Area stock car racing: New shock package pays off for Johnson
Drivers have a tendency to thank just about anyone — parents, sponsors, crew members, friends — when they get to victory lane.
But mentioning your shocks? That’s a new one.
“Tonight is all about Fox Racing Shocks,” said Ronnie Johnson Saturday night after recording his second modified win of the season at Fonda Speedway.
Not a lot of drivers are familiar with Fox Shocks, but that will probably change in the near future.
Fox has long been one of the top names in shocks for motorcycles, ATVs and off-road cars, but are putting together a circle-track program, and Johnson is one of the first to try out the new shocks.
“A good friend of mine, Pat Macauley, has been involved in racing for 25 years and is very reputable in the shock business,” said Johnson earlier this week. “He went to work for Fox Shocks, and we’re one of the first teams to test them.”
A lot of drivers and owners will probably recognize Macauley’s name, because he worked for Bilstein for a number of years, and was a familiar face in the pits at dirt tracks around the Northheast.
“I already know a lot of these guys pretty well,” said Macauley. “Fox offered me an opportunity to come over and work on a new shock, and we’ve had good results. I think we’ve done 15 races overall, and we’ve only been out of the top 10 once.”
Macauley said the new shocks were sent to production earlier this week, after some more critiquing, and as they say, will soon be at a dealer near you.
“I really believe in the technology of the new shock,” said Johnson. “I certainly could see it Saturday. The shock didn’t seem to fade as the race went on.”
Johnson has also been plagued by a series of engine problems this summer, but he also thinks he might have that figured out.
“We didn’t really go through as many motors as some people thought,” he said. “We broke the same motor twice, but we think we know what the problem was. But we don’t have that engine back yet because it’s still at the shop.”
On the road again
I wonder when Ken Tremont Jr. finds time to mow his lawn. While Sunday is a good day to work around the house, Tremont keeps loading up his stock car and going on the road.
Last Sunday, he hauled to Canaan, N.H., for the Subway Fresh Fit 50, part of the Northern Modified Challenge Series, at the 1⁄3-mile asphalt oval at Canaan Fair Speedway.
Although Tremont had never been on the track before, he finished second in his heat, drew the outside pole and led 49 of the 50 laps to get the victory.
“I had been to the dirt track at Caanan, so I had seen the asphalt track, but I had never driven on it,” said Tremont. “We just went with our basic Devil’s Bowl setup and made a couple of minor adjustments. Starting on the front row helped.”
Obviously, passing isn’t easy on the Canaan asphalt. Vince Quenneville Jr. started on the pole and managed to lead lap two, but then chased Tremont for the remainder of the race, finishing second.
The only driver to do any passing was Todd Stone, who wrecked during qualifying and had to make significant repairs to get his car ready for the feature. He started last in the 15-car field, but worked his way up to fifth at the finish.
Tremont said he will try to run the last two races of the series — one at Devil’s Bowl in mid-September and the finale on the 1⁄4-mile dirt track at Canaan on Oct. 19, the weekend after Super DIRT Week.
Not even close
Last week, I mentioned Stone picking up his seventh win of the year at Devil’s Bowl, and wondered what the track record is.
Leave it to Brian Bedell to supply the information.
According to Bedell, Vince Quenneville Sr. won 12 features in 1968, the year after C.J. Richards opened the track. Quenneville came back with 10 more wins in 1969.
Bedell also pointed out that Mert Hulbert won nine of the 14 races run in 1967, and was the first track champion.
Bedell did a lot of his research after Tremont won eight races in 2007, and was also curious about the records.
Big night at the Ridge
Officials at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park have announced a “Racing With Sowle” special, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 7. With sponsorship from Mike Sowle, who owns Sowle Enterprises, the 60-lap feature will pay $4,007.11 to win. A draw at the back gate will determine starting positions in the heats, and the top four from each heat will redraw for the feature.
Modified will be able to run racing fuel or alcohol, and can use any compound American Racer or Hoosier tire, but all four corners have to have the same brand. Sail panels will be allowed to give the race an old-school “Outlaw” look.
Champs to be crowned
Fonda Speedway will end its regular season Saturday with its traditional “Night of Features.”
Stewart Friesen has already wrapped up his second straight modified championship, as he goes into Saturday with a 104-point lead over Matt DeLorenzo. But the battle for the titles in both the 602 sportsman and pro stock classes are going down to the wire.
Dave Constantino leads Rocky Warner by 16 points in the 602 sportsman class, and Pete Broderson, looking for his second straight title, leads Kenny Martin Jr. by 14 points.
Around the tracks
Tim Hartman Jr. gave himself a going-away present with his first career 602 sportsman win at Fonda last weekend. “I leave for college tomorrow and I really wanted to get a win here before I left,” he said in victory lane. “I guess I wanted until the last minute.”
While Hartman was recording his first career win, Martin reached a milestone in his career with his 50th pro stock victory. He and Kenny Gates are now tied at 50, one behind Todd Hoffman for the career lead in that division at the Track of Champions.
“Fifty wins at Fonda is unbelievable,” said Martin, who dedicated the win to his uncle, who has cancer. “I hope I can get more as I go for the record.”
Stone has taken the lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year standings.
On the strength of seven wins in 11 starts, Stone has overtaken modified driver Frank Cozze of Grandview (Pa.) Speedway by 22 points, 411-389. Late model driver Bobby McCarty of South Boston (Va.) Speedway in third with 382.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway will be running a modified qualifier for Utica-Rome Speedway’s New Yorker as part of tonight’s card. Because Ransomville Speedway will be running the 29th annual Alex Friesen Summernationals tonight, Albany-Saratoga will be only giving out appearance points for the modifieds, letting drivers like Brett Hearn and Stewart Friesen compete at Ramsonville without being penalized.