Last Sunday was supposed to be the first week of the return to Sunday racing at The Ridge.
However, as it did at Fonda, Lebanon Valley and Utica-Rome, rain forced the cancellation of racing at The Ridge.
"We wanted to race because with Fonda and the Valley raining out we had a lot of guys looking for a place to race," Glen Ridge co-promoter Mike Romano said. "But the weather didn't cooperate. It was pretty wet up there and then when it started raining in the afternoon; the track just wouldn't take any more water. We moved everything back a week, and then we will look at it and evaluate."
This Sunday's program will feature the modifieds, which will be running a 50-lap feature paying $3,711 to win, while the sportsman will also going 50 laps for $1,000-to-win. A regular show for the rookie sportsman, street stocks and cruisers will also be on the card along with the lightning sprints.
Romano said that besides the addition of the lightning sprints, there have been some other bonuses added to the races.
"We have added money to the modified purse from second to 12th and to the sportsman purse from second to sixth has been bumped up," Romano said. "The guys from Lost Boyz and Diamond Fabrication called us and said they had an idea. Basically, they want to do a 'lost in the race' position. Lost Boyz and Diamond Fabrication each put up $250 and the winner of the modified race gets $3,711 to win. The son of the owner of Lost Boyz is a big fan of The Ridge and he will be going to Victory Lane with a hat with one through 10 in it. The winner of the race will draw a number and whoever finishes in that position will get an extra $500. So somebody is going to get a nice little bonus."
Mike Sowle of Sowle Tractor Trailer Repair and Yurkewicz Auto Crushers has come forward to help build the purse for the next couple of weeks and Romano said another sponsor also has stepped up.
"Jeff Brownell of Extreme Lubricants stepped up and said let's make both of them [modified features on June 17 and 24] $3,000-to-win. So the next three weeks are at least $3,000-to-win for the modifieds. The sportsmen will get $1,000-to-win and I think $500 for second this weekend. The next two weeks it will be $750-to-win for them."
The Sunday afternoon racing cards have drawn the attention of some of the top drivers.
"We have gotten a lot of phone calls and a lot of interest," Romano said. "Drivers who have called me and already said they are coming include Matt Sheppard, Kenny Tremont, Andy Bachetti, Bobby and Danny Varin, J.R. Heffner, Danny Johnson, Marc Johnson, Lance Willix, Danny Tyler, Jackie Brown, Dustin Delaney, Jeremy Wilder and Elmo Reckner. Those are just the ones I know are coming but I have also heard that the Ricci's and Jeff Heotzler are coming. It should be a big field."
Romano and Spraker are hoping that at the end of three weeks, the drivers will continue to support the track.
"Some of these guys may look at it and say we have been here three weeks, lets go back the next week because then they will be handicapped and might start up front and some of these guys might become regulars," Romano said. "We might end up with the field we had last year."
However, Romano said he Spraker and everyone at the track realize that this week's race program will be pivotal as to the future of the speedway.
"We are really trying hard this weekend. We know that if these guys come and it is a terrible show they will say forget this," Romano said. "We want to really put a good product out there so these guys will come back. Sunday is supposed to be nice. The track crew has been putting a lot of time in and I think we have it settled down and pretty smooth. I think if we start running in the afternoon the track will slick over and they won't rut it up so much. I am hoping that racing earlier in the afternoon the track will turn shiny and slippery and there will still be a top and bottom groove. Our best racing is when the track is slick and it widens up. There are very few cautions when our track gets wide and they are running up high and down low with a big gap between the cars. But when they are all fighting for the same line that is when we have problems. With the afternoon shows the track will widen up and slow it down a little bit to provide for some great racing."
Pit gates will open at 3 p.m. with grandstands opening at 4 p.m. and hot laps taking to the track between 5 to 5:30 p.m. All the action starts at 6 p.m.
Meet and greet at Fonda
Bring your pictures, shirts, autograph books and Sharpies with you Saturday to Fonda Speedway. Besides a full regular race card for all divisions, the popular on track drivers meet and greet will take place on the frontstretch.