LOU LAZZARO MEMORIAL NIGHT COMING TO THE FONDA SPEEDWAY THIS SATURDAY, JULY 24
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – This Saturday, July 24 at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway, the “Lou Lazzaro Memorial” will be held honoring the “Incomparable” Lou Lazzaro as Jim King used to call him. Lazzaro was a fan favorite; a four-time track champion at Fonda in 1964, 1969, 1977, 1978; and a winner of 113 feature events during his career at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds half mile facility placing him second on the Modified Division All-Time Win List.
There has been a total of six “Lou Lazzaro Memorial” events held since Lazzaro’s passing, the first one on 5/6/2000 at the Fonda Speedway where Seth Gano scored the first win of his career at the “Track of Champions.” Matt DeLorenzo is a two-time winner of the event at Fonda on 4/29/2006 and 5/15/2010, while Willy Decker (7/25/2007 at Utica Rome), Stewart Friesen (5/31/2014 at Fonda), and Ronnie Johnson (5/21/2016 at Fonda) all have one victory apiece in the prestigious event.
Lou Lazzaro Memorial T-Shirts from Bob Hilbert Sportswear will also be on sale this Saturday at Fonda with an original design by Dan Pilat on the shirt.
The “Thunder on the Thruway Series” events will highlight the racing program including a 44-lap, $4,444-to-win “Lou Lazzaro Memorial” Sunoco Modified feature plus lap money and heat-race money (see the complete list of sponsors and awards elsewhere in this release), the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman $1,500 to win event, and the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock $1,000 to win event.
Also on the racing card will be the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman and the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders with the green flag to start the festivities waving at 7:00 p.m.
One “Thunder on the Thruway” Series event has been held so far in 2021 at both the Fonda and Utica Rome Speedways with Stewart Friesen taking wins at both tracks in the Modified division, Jason Greco (Fonda) and Matt Janczuk (Utica Rome) winning the two Crate 602 Sportsman events, and Nick Stone winning the Pro Stock features at both tracks.
The Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club will be decorated for Christmas for their Christmas in July event this Saturday, July 24. Deb Ward will be making checkered flag stockings that will be filled with goodies by Jann McGaffin. The Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club is located under the covered grandstands at gate two so be sure to have all your children sign up with Ashley Abeling for all the giveaways.
EXCERPTS ON LOU LAZZARO FROM THE AMSTERDAM RECORDER ON 5/11/2000 BY RON SZCZERBA
Lou Lazzaro raced his last event at the Fonda Speedway on Saturday, April 29, 2000. He qualified in the consolation and was credited with a 25th place finish after pulling off the track on lap seventeen of the thirty-lap feature. Lazzaro passed away two days later on Monday, May 1, 2000, at the Albany Medical Center succumbing to a stroke.
According to family and friends, Fonda is where Lou wanted to be when he closed his eyes for the final time. This was a perfect final episode to his racing career. He towed his car to the track, qualified, raced the feature, drove his car to the pits, exited the car, took off his helmet and said good-bye to the sport he loved.
In the late sixties Lou Lazzaro was winning so much that the fans in the grandstands constantly booed him. What a difference about thirty years makes.
Since then, racecars have gone from coupes to Gremlin’s and Vega’s, to the current body styles of today. The fans in the grandstands have also changed as they went wild and gave Lazzaro a standing ovation when he won what would be his final feature at Fonda on May 15, 1999.
That was win number 113 which is second on the all time win list at the Track of Champions. And the cheers were deafening every week when Jim King would announce when the “Incomparable Lou Lazzaro” would come out onto the speedway.
EXCERPTS FROM THE JUNE 1999 EDITION OF REDLINE MOTORSPORTS MAGAZINE BY RON SZCZERBA
LOU LAZZARO “THE LEGEND”
The first time Lou ever raced was at a track up near Richfield Springs, NY. His nickname “The Monk” came as a mistake. “Somebody started calling me “The Monk” and I never corrected him on it, so it has stuck with me ever since,” Lazzaro said.
His car number four came about because there was originally a four-partnership deal in the car. “Before I had even gone racing there was a number four out of the garage that I had started hanging around and when he gave up racing, I took over the number,” he said.
On May 15, 1999, Lazzaro won the modified feature at the Fonda and for him it was a special win, although as he said they are all special and he felt really good about it. “The fans at Fonda are a great bunch of fans and I like winning for them, for my crew, and for myself.”
Winning felt really good to Lazzaro and he didn’t think that it had been that long (June 30, 1994) since he last won a feature at Fonda. “The time went by awful fast,” he said.
Everyone will have different ways of remembering Lou Lazzaro, and the memories will no doubt last forever. And racing at Fonda Speedway has never been the same.
Lou Lazzaro Memorial Night at the Track of Champions featuring the Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series Notes!
Thunder on the Thruway Series Sunoco Modifieds – 44 laps, $4,444 to win plus bonuses and awards!
Thunder on the Thruway Series Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman – 25 laps, $1,500 to win plus bonuses and awards!
Thunder on the Thruway Series Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks – 20 laps, $1,000 to win plus bonuses and awards!
Montgomery County Office for Aging Limited Sportsman
Fonda Fair Four Cylinders
Gates Open: 4 p.m.
Drivers’ Meeting: 5:40 p.m.
Hot Laps: 6 p.m.
Racing: 7 p.m.
Grandstand Admission: $15 Adults – $13 Seniors (ages 65 and up) – Kids 11 and under FREE
Drive-In: $70 (includes up to four passes) – Link: http://fonda-speedway.ticketleap.com/july-24th-drive…/
Stream Live: FloRacing (www.floracing.tv)
Pit Admission: $35 (Non-Members) or $30 (Fonda Members)
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 the speedway on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy.
LOU LAZZARO MEMORIAL AWARDS & SPONSORS
|1||Operation at Ease||$50.00||4|
|4||Junior Bianco & The Dogs||$44.00||last|
|5||Jann – lap 21 for 1st win on 5/21/51||$44.00||20|
|7||Action Track USA – Tobias Racing||$50.00||7|
|9||Elmo’s Pit Stop||$50.00||9|
|10||The Lape Family||$22.00||4|
|11||Fonda Speedway Facebook Memories Page||$44.00||11|
|12||Steve and Luanna Barhydt||$20.00||1|
|12||Jumpin’ Jack Johnson Facebook Page||$44.00||12|
|13||“The Hitman” Joseph Hoffman||$20.00||8|
|15||Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series||$25.00||15|
|16||Leo & Terri Mohrman||$50.00||12|
|18||Mortenson Motorsports 1M/1B||$20.00||18|
|20||The Lape Family||$22.00||4|
|21||Steve and Luanna Barhydt||$20.00||1|
|23||FOX23 Fast Track||$50.00||2|
|26||Aaron Burton Racing #26A||$26.00||4|
|29||Custom by Bob||$40.00||4|
|30||Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour||$44.00||16|
|31||Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series||$25.00||20|
|32||Rick & Carla Rudolph||$44.00||4|
|33||Larry Wrobel Sr.||$44.00||2|
|34||Mike & Bonnie Reuss||$20.00||7|
|35||Joe Achzet – Gates Racing Family||$81.00||3|
|38||Billie Jo Haskell – in memory of her father who was a big “Barefoot Bob” fan||$20.00||9|
|39||Pete Broderson & “Ruby”||$40.00||2|
|40||Jungle Jim & Rebecca Mosher from Lake Luzerne||$40.00||4|
|Hometown Pub & Grub||$250.00|
|Tommy & Tara (Evans) Farrell||$250.00|
|Sanders Motorsports in Memory of Ed Pieniazek||$250.00|
|#PBR #TY for the kids||$250.00|
|Fastest Lap||In Memory of Jack Johnson||$100.00|
|Halfway Leader||Picture Perfect Pools & Spas||$200.00|
|Halfway 4th Place||Picture Perfect Pools & Spas||$200.00|
|Hard Charger||Parks’ Companies Inc||$500.00|
|Hard Luck||Parks’ Companies Inc||$250.00|
|First Car DNF||Gasketcase||$20.00|
|First DKM Car over the line||Mike & Bonnie Reuss||$20.00|
|Last Car on the Lead Lap||Out of the Fast Lane – Brady Houser||$104.00|
|First Car a lap down||Nick Lazzaro & Family||$100.00|
|Truffle Shuffel presented by Hazer’s World||$250.00|
|Mike Bohling||P17 on Lap 17||$100.00|
|6H Hurlburt Race Team||P6 on Lap 6||$50.00|
|Jumpin’ Jack Johnson FB Page||P12 on lap 12||$44.00|
|Fonda 50/50 Girls||Consi Winner||$50.00|
|LEW BOYD||COASTAL 181 Cup Trophy|
|LOU LAZZARO MEMORIAL DASH 4 JUMPIN’ JACK|
|Dana Palombo & Family||$444.00|
|Gibbons Racing Brothers B24 & 427||$400.00|
|Jim Passino Trucking||$200.00|
|Matt & Rose Traudt||$100.00|