For the better part of two seasons, Ken Tremont Jr. has been struggling at Lebanon Valley Speedway.
He says he’s tried everything he can think of to be more competitive, to get back to the form that has accounted for a track record 120 big-block modified victories, and 13 track championships (12 outright, one shared).
But one human being can only take so much frustration, so Tremont has finally thrown in the towel.
He’s switching his chassis.
Tremont recently purchased a Troyer chassis, replacing his current Bicknell. He hopes to have the new chassis out in a week or two.
“A lot depends on when we get the motor,” said Tremont Tuesday night. “We’re about halfway done with the car. I’d say another week or two.”
He plans to run the new chassis at both Lebanon Valley and Albany-Saratoga, his Friday night home. Tremont has been to victory lane on two occasions at Albany-Saratoga, but on one of those nights, Brett Hearn opted to start at the rear of the field and take a shot at a $500 bonus.
“I needed to try something different,” said Tremont about the chassis switch. “I’ve got to change things up a bit. I’m staying on as the driver, so I guess everything else has to change. I’ve got to try something to see if we can get better.”
Tremonmt has seen how two of his Friday night rivals — Marc Johnson and Pete Britten — are getting around in their Troyers, which convinced him to make the change.
“The Bicknells are good people, and they’ve got a good car, but I’ve always had a good relationship with Billy [Troyer engineer Billy Colton], and I’m hoping I can get some better communication, sharing back and forth. I just need things to click better, and I’m not getting the handle on it,” Tremont said.
That’s especially frustrating at Lebanon Valley. which could probably be called “The House The Tremonts Built.” His father, Ken Sr., has been putting cars on the track since it opened, and Ken Jr. began his racing career at the Valley, taking one of his father’s back-up cars out and running at the rear of features.
Last year, Tremont had just one win at the Valley, and he’s winless this year. He’s also sitting fifth in points, which just adds to his frustration.
“We’re simply not fast enough,” he said. “We’ve made all kinds of adjustments to get the car to handle better. We could always use more power. When you’re not getting off the corners, it looks like you don’t have any power.”
But that’s not the only problem, according to Tremont.
“Ther’s no ingenuity anymore,” he said. “Very few people are doing their own thinking. Everyone has the same specific shocks and springs, and it evens up the playing field.
“When you run the series [Super DIRTCar series], you can try stuff and it shortens up the learning curve over guys like me, who only run a couple of times a week.”
Making a house call
Danny “The Doctor” Johnson walked off with $10,000 Wednesday night by winning “Big Show 6” at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Atlhough “The Doctor” has been one of the top drivers on the DIRTCar circuit for over 30 years, Wednesday night’s win was his first at Albany-Saratoga. In fact, as far as I can tell, that’s one of the few times he’s even finished in the top five.
But his stops at Albany-Saratoga have always been few and far between, even when the late C.J. Richards was running his “Super Shootout Series” and later the “Hot Summer Nights Series.”
Johnson inherited the lead Wednesday on lap 34 of the 100-lapper when Justin Haers biew his water pump, and “The Doctor” cruised the rest of the way. Following him across the finish line were Bill Decker, Matt Sheppard, Britten and Stewart Friesen
Although the win was Johnson’s first at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, he does have a win at Devil’s Bowl, which was Albany-Saratoga’s sister track when the Champlain Valley Racing Association was in existence. Johnson pulled into the Bowl for a 100-lapper in 1997. got a ride in Paul Parker’s 73 and won the feature in a car that he had never driven before.
Around the tracks
Fonda Speedway will be holding a memorial race for Danny Ody Saturday, running the sportsman feature in his honor. Ody, who died in January, had 100 victories during his career, racing everything from modifieds to mini-sprints. There wasn’t a car that Ody wouldn’t drive, given the opportunity.
Despite having a commendable record as a driver, Ody is best remembered as a racing historian, who loved nothing better than finding the remnants of an old speedway buried in the weeds somewhere.
Bobby Varin won last Saturday’s unique challenge race, held in honor of the late Bill Anagostopulos, at Fonda. Varin defeated Friesen in the last leg of the challenge and earned the top prize of $500, which was donated by Dirt Track Digest.
Carole and Alton Palmer helped Dave Constantino pick up his fifth sportsman win of the year at Fonda last weekend., Constantino had wrecked his own car the week before, but was behind the wheel of one of the Palmer Service Center team cars last Saturday.
“The car is white, instead of silver, but it still has the 7 on it,” said Constantino, referring to the number 76 that Palmer campaigns, in victory lane after his win. “There is no way I would have ever had a car ready for tonight, so I have to thank Carole and Alton, who said to come up and take their car and win some races.”
A.J. Romano did serious damage to his modified during a flip during warmups Saturday at Fonda. He was checked out at a hospital the next day and was pretty sore, but nothing was broken.
Wednesday night’s GRIT Series race for 602 sportsman at Canandaigua Speedway was canceled because of flooding at the track. Rocky Warner, who finished fifth in the series race at I-88 Speedway in Afton on July 24, leads the series with 393 points, giving him a 30-point cushion over another local driver, Connor Cleveland. In six tour races, Warner has three wins, two seconds and a fifth. Warner is also trying to nail down the sportsman championship at Fonda, where he has a 41-point lead over Ricky Quick.
Johnson wasn’t the only first-time winner at Malta this week. Jeff Strunk drove the Salero 4* car to his first career win last Friday.
Alissa Cody came away with her third top-five finish of the season in last Friday’s limited sportsman feature, finishing fourth.
Earlier this week, Weedsport Speedway announced that the Hall of Fame 100, which will be run Thursday, will pay $10,000 to win and $500 to take the green flag.