After more than 70 starts, Hile beats stout field at Albany-Saratoga Speedway for his first Super DIRTcar Series victory; Adam Pierson scores first podium of the season
Chris Hile’s night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway ended with an exclamation mark as he won the 71-lap, $7,500-to-win, Super DIRTcar Series Feature – the first of his career.
The 2021 Rookie of the Year took a hiatus from full-time competition last year with the Series to rebuild his program. Now, four races into his full-time return, the decision is already paying dividends for the Oswego, NY driver.
His good fortune started early, drawing the #1 pill to start on the pole for the Feature and earning the $100 SRI Performance/Stock Car Steel Award.
On his outside was 2022 Rookie of the Year Anthony Perrego. Perrego shot out in front once the green flag dropped, looking to distance himself from the pack. Hile was behind him, followed by Adam Pierson.
Hile and Pierson were locked into a tight battle for a handful of laps before Pierson edged by the night’s pole sitter on Lap 15 to put himself in second place. His lead held for the next 16 laps until Hile decided to repay the favor once he was shown some room on the bottom.
He then wasted no time in setting his focus on hunting down race leader, Perrego.
“With these extended races, I mean this one is 71… To start up front you kind of just have to settle in and really realize what you have for a car and what’s going on,” Hile said. “We just kind of tried to take it a little slow early and see what the car is going to give us, get a couple laps under our belt. I think it was maybe a restart around (Lap) 40, it might have been earlier, I could see I was starting to catch those guys. I said, this race isn’t over, Anthony (Perrego). We got up on the wheel and luckily, we found the top. Then, everything stayed together for us.”
Hile took the lead over from Perrego on Lap 39, bolting out in front of the field after the pass was completed. Hile continued to extend his lead as the laps ticked off the counter, keeping a steady hand navigating through lapped traffic.
He faced one final hurdle with five laps remaining when the last yellow flag of the race dropped, giving the other competitors a chance to challenge his lead. After the restart, Hile drove the last five laps mistake free and made it to the finish line to capture his first career Series win.
“It’s awesome,” Hile said. “It’s been a long time coming. I feel as a team, we all just gel and mesh together. If my mom, dad, brother, and wife didn’t give me the support they do, it just wouldn’t be possible. It’s a testament to everyone that has ever helped us out along the way.”
Behind the leader, there was a fierce battling going on for the runner-up slot, which changed hands several times throughout the matchup.
Pierson took over the position on Lap 44 but only held it until Lap 49 before being passed by a hard charging Demetrios Drellos, coming all the way from ninth place, and local driver Matt DeLorenzo. Drellos suffered a flat left front tire in the closing laps and lost second to DeLorenzo, then third to Pierson and then fourth to Peter Britten.
“The whole race was a battle,” DeLorenzo said. “The track was hammer down. I was surprised it was as good as it was the whole race. I thought it would slow down. But it seemed to be pretty fast. It was fun battling with Adam Pierson and (Tim) Fuller for a while, then Drellos.”
Adam Pierson crossed the finished line in third, his first podium finish of the season.
“We had a good car out of the box, and we had a shot there for a while,” Pierson said. “I don’t think we cut our tire up enough. The short runs were not so good, the long runs, that’s when I could gain on them a little bit, but I’m happy.”
Britten finished fourth, after starting 13th, and Drellos had to settle for fifth. Nine-time and defending Series champion Matt Sheppard rebounded for a sixth-place finish after suffering an issue early in the race.
UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series travels to Canandaigua, New York to compete at Land of Legends Raceway on Mon., July 3 for a 70-lap, $7,500-to-win, showcase.
Summer Starter 71 Results (71 Laps)
1. 5H-Chris Hile; 2. 3D-Matt Delorenzo; 3. 215-Adam Pierson; 4. 21A-Peter Britten; 5. 111-Demetrios Drellos; 6. 9S-Matt Sheppard; 7. 83X-Tim Sears Jr; 8. 88-Mat Williamson; 9. 3J-Marc Johnson; 10. 2RJ-Ronnie Johnson; 11. 91-Felix Roy; 12. 12-Darren Smith; 13. 98H-Jimmy Phelps; 14. 96-JF Corriveau; 15. 7MM-Michael Maresca; 16. 7-Donald Ronca; 17. 35-Mike Mahaney; 18. 99L-Larry Wight; 19. (DNF) 15X-Justin Stone; 20. (DNF) 4-Anthony Perrego; 21. (DNF) 19-Tim Fuller; 22. (DNF) 54-Steve Bernard; 23. (DNF) 17-Marcus Dinkins; 24. (DNF) 2-Jack Lehner; 25. (DNF) 91D-Billy Decker; 26. (DNF) 8H-Max McLaughlin; 27. (DNF) 37M-Mathieu Desjardins; 28. (DNF) 32R-Ronnie Davis III