Racing Around: DeLorenzo can win with big-block engine

Matt DeLorenzo, left, is joined by Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo in victory lane during presentation ceremonies honoring the 2022 track champions last Saturday night. (James A. Ellis)

Matt DeLorenzo, left, is joined by Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo in victory lane during presentation ceremonies honoring the 2022 track champions last Saturday night. (James A. Ellis)

Matt DeLorenzo has long been known as a top-level driver with a small block under the hood of his modified.

Why not? He won three Fonda Speedway track championships — 2004 and 05 358-modified track champion and overall modified track champion in 2007 — that way.

Now he can shake that stigma as he won five features and the 2022 modified track championship with a big block under the hood of the BBL Companies-sponsored 3D.

“This is the first time we’ve run a big block here all year. I always had a small block here, but everybody went to a small block back then,” DeLorenzo said last Saturday after wrapping up the point’s championship. “Back then [in 2007], Bobby Varin I know ran a big block and we always battled back in the day, so it’s been a while hasn’t it. Now everybody has the open small block with Brett’s [Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo] rules, but it shows that the big block can be competitive.”

With his daughters Toni and Bella highly active in the softball program at Tamarac High School, DeLorenzo was prepared to miss a night or two of racing to follow them in their summer league play. But with racing success, there was one week where he made the trip with them out of state during the week and drove back to run at Malta and Fonda.

“It wasn’t our plan to be here at Fonda every week, but we started running really well at the beginning of the year, so we kind of worked things out that I could race here every Saturday,” DeLorenzo said. “The kids were putting the pressure on me, saying, ‘Dad you better win tonight,’ so I said to them it is just like you being up at home plate with a full count on you and the bases are loaded and the score is tied. A lot of pressure tonight for sure, and I just wanted to do good for everybody and finish. My brother Mike is the brains behind the operation, and Brian [teammate Brian Gleason], both of them really work hard every week to try and figure out these coil cars.”

DeLorenzo’s championship run this season is not over yet as he has a 49-point lead over Peter Britten and a 63-point advantage over Mike Mahaney in the modified point standings at Albany-Saratoga Speedway with three Friday night points events left on the schedule. DeLorenzo and Britten both have three wins this season at Malta, while Mahaney has two.

THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY

With Utica-Rome Speedway switching this week’s racing from Friday to Saturday night, the battle for 602 Crate Sportsman Thunder on the Thruway title between Payton Talbot and Chad Edwards, like their battle for the Fonda track championship, comes down to the final event.

Last Saturday, Talbot held a seven-point lead over Edwards and held off the three-time and defending track champion to win his first division track championship at Fonda Speedway. Now they will face off Saturday night at Utica-Rome Speedway with the Thunder on the Thruway title on the line.

Talbot is clinging to an eight-point lead over Edwards, the defending Thunder on the Thruway Sportsman series champion, heading into the series finale, 274-266, with Cody Clark third in the series’ points with 256.

In the Thunder on the Thruway modified points, Ronnie Johnson trails Alex Yankowski by 15 points heading into Saturday’s racing action at Utica-Rome, and Nick Stone leads Beau Ballard by 24 points in the Pro Stock Thunder on the Thruway standings.

GIRL POWER AT THE RIDGE

Sunday night, a trio of female racers graced victory lane at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

Sloan Cherko, Kirsten Swartz and Gina Voris all took home the checkers in their respective features.

Voris drove to victory in the dual cam mini stock main event, Swartz topped the field in the all-star slingshot class and Cherko topped the podium in the junior slingshot main event.

Andrew Buff picked up the victory in the 602 crate sportsman feature, Luke Horning won the pro stock main event, Mike Hill took home the limited sportsman checkers and Jay Ingersoll won the single cam mini stock feature.

The Ridge will be back in action Sunday night with a full race card, including a 22-lap, $375-to-win National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation feature in Honor of Jack Millard for the all-star slingshot division.

The DIRTcar Sportsman East Region Series also will be in competition, vying for the $1,500 top prize, with the runner-up getting $750 plus $100 to take the green in the main event.

410 SPRINTS AT UTICA-ROME

The Tezos All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) will make the trip to Utica-Rome Speedway for the first time in more than three years Friday night.

The visit by the ASCoC marks the fourth time in history that 410 Sprint Cars have competed at Utica-Rome, with Aaron Reutzel (2019), Tim Shaffer (2012), and Fred Rahmer (2010) taking home the victories.

Series regulars Tyler Courtney, Dave Blaney, Justin Peck and Hunter Schuerenberg are expected to be on hand, along with Danny Varin, Paulie Colagiovanni and Danny Dietrich.

The 410 sprint event is in addition to the modifieds, crate 602 and pro stock main events to decide their Thunder on the Thruway championships.

PIT NOTES

Gloversville’s Jason and Josh Samrov are tied for the points lead in the Street Stock division at Albany-Saratoga Speedway with 736 points apiece. Jeff Meltz Sr. is close behind with 730, and Jimmy Duncan is fourth with 708 with the championship decided on Sept. 9.

Darwin Greene Sr. ended a 10-year victory drought Friday night, with his first modified feature win at Penn Can Speedway since 2012.

Treyten Lapcevich and Stewart Friesen put on a side-by-side battle over the final two laps of the NASCAR Pinty’s 100 Tuesday night on the dirt at Ohsweken Speedway in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Friesen had the lead entering turn three on the final lap, but a pump-and-run move by Lapcevich got Friesen out of shape enough for him to get under Friesen. The drivers traded paint exiting turn four, with Lapcevich getting to the checkers first.

Friesen also ran a sprint car at Ohsweken, picking up a second-place finish in the A-Main on Monday and getting the B-main victory on Tuesday before racing from 17th to a sixth-place finish in the 25-lap A-main on Tuesday.

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