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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Area stock car racing: Varin's Saturday night schedule suddenly in limbo

Area stock car racing: Varin's Saturday night schedule suddenly in limbo

Bobby Varin thinks he’s out of a ride. He just isn’t sure yet.

Bobby Varin thinks he’s out of a ride. He just isn’t sure yet.

The Sharon Springs driver was behind the wheel of the Petruska 66 last week at the Brett Hearn-promoted “Big Show 5” at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and all seemed right with the world.

But on Saturday, Varin was in Joey Decker’s car at Orange County Speedway, where he had been campaigning the Petruska car on a weekly basis.

A call to Varin on Tuesday didn’t do much to clear things up.

“All I was told was, that as of Thursday, the car was parked. I haven’t heard anything since,” said Varin.

The Internet was full of rumors this week that Danny Johnson was going to replace Varin in the car, but as Varin said, “I’m hearing the same rumors you are, but no one’s told me anything.

“I went to Orange County last Saturday planning to drive Joey Decker’s car, and that’s what I did. Right now, I’m playing it by ear.”

With Varin’s Saturday night schedule in limbo, I think it’s time to make a call to Stockcarmatch.-com (No, there really isn’t one. I just made that up) and get Varin and Jake Spraker back together.

Varin and Spraker formed one of the most formidable teams at Fonda Speedway after they joined forces in 2004. With Spraker supplying top-notch equipment and Varin behind the wheel, the team won five track championships in six years, although after Spraker cut short his racing season in 2010, Varin climbed behind the wheel of the Dover Brakes 00 to complete the championship run.

Wouldn’t you love to see Varin and Spraker swagger through the back gate at Fonda? Heck, that would be like putting the D-Generation X tag team championship duo of Shawn Michaels and Triple H back together. The fans would love it, although I’m not so sure Stewart Friesen, who drives for Spraker on Friday night at Albany-Saratoga, but runs a different car at Fonda, would be thrilled with the idea.

“I’d love to go back to Fonda and win eight features in a row,” said Varin. “But I’ve gotten smarter as I’ve gotten older. If I don’t have a dog that can win, I’m not getting in the fight.”

Although Varin admits Friesen is one of the top drivers in the Northeast, he also thinks the car that Friesen drives on Saturday nights is superior to most of the other equipment on the track.

“I think there are 10 other guys at Fonda who could win in that car,” Varin said.

A first for Bellinger

When the talk comes around to talented, young drivers, names like Tyler Dippel and Matt Pappa always crop up, but don’t forget Bodie Bellinger.

The Johnstown driver recorded the first modified win of his career at Albany-Saratoga last Friday night, holding off Jeremy Wilder.

“We got to lapped traffic and I saw Friesen, and then the caution came out and I never got off the top again,” Bellinger said. “I’ve got to thank my dad. He does the set-ups, and he’s great at what he does.”

Bellinger’s father is John, who was one darn-good driver himself in his prime, and he and his wife, Karen, have put a ton of time and money into developing Bodie’s career.

Bodie Bellinger was running slingshots against drivers like Bobby Hackel IV before moving up to a sportsman in 2009. That year, he won four features at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, and in 2011, he was the Glen Ridge sportsman champion.

Don’t forget, he was doing double-duty in 2011. He was running the sportsman on Friday night, and hauling out to Fulton to campaign a late model on Saturday. He also won three features at Fulton that year and finished third in points.

Last year, he was the Albany-Saratoga modified Rookie of the Year.

And now, he’s got his first mod­ified victory.

His father won five sportsman races at Albany-Saratoga from 1999-2003, and also sat in victory lane seven times at Fonda Speedway.

But he also took one of the worst flips I’ve ever seen, flipping down the front straightaway at Albany-Saratoga.

Another chance

If you missed Tony Stewart racing in the 410 sprints Thursday night at Fonda Speedway, you can see him Sunday night when the World of Outlaws hold their annual show at Lebanon Valley Speedway.

Stewart, who won two World of Outlaws features last year (at Lernerville and Oshweken in Ontario) took a hard tumble during Saturday night’s King’s Royal when he tangled with Steve Kinser. Iron­ically, Kinser drives one of the Tony Stewart Racing sprinters.

Another member of Stewart’s stable is Donny Schatz, who had nine wins this season. Daryn Pitt­man, who has seven victories, is the points leader.

The small block modifieds will be in action as the support division to the World of Outlaws. Racing begins at 6 p.m., and general admission is $25.

Around the tracks

Varin and Elmo Reckner put on a heck of a show last Friday at Glen Ridge, with Reckner coming away with his first victory of the season. Neither driver would give an inch in the closing laps of the race, and contact was made a couple of times. Reckner has been incredibly consistent at the Ridge this year, with eight top-three finishes in nine starts.

Ronnie Johnson’s engine woes continued Saturday night at Fonda, when he discovered a problem during his heat race and didn’t come out for the feature.

Jimmy Davis must have made a couple of changes with his Troyer modified, which he said had a “fourth-place set-up,” because he finished third Sunday at Utica Rome.

Glen Ridge will be running Twin 15s for sportsman as part of its racing card tonight.

Varin picked up a second-place finish at Five Mile Point on Wednesday. He crossed the finish line third, but was moved up when Danny Johnson was disqualified.

Andy Bachetti picked a good time to get back in victory lane at Lebanon Valley. After struggling for the last three weeks, Bachetti parlayed a good starting spot into his fifth win of the season, which was worth $5,000.

Mike Tholin drove to his second budget sportsman win of the year Friday at Albany-Saratoga, spoiling a good run by Brett Wright.

“The guys worked on the car right to the last minute,” said

Tholin in victory lane. “They said it would be fast, so I said, ‘OK, we’ll take it to the front.’­ ”

The victory put Tholin second in the points race, just 18 behind leader Jeremy Pitts.

Todd Stone is dominating the modified division at Devil’s Bowl, as he picked up his fifth win in nine starts Friday night. Two-time track champion Ron Proctor, who is still looking for his first win of the year, finished 10th after recovering from two wrecks. That’s Proctor’s worst finish in the last two years. He hadn’t finished worse than seventh since the beginning of the 2011 campaign.

Former professional wrestler Buff Bagwell will be making a personal apperance at Albany-Saratoga Speedway tonight. My immediate response is, why?

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