If you know anything about Bobby Varin, you know he hates to pass up on a race that pays $10,000 to win, especially when it’s only a couple of hours away.
But while many of the area’s top drivers were hauling to Weedsport Thursday for the Hall of Fame 100, Varin had more important things to do.
He was putting up a tent.
“I’ve got two weddings to set up for this weekend,” said Varin, who is the operations manager of Supply Wagon Rentals in Johnstown. “Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to be going up there. But I’ve got to do what pays the bills.”
Besides, Varin had already made two road trips this week — both to Accord Speedway for the “Battle at the Bullring.” He was there on Tuesday, when the modifieds finished qualitying before the feature was rained out, and went back on Wednesday, driving the Dave Zubikowski No. 11 to a seventh-place finish, despite starting 22nd.
Because Varin had made it clear when he answered the phone Thursday that he “only had a minute — these guys are waiting for me to help with the tent,” I got right to the point. Does it bother him that he isn’t going to win the modified championship at Fonda Speedway?
“Who said I’m not going to win the championship?” he said. “I’m 12 points out, and if I win the last three races and he [two-time defending champion Stewart Friesen] finishes second in all three, we’ll tie.”
That would mean that Varin has to finish in front of Friesen in all three races, something he hasn’t done since June 21.
On June 21, Varin finished 10th, and Friesen was 12th. The next week, Friesen debuted a new TEO chassis, and has finished ahead of Varin in all six races since, winning four of the six.
“We’ve had a lot of problems,” said Varin, who campaigns the Jake Spraker-owned 1J at Fonda. “We had some motor problems, and last week, we had an electrical issue that put us at the rear of the field. Twice since Stewart brought out the new car, we’ve had to go to the rear.
“We’ve gone though six engines at Fonda this year. But I’m still in it.”
When you consider that Varin escaped a devastating injury when he broke his neck in a skiing accident in January, it’s amazing that he’s even behind the wheel of a car, much less contending for his seventh championship at Fonda.
And if you know anything about Bobby Varin, he’s not going to go down without a fight.
The Hall of Fame 100 at Weedsport was the third Super DIRTCar Series race of the week, and the first two never produced a pass for the lead.
On Monday night, Danny Johnson went flag-to-flag in the 100-lapper at Merrittville, and on Tuesday, Billy Decker drew the pole and led all 100 laps in the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals at Ramsomville.
Brett Hearn took himself right out of contention for the series championship, finishing 11th at Merrittville and 20th at Ransomville.
The series will pull into Lebanon Valley Speedway on Thursday for the annual “Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A.”, which pays $17,500 to win, the biggest short-track payday in the Northeast. Lebanon Valley regulars dominated the race last year, with Andy
Bachetti taking the top prize, JR Heffner finishing second and Hearn third.
Hearn has won 13 Super DIRTCar Series races at the Valley during his career, including a win in 2012, when he returned from a two-week layoff because of a viral infection to come from 23rd and take home the $17,500.
Around the tracks
As already mentioned, Fonda Speedway has just two nights of point racing left — Saturday and the BBL Night of Features on Aug. 16. Then, the Track of Champions will be dark for a month.
Hearn finally got back to victory lane at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday, recording his first victory since June 27, a string of five races. During the 2012 season, Hearn went nine weeks without a win (no, I’m not counting the two races he skipped when he was sick), but during that nine-race span, he did have six runner-up finishes.
The battle for the modified point championship at Lebanon Valley is really heating up. Going into Saturday night, Heffner is the leader with 714, but Hearn (696) and Donnie Corellis (685) are still in striking distance. Don’t forget, Hearn also skipped a race to attend his daughter’s college graduation. Add that race, and he’d be ahead of Heffner.
Jessey Mueller put on a show last Friday in the third annual C.J. Richards Memorial at Devil’s Bowl. Mueller blew his motor during qualifying, and purchased a spare motor in the pits. His crew then changed the motor, finishing about 10 minutes before the feature went out. Mueller then came from the rear to win the 67-lap feature, finally getting the lead on lap 61.
Rob Maxon recorded his third win of the year in the limited sportsman division at Albany-Saratoga Speedway last weekend, forcing him to graduate to the regular sportsman division.
The modifieds will be competing for a top prize of $3,000 tonight at Albany-Saratoga.