Usually at this time of year, the only news of interest is the season-ending, double-dip weekend at Fonda Speedway.
But this isn’t any typical year.
Mike Sowle, who endeared himself to area stock car drivers throughout the year by increasing purses at all three area tracks, wants to take over Glen Ridge Motorsports Park next season.
Sowle, who was bitten by the racing bug in 1988, when he became a sponsor for Mike Romano, will finally get to be a promoter.
“It’s always something I wanted to do,” Sowle said earlier this week. “And let me tell you, Glen Ridge is going to be flawless.”
And let me tell you, Sowle has the money to back up that claim.
But first, there are some issues to iron out. According to current promoter Pete Demitraszek, he and Sowle met with Jim and Jeff Hayes, who own the property, on Wednesday night and nothing has been signed yet.
“We’re still in the middle of talking,” said Demitrasek Thursday. “I’d like to do something with Mike, but if we’re going to be partners, it’s going to be 50-50. I’ve got some money invested, too. We could use an influx of money, but I told Mike I don’t want to lose control.”
Sowle has big plans for Glen Ridge. One of the first things he did was contact DIRTCar about getting a sanction. Then, he wants Glen Ridge to move back to Sunday nights, because he doesn’t want to butt heads with Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
But he’s not going to butt heads at all. Sowle also contacted the management team at Albany-Saratoga and wants to set up a Friday-Sunday series for both modifieds and sportsman between the two tracks. The two series will have their own point funds, and Sowle said this week that he’s already got enough sponsorship to pay at least $15,000 to the modified winner.
“We’re going to break ground as soon as we can,” he said of all the improvements he wants to do at the Ridge. “I want everything done before the spring, so I don’t have to worry about wet weather.”
The improvements include moving spectator seating to what is now the open field off the backstretch — he’s got a 1,300-seat set of bleachers coming up from Florida for that. Spectator parking will also be moved, allowing the pits to be expanded to twice their existing size, and new concessions areas will be built. He’s also wants to resurface the track as soon as the 2013 season is completed.
“We’re going to totally re-do the place,” said Sowle, who is going to be sponsoring activities at both Super DIRT Week and the World Finals in Charlotte, N.C., this fall. “We’re going to get Glen Ridge to where it should be.”
But Demitraszek wants to be a little more cautious.
“This isn’t just about promoting,” he said. “I’ve got seven or eight families who have part-time jobs here, and they rely on that extra income. I have to think aboout them.”
Sowle will have to show a little patience, anyway, because there are still a couple of racing nights left on the Ridge’s schedule. The remainder of the “Sowle 60” will be run on Sept. 27, and the track will also be hosting the 602 Nationals, which pay $1,500 to win, on Oct. 19.
Then, the dirt will start to fly.
If you know Mike Sowle, he doesn’t know the meaning of halfway. It looks like the little track on the hill could become the Taj Mahal of the hill.
Rumor mill busy
One of the reasons Sowle
decided to change to Sunday night racing is because he’s heard that Howie Commander, who leases
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, is working on a multi-year deal with Bruce Richards, whose family owns the speedway.
According to the rumors, Commander and Richards are working on a three-year deal that would carry through the 2016 season.
“I’ve heard the same rumors you have,” said Commander. “We were supposed to have a conference call [Tuesday], but it never happened. All I know right now is that we’ll be back for 2014, for sure.”
Richards verified that negotiations between he and Commander are on-going, but as of Wednesday, he wasn’t ready to make any announcement.
Back to Fonda
The Track of Champions will conclude its racing season Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday’s program, sponsored by Morris Ford, will include a
50-lap feature for modifieds, as well as the Empire Super Sprints, 602 sportsman, street stocks and four-cylinders. Racing begins at 2 p.m., and general admission is $25.
On Sunday, Palmer’s Service will present the 100-lap modified finale, along with 602 sportsman and a 30-lap pro stock challenge. Racing begins at 4 p.m.. General admission is $28.
Around the tracks
Matt DeLorenzo won last Saturday’s modified feature at Fonda on Dave Lape Tribute Night.
DeLorenzo brought out a car that he had used early in the season, and finally got it straightened out. “We ran this car for half a season before putting it away,” he said in victory lane. “We found a few problems with it and decided to bring it back out tonight. We hit on the setup just right.”
Kenny Gates chalked up his 52nd career pro stock win, breaking the track record of 51 set by Todd Hoffman.
Todd Stone and Jessey Mueller split the Twin 50s at Devil’s Bowl last Sunday to wrap up the season at the Vermont track. Stone’s win was his 10th of the season. Joey Williams of Scotia finished third in the first feature and second in the nightcap.
Williams did record his first win of the season on Saturday, in one of the special 10-lap shootouts for non-winners.