The Super DIRTcar Series came into the capital city of New York for the Big Show 8 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Wednesday night for 100 laps of action, but it only took one lap, the last lap for the race to live up to its name.
Stewart Friesen had dominated the majority of the race after starting second. After periodic cautions the race hit a green stretch in the final laps which allowed Billy Decker to power forward from fourth to second with five laps to go and pursue Friesen for the win.
After failing to use the lap car of Max McLaughlin as a pick, Friesen had Decker on his inside coming to the white flag. It seemed that Decker had the preferred line but Friesen found grip on the high side and got a big run off turn four to edge Decker by 0.088 seconds in a photo finish.
Friesen has run at Albany-Saratoga throughout 2016, and thinks that the track time paid off.
“It just helped having some experience here the last couple of weeks. When I saw Billy get in there on the bottom on the preferred line I knew we had one shot just to make something happen off three and four and beat him to the line. I don’t know how it happened, it was just enough, it was close,” Friesen told Speed51.com powered by JEGS in victory lane.
It was an unexpected winning move by most in attendance, but Decker was not as surprised.
“No because a few laps before that, once you got off the turn to the wall, there was some traction. I had to beat him through the middle and first part through the exit if I was going to get him,” Decker said after the race. “I thought about going up across the track but I didn’t have a good enough run myself and we would have been a mess coming across the line. I stuck it in there then spun a fraction and he was all gassed up and he beat me back.”
It is Friesen’s second win of the 2016 Super DIRTcar season after winning at Cornwall Speedway on June 26, but he was concerned it might not be in the closing laps.
“That was the longest run we had, the brakes started to fade a little bit, the tires were getting hot. Billy was good, he was rolling up there, I probably should of just parked it on the bottom and play a little bit conservative but I tried moving around a little bit and the car wasn’t there. But, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or mile, it’s still a win.”
Decker on the other hand was enjoying the long runs and things might have been different if the race had played out that way.
“I had a pretty solid car the whole race. The longer the greens went the better we were, we just had to be patient and try not to take the edge off the tires, keep them under us the whole race. We got really good at the end.”
The race which was determined by those 88 thousandths makes it, at least according to Friesen, the closest race he has ever won.
“I think that’s the closest. That’s the closest nail biter I’ve had!”
For an on-demand replay of Wednesday night’s Trackside Now coverage presented by PFC Brakes, click here.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Daryl Canfield
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