ALBANY - SARATOGA SPEEDWAY
"Malta", to Most of Us

DIRT ERA I

C. J. Richards Comes to Town


Ladabouche Collection


Ladabouche Collection


Here's a long - overdue start on a track that really affected Vermont racing.
Right now, we are concentrating on its initial dirt era only.


Sharon Richards Photo
CJ's
at Malta.

 


Courtesy of Cliff Haynes
A new sign replaced the one with the Studebaker on top. CJ's familiar CVRA logo is on top instead.
.

 The Albany - Saratoga Speedway, since its 1965 inception, had enjoyed a pavement era in which it was a key figure in pavement modified racing in the Northeast for years. Also, given that some of the people involved with the track were in on the ground floor of the All Star Stock Car Racing League [1967 - 73], and it was one of the more important tracks in that famous organization. Having gone back to dirt at his own Devil's Bowl Speedway in Vermont, promoter C.J. Richards went through ups and downs. He decided to make the bold move to acquire Malta, put his famous Champlain Valley clay on top of the paved surface, and run Friday shows. Again, he woould have ups and downs; but he was always a survivor.



CVRA Photo
The Albany - Saratoga pavement was covered with clay.
 


Ladabouche Collection
West Sand Lake's DOn ackner was a loyal supporter of Richards and the CVRA, as was his neighbor, Ken Tremont [below],
shown here with driver Chuck Ely.


Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth


       During the Albany - Saratoga Speedway era of the Champlain Valley Racing Association and Richards faced some difficult and pivotal decisons. At one point, the father track, Devil's Bowl was more or less set aside - running a limited program as West Havne Speedway. Airborne Park Speedway was in and out as a CVRA track. At the end of the 1985 season, Richards made a huge decision to scrap the big block engine in favor of the 358 C.I. becoming his headlining motor. This caused a real rough patch before the enhanced affordability attracted more teams back to the fold.

 


Courtesy of Andy Hickock
C.J. landed the legendary Jack Johnson to run many of his Friday night shows.


     
Richards would come up with various creative promotional ideas such as a series in which NASCAR Grand National drivers starred in CVRA dirt mods on the Albany - Saratoga dirt oval. Eventually the Richards offspring began taking over the operations of the CVRA tracks. This era would end when they paved the track around 2011.

CVRA SPORTSMAN AND MODIFIED TEAMS IN THE FIRST DIRT ERA

 
Courtesy of George McDonald

 
From Arnie Ainsowrth
Bob Savoie ran CVRA
tracks regularly - often
for Mike Richards
.
 
Courtesy of Joe Budka
Jay Bleser driving Mike
Budka's 64 inside of the
8 of Jack Cottrell.
 
Courtesy of Peter Fitzner
Veteran Maynard Forrette,
now driving Buanno cars.
 
Dick Britain Photo
"The Long Hauler" from Rhode Island, Gibby Fountain - with a win.
 
Source Unknown
CVRA loyalist Mike
Ronca, who moved up
from support classes
to the modifieds.
 
Courtesy of the LaFond Family
Veteran Fonda legend
and car builder Dave Lape began running the Friday night shows.

 
Courtesy of the LaFond Family
Veteran Devil's Bowl
driver Gene Munger joined Mike Richards' team after the departure of Savoie.
 
Richard Pratt Photo
Legendary and exciting
C.D. Coville ran CVRA
shows regularly.
 
Richard Pratt Photo
Courtesy of Marty Kelly
Leon Gonyo [4] and John Harrison are two drivers
who were lost to us too
early in their lives.


Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Bob Savoie's 1989
CVRA ride.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
C.D. Coville's 1995
CVRA ride, the Budka
64.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Kenny Tremont's 1995
CVRA ride, at speed.

Richard Pratt Photo
Savoie on the bottom,
Super CD above, and
Cyclone looking for room.


Richard Pratt Photo
Kim Duell, shown here at Devil's Bowl, would
consistently run Malta.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Don Ackner in the Malta pit with his 1989
CVRA ride.

Richard Pratt Photo
Mike Perrotte would
sometimes run Malta.

Richard Pratt Photo
The Depew family
has always been a
Steady Malta runner.

Richard Pratt Photo
Bob Ellis [25],
Leon Gonyo [2], and Savoie.

Dick Britain Photo
Ed Delmolino [shown here with the War Wagon]
must have appeared at
CVRA tracks at some point.


Richard Pratt Photo
Savoie trying to
hold off Gonyo.

Richard Pratt Photo
Hector Stratton leads
C.D. Coville.

Richard Pratt Photo
Leon Gonyo and Lee
Nutting [51] chase Johnny
Kollar in Carpenter's 1c.

Richard Pratt Photo
Charlie Wilbur, shown here at AIrborne, may have sometimes run at Malta.

Dick Britain Photo
Legendary Lou Lazarro
shown here at the Bowl,
would occasionally hit
a CVRA race.
 
Courtesy of Gary Yurgans
Fonda runner Jim Senzio
ran CVRA at times.

Courtesy of Norm Vadnais
Vermont legend Vince
Quenneville, Sr. with Jack
Ryan's car.


Courtesy of Joe Budka
Jack Cottrell outside
of Jay Bleser in the
Budka 64.

Courtesy of Peter Fitzner
"The Cyclone", Maynard
Forrette with his first
Buanno car.
 
Courtesy of Mike Bruno
The late great harry Peek, shown here at Devil's Bowl ran Malta at times.
 
Dick Britain Photo
Second generation driver
Robbie Green [69].
 
Courtesy of Former CVRA Site
The lower cost sportsman mods came in in the 2000's.

 
ebay Photo
The fabled CVRA 358 motor.
 
Courtesy of Haord Collection
An early Frank Hoard, Sr.
modified.

 
Source Unknown
Claude Hoard.

Andy Ward Photo
Hector Stratton
chases CD Coville.
 
 
Courtesy of Marty Kelly
"The Brandon Bandit",
Don Scarborough with
a familiar earlier mod.
 
Courtesy of Tom Herbert
Brett Hearn, bsuy in
his hauler.
 
Courtesy of Ladabouche Collection
Don Ackner with his
new Dexter Dorr car.
 
Courtesy of Bobby Hults
Another Bob Ellis car
 
John Libby Photo
Via John Gallant

Charlie Laduc avoiding
a spinning Gibby Fountain.
 
Courtesy of M. Newhouse
Quebecer Alain LaBrecque,
eschewing Granby on a Friday night for Malta.

 
Courtesy of Marty Karabin
Jack Johnson.

Dick Britain Photo
Lester Dieterle, graduated
from the Street Stocks, runs against Mike Romano.
 
 
Program Covers.com
Johnny Kollar.

 
Alb-Sar Facebk Photo
The Proctor cousins, John and Ronnie. Photo is kind of blurred.
 
Ron DeYullo Photo
via Jack Gornewicz

Action at the Leon
Richards Memorial race.
Andy leads Savoie.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
A great color shot
of CVRA stalwart Denny
Soltis from Ct.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
The Gremlin of my friend,
Win Slavin.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
The great Louie Lazarro
trailering in the RC Putnam
Gremlin.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Ct.'s Dickie Larkin
with a rare non-Gremlin.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Tom Rulison's 17r.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Larry Dalmata of the
racing Dalmata brothers.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
One of Ray Dalmata's
cars.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Alan Jones.

Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Les Alberti.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Unidentified Gremlin.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
From Grandma Moses territory, we bring you Claude Hoard.


Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Another shot of
Denny Soltis' cars.
 
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
George Ely.
 
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
Bobby Haswell.
     
Courtesy of Scott Belknap
SOOP- er CD in the
Perth Lumber Wagon era.
     


Courtesy of Mike Cranston
Remember when everyone in the friggin' world was running a Gremlin ?

 
Ladabouche Collection
The top 1986 CVRA modified drivers [and some of C.J.'s most loyal supporters.

SUPPORT CLASS TEAMS

 


Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Dustin Delaney was a top
Pure Stock driver in 1989.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Fast Freddie Little went
through the CVRA ranks
and later became a Bowl official.

 

 


Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Carl Vladyka, always
a top Pro Stock runner.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Mike Bruno also rose
up through the CVAR ranks
and ended up owning
Devil's Bowl.
 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Pure Stock runner and
future official, Ronnie Carlson.
 
Ladabouche Collection
Granville, NY's
George Johnson.
 
Courtesy of John Scarborough
Johnny "The Jet" Scarborough
ran a CVRA Pro Stock before
becoming a fixture at Fonda.



Courtesy of Mike Cranston
Support class stars Mike Ronca
[inside] and Kim Duell.
 
Courtesy of Christine O. Kilburn
Chris Lussier ran this  Pro Stock
at both Malta and the Bowl.
 
Courtesy of Mike Cranston
David Towns with a
Malta win.
 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
"The Used Car Man"
Rutland's Ray Nutting.
 
Courtesy of M. Newhouse
Ray Nutting's son, Lee
who went on to run
modifieds.
 
Courtesy of M. Newhouse
Nick Ronca's son, Don
who went on to run
modifieds.
 
Ladabouche Collection
Kenny Van Wert's
"Moosejaw Express" car
from mid '80's.
 
Courtesy of Mike Budka, Jr
Jay Bleser keeps  Mike
Budka's Camaro flying.

 
Courtesy of Mike Cranston
Mike Cranston, a frequent
photo contributor, with his
own support car.

 
Courtesy of Trudeau Collection
Arnie Trudeau would venture
over to Malta from the
Brandon, VT area.
 
Courtesy of Andy Hickock
The Rock City Falls Rocket
Jack Cottrell. He ran this at
Fonda, as well.
 
Courtesy of Fleres Collection
Kim Duell [14] versus
Big John Fleres' Camaro.
 
Courtesy of Mike Bruno
Tim Baker most likely id
a few runs at Malta with
this, a later late model.

 
Courtesy of Mike Cranston
The very popular and colorful
Lester Dieterle.
 
Courtesy of Mike Budka Jr
Another shot of Lester.
   

 

THE SUPER STARS SHOOTOUTS - VISITS FROM THE BIG LEAGUES


HAMB Photo
Albany - Saratoga had osted NASCAR Grand National races in both 1970 and 1971. C.J. Richards attracted some big GN names of the 1980's
by staging the Super Star Shootout, which put some of these drivers in CVRA modifieds.


Courtesy of Shaun Byrue

The CVRA's 1989 newsletter
shows the buildup to this
Series.

 
 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Foyt, in particular, had a
consid
erable dirt racing
background.
 
Photo by Shaun Byrne
It is debatable whether or
not any of these three guys
were very comfortable racing
on dirt.
 
Photo by Shaun Byrne
It is debatable whether or
not any of these three guys
were very comfortable racing
on dirt either. Maybe Combs.

 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
More hype.
 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
Petty and Foyt ? C.J.
had managed quite a coup here.
Apparently STP no longer
limited Petty's racing.
 
Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
1995 - different visiting stars.

Courtesy of Shaun Byrne
C. J.'s mom - still an active
worker at his tracks, with
two of her heroes.



Courtesy of Marty Kelly
Ernie Irvan with the Todd
Stone crew.
 
Courtesy of Marty Kelly
Gene Munger with "Mr.
Excitement" Jimmy Spencer.
 
Courtesy of Marty Kelly
Don Scarborough with
Mike Walttrip.
"This ain't gonna be as easy
as gettin' in your car, Mike"
 
Courtesy of Marty Kelly
Don Ronca with Sterling Marlin.
   
         

 

 

 


Courtesy of Historic Aerials.com

The Malta site [extreme lower right] before track construction - in 1964.


Courtesy of Historic Aerials.com
The Malta site [extreme lower right] by 2009. The encroachment of development is glaringly obvious.

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