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Racing Around: Support divisions set to take center stage

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

A pair of support divisions will take center stage this weekend at Fonda Speedway and Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

I am glad to see it happen, but saddened the reason they are featured is both events are memorials for drivers I had the pleasure of talking and occasionally enjoying a good laugh with.

Friday night at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, the third leg of the Harry's Auto Street Stock Series will be run. The series honors Bob VanAernam who was a strong advocate for the street stock division.

There weremany nights at the tracks that I got my chops busted by Bob, but he also was serious when it came to helping develop the division.

Justin Knight leads the series with 116 points, while Chuck McSpirit is second with 114. Dave Bayes is third with 100 and Cliff Haslun is fourth with 68. They are the only four who have completed all 50 laps runs so far in the two series events. Knight and McSpirit picked up the checkers in the first two legs.

Also on Friday's race card will be kiddie rides and a bike giveaway on NYSSCA Night.

At Fonda Speedway Saturday night, the sixth annual Hondo Classic highlights the regular race card.

The event honors the popular pro stock driver Hondo Carpenter who died in an ATV accident in 2005.

Chip Smith, a Fonda regular in the past, made only a couple of appearances at the track last season. One of them was for the Hondo Classic, which he won, denying Kenny Gates a second-straight win in the event.

The 25-lap Hondo Classic also marks the start of the Thunder Pro Stock Series. Current division points leader, Rocky Warner, is the defending Thunder Series champion and will be looking for his first Classic victory.

Shawn Frost won the Pro Stock series opener at Utica-Rome on June 26, with Warner second, A.J. Digsby third, Mark Effner fourth, Bret Belden fifth and Kenny Gates sixth.

The final two legs of the four-race series will be run Sept. 9 at Utica-Rome and Sept. 25 at Fonda Speedway.

The modified Thunder Series opener scheduled to run at Fonda on June 8 but postponed to Aug. 10 as a Thunder Series doubleheader for the modifieds.

Now the first Thunder Series race for the Modifieds at Fonda will be on July 27 as the under card (if you can consider a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win race an under card) for the Lucas Late Models.

The May 8 Thunder event at Utica-Rome was postponed and Jim Gabriel Jr. won the 50-lap, $5,000-win win series opener at I-88 Speedway.

The modified series will continue with a second show at I-88 on Aug. 30 and Utica-Rome hosting events on July 28 and Sept. 9. The series wraps up at Fonda Speedway on McDonald's Weekend, Sept. 25, with a 100-lap, $9,500-to-win main event.

Appreciate 'racing'

After watching the tag-team "racing" in Saturday's NASCAR Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway I realized how much I appreciate the power sliding, side-by-side, wheel lifting racing local race fans get to see on a weekly basis.

I did not think anything could make freight train racing look good, but NASCAR did find a way to do it. Of course, it still gives the announcers a chance to talk and wait in anticipation of "the big one."



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