HEDGER: The Long Look
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — Between two cataract operations and a busy schedule at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, we missed almost a month of racing.
We got back in the game last weekend and watched Brett Hearn score his sixth victory in eight events at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday. Kenny Tremont Jr. and up-and-comer Marc Johnson are the only other drivers to score there this season.
The next night, Hearn had a “bad night,” at least for him. He worked through the Lebanon Valley Speedway field until he got to archrival Tremont, with the two old pros battling for fourth while front-row-starter Keith Flach edged away for the win. Tremont has been struggling lately, especially at the Valley, where he is the all-time leading winner, but this time he held off Hearn in a 10-lap battle that was much more entertaining than the action ahead of them.
Lesser talents could learn a lot by watching the two superstars. While far from close friends, they respect each other and can thrust and parry lap after lap without ever touching. Both benefit from having superb car control, quick reflexes and decades of experience, a tough combination in any league. But most of all, they understand racing and they hunt and peck for faster lines instead of just drilling the car ahead and shoving him out of the way, the favored tactic of so many youngsters at all levels.
They’ll go head to head again this weekend and again on Tuesday, July 8 when Hearn’s annual promotion, the “Big Show” Super DIRTcar Series event, rolls out at Albany-Saratoga. Hearn generally wins or runs second in this event but with Matt Sheppard on a tear in his relatively new ride, Al Heinke’s potent Troyer, he may not get to keep the lion’s share of the purse this year.