If you’re a Frank Sinatra fan, you’ll recognize the lyrics “Regrets, I’ve had a few . . . ” from “My Way.”
Replace the word “regrets” with “wrecks” and you just about sum up Jeff Trombley’s miserable weekend.
Trombley, one of the nicest guys you‘ll ever meet at a race track, spent the week putting his cars back together after back-to-back wrecks at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night and Fonda on Saturday.
The wreck at Fonda drew a lot of attention, because Trombley barrel-rolled down the front straight after getting caught up in someone’s else miscue in the fourth turn.
But as bad as that wreck looked, the car and driver came away literally unscatched.
“Two guys in front of me starting wrecking, and I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Trombley Thursday. “But it wasn’t really as bad as it looked. I must have kept landing on my head because I didn’t even break the front axle, or bent a rear shock, nothing. It beat me up a little bit, but I’ll have the car back at Fonda Saturday.
“I’m getting too old for this,” he added with a laugh.
There was a time that the 55-year-old Trombley was one of the area’s best drivers. Remember that potent Altair-sponsored 21J that was so tough to beat? He won back-to-back modified point championships at Fonda Speedway in 2001 and 2002, and also qualified in the top three for the October Classic at the New York State fairgounds in Syracuse on two separate occasions.
But in recent years, wins have been few and far between. He went five years without a win at Fonda before finally finding his way back to victory lane in July 2011, and he hasn’t been first under a checkered flag in a modified feature at Albany-Saratoga since July 2012.
“It’s not as much fun as it used to be, that’s for sure,” Trombley said. “But it’s what I enjoy doing. I love going to the track and hanging out, and I’ve got a couple of guys who work on the car, and we hang out in the garage. Winning is just a bonus.
“There was a time when I lived for racing. Every dime I could muster up, I put into the car. But I don’t live that way anymore.”
It doesn’t help Trombley’s bank account when he has a weekend like he did last Friday and Saturday.
“Johnny [Grant] helps me with the motors, and I’ve got a couple of people here and there who help out a little, so the car really pays for itself,” he said. “I’m running used stuff all the time, and normally, I can spend what the car brings in. We can stay about even, until we have a weekend like we did last weekend.”
Trombley will be back in action this weekend, hoping for that little bit of racing luck that will put him back in victory lane. But he’d probably settle for keeping his cars in one piece.
“Too many more bad weeks will change my outlook in a hurry,” he said. “It’s not easy working on the car when you’re sore.”
One more opener
The area stock car racing scene will hit full capacity Sunday when Glens Ridge Motorsports Park kicks off its campaign.
The Ridge will be running on Sunday nights this year, which new track manager Mike Sowle admits makes him a little nervous.
“They’ve tried to run on Sundays before, and it didn’t work the first two times,” he said.
But when Sowle took over as track manager last fall, he quickly decided to switch from Fridays to Sundays to avoid a direct conflict with Albany-Saratoga Speedway. And because Albany-Saratoga, Fonda and Glen Ridge are running under a DIRT sanction this year, Sowle hopes he’ll pick up a couple of more cars on Sundays.
Bobby Varin will return in the Nelson 85 to defend his track championship in the modified division, but he knows he’s going to face better competition this season. Two of the drivers who have said they’ll be at Glen Ridge on Sunday nights are multi-time track champion Ken Tremont Jr. and Marc Johnson, who won last Friday night’s season opener at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
“I think we’re going to have a great field of cars, and we’re going to keep the show moving right along,” said Sowle. “I want to put an end to the crash fests, which this track has developed a name for.”
Pete Dmitraszek, who was the promoter at Glen Ridge last season and kept the track going during some rough times, will be handling numerous duties this year, but his top priority will be track preparation.
“Pete has the track in beautiful shape,” said Sowle.
Fans going to the Ridge on Sunday will find additional seating, new concessions and a ton of new signage, as Sowle has been busy during the winter.
Don Greco of Checkers Out Racing in Johnstown will be running the concessions, and according to Sowle, they’re planning on having a special item every week.
Racing on Sunday is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Around the tracks
It’s obvious that new Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo is taking tech seriously because three more drivers were disqualified last Saturday
Ivan Joslin won the pro stock feature, but was disqualified for having an illegal distributor, giving the victory to Nick Stone. In Joslin’s defense, he wasn’t cheating; he was using a distributor that he thought was legal without knowing the full extent of the rules.
Johnny Bradt and Randy Miller were both disqualified in the street stock feature. Dave Horning Sr. got his 39th career win when Bradt was taken down.
The CRSA sprints will be on the card at Fonda Saturday. This will be the eighth time the CRSA sprints have been at Fonda since 2009; Danny Varin has been to victory lane four times in the Dan Cuomo-owned car.
Do you think it’s just a coincidence that the winners in the top three classes at Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Johnson, Brett Wright and Rob Yetman) also posted the fastest times in their respective divisions at the previous week’s test session?
Johnson’s win at Albany-Saratoga bodes well for the future, as he’s said all along that he wants to take a run at the track championship, after finishing third last year, trailing only Brett Hearn and Tremont. Johnson is running the same 2012 Troyer he had last year, powered by a small block built by his father.
There were 125 cars in the pits for opening night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. That should keep promoter Howie Commander happy.
Condolences go out to New York State Stock Car Association president Mark Krosky, whose father died last week.