So far, the 2011 racing season has been a competitive one, with many first-time winners and no dominance at any one track by any one driver.
Two drivers who have gotten off to hot starts are Rocky Warner, who is 2-for2 at Fonda in the pro-stock division and also won his first career sportsman feature at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park last Friday, and Darryl Carl, who is 2-for-2 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in the pro late model division.
At Albany-Saratoga, young gun Jake Zakrzewski Jr. of Schuylerville won his first NASCAR modified feature on opening night after battling Joe Williams for the victory, and Williams came back to take the win last Friday night.
Carl got his first win on opening night when Jacob McGrath, who was first under the checkered flag, was disqualified for a weight issue with the car.
Glen Ridge has been the only track that hasn’t suffered a rainout yet this year, with Lance Willix, Kenny Tremont Jr., Jackie Brown Jr. and Matt Sheppard all first-time winners in the modified division, while Paul Kinney took home his fifth career win.
In the sportsman division, Warner, Rick Lamont and Tim Hartman Jr. are all first-time winners. The other two features were won by Brian Pessolano and John Marsh Jr., the third career victories for each driver.
Hartman not only won on opening night at Glen Ridge, but also took the win on opening night at Lebanon Valley Speedway in the budget sportsman division.
At Fonda, Ronnie Johnson has two victories in the three modified features that have been run, with defending track champion Bobby Varin the other winner. The 602 sportsman division has averaged 37 cars in two weeks of competition, with two first-time winners — Mark Mortensen and Rob Langevin — visiting victory lane.
Three other drivers who have had great performances at Fonda are Josh Hohenforst, who had a second-place finish to Varin a couple of weeks ago, and new Fonda Speedway regular Marc Johnson and Darwin Greene, who both have two top-10 finishes in the two point races held.
FATHER AND SON triumph
On the same night Varin won the modified feature at Fonda, his son, Danny, won the CRSA sprint car feature. But they aren’t the only father-son combination to win on the same night at Fonda.
The feat was accomplished by Dave Horning Sr. and Dave Horning Jr. who won street stock features on April 14, 2001 and Aug. 6, 2005, as well as Bob and Rob VanAernam, who won street stock features on June 9, 2001. Keep in mind that was when there were enough street stocks to run two or sometimes three features per night at Fonda.
Brothers Jim and Jeff Davis were quite successful at Fonda on the same night, as well, when Jim was racing in the sportsman division and Jeff was racing street stocks. The Davis brothers won features on the same night on three occasions — May 30, 2001; April 27, 2002; and Junr 8, 2001. Both crowned track champions in their respective divisions in 2002.
Besides the Varins, Hornings, VanAernams and the Davises, there have been 13 other father/son or brother/brother racers that have won feature events at Fonda, but not on the same night. They include Jack and Ronnie Johnson, Alan and Danny Johnson, Jeremy and Jim Cramer, Danny and Beau Ballard, Bob and Tim McCreadie, Ken and Craig Hanson, Buzzie and Wayne Reutimann, Frank Hoard Sr. and Frank Hoard Jr., Pep and Tony Pepicelli, Don and Rocky Warner, Jerry Pennock Sr. and Jerry Pennock Sr. and Andy, Mike, and A.J. Romano.
The family ties also include the father/daughter combination of Ray and Jessica Zemken.
RULE CHANGE AT FONDA
Beginning on May 21, all drivers in the 602 sportsman division at Fonda will be required to run a rev box with a 6,200 RPM chip on their crate motors. According to Fonda Speedway general manager Marty Beberwyk, it is just one more way to keep the playing field equal in the division.
“It will stop the motor from turning any more than 6,200 RPMs, so it should save the racers money by stopping the possibility of over revving their engines and blowing them up,” Beberwyk said. “After 6,000 RPMs, the torque and horsepower drop off in those motors anyway, so it won’t have an effect on that, but it will stop someone from playing with the cam inside the motor in order to keep everyone equal.”
On Sunday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a benefit for Erik Nelson, who was injured in an accident at Glen Ridge earlier this season, will be held at Checkers Out Speedway in Johnstown.
The benefit will consist of three choices — a spaghetti dinner for $15, racing for $20 or racing and the spaghetti dinner for $25.
Talking with Nelson this week, he said he is doing well, started a new job this past Monday and plans to give racing another try, but he has no timetable for his return.
Nelson has eight modified wins at Glen Ridge, with the last one coming on July 30, 2010, along with one victory in the sportsman division at Fonda.
GOLF TOURNAMENT Set
On Thursday, the ninth annual New York State Stock Car Association golf tournament will take place at the Fairways of Halfmoon Golf Course. Registration will be held at 8 a.m., with a shotgun start 8:30 a.m. The $100 per person event includes a golf cart for two, lunch and dinner. Sponsor tees, holes and hole-in-one sponsorships are also available for $100
Since 2006, The NASCAR Foundation has led the industry’s efforts to give back to the community. More than 250,000 fans have responded to the call, uniting as volunteers, or by donating. Their contributions have allowed The NASCAR Foundation to award $11.5 million to more than 600 charities across the country, help send 19,000 children each year to receive medical treatment at Speediatrics, give more than 1,000 children the Victory Junction camp experience and fulfill 500 NASCAR Dreams.
The NASCAR Foundation and Albany-Saratoga Speedway will be hosting two car washes to benefit the NASCAR Foundation and Hannah Hughes of Ballston Spa. Hannah is 8 years old and has leukemia.
The car wash will start on Friday, May 20, at the speedway from 5-6 p.m. Anyone who gets their car washed at the speedway will get two laps around the track to dry their car off. Drivers, pit crew members and NASCAR officials will be washing the cars on Friday night.
Then, on Saturday, May 21, friends and volunteers will be washing cars from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the McDonald’s in Malta. The cost of the car wash will be $10, with $5 going to the NASCAR Foundation and $5 going to the Hughes’ family. The rain date for the McDonald’s car wash is May 22.
Tonight will be “Freaky Friday: at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, with special prizes for all Freaky Fan Outfits. All divisions are on the racing card which begins at 7.
A regular show in all divisions will also take place at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park tonight. The Midstate Vintage Car Club will also be a part of the racing program, which is set to begin at 7:30.
On Saturday, Fonda Speedway will be in action with a regular show in all divisions starting at 7 p.m.