Stock car racing: Busy Fonda season opens Saturday

The 59th consecutive year of competition at Fonda Speedway begins Saturday at 4 p.m. with the annual

The 59th consecutive year of competition at Fonda Speedway begins Saturday at 4 p.m. with the annual “Ice Jam” event, featuring a 40-lap modified feature paying $4,000 to the winner, as well as the limited sportsman 602 crates and warm-ups for all divisions.

For promoter Ric Lucia, 2010 will be the 14th season that he and his wife, Laura, have promoted events at Montgomery County Fairgrounds facility.

All divisions that competed in 2009 will run again this season, with the only changes coming in the support classes of the pro stock and UMP modifieds (former IMCA division), which will now be DIRT Car-sanctioned. All other classes will remain running under the same rules as in previous seasons.

“The pro stocks will now be elig­ible for DIRT Car contingencies and points,” Lucia said. “This was done in an effort to enhance and help stab­ilize the division, along with adding more cars to the pro stock field on Saturday nights. It will also allow our drivers from Fonda the opportunity to travel the DIRT Car Pro Stock Series, as they will be eligible for DIRT Car points at Fonda.

“The IMCA cars of previous years will now be DIRT Car UMP-sanctioned in the hopes of gaining cars from Brewerton and other local tracks that run those type of cars to try and stop the decline of the div­ision because we are on the bubble as to whether or not we should keep them at Fonda after 2010.”


According to Lucia, the area of most concern at the track is the open sportsman and limited sportsman 602 crate divisions as car counts in will also decide their fates after the season.

“We will have to see how many open and 602 crate cars we get as we try to parallel the DIRT Car rules [in the 602 crate division] because it gives Fonda drivers the opportunity to go to different places and race,” he said. “Eventually, one of the two divisions [open or 602 crates] will over take the other, and we will go in that direction. But I promised everyone that I wouldn’t make any radical changes in either division for 2010 so that they would be out of racing for the season.”

Sprinkled throughout the 26-event schedule are man special events featuring the Race Saver 305 Sprints (April 24), the Empire Super Sprints (May 29, Sept. 25), the O’Reilly All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprints (June 9) and the Lucas Oil Late Model Series National Tour (July 27). The road to the track championships in all div­isions begins next Saturday, and ends with the annual Night of Features on Saturday, Aug. 14.


At the same time that Fonda is running its annual “Ice Jam” event Saturday, the Fulton Speedway will be holding a Super DIRT Car Series event for the modifieds, a move that Lucia calls disappointing.

“I am really disappointed that they scheduled their big race on “Ice Jam” day, but I am not running against them, they are running against us, and that is their cross to bear as we have had the same opening date weekend for many years now,” Lucia said.

“A lot of people have been asking me about having a late model show at Fonda, and I tried to get DIRT Car to work with me on a World of Outlaws late-model event, but they wouldn’t do it. So, I approached the Lucas Oil Tour, and they agreed to it. I am really looking forward to it.”

Lucia will also be working with Utica-Rome Speedway promoter Gene Cole to present the Thunder on the Thruway Series for mod­ifieds with eight events (four at each track) and a total winner’s share of $45,500 up for grabs in the series. The sportsman and pro stock divisions will be running four-race series of their own (two races at each track) called the Sportsman and Pro Stock Best of Four Thunder Series.

There will also be three tribute races this year at Fonda in honor of Lou Lazzaro (May 15), Dave Lape (June 5), and Hondo Carpenter (July 10).

“We are going to look at 2010 as our tribute year,” Lucia said.


As Lucia prepares to open for the season at the historic Fonda Fairgrounds facility, he is also deciding whether or not to extend his contract at the speedway as promoter. Fonda Speedway has been part of life, even well before he became promoter.

“People don’t know that before I ever became the promoter at Fonda, I bought parts off of guys like Jack [Johnson], Pep [Pepicelli], and Harry [Peek],” he said. “They helped me when I had little or no money and I was trying to race a broken-down sportsman car.

“That is a part of me about Fonda that people don’t understand, it is not about greed, it is not about money, it is all about Fonda Speedway being a part of me throughout my life. One day, when I am not the promoter at Fonda anymore, somebody is going to run it, I have no doubt in my mind about that, but will they care about Fonda Speedway the way that I do? I am not so sure about that.

“I have promised the Fonda Fair Board that when the transition does come, that it will be nothing like the last time, as far as how it all went down when I took over. I care enough about the place, and I have put enough personal effort and time into it that I never want to see that happen again.”

Lucia hopes that the weather cooperates a lot better than it did last year, and hopes that drivers can afford to race the entire season and that fans can afford to come to Fonda and see the racing that takes place every Saturday night.

He has opened up the tire rule for Saturday’s modified and limited sportsman 602 crate divisions, and will also allow everyone ample time to burn off different brands of tires that they may have at the start of the season. For the fans, there will be new items in the concession stands, and prices will remain the same as last year.”

“I think that this is going to be a difficult summer for all of us,” Lucia went on to say. “My job as a promoter is to keep the welcome mat out as much as I can without being too disruptive. We will try to have a spot for everyone who wants to race at Fonda from any particular venue and do the best we can to have a decent racing season.”


As stated above Fonda opens for the season this Saturday for the annual “Ice Jam” event for the Modifieds along the a feature for the Limited Sportsman 602 Crate division and warm-ups for all div­isions with Pit gates opening at 1 p.m., front gates at 2, and racing begins at 4 for the “Ice Jam” at the Track of Champions.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will have an open practice and inspection day today, with gates opening at 3 p.m. In the event of rain, the inspection and practice day will be held on Sunday, with gates opening at 1 p.m. Grandstand admission is free.

Albany Saratoga Speedway will also hold an open practice on Saturday with gates opening at 11 a.m. The track opens at 1 p.m. and closes at 5. Rain date for the practice session is Sunday.

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