Area Stock Car Racing: Petruska dies

News from area stock car racing

Categories: Sports

After Jared Petruska was fatally injured in a work-related accident last week in New Jersey, many of the top drivers in the northeast paid their respects to the well-known racing family. 

Their No. 66 Petruska-Atlas Paving modified was driven by some of the top drivers in the region, including Bobby Varin and Stewart Friesen. One of the pictures hanging on my wall is a victory lane photo with the Petruska crew back in March of 2013. It was my one and only visit to the historic Bridgeport Speedway’s 5/8-mile oval. With Varin piloting the No. 66 that cold night, we were the beneficiary of many teams experiencing tire wear problems. We scored an amazing win over Friesen, who was leading, until running out of fuel on the last lap.

Saturday and Sunday, the Finger Lakes Mall, located at 1579 Clark Street Road in Auburn, will host the Finger Lakes Speed World 2020. This year’s theme is “For The Love of Racing.”

Land Of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua will be just one of the area tracks taking part in the 2020 event. If you need an added reason to travel that far, there is also a Bass Pro Shop in the mall. On top of that, the Northeast Dirt Modified Museum & Hall of Fame is located only a few miles away in Weedsport. The museum will be open Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. For more information, contact the museum at 315-374-3661.

If you know of anyone that is interested in competing in the Street Stock division at the Utica-Rome Speedway, there will be an informational meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Utica-Rome Speedway Club 5 in Vernon.

Next week will kick off the local car show season with the Northeast Race Car Show taking place at the ViaPort in Rotterdam. Roll-in will be Thursday after 9 p.m. Show days are Friday-Sunday during regular mall hours. 

Also happening on Friday and Saturday is the second annual Syracuse Indoor Race at the Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds. TQ midgets, slingshots, and champ karts, will compete in complete shows both nights. Friday doors will open at 6 p.m., and racing will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and racing will begin at 7 p.m. Both nights will offer a complete show of qualifying and feature events. Saturday will include the crowning of the 2020 Indoor Auto Racing champion. 

On the opposite end of the fairgrounds in the Center of Progress Building, the 34th annual Syracuse Motorsports Expo-Exposition & Trade Show will take place. Race cars, tracks, touring series, vendors, and more will be on display. March 14 show hours are 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. March 15 show hours are 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $13 and $5 for children ages 6-12. Kids under 5 are free.

Some very interesting news this week, comes from the Matt Sheppard modified team. It was announced that Sheppard will pilot his No. 9 car Fridays at the Outlaw Speedway in Dundee. On Saturdays, instead of going to Land Of Legends Raceway, which is only 30 minutes away from home, Sheppard has decided to tow almost four hours to the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown.

In my opinion, to drive from Waterloo to Middletown every week might tend to wear on a driver/team and it could be a lot of headaches, no matter how good the purse and year-end point fund payout. Only time will tell.

Thomas Coughlin Jr. covers area stock car racing for The Recorder.

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