Stock car racing: Glen Ridge sticking with Friday nights

If there’s been one constant at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in the last four years, it’s been that c

If there’s been one constant at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in the last four years, it’s been that change is inev­itable.

In the last four years, there have been three different promoters/promoting teams, and the track has changed its racing nights twic.

And in the last week, the internet has been inundated by armchair promoters who have myriad theories about the best way for the bullring in Glen to survive.

Promoter Pete Demitraszek, who is in his second stint at that position in three years, wants to make one thing perfectly clear — there will be no changes this season.

“We’re going to keep racing on Friday nights, and we’re going to stay the course,” said Demitraszek earlier this week. “I want people to know that we’re not going to close or do anything drastic. We’re not going to switch nights again. Drivers don’t want it; no one really wants it. We’re just going to keep plugging along.”

Glen Ridge had a couple of very good years when Mike Romano and Jake Spraker were running the show, but that’s only because those were the two years that the management team at Albany-Saratoga Speedway switched the racing surface to asphalt, and everyone knows this is dirt track country.

Since Howie Commander took over the operation of Albany-Saratoga three years ago, Glen Ridge has struggled, despite doing everything possible to get more drivers into the pits, which would put more people into the stands. Racing was switched from Friday to Sunday; Mike Sowle, last year’s promoter, pumped a lot more money into the purse structure.

But no matter what changed, one thing remained the same — drivers who have been racing for years at Albany-Saratoga aren’t going to start hauling to the Ridge.

Glen Ridge only drew nine modifieds on its opening night this season, went up to 16 in week two and dropped back to a dozen last week. But in case you haven’t noticed, 15 or 16 is the regular field for a number of smaller, grassroots racing facilities. Was anyone pushing the panic button when Weeds­port only drew 16 modifieds last Sunday for a race that paid $3,500 to win?

So Demitraszek is going to do what he does best — give drivers a smooth racing track, run a quick show, focus on families and send fans home happy.

“Howie and Lyle [Albany-Saratoga track manager Lyle DeVore] are two of the best promoters out there. I can’t fight them,” said Demitraszek. “So we’ll create our own niche here. It’s going to be a struggle, and I know that. But we’ll get there eventually.”

Around the tracks

One of the drivers who has switched from Glen Ridge to Albany-Saratoga is defending sportsman champion Rocky Warner, as he and car owner Jake Spraker showed up at the Malta track last Friday night.

Ron Proctor of Charlton won last Saturday night’s 100-lap feature to kick off the season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Finishing behind Proctor was Leon Gonyo. Has there ever been another feature where the top two finishers were both over 60 years of age?

Glen Ridge will be offering free admission to all veterans and active service personnel with proper ID tonight. The track also offers a family four pack of two adult admissions, two child admissions, four hot dogs and four sodas for $30.

All divisions will be in action tonight on Law Enforcement Night at Albany-Saratoga.

The Memorial Day weekend means the Empire Super Sprints will be making their annual stop at Fonda Saturday night. The modified and sportsman features that were rained out last week will be added to the May 30 card.

Utica-Rome Speedway will be hosting the $10,000-to-win Victoria 100 on Monday. The card will also include a 602 sportsman GRIT Series race.

Rob Yetman recorded the 21st win of his career in the pro stock feature last Friday at Albany-Saratoga. That puts him in fourth place on the all-time win list in that division.

Categories: Sports

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