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Racing Around: Racing season set to begin on Friday

April 7, 2011
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

What a double dose of opening weekend racing action for local race fans.

What started out to be a regular night of racing Friday at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park has turned into an all-star event.

With Fonda Speedway's traditional season-opening 40-lap, $4,000-to-win Ice Jam slated for Saturday, several top shelf traveling teams are hauling in to make it a two-day affair.

Billy Decker is the most recent driver to add his name to the growing list of invading modified pilots who have indicated they will make the venture to the Ridge on Friday.

The list also includes Alan Johnson, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen and Kenny Tremont. Sheppard has raced at Glen Ridge before, but for Friesen, Decker and Stewart it will be their first appearance. Tremont also has indicated he will be among some new drivers that will call Glen Ridge their Friday night home.

However, I do not expect defending track champion JaMike Sowle, Craig Hanson and Bobby Varin along with the rest of the track's regulars to concede to the invaders, but to show them the fast way around the quick quarter mile.

"Since we have been there we have averaged about 18 modifieds," Glen Ridge co-promoter Mike Romano said. "Looks like we are going to have between 30 and 35 modifieds and a lot of good ones. It is going to be pretty exciting to see some of those guys at our track."

The long-range forecast earlier this week did not favor racing Friday, but the updated forecast has shown good racing weather for both Glen Ridge and Fonda.

"The good thing is that the wind always blows up there and dries things fast up there," Romano said. "It is opening night and since I was a little kid, opening night you went no matter how cold the weather was. So I think between it being the first race for the area and the buzz out there of who will be there, it should be a big weekend for us."

Romano also noted that in the past Glen Ridge has not had to run a modified consolation, but Friday, if everyone who is expected, shows up, a last-chance qualifier would have to be run with some drivers not making the field.

Gates open at 5 p.m. at Glen Ridge with hot laps hitting the track at 7 p.m. and racing for all divisions starting at 7:30 p.m.

About 18 hours after the checkers drop on Glen Ridge's modified feature, the teams will take to the Track of Champions for the season-opener for its 60th consecutive season of racing at the venerable Montgomery County speedway.

Last year, six-time Fonda Speedway modified track champion opened the season with a dominating run in the Ice Jam, lapping up to the sixth place car in the 28-car field.

Unlike last year, the 602-limited sportsman division will not be on the race card.

This year, the 4-cylinder division will join the modifieds along with open practice for all other divisions.

Pit gates open at Fonda Speedway at 1 p.m. with the front gate opening at 2 p.m. Racing is slated to get under way at 4 p.m.



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