A full moon, multiple cautions and a migraine headache did not deter Saxton, Pennsylvania’s Michael Altobelli, Jr. from winning Saturday’s Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic Modifieds Series race at Hagerstown Speedway. For Altobelli, this was his seventh MAM Series victory, keeping him atop the list off all-time Series winners. Additionally, this was a milestone race for the MAM as it celebrated its 50th race in Series history.
Altobelli won his heat race, earlier in the evening, but an invert of three placed him third on the starting grid. At the drop of the green, Altobelli quickly moved to the lead. He led the race flag-to-flag, but multiple cautions throughout the event forced him to hold off a hard-charging Brad Kling, who had started fifth.
Like Altobelli, Kling quickly moved to the runner-up spot and had set his sights on Altobelli. Multiple cautions forced double-file restarts, and Altobelli chose to restart on the inside each time. Altobelli’s decision proved to his favor until a lap-13 restart when Kling moved past him entering turn one. Just as it appeared a lead change was made, Rusty Pennington slammed the wall on the front stretch forcing another caution.
Since Altobelli was the leader at the end of the last completed lap, this gave the lead back to him. But this time, Altobelli chose to start on the outside line. “He wised up on that restart,” Kling said with a laugh after the race. “I had him cleared on that restart (prior),” Kling added. When asked about the change of lane on the restart, Altobelli said, “You got to do it, right,” he asked while managing a smile despite suffering from a migraine headache.
Over the course of the remaining laps, Altobelli stretched his lead to claim the victory. “The track was fast tonight,” Altobelli said in Victory Lane. “I really like racing here,” he added. Kling, from Mount Union, Pennsylvania, crossed the stripe in second. Bedford, Pennsylvania’s Brian Duffy, starting his first-ever MAM race, had a sensational run to finish third while driving a team car to Altobelli. Duffy also won his heat race, earlier in the evening. Glen Burnie, Maryland’s Rick Hulson, riding a two-win streak and the points lead, finished fourth. Sykesville, Maryland’s Ray Kable rounded out the top five. Winchester, Virginia’s Mike Corbin started 11th and made nice moves through the field to come home sixth.
Making just his second-career MAM start, Monroeton, Pennsylvania’s Keith Lamphere started on the pole after winning his heat race. For Lamphere, unfortunately, he was involved in a caution on the first laps. He rebounded nicely to finish seventh. Morgantown, West Virginia’s Derek Deusenberry finished eighth. Manchester, Maryland’s Justin Cullum finished ninth despite suffering a flat tire on the 12th circuit. His crew, and Alyssa Rowe, who had dropped out of the race on lap 5, changed Cullum’s tire on pit road so that he could finish the race. Severn, Maryland’s Cody Oliver continued to impress with a solid, 10th-place effort.
The Mid-Atlantic Modifieds Series returns to action, Sunday, Sept. 2 for a $1,000 to-win event at Potomac Speedway in Mechanicsville, Maryland. This race begins a four-race stretch of mandatory points races to decide the 2018 MAM Series champion.
Heat 1: 1. Michael Altobelli, Jr., 2. Ray Kable, 3. Derek Deusenberry, 4. Alyssa Rowe, 5. Cody Oliver, 6. Andy Bosley, 7. George Gutridge, 8. (DNF) Kyle Lloyd.
Heat 2: 1. Brian Duffy, 2. Brad Kling, 3. Rick Hulson, 4. Mike Corbin, 5. Justin Cullum 6. Frank DiBella, 7. Brandon Churchey.
Heat 3: 1.Keith Lamphere, 2. Josh Hughes, 3. Haley Kaiser, 4. Logan Terry, 5. Rusty Pennington, 6. Jason Sarver, DNS: Ridge Bookwalter.
Feature: 1. Michael Altobelli, Jr., 2. Brad Kling, 3. Brian Duffy, 4. Rick Hulson, 5. Ray Kable, 6. Mike Corbin, 7. Keith Lamphere, 8. Derek Deusenberry, 9. Justin Cullum, 10. Cody Oliver, 11. Haley Kaiser, 12. Logan Terry, 13. Ridge Bookwalter, 14. George Gutridge, 15. (DNF) Brandon Churchey, 16. (DNF) Andy Bosley, 17. (DNF) Josh Hughes, 18. (DNF) Rusty Pennington, 19. (DNF) Kyle Lloyd, 20. (DNF) Alyssa Rowe, 21. (DNF) Jason Sarver, 22. (DNF) Frank DiBella.