Sunday, 16 August 2020


Winner Will Hull (Plainfield, Vt.) Winner Will Hull (Plainfield, Vt.) John DaDalt Photo


By: John DaDalt

Malta, New York (August 15, 2020)………You can forgive Will Hull if he was feeling a little beat when he rolled into victory lane after the 25 lap USAC DMA midget feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway Friday night.

A leaking seal left him with his hands full manhandling the car for the final 15 laps of the feature without power steering. Coupled with an intense battle for the lead with Justin Phillips, Hull was worn out by night’s end. It was Hull’s third win of the season in Skip Matczak’s Seals-It number three.

The race itself was exciting with multiple lead changes and good racing throughout the field of 15 midgets. Hull wasted little time in getting into the lead. Second on the first lap, he powered by race leader Joe Krawiec to lead lap two and began building a comfortable lead.

Whatever ailed Phillips’ engine in his heat race disappeared once the green flag waved to start the main. Coming from row eight, Phillips used the low groove to pick off cars at will including a three-wide pass of Manny Dias and Joe Krawiec off turn two. Phillips was fourth on lap four, second on lap five and then began to run down Hull. With Hull running the cushion and Phillips down on the bottom the two began a battle for first.

Finally, on lap 14, Phillips took the top spot and appeared to be headed to victory. Being the champion that he is, Hull did not give up. He worked his way by Phillips on a lap 18 restart to lead laps 18 and 19. Phillips got by again to lead laps 20 and 21 before the caution flew again. The late cautions allowed the rim riding Carlson to enter the fray.

Hull got the line on Phillips and took the bottom groove away while Carlson hammered the high side to take the lead on lap 22. That was the high point for Carlson as his Seals-It number four began to sputter as it was starved for fuel. From there, Hull led the final three laps to take his third USAC DMA midget win of the year.  Hull was a tired but happy winner.

“(The) race was intense and exciting swapping the lead back and forth with Justin in the closing laps. After the bad luck at Bear Ridge last week I really wanted to win at Albany-Saratoga” said race winner Hull. He then added “Justin gave me an opening on the last restart, and I was able to take the lead. I slowed up to protect the bottom”. Power steering woes beset the car all night. “The night started out with a bad power steering pump in hot laps. We were able to just add oil for the heat race (which he won). The car was a rocket ship but leaked fluid badly. After winning the heat our time was spent trying to repair the leak and we never made changes (to the car) for the changing track conditions but were able to get the win without power steering.”

Meanwhile, Phillips’ night began with engine trouble in hot laps and his heat race.

“We couldn’t get the motor running right and didn’t finish practice or the heat so going into the feature we weren’t optimistic.”

The feature race was a different story.  Phillips started in the last row and began picking off cars moving up to second by lap five.“

Once we got going the engine ran fine and I started marching toward the front. Once we got battling with Will I knew I had a shot. I definitely didn’t need the last caution, but overall, I can’t be mad at a second-place finish, I think my experience at Albany paid off.”

Third place finisher Carlson’s patience almost paid off with a win.

“The bottom was really good at the beginning of the race, but I tried to stay patient on the top and wait for it to come in. With about ten to go I could tell we were making up good ground on the top. On the last restart we got up into the lead briefly, but the car started to sputter and shut down, thankfully we were still able to come home third.”

It was found after the race that Carlson’s car was almost out of fuel.

Melvin Pierson added another top five finish In TJ Foster’s #33 charging from twelfth starting spot all the to third before dropping back a spot to finish fourth while lap one leader Krawiec raced his Ray Miller Racing #1 to fifth.

Hull and Carlson won the Seymour Performance Products heat races. The next USAC-DMA midget race is August 22 at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont.


USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION RACE RESULTS:  August 14, 2020 – Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Malta, New York

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Will Hull (#3 Matczak), 2. Floyd Billington (#44 Billington), 3. Jeff Horn (#A1 Mossman), 4. Joe Krawiec (#1 Miller), 5. Mike Netishen (#55 Netishen), 6. Manny Dias (#42 Dias), 7. Melvin Pierson (#33 Foster), 8. P.J. Bleau (#92 Balzer). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Seth Carlson (#4 Matczak), 2. Jeff Champagne (#77 Champagne), 3. Brandon Piastka (#7 Miller), 4. Tim West (#5 Matczak), 5. Justin Sheridan (#17 Miller), 6. Jeremy Hodge (#5o Carbee), 7. Justin Phillips (#16 Miller). NT

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Will Hull, 2. Justin Phillips, 3. Seth Carlson, 4. Melvin Pierson, 5. Joe Krawiec, 6. Brandon Piastka, 7. Manny Dias, 8. Jeff Horn, 9. Justin Sheridan, 10. P.J. Bleau, 11. Jeremy Hodge, 12. Mike Netishen, 13. Tim West, 14. Floyd Billington, 15. Jeff Champagne. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Joe Krawiec, Laps 2-14 Will Hull, Laps 15-17 Justin Phillips, Laps 18-19 Will Hull, Laps 20-21 Justin Phillips, Lap 22 Seth Carlson, Laps 23-25 Will Hull.

USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION POINTS: 1-Seth Carlson-369, 2-Justin Phillips-318, 3-Brandon Piastka-318, 4-Will Hull-314, 5-Manny Dias-300, 6-Justin Sheridan-282, 7-Melvin Pierson-256, 8-Jeff Horn-234, 9-Tim West-220, 10-Floyd Billington-218.

NEXT USAC DIRT MIDGET ASSOCIATION RACE:  August 22, 2020 – Bear Ridge Speedway – Bradford, Vermont