Fonda Speedway gears up for 2022 racing season

Fonda Speedway defending modified division co-champion Rocky Warner's No. 1 is on display at the annual Fonda Speedway car show at Via Port in Rotterdam Friday, March 25, 2022.
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Fonda Speedway defending modified division co-champion Rocky Warner's No. 1 is on display at the annual Fonda Speedway car show at Via Port in Rotterdam Friday, March 25, 2022.

After a season-long battle, modified drivers Ronnie Johnson and Rocky Warner finished the 2021 season tied for the Fonda Speedway modified track championship.

Both wheelmen have set their sights on defending, but not sharing, their track championships this season. Warner and Johnson debuted new cars, sponsors and teams at the Via Port Rotterdam Mall Friday at the annual Fonda Speedway Car Show.

The annual event kicks off the 71st consecutive season of racing at the venerable half-mile clay oval at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

“I say it every week: Some of the best racing in the entire Northeast happens at Fonda Speedway on a Saturday night,” Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo said. “The track itself is so unique, it’s honestly amazing how good the racing is. Fonda is called the ‘Track of Champions’ for a reason . . .  I think Championship Night 2021 will go down as one of the most ‘electric’ nights in the history of Fonda Speedway: the racing, the crowd, the atmosphere, and the tie for the Modified championship made it remarkable.”

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In its fourth season of promoting Fonda Speedway, BD Motorsports Media LLC has put together a weekly schedule featuring modifieds, crate 602 sportsman, limited sportsman, pro stocks and four cylinders.

The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS), CRSA, ESS and Patriot Sprint Cars will make special appearances at the speedway throughout the season along with prestigious extra-distance races starting with the 40-lap, $12,000-to-winJack Johnson Memorial Montgomery County on April 23 and finishing with the $53,000-to-win Fonda 200 on Sept. 17.

With the recent spike in gas and food prices, Deyo has tried to keep racing affordable for the fans and race teams.

“It may be a boost for local racing. One of the few places in this country right now with no inflation is Fonda Speedway,” he said. “Our grandstand admission is still $11, and families may take advantage of that for a local, inexpensive night out. On the race team side, racers seem to always find a way. Local racing will persevere. Honestly, special events will need to be ‘special’ with strong payouts through the field if they are going to succeed. There are almost too many midweek events in the Northeast right now and this year may thin some out.”

Toward the end of the 2021 season, race teams and tracks faced a new problem — a shortage of race tires. The problems have not gone away.

“Tire conservation is going to be key this year for both American Racer and Hoosier,” Deyo said. “Just this weekend a big sprint car event in Texas and a crate late model event in Louisiana were canceled due to lack of tires. We are all going to need to do our part: Dealers, promoters and racers. It isn’t just tires, it is engine parts and lack of availability, too. Supply chain issues will plague our sport all season.”

The cars will take to the speedway for an open practice for all divisions on April 10 with the season-opener scheduled for April 16.

A few notable changes will be made at the Track of Champions during the season to enhance the racing experience for the fans and drivers.

“We will be working to replace lighting throughout the season with LED fixtures and bulbs with the support of the [Fonda] Fair Board,” Deyo said “This will be an ongoing project through 2022. For the time being, I will be handling the race directing while we search for the right candidate. That position is one of the most important at the speedway and it needs to be the perfect fit.”

The annual car show continues through Sunday during mall hours with more than 50 drivers and their cars on hand. Tables have been set up with schedules, apparel and information for drivers and fans including season passes for the grandstand and pit area.

The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series is represented in the “Vintage Alley” representing the many eras of our racing past from the 1950s up to the late 80s, along with representatives on hand from the New York State Stock Car Association and Northeast Stock Car Old Timers.

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FONDA SPEEDWAY 2022 SCHEDULE

Weekly Divisions: Modifieds, Crate 602 Sportsman, Limited Sportsman, Pro Stocks & Four Cylinders

Weekly Grandstand Admission: $11 (adults); $9 (seniors ages 65 & up); Free (kids 11 and under). Increases for special events as noted.

Weekly Pit Admission: $30 (Fonda Speedway nembers); $35 (non-members). Increases for special events as noted

Weekly Schedule: Gates open 4 p.m.; hot laps 6 p.m.; racing 7 p.m. (Unless otherwise noted)

April Event Schedule: Gates open 3 p.m.; hot laps 5:30 p.m.; racing 6 p.m.

RACING CALENDAR

Saturday, April 9: Open Practice (Rain Date: April 10). Gates Open: Noon – Hot Laps: 3-6 p.m. Pit Admission: $25 (Fonda Speedway Members) or $30 (Non-Members)

Saturday, April 16: Palmer’s Service Center Opening Night – All Divisions (points begin)

Saturday, April 23: Andy’s Speed Shop presents Jack Johnson Memorial Montgomery County Open – $12,000-to-win Modifieds with sail panels, 40 laps (25 show-up points for Modifieds) – all divisions plus Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series.

Saturday, April 30: Pro Stocks $1,000 to win – All divisions

Saturday, May 7: Dollar Night – $1 Grandstand Admission – All divisions

Saturday, May 14: Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) 360 Sprint Cars – All divisions

Saturday, May 21: All divisions plus Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series

Saturday, May 28: Thunder on the Thruway Series Modifieds $4,000 to win, Crate 602 Sportsman $1,500 to win, Pro Stocks $1,000 to win – All divisions

Saturday, June 4: All divisions plus CRSA Sprint Cars

Saturday, June 11: Bill Lake Modular Homes presents Fan Appreciation Night – $5 Grandstand Admission – Pre-Race Meet & Greet – All divisions plus Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series – NYSSCA Night

Saturday, June 18: Dirt Track Digest TV Night – Bill Ag One-on-One Match Races – All Divisions

Saturday, June 25: A-Verdi Storage Containers Night – Patriot Sprint Tour (PST) 360 Sprint Cars – All divisions

Saturday, July 2: Hall of Fame Night – Thunder on the Thruway Series Modifieds $4,000 to win, Crate 602 Sportsman $1,500 to win, Pro Stocks $1,000 to win – All divisions plus Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series

Sunday, July 3: Firecracker 50 – Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco Modifieds 50 laps, $10,000 to win, $500 to start plus STSS Crate 602 Sportsman 30 laps, $2,000 to win (25 show-up points, both divisions) – Huge Fireworks display

Saturday, July 9: Fan Appreciation Night – $5 Grandstand Admission – Crate 602 Sportsman Challenge Races

Saturday, July 16: One Zee Tees and AIM Autism present Autism Awareness Night – Thunder on the Thruway Series Modifieds $4,000 to win, Crate 602 Sportsman $1,500 to win, Pro Stocks $1,000 to win — Pre-Race Chicken Barbecue & Silent Auction

Saturday, July 23: “Fan Favorite” Modified Twin 20s $1,500 to win each – All divisions – No increase in admission

Saturday, July 30 – Parks Companies Night – All divisions plus CRSA Sprint Cars

Saturday, Aug. 6: Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) 360 Sprint Cars – All divisions

Saturday, Aug. 13: Benjamin Moore Paints Championship Night – All divisions plus Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series

FONDA 200 WEEKEND

Thursday, Sept. 15: Modified ‘Underdog 33’ Non-Winner’s Race – Open Practice, All Divisions

Friday, Sept. 16: STSS Modified Qualifying Races, CRSA Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks ($1,000 to win), Street Stocks ($500 to win) & Four Cylinders

Saturday, Sept. 17: STSS Modified Fonda 200 $53,000 to win, STSS Modified B-Mains & STSS Crate 602 Sportsman 30 laps, $2,000 to win!

More Sports – The Daily Gazette

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