travis (dual cam) were the big winners in the Steve “Fluffy” McMurray Memorial last Sunday at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. Both Shepard and Travis received a whopping $1,111.89 for their wins.

Andrew Buff won the 602 crate sportsman feature at Glen Ridge, while Taylor Wason recorded his first limited sportsman win.

This Sunday, the Ridge will be running the 50-lap Jerry Buff Memorial, which will pay $2,500 to win, for the 602s.

Brandon Walters took a wild ride at Orange County Speedway last Saturday. He flipped out of the speedway near the pit gate, taking some lighting wires during the wreck. Track officials used the long Nostalgia Night intermission to keep fans entertained while repairs were made.

Marty Kelly III and Demetrios Drellos split the Twin 20s last Saturday at Devil’s Bowl. Kelly’s win was just the second of his career at the Vermont track. Drellos won the second feature after suffering a flat tire in the first feature while he was leading the race. He came back to finish fifth in that 20-lapper.

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