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Racing Around

Varin’s plans up in the air

June 19, 2008
By James A. Ellis, The Leader-Herald
Three-time modified track champion Bobby Varin is again on top in the points standings at Fonda Speedway.

The veteran driver holds a four-point lead over Pat Ward heading into Saturday’s race program that features the second leg of the NMX Thunder Series, a 40-lap, $4,000-to-win race for modifieds.

But that is all Varin knows for sure.

After last Saturday’s race program, car owner Jake Spraker stated that he was pulling the No. 1J from competition at Fonda.

“The car will be either in the garage or at another track, possibly Fulton, this week,” Spraker said. “The stuff is for sale.”

It seems a disagreement over points and handicapping from the May 24 Thunder Series opener was the breaking point.

Fonda Speedway promoter Ric Lucia explained that “in the series, the drivers get 20 show-up points and the points they earn in the feature. Since it is a Saturday night show, the points they earn in the feature count toward track championship points. The points earned on the special Tuesday night race and in the McDonald’s 100 don’t count toward the track points because they are not run as part of the regular Saturday night program. The show-up points are for the guys who support the track every week. Guys like Brett Hearn do not get those points, but do get the track points because it was part of the regular Saturday night program.”

If a driver wins the feature event on a Saturday night, he receives the 60 points for the win and 20 show-up points. In a separate points standings for just the five race series the driver gets the 60 points plus heat race points. For example, Varin won his heat race (10 points) and finished fifth in the feature (48 points) for a total of 58 series points and received 68 points (20 show up points and 48 race points) toward the modified track championship.

With the points from the event, Varin leads Ward by four points. Without the points, Varin would lead Ward by 12.

“Those 20 show-up points do mean something to the guys at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to the end of the season,” Lucia said. “If they don’t make the feature, those points still keeps the guys who are here every week in the points battle.”

Fonda handicaps its features on the basis of money won in the previous three weeks, as many tracks do, and there was an error in figuring the starting lineup after the May 24 event.

“With the $4,000 Matty [DeLorenzo] won, he should have started behind us,” Spraker said. “Instead he has lined up in front of us.”

Lucia said “if there was a mistake in the handicapping, blame me, not my people, for not conveying it clear enough. If they want to blame me, that’s fine.”

Meanwhile, Varin’s plans for the weekend are on hold.

“Everything is up in the air at this point,” he said Wednesday. “There have been offers, but I don’t know what is going to happen. I am not upset with Jake. We have won a lot of races over the years and have become good friends. It is not just an owner/driver relationship. As far as I was concerned, we had the number one team at the track.”

Varin recently opened a new business and that is taking up a lot of his time.

“I hate to leave any season unfinished,” he said. “We are leading in points and a track championship is always your goal heading into the season. We will have to take a step back and look at the whole situation.”

Munroe declared winner

Luke Munroe was declared the winner of last Saturday’s 20-lap sportsman feature at Fonda Speedway.

Munroe and Jeremy Wilder locked in an exciting battle for the lead in the event with Wilder holding off Munroe for the win.

The top five finishers in the race were sent to the tech area, but after Wilder’s Victory Lane celebration, he refused tech and was disqualified, moving Munroe into the top spot for his second career sportsman victory.

David Towns, Mark Kislowski, John Scarborough, David Constantino, Neil Erickson, JaMike Sowle, Bill Wilder, D.T. Pickard and Chad Edwards comprise the updated top 10.


Two-time Fonda Speedway track champion Jeff Trombley broke a long dry spell at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Trombley picked up the feature win last Friday, snapping a winless streak at the track dating back to May 24, 1991.

Jim Ellis is a sportswriter for The Leader-Herald. We invite your feedback on this or any other sports-related topic. E-mail your opinions or ideas to us at


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