Heading into the 2013 racing season at Fonda Speedway, David Constantino made a bold prediction - "I am going to win the track championship."
Every week, DKM (Damn Kids Motorsports) came to the track loaded for bear with Dave driving the No. 7, his brother Chip in the No. 63, and they even talked their father, John "The Dancing Bear," out of retirement to drive the No. 124 to have a backup available. All three members of the family team have recorded feature wins during their careers at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.
The plan worked out as Dave drove to four feature wins this season, the final one in the second race of Night of Features to lock up the 602 Sportsman track championship.
"I am still recovering [from Saturday]," Constantino said. "I was nervous because I called it out that I was going to win a championship this year. I told a whole lot of people that I was going to win it this year. I was nervous, but I did it."
The nerves weren't as noticeable on the final night of the regular season, but the week before was a different story.
"I was really nervous the week before," he said. "I even ran into my brother in turn one and bent up his quarterpanel."
Running twin 15-lap features on the final point's night, Rocky Warner was able to trim Constantino's points lead from 14 to four heading into the second 15-lap event.
"I was running wide open for the second race," he said. "I was either going to come back with just the steering wheel or the feature win. Fortunately, it was the feature win."
Constantino credits his sponsors and Eric Mack for helping him make his prediction come true.
"Eric took over setting the car up at the end of the year," Constantino said. "I did not turn a wrench. Of course, my mother and father, Georgie and John Constantino, have always been there. Randy Davis came on this season along with all our sponsors.
Toward the end of the season, a familiar logo appeared on the back quarterpanel of the No. 7.
"I also have to thank Marilyn Buanno," he said. "She wanted to put the big flying B on the car. It has been a while since that has been seen on the track."
David said the team will now begin focusing on getting ready for Super DIRT Week at the Syracuse Fairgrounds mile.
Gates breaks through
Pro stock veteran Kenny Gates entered the season with high hopes of tying, then passing Todd Hoffman for the top spot on the all-time win list for the division.
It shouldn't have been hard. He had 50 wins and needed one to tie and two to take over the spot.
Well, just about anything that could go wrong this season, from engine trouble to wrecks, did - until the last few weeks. That's when he started using the car he won the 2008 and 2009 track championships with.
The move turned the season around, at least a little, as he recorded consistent top-five finishes and finally got the elusive 51st career win on the last night of the regular season, beating Krazy Kenny Martin to the mark. Martin had won four features this season to move into a tie with Gates with 50.
Stewart Friesen and Danny Johnson picked up the wins in the twin 50-lap modified features Wednesday night at Utica Rome Speedway as the track honored Dave Lape and Jerry Cook.
Dave Marcuccilli won the companion 602 sportsman feature.