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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 20, 2006

Foley dragster

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Sean Foley needed to get off the street and find a way to constructively feed his racing jones.

Fortunately for Foley, his dad, John, had been a drag racer in the 1960’s and they decided to formulate Sean’s energy onto the strip.

"I kind of got the bug in high school," Sean Foley said. "You can’t do it in the street so I wanted to do it on the track"I messed around with a bunch of street cars but that didn’t go too good."

So the Foleys formed a team that has been racing at Lebanon Valley Speedway and other tracks in the Northeast.

"We race every Sunday," Sean Foley said. "It’s just the two of us. It’s not much of a crew. It’s nice to do it. Going fast is the whole idea. You want to go as fast as you can. But you can’t always do it and be consistent."

Drag racing can be a contradictory sport. The idea is that the fastest racer wins. But that is not always true. The greatest example of that is the win Sean Foley earned on June 25.

Foley’s opponent actually went faster — 182.19 miles per hour to Foley’s 180.55 miles per hour — yet Foley admits that is was probably reaction time that won him the race. Foley had a reaction time of 0.02153 seconds compared to his opponent’s 0.03422.

"We ran six road races and two time trials," Foley said. "We ran about 180-and-a-half every round. The car definitely did the job. Half of it is to be consistent."

The races are also handicapped so a driver sets a time that he thinks his car can run the race in. Foley set a time of 7.47 and his opponent, in the final set, a time of 7.40. Not much difference, but, when Foley finished the race in 7.47961 and his competitor clocked in at 7.41782, Foley was the winner by 0.02090.

"It’s like golf or bowling," Foley said. "It makes it harder that way. It’s harder to judge how fast the car will go."

"It’s usually eight seconds flat or nine seconds with a one-second start," Foley said, "depending on reaction time. The difference between wins and losses is how consistent the car is. What we ran in the final, 7.47, was a good prediction."

"A great car"

Sean Foley and his dad formed their small drag racing team 10 years ago and used a small white Chevrolet Vega as their car.

A few years later, they got the rear-engine dragster that they use today.

It doesn’t take much to maintain the car.

"There is not too much to it," Foley said. "It’s just routine stuff. We check over the car and once in awhile, we’ll have to fix a gasket. It’s just him and I and we go to races on Sundays. There’s not much work as long we don’t hit the wall."

It also helps that Foley and his dad are mechanics. They own Foley’s Garage in Guilderland Center.

Foley got the main part of the car from ABS Chasis in Duanesburg,

"They built a great car," Foley said. "They’re nice guys and it’s good to have a local manufacturer."

This car is much easier to maintain than the Vega he drove a few years ago.

"This car is a lot different than in the ’60’s," Foley said. "We have the suspension in the back, which makes it easier. The track conditions are better and it makes it a lot safer than the ’60’s cars. There really isn’t much about drag racing that isn’t safe."

Though it doesn’t cost much to keep the car running, it did to get their project going.

"Like a lot of things, the initial start-up was expensive," Foley said. "But really maintenance isn’t that much. We have to get two sets of back tires. We get 55 gallons of fuel that lasts the season. We go through a lot of brakes, but other than that, there isn’t much. We keep our eyes on stuff."

"Out of trouble"

Foley said that the tracks they compete on are great.

"Lebanon Valley is probably the best facility," he said. "It has the smoothest surface. When we do Jersey, it is one of the most popular sites."

The Foleys will be putting a new engine in their car later this season. They have their eyes on opening it up and reaching 200 miles per hour.

"We want to go 200 just to say we did," Foley said. "It’s a big accomplishment on gasoline. To do that on gasoline is pretty hard to do. There are other things out there that help you go faster, but we want to do it the old-fashioned way."

Foley is tied for first in the standings at Lebanon Valley. The season runs from April to early October.

Just competing is enough for Foley.

"This keeps you out of trouble," he said with a laugh. "You get to let things get loose once a week. You can go 180 and not worry about getting arrested. The best I’ve run was a 7.29 at 184 in New Jersey."

Foley and his dad take the racing seriously.

"We are always looking to improve on things," Foley said. "We are always on top of it. We are always trying to pep things up."

The new engine, Foley said, will add a little zest to his enthusiasm, though it’s not like he had plans to give up the sport anytime soon.

"Every year is a little harder," Foley said. "There are guys here that have better reaction times. With a car this good, you don’t have to be as sharp but you don’t want to be slow or it will come around and bite you."

It has also given the Foleys something to be proud of.

"Customers ask about it all the time," Foley said. "It started when we were running the Vega 10 years ago. They want to know how things are going. We have good luck. We’re able to finish somewhere in the top five."

Pine bush triathlon

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Sixth Annual Pine Bush Triathlon continued to be one of the highlights of the summer season, even with a new sponsor and hot weather.

Race director Andrew Linehan welcomed Stuyvesant Plaza as the event’s new sponsor for the growing event. Four-hundred individual athletes and 30 teams competed on Sunday.

"Ed Swyer from Stuyvesant has been involved since the inception of the race," Linehan said, "and it’s an honor to have him take this leadership role in the community event."

The race was full to capacity; it is the third year in a row that it has closed out early.

Participants competed in a 325-yard swim, an 11.5-mile bicycle ride, and a 3.25-mile run.

Competitors battled not only each other but also temperatures that got as high as 88 degrees during the triathlon.

The swim takes place at Rensselaer Lake in Pine Bush Preserve. The biking portion goes through the Pine Bush into the town of Guilderland and ends on Mercy Care Lane. The running portion starts at Mercy Care Lane and ends at the Guilderland YMCA.

A large number of newcomers came out for the event this year.

"Approximately 30 percent are first-timers," Linehan said. "The mix is 60 percent male participants and 40 percent female. The race was organized to meet the needs of first-timers and our youth. That’s why it was designed with short distances and we have many youth and family team awards."

Paul Gaffuri was the overall winner of the race. He finished all three events in 54 minutes, 25 seconds. Kirsten McCay-Smith was the top female finisher, clocking in at 1:01.3.

Joseph Skufca was second, Steve Seabury was third, Robert Irwin was fourth, and Craig Tynan was fifth.

McCay-Smith finished 13th overall. Alison Heaphy was the second female finisher and 20th overall. Emily Kindlon, Mary Kogelmann, and Bridget Sherratt rounded out the top five women finishers.

The top team was named Tadama. They finished with a combined time of 52:59. Team Sha-Nay-Nay was second with a time of 56:21.


Irwin won the City and Suburb Award as the top finisher from Albany or Guilderland. Irwin, of Guilderland, ran 58:37.

Koglemann, also of Guilderland, was the female winner of the City and Suburb Award in 1:04:36.

The Lt. John Finn Public Safety Award went to Art Boyko and Rosara Milstein. Boyko finished the three events in 59:16 and Milstein finished in 1:17:28.

Taylor VanCott, Dave Banas, and Matt Shaffer comprised the team that won the Dream Team Award. VanCott had a time of 4:45 in the swim, Banas biked in 30:22, and Shaffer ran the final leg in 17:53 for a total time of 52:59 to take home the top team honors.

The Scrub Oak Award, for the team with the highest cumulative age, was won by Steve McQuide, Charles Rielly, and Hilaire Meuwissen. Their cumulative age was 208.

The Acorn Award, for the team with the lowest cumulative age, went to Erin Dewey, Bridget Daley, and Emily Cure. Their combined age was 43.

The High School Award went to the team of Jamie Mathews, Aaron Hyde, and John McDonald.

The Family 1 Award — one parent and two children under 18 — went to Derek, Mark, and Jason Applegate. They finished the event with a combined time of 1:05:45.

The Fire Department Award was won again by the Albany Fire Department. Pete Hall, John Ownes, and Dan Connell combined to finish the race in 1:10:49.

The New York State Troopers took home the Police Department Award. Alton Ostrander, Timothy Bonnier, and Matthew Daley combined to finish with a time of 59:06.

"The event is not possible without the support of our sponsors, the fire and police deparments, Guilderland YMCA, and our volunteers," Linehan said. "I thank them as this is what makes this community the success that it is today."


Linehan said this week that the race expenses are being finalized and it is expected that $9,000 will contributed to the community this year. Linehan said that the total contributions over the six years will equal $55,000. Specific projects for this year’s donations will be announced in the upcoming months.

The donations go to the parent organization of the triathlon, Access to Athletics, Inc. A2A is a charitable non-profit organization formed specifically for the triathlon. Proceeds of the race are donated back to the communities of Albany and Guilderland.

"A2A creates access to youth sports," Linehan said. "Certain sports have expensive equipment that could hinder the opportunity for all to participate.

"Over the years, we have purchased soccer goals, lacrosse equipment, golf clubs, and cross-country skis," Linehan added. "As an example, the cost for the sport of lacrosse can be as high as $300 per participant. A2A will reduce that cost to zero so access is there for all who choose to learn that sport. Both the town of Guilderland and city of Albany have programs which use the equipment."

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