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January 22nd, 2011
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Albany-Saratoga Speedway promoter Bruce Richards and Bob Duvall, NASCAR Director of Developmental Racing Series Operations, confirmed Saturday during a press conference at the Saratoga Automobile Museum that Albany-Saratoga and its sister track in Vermont, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, will be NASCAR sanctioned in 2011.
“We’re extremely proud to be associated with these tracks,” said Duvall. “We first spoke about it 30 days ago and have put the deal together since then for both tracks. Everybody in NASCAR is excited about it but especially the guys in Charlotte, Robin Pemberton, Jerry Cook and Randy Hedger, who have a history with Albany-Saratoga.”
When asked about rumors that the track, converted from dirt back to its original asphalt surface for last season, was about to be sold, Richards said, “The sale fell through and our family will promote the speedways through 2011. Dirt style modifieds with the 602 crate engine, using Hoosier tires, will be our division one class as our history has been with the modifieds through the years. My father CJ, was always big on change, introducing the small blocks to replace big blocks and adopting the spec tires before anyone else and we’ll continue that theme by making the crate modifieds our premier class.”
Richards also indicated that the track’s second division, pro late models, would gradually be brought into rules alignment with Tom Curley’s popular American-Canadian Tour late models. The goal is to eventually let teams compete at the two NASCAR speedways with the option to enter ACT tour events as well.
The sanctioning agreement completes a cycle where Albany-Saratoga first opened without a NASCAR sanction, then held one for many years under Joe Lesik and then Larry Mendelsohn.
Competitors included a bevy of NASCAR national sportsman and modified champions, among them Bill Wimble, Dick Nephew, Pete Hamilton, Donnie MacTavish, Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens, Freddy DeSarro and Richie Evans. CJ Richards eventually purchased the speedway and covered it to dirt, but before that, had brought the old NASCAR North Series managed by Curley to Devil’s Bowl Speedway.