Kids will pick the darnedest things.
When they’re little, you hope they don’t pick their noses.
As they get older, you hope they pick the right group of friends to hang out with.
And if one of them happens to grab the pole position for a $4,000-to-win race, that’s a pick you can live with.
A random pick by his 14-year-old daughter, Morgan, helped Jimmy Davis of Ballston Spa come up with a huge win last Thursday night at Fonda Speedway, as Davis led flag-to-flag in the 40-lap modified feature what was run in conjunction with the appearance of the 410 sprints.
“My crew chief drew for the heat, and he drew 15, which was good, because we stated third in the heat and won that,” said Davis earlier this week.
“When we walked up to draw for the feature, my 14-year-old said, ‘Let me draw. I feel lucky,’ but I said I was going to do it. Then we got about 10 feet away and she puts the pout face on, so I said, ‘OK, go ahead,’ and she walks up and draws No. 1. She’s the official picker from now on.”
Davis had to hold off Stewart Friesen to get the victory, but as Davis put it, “Everything fell into place.”
The big payoff couldn’t have come at a better time. Davis is only racing fulltime at Fonda this
season because his grandfather footed the bill for a new chassis during the winter, and Davis funds his own racing operation.
“That money will keep the bills paid and help us finish out the year,” said Davis. “This is absolutely a tough deal. The thirds and fourths look good on paper, but don’t |really pay a lot and the money has to go back into the race car. Winning four grand was huge.”
As a low-budget driver, Davis is caught between a rock and a hard place. He knows he can run with the best, but he simply can’t afford to hit all of the races that the big guns attend.
“I know I’m capable of running with those guys,” he said. “But I don’t just have the means to do it. Look at the show at I-88. There’s a lot of money up for grabs, but I had that stretch in June where I couldn’t catch a break, and now, I have to stay home.”
As it turned out, they was another blessing in disguise. The modified portion of the Wade Decker Memorial at 1-88 Speedway on Tuesday night was never run, after a long night of continuous track preparation and a serious accident in the street stock feature pushed the modified feature past curfew.
Maybe Davis’ racing luck is finally starting to change, thanks to his official picker.
Varin gets a night off
Fonda Speedway promoter Ric Lucia gave Bobby Varin a one-race suspension after a heated argument between the two Saturday night.
According to reports, Varin was driving recklessly through the pits after the modified feature, and Lucia read him the riot act in the pit tower.
Varin was more low-key on Monday.
“I did wrong, I admit it,” he said. “I pulled into the pits and a couple of guys flipped me off, and I kind of gave them a little dusting. But I didn’t put anyone at risk.”
The one-race suspension was scheduled for Thursday, when the modifieds were going to run as part of the program with the World of Outlaws late models, but that race was postponed because of wet grounds and an unfavorable weather forecast, so it will be interesting to see if Varin is back on Saturday, or if he has to sit out a regular points race.
This isn’t the first time Varin and Lucia have had a clash of egos, and with Varin over 100 points behind Friesen in the battle for the track championship, Varin might be considering a change of scenery.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Varin admitted. “I’d love to run at Lebanon Valley, but I don’t have enough motor to be competitive over there. Maybe I’ll just sit out a couple of Saturday nights and hit the big shows at the end of the year.”
Hunter Bates won last Friday night’s C.J. Richards Memorial at Devil’s Bowl, and it was an emotional win for the 17-year-old driver.
Richards, the founder of the Champlain Valley Racing Association who died in February, had been a big supporter of Bates since he began his open-wheel career. and purchased Bates a new car last winter, shortly before his death. Bates is carrying the No. 69, which was Richards’ number when he raced mini-stocks back in the early 1980s.
Jessey Mueller, Todd Stone, Joe Williams and Leon Gonyo com-
pleted the top five in the C.J. Richards Memorial.
Some of the former Devil’s Bowl track champions were on hand to compete in the All-Star Challenge, which was won by Ray Hoard, the track champ in 2004.
Around the tracks
u Dan Santabarbera recorded his first career victory at Albany-Saratoga last Friday in the budget sportsman feature, and credited modified driver Jeff Trombley will helping him get on the right track.
“The car handled great,” said Santabarbera. “We’ve been working on it for the last few weeks, trying to get in dialed in on the bottom. Jeff’s been telling me to work on braking and to stick to the bottom and I would be OK.”
u When Brett Hearn finished second in last week’s modified feature at Albany-Saratoga, it marked the seventh time this season he’s been the runner-up. Ken Tremont Jr. holds the record, finishing second eight times during the 1996 season, and Ray Dalmata (1982) and Bob Savoie (1988) are on the list with seven second-place finishes.
Hearn is getting used to those runner-up finishes, as he was also second, to Matt Sheppard, Tuesday night in the Super DIRT
Series qualifier at Drummondville in Quebec. Hearn has finished second in three of the five Super DIRT Series races this year.
“Matt and I are almost equal,” he said after the race “He was able to jump down and get on the bottom a little lower than me. He was just a little better than we were, and that’s all it took.”
u The Ridge was down to 10 modifieds last Sunday. and you can be sure co-promoters Mike Romano and Jake Spraker are hunting for ways to keep their heads above water for the rest of the year. There’s some speculation that the track will move to Saturday-night racing when Fonda Speedway closes for the Montgomery County Fair in late August.
u The budget sportsman will be running for $500 to win tonight at Albany-Saratoga.
u Danny Varin picked up his third modified win of the season last Saturday at Fonda. Only he and Friesen (six) have been to victory lane more than once in the premier division this year.
“I never thought that we would have three wins at this point of the season,” said Varin in victory lane. “I didn’t know if we could match the two-win season we had last year.”
u Although Davis was pumped up by his victory last Thursday, he was almost as happy with his third-place run at Fonda on Saturday because, for one of the few times this season, he passed Friesen on the race track.
u Mark Flach Jr. picked up a perfect time to get his first modified win of the season at Lebanon Valley. Flach led flag-to-flag in the caution-free feature last Saturday, and walked off with $5,000 in the King of the Track feature.