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Racing Around

Crash draws attention to safety

August 28, 2008
By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

Midway through the 2007 racing season at Fonda Speedway, John Scarborough rolled his car in the first turn at Fonda Speedway and it caught fire. Scarborough suffered burns in the accident but returned to race, and win, by the end of the season.

His crash was a wake-up call for speedways to take a look at and improve their safety procedures at the tracks.

Last Saturday night at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Ryan Hover may have been a benefactor of some of the improvements.

While racing in the cruiser division at the track when his car caught the inside burm and rolled onto its roof. Fuel leaked from a dislodged cap on the fuel cell and caught fire sending the car into a ball of flames.

With the car fully involved, track safety crew member Curtis Rouse reached into the car to aid Hover from his safety harness and out of the wreck.

Rouse, who wears full turnout gear at the track, received burns to his face and hands, while Hover was burnt on his face and arms. Both were airlifted to a Syracuse area hospital. Rouse has since been released, but Hover remains hospitalized.

Hover's family provided information on his condition through Glen Ridge videographer Tom Czaban. The press release said he is listed in critical/stable condition and is in an induced coma and on a ventilator. His arm is severely burned and plans are to bring him out of the coma Friday and begin 18 hours of surgery and skin grafting.

The family has asked for fans not to contact or send items to the hospital, but anyone wanting to make contributions or send gifts and cards, to please send to: Ryan Hover P.O. Box 335, Claverack, New York 12513.

The efforts by Rouse and the entire track safety crew is to be commended for their fast actions. I was not at the track Saturday night, but have watched the video of the accident. There was no hesitation by Rouse to crawl into the car to help the driver as he scrambled upside down to release his safety harness. Any praise, commendations or just handshakes to say thank you received by Rouse are well deserved and almost not enough.

Rouse takes his duties at the track very seriously, sometimes to the point of annoyance. Saturday night everyone was happy he does.

Well done and thank you Curtis.

Sitterly captures title

Friday nights at Glen Ridge, Nate Sitterly has been steadily making a name for himself in the cruiser division. The rookie driver has one feature win, three heat race victories, seven top fives and has been in the top 10 in 12 of his 14 starts. That is good enough to place him fourth in points in the division as the season winds down.

It is easy to see where he has learned consistency pays off. He only has too look to the guy normally working in his pit area on Fridays. His father, Otto.

The elder Sitterly wrapped up the Supermodified track championship at Oswego Speedway and is ready to compete against some of the top asphalt drivers in the 52nd annual Budweiser Classic this weekend at Oswego.

Otto will be teamed with Davey Hamilton who returns to Oswego after a run in the Indianapolis 500.

Heroth top rookie

Looking at the final Hoosier-PowerAde PathFinder Bank SBS Series point standings at Oswego, one name stood out to me, Kreig Heroth.

The Johnstown-area resident has run the 2008 season at Oswego and was the top finishing rookie in the division, running to a 12th-place finish in the points standings.

Heroth is also on the pre-entry list for this weekend's SBS Bud Classic 100.

Budget Sportsman Challenge

Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park have teamed up for a two-race Budget Sportsman Series.

The first race will be Friday at Albany-Saratoga, and the second will be Saturday at Glen Ridge.

Home track rules and home track tires will be allowed. The point fund for the series will pay $600 for first, $400 for second and $200 for third.

Racing action will start at 6:45 p.m. at Albany-Saratoga and 7:30 p.m. at Glen Ridge.



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