Hall of Famer Bob Savoie, who died on Dec. 16, 2014, will be honored at Glen Ridge Motorsports on July 10.
The tribute night has been in the works for a while, and is coming to fruition through the work of Savoie’s son, Jason, Steve Wagoner and track photographer Bob Lansing.
Savoie, who was inducted into the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame with the Class of 2013, won the last modified race of his career at Glen Ridge on Aug. 2, 2013, in Wagoner’s car.
“I had been driving the red No. 5 a little bit, but when Bob blew his big block, I told him he could drive my car,” Wagoner said this week. “He got in it, and the second week out, he won.”
Wagoner, who began working in Savoie’s garage when he was 12 years old, has been racing a vintage car designed after Savoie’s yellow No. 5 at Glen Ridge.
“Our relationship was real close,” Wagoner said. “I was with Bob for 25 years, and he was like a father to me. Jason and I built the vintage car as a tribute to Bob.”
Part of the Bob Savoie Tribute Night will include a Dash for Cash for modifieds, with a total purse of $1,000. Five drivers who will be chosen at the drivers’ meeting will compete in a 10-lap dash.
Prior to the feature, the No. 5 starting position will be left open, and Wagoner’s vintage car will pace the field.
Wagoner admits it will be an emotional night.
“Trying to race now, without Bob around, has been difficult,” Wagoner said. “But this is the way Bob would have wanted it.”
Big Show 7
One of the biggest races of the season will be held Tuesday night when Albany-Saratoga Speedway hosts Brett Hearn’s Big Show 7.
Although Hearn’s annual show is part of the Super DIRT Series, the Big Show is always something special. This year, Fox NASCAR analyst Kenny Wallace will be on hand to sign autographs, and also to race a modified.
With an increased purse, the winner will receive $10,000, while the regular Super DIRT Series purse pays $6,000 to the winner.
Last year, Danny Johnson recorded his first career win at the Malta track in Big Show 6. Hearn sat in victory lane after Big Show 5 in 2013, and Bobby Varin drove Andy Romano’s Glen Ridge car to a win in 2012, the first season that Hearn moved the race from Orange County Speedway to Albany-Saratoga.
With the full complement of Super DIRT series followers towing in, there are probably a dozen drivers who could walk off with the $10,000 top prize, but I’m going to put my money on Tremont Jr.
It’s been a long time since Tremont has won such a lucrative race. His last huge payday came in 2005, when he won the Mr. Dirt Track USA at Lebanon Valley and walked out with $17,500.
But he’s been dynamite at Albany-Saratoga this season. In nine starts, he’s been in the top three seven times (two wins, three seconds, two thirds) and as much as everyone has been complaining about track conditions this year, Tremont has kept quiet and gone out and done his job.
In the pits
Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo announced this week that he’s going to turn back the clock and move the pits back into the infield.
Sitting in the covered grandstands and watching the activity in the pits was a rite of passage for Fonda Speedway fans, who could see everything, from tire changes to altercations. When the races were over, fans would stream across the track to get a closer look at the cars and the stars that they idolized.
But as racing went into the late 20th century and many drivers started using the bigger, enclosed haulers, sight lines were blocked and eventually, the pits were moved to their present location east of the track between the third and fourth turns.
But DeLorenzo wants to enhance the fan experience at Fonda, his primary reason for bringing the cars back into the infield on the old dragstrip.
“It’s time to spice things up a little and time to make Fonda Speedway what it used to be,” DeLorenzo said. “It’s all trial and error right now, but I really hope that it all works out and that everybody from the fans to the drivers will like it.”
Around the tracks
Albany-Saratoga Speedway will be running double modified features tonight — the first event will be the held-over feature from a rainout on June 12 — as well as a King of Dirt pro-stock series race.
Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will be having another $5 Friday tonight, as well as kiddie rides.
Ron Proctor of Charlton, who finished third in Devil’s Bowl’s modified feature last weekend, has moved to the top of the NASCAR Vermont state Division I standings.
The first race in Devil’s Bowl’s dirt series will be held Sunday, with racing beginning at 6 p.m.
Johnny Lutes Jr. has to be recognized for his stick-to-itiveness after recording the first victory of his 17-year modified career last weekend at Glen Ridge. The motor that is in the car was built by John Lutes Sr.