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Racing Around: Rule change at Fonda for sportsman

May 19, 2011
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

The 602 limited sportsman division at Fonda Speedway has grown from a handful of cars two years ago to a robust 30-plus car count.

The main draw to the division, of course, has been the budget-friendly, factory-sealed engines, which are supposed to make the competition equal, at least under the hood. There have been few engine problems, until this season. A rash of blown engines among the usually reliable 602 crates has led the Fonda Speedway management to make a rule change for the division.

It has been announced that all drivers in the division at the Track of Champions are now required to run a rev box with a 6,200-RPM chip on the engines.

According to a statement by Fonda Speedway general manager Marty Beberwyk, the chip will prevent the engines from turning more than 6,200 RPMs, preventing the possibility of over-revving the engines.

The chips have been used in all divisions on the DIRT circuit for a few years now, with some success. It is just odd to hear the engines start cutting out when some of the drivers hit the rev limit about three-quarters of the way down the front straight on the Syracuse Mile.

The growth of the 602s at the local tracks has produced some great racing and has brought back something to Fonda Speedway that some tracks in the Northeast have not had to worry about for a few years now.

The limited sportsman are drawing such good numbers that, as in Fonda's case two weeks ago, there were four heat races and two last chance qualifiers run to qualify 26 of the 35 cars entered for the main event.

The modified division at Fonda drew 31 cars on May 7 with 26 cars taking the green for the 30-lap feature.

The pro stock division has benefited from the soggy grounds at Utica-Rome Speedway. The division drew 19 cars, two weeks ago which is up from last year's count. Some of the drivers, like Tom Denton, are regulars at Utica-Rome, but have ventured east for weekly competition.

Wings and Wheels

Grandma Millie's Bakery, the official cookie of Fonda Speedway, is holding a three-day open house this weekend at its new location at the Fulton County Airport on Route 67 in Johnstown.

Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., six-time and defending Fonda Speedway modified track champion Bobby Varin will be on hand to greet fans along with Danny Varin, A.J. Romano and four-time pro stock track champion Kenny Gates as well as the Fonda Speedway pace car. More drivers are expected Saturday but are unconfirmed as of press time.

Also during the morning, pilots will be landing and taking off from the airport as part of a poker run. Fans also are invited to decorate their own cookies Saturday, while enjoying a cup of coffee for a quarter and $1 hot dogs and sodas.

The event kicks off Friday with a Texas barbecue dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. featuring pulled pork, baked beans, roasted potatoes, cole slaw, roll and dessert for $10 to benefit the Relay for Life.

The event continues Sunday with a buy one get one half-price brunch special.

Benefit scheduled

A fundraiser for modified driver Erik Nelson is scheduled Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Checkers Out Speedway.

Proceeds from the event will go help with medical expenses incurred after being injured in an opening night accident at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

Racing and lunch at the event will be $25, while just the spaghetti and meatball lunch will be $15. and racing only is $20. Racing participants are asked to bring a helmet.

For tickets or to make donations, contact Jennifer Burega at 858-9155.



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