Area Stock Car Racing: Varin sore, but ready to race
After talking to Bobby Varin Thursday, I went scrambling for a copy of Gray’s Anatomy.
Varin took a wild ride in Pete Dmitraszek’s sprint car Saturday night at Canandaigua Speedway, and did significant damage to his knee.
“I knew when I got into the air, it was going to be a bad one,” said Varin. “The car is trash. I broke the frame in about six different spots.”
The damage to Varin’s leg
included a fracture of the fibular condyle, a torn patellar tendon and a torn meniscus. He’ll be on crutches for three weeks. Oh, and don’t forget the bruised ribs.
“I’m just going to take it easy,” said Varin. “When I saw the doctor [Monday], he said he didn’t think he’d have to operate.”
So, what did Varin do for physical therapy? He raced in the ROC Tour race Tuesday night at The Ridge, and finished second.
“Believe me, I paid for it,” he said. “But I have two car owners who love to race.”
Although he skipped the Mr. Dirt Track USA race Thursday night at Lebanon Valley, Varin will be racing Andy Romano’s car at Albany-Saratoga tonight, will be heading to Fulton on Saturday and back to The Ridge on Sunday.
“I’ll just stay on the pain killers,” he said.
But he did learn one lesson from the bad wreck.
“I won’t climb into a race car without a HANS device,” he said. “I had one on Saturday, and I hate to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t had it. Anyone who gets into a race car without one is crazy.”
Night of Features
Leave it to an outsider to screw up a local tradition.
The Night of Features at Fonda Speedway dates back to 1997, when promoter Ric Lucia began running double features on the final night of the points season. In many years, the modified point race hinged on the double features, and the champion wasn’t crowned until the final checkered flag fell.
Not this year.
Thanks to Stewart Friesen, the transplanted Canadian who took Fonda Speedway by storm this season, there will be no drama in the modified division Saturday night.
Friesen wrapped up the modified point title when the speedway canceled racing because of rain last Saturday. Even with double points on the line this week, Friesen, who has a 144-point lead over defending champion Ronnie Johnson, could stay home Saturday, watch some television and show up at Fonda at the end of the night to claim his crown.
Although the modified race is
already decided, the rest of the divisions are up for grabs, with the best battle in the pro stock class, where Pete Broderson has a 10-point lead over Kenny Gates. Broderson has never won the pro stock title at Fonda, and will have his hands full on Saturday night, as Gates is a master of the double features, with seven career wins on the Night of Features.
As long as Cody Bleau can stay out of trouble, he should earn his first 602 sportsman championship. He has a 32-point lead over Rocky Warner.
The rest of the story
Last week, I mentioned that Lebanon Valley promoter Howie Commanders began paying $17,500 to win the Mr. Dirt Track USA race because he wanted a bigger payoff than Alex Friesen’s Summer Nationals at Ransomville.
Then, I got a call from my old buddy
Tim Healey in Fonda, reminding me that Ralph Compani began his “Thunder Along the Mohawk”
series at about the same time.
So, naturally, I had to find out who had the biggest payoff first.
Mr. Dirt hit five digits for the first time in 1989, when Brett Hearn took home $12,500 for his victory. Billy Decker got the first $17,500 payday in 1991, but the race itself only paid $15,500, and there was a $2,000
bonus from Auto Palace if the race was won by a Lebanon Valley regular,
which Decker was at the time.
So, the first Mr. Dirt race that actually paid $17,500 to win came in 1992, when Mark Fleury started on the pole and went flag-to-flag for the win. He took home $18,500 that night, as there was a $1,000 bonus for leading lap 77.
Compani ran the first “Thunder” race in 1992, paying $15,000 to win, and kept the winner’s share of the purse at $15,000 through 1996, which was his last season as promoter.
Around the tracks
u The New York State Stock Car Association will hold two special in-season Hall of Fame inductions this weekend. Tonight, as part of the C.J. Richards Memorial at
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Gibby Fountain, the late Mike Ronca, Bill Brooking and Percy Barber will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Saturday, at Lebanon Valley, the honorees will be Walt and Peg Bedell, Edmund “Peanut” Pierce and Danny Watson.
u Jackie Lape will hold the
annual drivers’ memorabilia raffle Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. Autographed donations include helmet shields, driving gloves, trophies, hats, T-shirts and racecar body panels. Proceeds go into the drivers’ point fund.
u Many cars from Fonda and The Ridge will be on display Saturday between Udderly Delicious and Herba Nissan on Route 30A in Johnstown. The Fulton County Sheriffs’ Department will also be on hand to register children in their Free Safe Child Registration
Program. The car show is being hosted by the Northeast Parent and Child Society Theraputic Foster Family program.
u Ryan Godown of New Jersey won Tuesday’s 60-lap ROC Tour race at The Ridge, taking home $4,000 for his first victory at the track. Godown used a restart on lap 42 to take the lead away from Pat Ward, and hung on to nip Varin,
who was charging at the end.
Varin was the only Ridge regular in the top five, as he was followed by Jimmy Phelps, Ward and Decker. A total of 30 modifieds pulled into the pits for the race, and 27 started the feature.
The Ridge will be running a regular show Sunday night, with racing starting at 6 p.m.