Area stock car racing: Glen Ridge back in action tonight
Fans pulling into Glen Ridge Motorsports Park tonight will notice some changes.
There’s some new paint, some new signs, some new excavation.
But there’s still no change in management.
“Nope,” said promoter Pete Demitraszek Thursday when asked if there was anything new to report from up on the hill. “No papers have been signed.”
It’s been a week since news broke that Mike Sowle wants to be the promoter at Glen Ridge. Sowle and Demitraszek have had at least two meetings with Jim and Jeff Hayes, who own the property, in the last 10 days, and nothing has been resolved.
It remains to be seen if Demitraszek and Sowle can come to an agreement on partnership, or if Sowle just buys Demitraszek out. But the only thing that’s certain is that the track will be running tonight.
The card features the remainder of the “Sowle 60” that was rained out on Sept. 6. the modified feature, which pays $4,077.11 to win, will pick up on lap 15, and the rained-out 602 sportsman feature will then be run.
The rest of the card will include a second 25-lap modified feature, paying $3,711 to win, a 25-lap 602 sportsman feature and cruisers. General admission is $10.
The season at the Ridge will conclude with the 602 Nationals next month.
Quote of the week
“This will be my last race at Fonda Speedway.”
Now, who do you think said that last Sunday? Stewart Friesen? Bobby Varin? Promoter Ric Lucia? Me?
No, those words were spoken by Fonda general manager Marty Beberwyk, who swears that his 50th year as a racing official will be his last.
Oddly enough, when I talked to his wife, Hertha, before the race, she said, “He’s never told that to me.”
I figured I might as well bookend the Fonda season. I was there for the opener, so it was only natural I should be there for the finale (so what if I didn’t hit a single race in between?)
When Ronnie Johnson drew the No, 3 starting spot and Friesen pulled No. 7, the only question left was if Johnson could hold off the Canadian Blast.
Turns out he could. for 89 laps. but Friesen then rocketed into the lead and pulled away for his 10th win of the season and walked away with $9,500.
“I just kept working on him and working on him, and at times, I would gain on him and then he would pull away again,” said Friesen in victory lane after the race.
“He passed me just before the caution came [on lap 35], so I knew he was there,” said Johnson. “I think my tires started going away, and he was able to get by and just pull away.”
Mark Kislowski passed Brett Hearn on the final lap to finish third, with Varin completing the top five.
Matt Sheppard, who won Saturday’s modified feature on the first day of the double-header, never got a shot at the big payday on Sunday, as he ran into motor problems during his heat race, loaded up and went home.
Jimmy Davis overcame adversity to record a top-10 finish in Sunday’s 100-lapper. Davis broke the steering box duriny his heat race, but still managed to quality, and started eighth in the feature. That’s also where he finished.
A.J. Romano had more than his share of problems. Following his heat race, he couldn’t get his car into low gear, and had to be pushed back to the pits. He also had a carburetor problem, and ended up going out for the feature with a hybrid — half his and half Johnson’s. He wound up finishing 12th.
After drawing for his starting position in the feature, Romano skipped the picture-taking so he could go back to the pits and work on his car.
New team set
Both Varin and car owner Brian Sisson confirmed Sunday that they’ll be teaming up for the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 at Syracuse next month.
Sisson has purchased a new Jerry Higbie-built HigFab chassis, which will be powered by a JPM big block. According to Varin, Higbie will also be working the pits during Super DIRT week.
The car will carry the number 710. “I wanted something different,” said Sisson.
The good, old days
Friesen’s win at Fonda Sunday was his 20th of the season, putting him one behind Sheppard, who chalked up win No. 21 on Saturday, for the overall lead in the Northeast.
What happened to the days when drivers could get almost that many at one track?
I did a little digging earlier this week, and am still amazed at the numbers from the 1990s. Take 1992 as an example. Bill Pauch won 36 races (14 at East Windsor) and Danny Johnson, in his first season in the Freightliner car, won 31, including 16 at Orange County. Hearn was in victory lane 27 times, and Bob McCreadie had 24 victories at 10 different tracks.
Here’s a little trivia. In 1992, Orange County ran a total of 38 features in the big block and 358 divisions. Johnson and Hearn combined to win 31 of the 38.
Hearn won 38 features in 1990. Included in that win total was an asphalt race at Nazareth, the Summer Nationals at Ramsonville and the Miller 200 at Syracuse. In contrast, Hearn has won 10 features this season.