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Racing Around

Budget sportsman division growing

July 10, 2008
By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

The budget Ssportsman division will be an added division this week at Fonda Speedway, but the class already has a strong foothold at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Devil's Bowl.

The class is designed for drivers to get involved in open-wheel racing on a limited budget. They run pump gas, which is half the price of racing fuel, older chassis and crate motors are allowed.

Obviously, they don't have the power or speed of a sportsman division car, but the competition is outstanding.

A few races ago, I had the opportunity to talk with budget sportsman driver Brian Jones about the changes he has to make to run a crate engine at Fonda in comparison to his Friday night home at Glen Ridge, which has been proclaimed the birthplace of the budget sportsman.

Jones said that the GM crate engine he uses has plenty of power for a track like Fonda, it is just a matter of finding the right gear. Also if there is trouble with the engine, the sealed block can be ordered through a local dealership and delivered most of the time in less than a week.

If I remember correctly, the sportsman division originally was intended to be a place where modified drivers could sell their used equipment, but that soon ended and the cost of the class began to climb with teams getting new equipment and six-figure engines.

Let's not forget the spec modifieds that DIRT attempted to integrate as a way to cut costs. The concept did not catch on and I believe the specs became a way for fans to take a trip around the Syracuse Mile behind the wheel of a modified.

The budgets appear to be a growing group and already has paid dividends with a few of the drivers who started in the division already moving up to the sportsman and modified divisions.


Fonda Speedway lost a piece of its history this week with the passing of Tony Achzet.

I had the opportunity to have several conversations with the Fonda Speedway Hall of Famer over the years and the stories were like a history lesson of local stock car racing.

When Tony and Lee were inducted into the Hall of Fame, which is now part of the museum at the Fultonville McDonald's, I was invited to sit down and look through volumes of albums filled with photos of cars and drivers from Fonda Speedway including their famous 81A. Three hours later, I left with just the highlights of their knowledge.

Double action at CCR

Caroga Creek Raceway will host a two-day racing weekend with the third round of its King of Dirt Series taking to the track Friday night.

The World Karting Association tour invades the racetrack Saturday afternoon. Friday night's racing will start at 6:30 p.m. and racing starts Saturday at noon.

Going Topless

The Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will run a regular race card Friday night with the exception being the modifieds and budget sportsmen which will take their roofs off, giving fans a chance to watch the drivers at work behind the wheel.



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