Last season, with gas prices eclipsing the $4 a gallon mark, promoter Ric Lucia introduced the NMX Go Green Thunder Series to Fonda Speedway to give the modified drivers a series to compete in without traveling long distances.
It was successful.
The Saturday-night regulars supported the series along with a handful of invaders, including eventual series champion Brett Hearn.
This year, the series is expanding to include Utica-Rome Speedway into the mix and adding events for the sportsman and pro stock divisions.
Saturday, weather permitting, the series will open with a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win feature for the modifieds.
The second leg of the modified Thunder Series hits Utica-Rome June 28 before returning to the Track of Champions July 18 for another 50-lap, $5,000-to-win show and a mid-week special, running 60-laps for $6,000 on Aug. 4
The series heads back to U-R Aug. 30 before the finale on River Rage Weekend at Fonda with a 100-lap, $9,500-to-win feature on Sept. 27.
The pro stocks also will kick off their Best-of-Three Series with a $700-to-win feature.
The series also will run at Fonda and Utica-Rome. The second-leg of the series will run Aug. 23 at Utica-Rome for a $700-to-win event before returning to Fonda Sept. 27 for a $1,000-to-win finale.
The pro stock series appears to be drawing as I did see a couple outsiders in the pit area Saturday before rain finally put an end to the night's racing.
The sportsman division also will run a Best-of-Three Series at the tracks. The opener will be hosted by Utica-Rome June 28 before running the second leg at Fonda on the Aug. 4 mid-week race program. The final leg will be run Sept. 27 at Fonda.
Also, in honor of Father's Day, Fonda Speedway will give kids younger than the age of 11 free admission if they come to the track with dad. Rain checks from last Saturday will be honored for the next two weeks, but if used this week, there is an added $3 charge due to the special event.
Friday night Glen Ridge Motorsports Park puts a twist in its regular full card of race action, as the tops will come off allowing fans to watch their favorite drivers hard at work jockeying the cars around the fast quarter-mile.
Saturday night's rainout at Fonda Speedway only put a slight damper on a special night for the Boys and Girls Club of Albany.
The group of approximately 30 youths and volunteers made full use of the National Guard climbing wall in the fourth turn as they awaited word about the night's race program.
It was not difficult to see who they most likely would have been cheering for that night.
"My cousin, Alan Cuomo, got involved because they took a lot of funding away from them and wanted to do something for them," two-time defending sportsman track champion David Towns said. "He asked me if I wanted to get involved. I went down there, met them and just said yes. We gave them each a t-shirt tonight and you think we had given them the world. I went over there to sign the shirts and they were ecstatic. I am alright with that. For everything Ric and Laura [Lucia] have done along with Price Chopper and Adirondack Beverage donating food and beverages, what I did is very little. Even with the rain at least they got away from Albany for a day."
Cuomo said the group was grateful for the opportunity to attend Saturday night.
"Ric and Laura provided tickets and the bus to get us here. These kids are really enjoying themselves and are being treated like VIPs."
James A. Ellis is a sports reporter 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.