The offseason was full of highs and lows for Fonda Speedway modified champion Matt DeLorenzo. The high point was the birth of his daughter, Izabella, last November. The low point was when his grandfather, Anthony, died a short time later.
“It has been real tough because he hasn’t been here with us,”
DeLorenzo said. “He used to come to the shop and to the races all the time, and he would always ask me why guys like Brett Hearn, Kenny Tremont Jr. and others were beating me all of the time. We really miss him, but we started out the 2008 season unbelievable, and I know that he is looking down and watching us.”
“Izabella is almost six months old now, and she is growing like a little weed. She is almost as tall as I am already. I am really glad that my grandfather got to see her before he passed away.”
DeLorenzo summed up the start of the racing season in one word — phenomenal.
“This sport is so hard, and people don’t realize just how hard it really is,” he said. “When I was a little kid, I never realized how much work it was, and I tell everybody that it is almost like I am living a dream, right now. When I used to be in the grandstands watching the races, I was always wishing that I could drive one of these race cars, and now I am doing that.
“I am real thankful for my whole family and what they do for me, as my father, Tom, and my brother, Mike, do so much work for me on the race cars. My grandmother,
Althea, is 92 years old, and she follows what is going on in racing on the Internet.”
The entire family is involved with the DeLorenzo Racing Team and DeLorenzo’s sponsor, BBL, who he works for, is just like family, as well.
“A lot of people from BBL come to Fonda on Saturdays and also to Albany-Saratoga on Friday when they can,” he said. “It is a lot of fun, and it is really rewarding when you can win, like we have so far this season at both tracks.”
DeLorenzo hopes to keep both his Albany-Saratoga car (a new Teo chassis with an Enders 358) and his Fonda car in one piece, and claims that his maintenance program is what allows him to do that. He said it takes 20 hours per car to get them race-ready, and the prep time is even longer if one of the cars has been involved in a wreck.
“The maintenance of these cars is just unbelievable,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of help in the shop, which is where we all spend a lot of time. I have to thank my wife for putting up with me being at the shop all of the time. Hopefully, when my daughter grows up a little bit more, we’ll get her to the races, too.”
The DeLorenzo Racing Team has made a habit of getting to the race track late, but there is a good reason for that.
“It is because we are not ready,” DeLorenzo said. “We have got to make sure the cars are prepared to go out there and win, but we want to do the preparation work at the shop, not get to the track and have to do it there. We just have to keep digging and working hard, which we do, and hopefully, it will be
rewarding for us.”
“I just want to go out there and win,” DeLorenzo said when asked about his expectations. “The track championship at Fonda is great to have, but wins are what we are after this year.”
Two years ago, when DeLorenzo was leading the points at Fonda, he was trying to be conservative toward the end of the season, and got into a big wreck, which ended his title chances for that season.
“Last year, I took a different approach,” he said. “I just went out for wins, and it turned out that I got the wins and the point championship came with it.”
He enjoys winning, but doesn’t get down on himself if he finishes second, third or anywhere in the top five.
“I want to get more wins at
Albany-Saratoga this year,”
DeLorenzo said. “That track is
really tough, but I think running at Malta makes me a better driver at Fonda.
“I think things happen a lot quicker at Malta because it is short-track racing, you are always running two- or three-wide, and you have to react to everything a lot quicker. Not that you don’t have to react quickly at Fonda, but there is a lot of straightaway at Fonda.”
DeLorenzo is going to concentrate on Albany-Saratoga and Fonda, with a couple of trips to Devil’s Bowl in Vermont along the way.
“My mother and father-in-law live in Vermont, and they like for me to come up to Devil’s Bowl and race,” he said. “That is why we try to go up there for the 100-lappers, so they can see me race. They come to Albany-Saratoga quite a bit, too, but it is a long drive for them.”
AROUND THE TRACKS
According to the CVRA Web site, the 100-lap modified race scheduled for May 9 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway has been cancelled due to the upcoming track resurfacing.
Tremont’s slump at Lebanon Valley is over. After going winless in 2007, Tremont ended the drought with a victory in last Saturday’s modified feature.
The Bob VanAernam Memorial street stock race will be held at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park
tonight, with a top prize of $500 to win based on a car count of 20. The original $300 to win has been increased by $200, thanks to Andy’s Service Center and Tony Mango of Snap-On Tools, who each added $100 to the purse money. All other divisions will also be in action tonight, starting at 7.
The Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series got under way Thursday at Virginia
Motor Speedway, and will continue Sunday at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
Tonight at Albany-Saratoga Speedway will be the annual “Spring Green,” with all divisions in action starting at 6:45.
Because of a rainout last Saturday at Fonda, double features will be run in the modified, sportsman and pro-stock divisions on Saturday, along with single feature events in the IMCA, street stock and budget sportsman classes. Starting time will be 6 p.m. The 360 Sprint Open that was alo rained out last Saturday will be run on Saturday, May 31, when the Empire Super Sprints will also be in action at the Track of Champions.