On the other hand, they finished behind all of the Southwest and California qualifiers (including their at-large teams), as well as all of the Heartland qualifiers (who did not have any at-large teams). And of those teams, only the last California Auto-Qualifier team (which implies it was a poor race for them, getting beat by a team they beat at the California State meet) was really all that close to Saratoga.
It is true, they did beat the #2 teams from the Midwest and Northwest and South, all of the teams from the Southeast and Northeast. The latter was to be expected, though.
And surely, you can admit that some teams had good days and other had not-so-good days? And that Saratoga was among the "good days" and some of the teams they beat had "not-so-good" days? Just look at how they did compared to the other New York teams: their #2-5 pack averaged more than 30 seconds closer to their FM/Liverpool counterparts!
IMO, Saratoga showed that they were close enough to the field to be able to finish well if they had a good day, which they did. It doesn't mean that there weren't other teams out there that could have done the same thing, while having a better argument to be included.