Area stock car racing: Lape taking time off after wreck at Fonda
If you’re a fan of the FX television show “Justified,” you know there’s an episode in which Marshall Raylan Givens gets in a bar fight with two other guys.
As his ex-wife is cleaning him up later, she asks, “Aren’t you too old for fighting?”
He answers, “Nope, just too old for losing.”
Reminds me of Dave Lape. He’s not too old for racing, just too old for crashing.
Lape took a hard crash at Fonda Speedway on Saturday, and as a result, will be out of action for a while.
“The doctor told me I’ll be out three to four weeks,” said Lape Thursday. “My ribs are pretty bad, I had a concussion and I’ve got bruises everywhere. You know what he told me? He said I’m not 30 anymore.”
Just for the record, Lape celebrated his 66th birthday in January.
Lape slammed into the first-turn wall in the feature, with his car winding up on its roof.
“The left front spindle broke,” said Lape. “I watched it come off going past the flagger’s stand.
After that, you’ve got no steering, no brakes. I knew it was going to be bad.”
Oddly enough, the car wasn’t damaged as much as originally thought.
“When I got out of bed Sunday morning, I looked out the window and there were probably 10 or 12 people out there, stripping the car,” he said. “There were a lot of bent parts on it, but we didn’t bend the nose, so we took it to JSB and he’s going to fix it up. But with me being out, we’ll have some time.”
The mishap is forcing Lape to rethink the rest of his season. He won’t be able to compete in the Dave Lape Tribute night race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on July 5, but he wants to be back behind the wheel for Legends Night at Utica-Rome Speedway on
Aug. 21, when he and Jerry Cook will both be honored.
If he misses three or four weeks at Fonda, that will leave a very shortened schedule at the Track of Champions, where he’s celebrating his 50th season of competition,
“I’m still going to Malta, but I won’t be able to race,” he said. “We going to bring down some of our old cars, and just have a good time.
“You know, Bill Wimble called me this morning and said, ’Dave, did you ever think about taking the rest of the year off? You’ve done everything you can possible do.’
“Maybe he’s right.”
Even though it’s already Daylight Savings Time, it’s time to turn back the clocks again.
Turn back to June 22, 2012. That’s the night Stewart Friesen first climbed behind the wheel of the Jake Spraker-owned Bicknell at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
The team hit the right combination right out of the box, winning the modified feature. beginning an incredible string of 10 races in which Friesen finished no worse than fourth. The Spraker-Friesen teamed up for three wins, two seconds, four thirds and a fourth, which would make any car owner happy.
OK, time to get back to the present. After seven races at Albany-Saratoga, the team is still winless. Friesen has been second twice, but since a runner-up run to Ronnie Johnson on May 17, Friesen has been lucky to even crack the top 10.
And Spraker isn’t happy.
“I’m not used to finishing 10 or 11th and going there and getting $150,” said Spraker Thursday. “That [type of payoff] stopped in the pro stocks days. I’m not too happy and Stewie isn’t too happy, either.”
The problem, according to Spraker, has been the motor. The motor-chassis combination that worked so well was broken up at the end of the year, with Spraker selling that big block to Jeff Rockefeller (“In hindsight, that probably wasn’t such a smart idea,” said Spraker.
Spraker pulled the JPM big block out of his car earlier this week, and sent it back for what he called a physical.
“They put the car on the dyno and said it was putting out about the same horsepower as the one we used to have, but they think we’ve got the wrong cam,” he said. “So he’s ordered another cam in it and we’ll see how that works.”
But that won’t happen before tonight’s racing card, so Spraker will be bringing out a new car and small block that Friesen raced earlier in the season at Selingsgrove.
Spraker is still determined to make the Bicknell-JPM combination work.
“I’ve got 40 grand invested in that car,” he said. “That Bicknell is supposed to be the same exact deal that we had last year, so maybe it really is the motor.”
Spraker is trying to come up with the right combination for the Brett Hearn-promoted “Big Show 5,” which will be run on Tuesday, July 9. Friesen finished third in that race last year, and this year, with added sponsorship, the race will pay over $9,000 to win.
Around the tracks
Andy Bachetti never really got a chance to try to record his fifth straight win at Lebanon Valley Saturday. Bachetti and Kyle Armstrong wrecked on the 13th lap, and Bachetti was done for the night. Eddie Marshall got the win, joining Bachetti and Hearn (four) as the only modified feature winners this season.
Transplanted Australian Peter Britten recorded his first career modified victory last Friday at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Don Ronca had the lead coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap, but Britten, driving the Jerry Darragh 14B, nosed him at the finish line.
Matt Sheppard won Wednesday night’s RoC Tour race at I-88 Speedway. Fonda regular Danny Varin was fifth, and his father, Bobby, was right behind him in sixth.
It’s good to see the modified car count at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park climbing. A season-high sixteen cars took the green for the modified feature last Friday, with Craig Hanson picking up his third win of the season.
Glen Ridge will be holding another meet-and-greet tonight, with Hanson and Greg Pessolano signing autographs at Bob Lansing’s photo booth. The racing card will also include the Midstate and Northeast Vintage Club.
The sportsman will be racing for a top prize of $1,000 tonight at Albany-Saratoga, where there will be a fireworks display.
Fonda will be holding a regular racing card on Saturday, with the ACOT Oldtimers also in attendance.