The 4th Turn: September 9, 2021

~ By Tom Boggie

I’ll tell you, I’ve seen some wild things at Albany-Saratoga Speedway this season.

Cars pirouetting through the air, fights on the front straightaway, mule kicks on the backstretch, racing two hours after a downpour that should have wiped out the card.

But I was shocked … yes, shocked … last Friday when Adam Pierson won the modified feature.

I never thought I would see Pierson in victory lane at Albany-Saratoga Speedway after a modified feature. Maybe a sportsman race, maybe a midget race. But never a modified.

But the “Adam Bomb” from East Corinth, Vt., proved me wrong last Friday.

Now don’t get me wrong. Pierson is a nice guy, and he’s got some pretty lofty credentials, including the 2014 Lucas Oil POWRi Outlaw Midget Series championship and back-to-back USAC Dirt Midget Association titles in 2015 and 2016. He’s recorded a number of wins at Devil’s Bowl and finished second in points, to Demetrios Drellos, last season. But I always viewed Pierson as another Vermont sportsman driver who got most of his glory at places like Bear Ridge and Devil’s Bowl, and when he started showing up on a weekly basis at Albany-Saratoga this season, driving a modified owned by Adam Gage, I figured he might sneak away with a couple of top 10s during the season.

Oh, by the way, so did he.

“I wasn’t going to run fulltime here this year,” he said following his win Friday night. “I wanted to concentrate on the Super DIRT Series. But then we lost a motor, and we knew if I wanted to get better, I had to run weekly in the big block. It was Adam’s idea to start coming here.”

Pierson got a late start, first showing up in the Albany-Saratoga results on June 4, when he finished 16th. The next three weeks show him finishing 18th, 17th and 18th. But once he started getting handicapped, and starting closer to the front of the field, his finishes improved. He recorded his first top-five finish on June 25, and finished second to James Meehan on Aug. 6.

“When I was running sportsman, I felt like we could win anywhere we went,” Pierson said. “But once we started racing the modified, I thought running in the top 10 would be a bonus. Tonight was just our night, I guess.”

When he switched from sportsman to a modified this year, he had a lot of bad habits he had to throw out the window.

“Experience on the track, and just with the big block, in general,” he said when asked to come up for a reason that he was able to win a modified feature at Albany-Saratoga so quickly. “I’ve gotten to know some people here who have helped me with tires and set-ups. I was also doing sportsman stuff with it, and it just wasn’t working.”

The victory at Albany-Saratoga was the beginning of a very good weekend for Pierson. On Saturday night, he went to Lebanon Valley Speedway and finished fifth in the Mr. Dirt Track USA Super DIRTcar Series race, and on Monday, finished fourth in the Vermont 200 at Devil’s Bowl, walking away with $3,617 in purse and bonus money.

Oh, and earlier this year? Pierson finished fifth in the “Battle at the Bowl” at Devil’s Bowl. The top four that night consisted of Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Drellos and Mike Mahaney.

I guess the “Adam Bomb” can run with the big dogs after all.


The next time you hear a promoter talk about how he’s just making enough money to chip away at the tax bill, just do a “Yeah, sure,” and walk away.

Have you been paying attention to the money that been handed out in the last couple of weeks? Let’s start with Anthony Perrego. In the span of two weeks, he won both the small block and big block championships at Orange County Speedway in Middletown, as well as a big block modified feature, and earned a total of $40,000.

Last Saturday, Andy Bachetti took home $25,500 for winning the Mr. Dirt Track USA race at the Valley and Brewerton Speedway sportsman champion Zach Sobotka won the Vermont 200 at Devil’s Bowl, taking home $12,942 in purse and bonus money. Former Albany-Saratoga champion Marc Johnson finished second at the Bowl, and his take was $4,000. Heck, even Tim Hartman Jr. had a good payday, earning $1,100 for his fifth-place finish run.

I don’t want to hear any more stories about promoters who have to eat ramen during the winter.


Drellos was one of the favorites to win the top prize in the Vermont 200, but he ran into some bad luck. He was leading by a comfortable margin when the mandatory red flag came out at the halfway point, but when racing resumed, track officials noticed that he appeared to be leaking fuel. A caution was thrown on lap 103, and officials took a quick look at the car, but found no leak. Drellos was given the option of pitting, or going back out and taking his chances, so he went back. But the leak returned under green-flag conditions, and he was blackflagged on lap 108, going from first to 26th in the official order of finish.

On Tuesday, Drellos made the following Facebook post.

“After yesterday’s events, our team has decided not to return to Devil’s Bowl for the remainder of the year. We are sorry to disappoint those who have supported us there! Respectfully, we disagree with some calls that were made while we were leading the race, and that’s all we wish to say on the matter.”


Derrick McGrew Jr. and his father were spectators at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, after blowing their only motor during hot laps the previous week.

“To run with these guys with the equipment we have was really encouraging,” said McGrew Jr. “I had some good runs; last week, I won my heat and ran in the dash before we blew the motor. I can’t give up. I just have to keep working at it.”

Stewart Friesen won Monday’s New Yorker 100 at Utica-Rome, picking up the winner’s check for $12,000. But his biggest accomplishment of the weekend came Sunday, when he finished third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff race at Darlington. That was Friesen’s best truck series finish of the season, which was the result of a good pit strategy, which gave him fresh tires for the final 35 laps of the race, while most of the trucks in front of him were waiting for a caution flag that never came.

Friesen is now fourth in points, two behind Matt Crafton and 33 above the current cut line going into the Sept. 16 race at Bristol.

Mahaney can’t shake his run of bad luck. He didn’t even complete one lap at Mr. Dirt Track USA. He had brake issues, and slammed into the second turn wall on the first lap.

Perrego (modifieds), Hartman Jr. (sportsman) and Chad Jeseo (pro stocks) were honored at Albany-Saratoga last week for winning 2021 track championships. The limited sportsman and street stock titles will be decided Friday. Dylan Madsen has a 29-point lead over 2020 champion Bryce Breault in the limited sportsman race, and the street stock battle is going right down to the wire, just like it did last year, with Jeff Meltz Sr. holding a three-point lead over Al Relyea.

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