Stock car racing: Change of plans isn’t always a good idea

Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo thought he was ahead of the game Saturday. With everything al

Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo thought he was ahead of the game Saturday.

With everything already in place for the weekly show at the Track of Champions, DeLorenzo showed up at the garage Saturday and said he was ready to go racing.

Bad decision.

Later that night, DeLorenzo took a bad tumble down the backstretch and on Tuesday, was still nursing a sore shoulder.

The weird thing about the accident was that it happened under caution, as another incident brought out the yellow lights before DeLorenzo’s flip. But the car behind DeLorenzo’s didn’t get off of the gas quick enough.

“The caution came out, and over the one-way radio, they were saying, ‘Yellow, yellow,’ ” said DeLorenzo, explaining the accident. “I rolled out of the gas, but as soon as I did, the guy behind me got into me and turned me the wrong way.”

For those who may not know, because of the offset on a modified, getting turned one way usually results in a spin. Getting iurned the other way can be turn into disaster, as DeLorenzo knows.

“The left rear sucked in,” he said. “You don’t want to go that way.

“Everything got real quiet. First, I saw sky, then I saw ground, and then I saw sky again. I thought, ‘This is gonna hurt.’ Just when I thought it was about over, I started barrel-rolling and when the car stopped, I saw flames coming out from under the hood, and thought, ‘I had better get out of here.’ ”

With that car being destroyed, DeLorenzo only has one car, the big block he runs at Albany-Saratoga on Friday nights.

“I’ll just concentrate on Malta,” he said. “I won’t run at Fonda again until the BBL Night of Features [on Aug. 16}.”

The ironic thing about DeLorenzo’s flip is that he also took down some new signage along the backstretch, signage he had put up earlier in the week, part of the “everything is in place” decision that convinced him to put on the firesuit Saturday.

“From a management standpoint, everything was in place for Saturday, so I figured I’d have some fun,” he said. “That was no fun.”

In the course on the conversation with DeLorenzo, I asked him for a quick evaluation on his first year as a promoter.

“It’s tougher than I thought,” he admitted. “With the way the ecomony is, people don’t have a lot of disposable income, and to get people to come to the racer is harder than I thought it would be. Between the drivers and the fans, it’s hard to keep everyone happy, and social media makes it even harder. If I have a good week, you don’t hear anything about it. But when I do something wrong, everyone jumps right on you.”

Big Show reset

Details for the rescheduled “Big Show 6” at Albany-Saratoga, which was rained out on July 8 and rescheduled for July 30, have been finalized.

In addition to the final 89 laps of the 100-lap Super DIRTCar Modified Series qualifier, race promoter Brett Hearn and the track management team of Lyle DeVore and Howie Commander have decided to add a 35-lap modified race, which will pay $2.000 to win. That way, the modified teams who were at “Big Show” won’t make the long haul just to finish the 100-lap race, and drivers who skipped the “Big Show” can come on July 30 and race for the $2,000.

Adult admission on July 30 will be $10.

Here come the Outlaws

Lebanon Valley Speedway will be hosting its annual World of Outlaws sprint car show on Sunday.

Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman have been dominating the series, as each driver has nine wins, and the two lead the point race, with Schatz on top with 6,911 and Pittman second with 6,831.

Schatz won last year’s feature at the Valley, holding off Pittman in a green-white-checkered finish, but Pittman went on to win his first WoO championship, which was also the first title for Kasey Kahne Racing.

Racing, which includes 358 modifieds, starts at 6 p.m. General admission is $25.

Around the tracks

It was good to see Ronnie Johnson get his first win of the season Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. It’s been a tough season for Johnson, who has been dealing with the continuing health issue of his father, Jack, and the death of good friend and crew member JoJo DeSarbo. And don’t forget, he began the season with a bad wreck at Fonda that destroyed one of his cars.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park had 13 cars in its modified field last Friday night, and four came from promoter Mike Sowle’s stable. First-time winner Willy Decker was driving a car once piloted by former track champion JaMike Sowle, and Stewart Friesen was driving another Sowle car that is usually campaigned by Eric Mack.

One of the winners at Fonda Saturday night was veteran Floyd Billington, who chalked up his first win at the Track of Champions in the sportsman feature.

“That was my first win in 35 years of trying,” said Billington in victory lane. “I have to thank Bo Karl, who has been helping me, and John Bellinger, who is maintaining my cars for me. Early on, the motor was skipping with a carburetor problem, so we didn’t know what to expect.”

Donnie Corellis recorded his third win of the season in last Saturday’s modified feature at Lebanon Valley, and walked off with the top prize of $5,000 in the “King of the Track” shootout.

DIRTCar officials are probably pretty fed up with the weather by now. Tuesday night’s race at Big Diamond Speedway in Pottsville. Pa., had to be canceled because of rain.

That’s the fourth tour race that has been canceled this year, and two others (Rolling Wheels and “Big Show”) were affected by rain.

CRSA sprints will join the regular racing card at Glen Ridge tonight, while Albany-Saratoga will be holding the third annual Hungry Mike Ronca Memorial race.

Categories: Sports

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