While spring track conditions greeted the race teams and fans at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park Sunday, the general consensus was it was just great to be back at a racetrack.
Yes, the racing surface was rough, but it was raceable. Modified feature winner Mike Ricci commented about the conditions saying that while it was a little rough, he has raced on much worse.
Give the Glen Ridge track crew and management credit. With all the rain Friday, it was the right decision to postpone the race from its scheduled run Saturday to Sunday.
The car count was a little disappointing for opening day, but somewhat understandable. There were a few of the GRMP regulars missing from the lineups mainly because their cars are not ready yet. It was nice to see some veteran invaders like Ricci, Matt Sheppard and Jeff Brownell try their hand at the track.
Sheppard and Brownell got off to a rough start in the modified feature getting caught up in a first-turn, first-lap jingle. But it added to the excitement as they battled back from the back and often opened holes for each other to drive through. Both were in the top five when Brownell’s spectacular run ended with a flat left rear tire with two to go.
There were a number of nice opening day runs at GRMP.
Don Bellen arrived a little late and had to mount tires at the track, forcing him to miss his heat race. With two laps of practice under his belt, Bellen was on his way to the front when he clipped an implement tire in turn two and lost a wheel. He continued on before snapping the right front spindle, sending his car off its wheels. The other drivers did a good job avoiding his disabled ride and avoiding a situation that could have wiped out the majority of the field. Instead the only other car retired from the accident was Jeremiah Munson’s No. 351.
A driver who seems to have found a fountain of youth at Glen Ridge is John “The Dancing Bear” Constantino. Even though he needed a push to get his car running, once it got going, it was headed to the front. Constantino was in a tight battle for the runner-up spot with Brian Jones in the budget sportsman feature when he was slowed with a flat tire in the closing laps.
The fan count was good for the opening day race. The bleachers were probably the fullest I have seen at the track.
The much-anticipated opening of the 2008 racing season at Fonda Speedway is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday with the traditional opening day 40-lap Ice Jam. The race normally draws some of the top traveling teams in the Northeast to the Track of Champions.
I hope the weather forecasters are incorrect this weekend as they are predicting a high probability of rain Friday, Saturday and into Sunday. I think promoter Ric Lucia’s idea of starting the race card at 4 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. as has been done in the past is a good idea. Day time tracks are dustier and don’t lead to much passing. The later start time would allow the track crews more time to get the surface ready and keep the track tackier.
There also will be a $750-to-win Sportsman Open event on tap Saturday at Fonda along with warm-ups scheduled for all divisions.
Let’s Go Racing
Look in today’s edition of The Leader-Herald for the annual Let’s Go Racing supplement.
Included in this year’s edition are schedules from all the local stock car, go kart and motocross tracks.