Stock car racing: Glen Ridge champ Varin cautiously optimistic

This weekend, you can bet that Bobby Varin will be listening to every little tick and squeak in the

Some people listen to reason; others listen to the voices in their head; some don’t listen at all.

This weekend, you can bet that Bobby Varin will be listening to every little tick and squeak in the engines of his modifieds.

It’s Shakedown Saturday at Fonda Speedway and Var­in will have both of his cars out for some testing, But after the way he blew engines right and left at the end of the 2015 campaign, he’s going to be listening for any little noise that could be the beginning of another disaster.

Varin, who will be 46 in August, is coming off a decent season. He picked up five wins and the modified championship at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and also had three wins at Fonda Speedway before he starting popping engines.

Although winning the track title at Glen Ridge would obviously be considered the highlight of the season, Varin is happier about his three wins at Fonda, because he was the only modified driver to win multiple features against Stewart Friesen, who dominated the competition at the Track of Champions.

“We held our own against him,” said Varin Thursday. “No one else got more than one win.”

And this season, Varin won’t have to contend with Friesen, who will be competing at Orange County Speedway in Middletown on Saturday nights.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity to get some more wins,” Varin said.

Varin will be running the same two cars — one at Glen Ridge, one at Fonda — that he drove last season. No new high-dollar motors, nothing right out of the box for the Dover Brakes team. Just about $20,000 of freshing up.

“I’m doing everything on my own now,” said Varin. “It takes a lot of money.

“I’ve had a good career, but I think it should be better, at this point. The rides just aren’t out there anymore. It’s become a yuppie club, rich boys whose daddies pay the bills. No one knows how to build anything anymore.

“I don’t have $55,000 for a new big block. In the late 1980s, a top-shelf big block cost less than $20,000. and the purses than paid more to win that they do now.”

If Varin’s equipment holds up, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be one of the frontrunners at Fonda. If there are two things he doesn’t lack, they’re talent and confidence.

“I’ll just keep my nose to the grindstone and keep pushing forward,” he said.


Fonda, Lebanon Valley and Albany-Saratoga speedways will all be having practice this weekend, but Glen Ridge was forced to postpone its season opener, originally scheduled for tonight, because of wet grounds.

“The grounds are still sat­urated on top,” said Glen Ridge promoter Pete Dem­itraszek, who will also be running Fonda this season. “If we go up there and tear it up early in the year, we’re going to be dealing with it all summer.”

Demitraszek has another problem to deal with this weekend. He hasn’t gotten his water test back yet, so he can’t open the grandstands at Fonda Speedway for Saturday’s practice. Fans who want to watch practice will have to pay the $15 pit admission fee, like the drivers and crew members.

“I didn’t want to take a chance and advertise that the grandstands are going to be open, and then disappoint people if I don’t get the water test back,” Demitraszek said. “It’s better to just keep them closed this weekend.”

Here are the weekend practice schedules:

Fonda, Saturday, pits open at noon, practice from 4-7, pit admission is $15, grandstands will be closed, Fonda season passes will be honored in the pits.

Lebanon Valley, Saturday, pits open at 1 p.m., practice from 4-8, $15 pit fee, grandstands free.

Albany-Saratoga, Sunday, pits open at 9 a.m. for inspection, practice from 3-9, pit fee $15, grandstands free.

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