By THOMAS COUGHLIN Jr.
For The Recorder
First off, I would like to give you a complete list of the lucky individuals that were honored last Saturday at the Fonda Speedway Museum with the second annual Bruce Dostal Dedication to Fonda Speedway Museum Awards: Frank Blanchard, Mike, Patty and Anthony Cardamone, Corey White, Chuck Congdon and Shawn Chiuminate. For whatever reason, I did not see one press release that listed all of this valuable group.
This past Wednesday, Fonda held what was billed as “The Jack” as a 50-lap tribute race for modifieds to former track champion Jack Johnson. As usual, many in the crowd thought that Stewart Friesen would have no problem scoring the win on this night. Even with Mike Mahaney and Matt Sheppard starting up front, the question of the night was on what lap Friesen would take the lead. Well, that moment never happened as Mahaney won by a large margin over track points leader Tim Fuller, Friesen, Sheppard and Bobby Varin.
Due to a rain out in early July, the Hondo Classic for the pro stock division was rescheduled to this same night. Kelley Keefe and her daughter Kaitlyn again did a tremendous job in securing sponsorship for lap leaders and finishing positions. This may have been the most exciting feature of the night as eventual winner Nick Stone fought back and forth with early race leader Chuck Dumblewski until the very end.
Dumblewski had a not-so-pleasant meeting with the fourth turn wall on Saturday night, but burned the midnight oil to be ready for the Hondo. Dumblewski ran a great race in his Frank’s Heavy Duty Truck Repair No. 7 leading for many laps, but Stone was able to make the pass with the Stone Motorsports/Gibby’s Diner No. 27 on a restart. The top six of Stone, Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Dean Charbonneau, Jason Casey and Ivan Joslin put on a great side-by-side, nose-to-tail battle to the very end.
The GRIT Series race for the 602 sportsman had an interesting entry. Ryan Harrison, from the United Kingdom, made his debut in a 602 sportsman as he qualified the backup car of Bobby Hackel IV. Harrison has visited the U.S. for the past few summers. In past years he has driven in the mini mod division at Fulton Speedway. Harrison’s plans were to be at Albany-Saratoga Speedway Friday night and if all goes well he will be at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park on Sunday. I kept hearing the announcers talk about Griffen Mansmith in the sportsman feature and how he is 14 years old. Not to take anything away from the young Broadalbin-Perth student, who is gaining more knowledge every time out, but Charlie Tibbitts is also in that same age group. All three of these new drivers scored top-20 finishes in the tough 30-lap feature.
With the Fonda Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame recently inducting their new members, don’t forget that the New York State Stock Car Association is taking nominations and suggestions on those that should be inducted into the NYSSCA Hall of Fame. If you have someone that you feel is truly worthy of this honor, please gather their statistics, reasons for being eligible and any information together. Then get all of that to any NYSSCA officer or board member as soon as possible..
Fonda will have a regular program tonight of modifieds, 602 sportsman, pro stocks, limited sportsman, street stocks and cruisers.
Glen Ridge will be holding a fan appreciation Night along with a meet and greet Sunday. I believe that this is before the races start, so be sure to get there early. Most drivers will have pictures or hero cards to sign and hand out, or you can always bring your own photos or memorabilia to be signed. Pit gate opens at 3:30 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 4 p.m.
Utica-Rome Speedway also has Autograph Night Sunday, with gates opening at 4:30 p.m.
Dodge City Speedway has a regular program planned for next Friday.
The CRSA winged sprints will be at Albany-Saratoga next Friday and on the following Tuesday, Aug. 15, Brett Deyo will present The Stampede at ’Toga with a 50-lap Short Track Super Series modified race and a King Of Dirt sportsman race. Deyo was in attendance at Fonda talking to drivers about his upcoming event. Wednesday, Aug. 16 will be used as a rain dated if needed.