By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – Usually “Opening Day” for the season at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway consists of a single racing program with all divisions in competition, but this year it will be known as the “Opening Weekend” of racing with two days of competition scheduled with all divisions in action during the weekend stretch.
After a two month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic putting the area “On Pause”, Fonda Speedway will open its gates for the 69th consecutive year of competition with two days of racing on Saturday June 13 and Sunday, June 14. It will be the latest start to the season in Fonda Speedway history.
On Saturday, June 13 the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman will be competing in a 25 lap, $1,000 to win feature event while the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks will compete in a 20-lap, $800 to win event. The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modifieds will also compete in heats and feature events and there will be practice for any division looking for additional track time.
Gates on Saturday will open at 3:00 p.m. with hot laps at 6:00 p.m. and racing at 7:00 p.m. Pit admission will be $30 for a member and $35 for a non-member.
Then on Sunday, June 14 the Sunoco Modifieds will compete in a 30-lap event paying $2,400 to win, $500 for 10th, and $250 to start the event. Also on the racing card will be the Robert’s Towing & Recovery Street Stocks in a 15-lap $200 to win feature event, the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman will compete in a 15-lap event, and the Four Cylinder Cruisers will compete in a 15-lap event with single and dual cam winners being recognized.
Gates will open on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. with hot laps at 6:00 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. with pit admission $30 for a member and $35 for a non-member.
*Grandstand gates will be closed both nights due to New York State Regulations but both Saturday and Sunday events will be streamed live on Dirt Track Digest TV (www.dirttrackdigest.tv)
There will be a draw for starting positions and points will begin in all classes. Full purses can be seen on the Fonda Speedway website www.thefondaspeedway.com
In opening day events at Fonda held over the last 68 years, Jack Johnson leads the way with eight opening day victories in 1972, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1991, 1992, and 1994. Following close behind with seven opening day wins is Lou Lazzaro who won events in 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1977, and 1978.
Two drivers have taken home five opening day wins as Dave Lape (1981, 1984, 1989, 1993, and 1995) and Pete Corey (1955, 1956, 1959, 1962, and 1967) both accomplished the feat. Jeff Trombley has four opening day victories in 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2002 while Bobby Varin (2001, 2005, and 2010), and Stewart Friesen (2015, 2016, 2018) both have three wins. Jim Luke (1954, 1957), C.D. Coville (1979, 1980), Danny Johnson (1990, 2007), Pat Ward (1996, 2009), Stewart Friesen (2015, 2016), and Matt Sheppard (2014,2019) all have two wins apiece.
Drivers who have one victory in opening day events at Fonda are Buddy Shuman (1948), Chuck Kotwica (1953), Irv Taylor (1958), Bill Wimble (1960), Tom Kotary (1961), Ken Shoemaker (1965), Don Wayman (1968), Rene Charland (1970), Maynard Forrette (1973), Dave Pelczar (1974), Pep Pepicelli (1975), Jimmy Horton (1985), Bob McCreadie (1986), Mike Romano (1987), Dave Camara (1998), Brett Hearn (2003), Tim McCreadie (2004), Mitch Gibbs (2006), Ronnie Johnson (2011), Mike Mahaney (2012), and Justin Boehler (2017).
Since 1953, the ‘Track of Champions’ Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. Under the management of BD Motorsports Media LLC, the speedway will operate weekly on Saturday nights from April through August plus several special events. Fonda Speedway is located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds off New York State Thruway Exit No. 28 at 21 S. Bridge Street Fonda, NY 12068.
Fonda Speedway is on the web at www.thefondaspeedway.com. To learn more, call the office at 518.915.4395, like Fonda Speedway on Facebook www.facebook.com/thefondaspeedwy or follow on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy.