One thing that can be said about Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo is that if he sees a problem, he tries to fix it.
And one of the biggest problems he has faced in his first year as a promoter has been the race track itself at the Montgomery County fairgrounds.
Two weeks ago, frustration took its toll as drivers packed up and left before or shortly after the features started or raced and did damage to their cars.
"I was getting really frustrated and down about what I was giving them to race on," DeLorenzo said. "Like I told everyone, if the racetrack is bad, everything else seems to go bad, especially on the other side of the fence. They want to support a good race track, and if you don't have a good race track, you aren't starting on time or finishing on time, they are not going to."
The frustration kept mounting and nothing seemed to be working.
"I was losing sleep over it," DeLorenzo said. "For me as a race car driver, looking at the track, it couldn't be any worse. I wouldn't want to be on there. So I called Roger Heroux. I knew he had a lot of experience as a car owner and a promoter, and he is a site contractor. He has done every part of the game and knows both sides of the fence. He is very good at what he does in regards to track prep. He has been very successful. I just called him up because I was so frustrated."
Heroux met with DeLorenzo on Tuesday to look the situation over, and agreed to give him a hand.
"I thought I was just going to meet him," DeLorenzo said. "I showed him all the problems and he said he couldn't make any promises, but he would give it a shot. He jumped up in the grader and off he went. He went around a few times, then told me to get up in the water truck and told me what to do. I think I made about 400 laps and kept packing the track and hitting the wet spots. We did that until it was dark for three days last week, and he said it looked pretty good and told me what to do leading up to Saturday."
Heroux returned to the Track of Champions on Saturday, and helped put the finishing touches on the track that came up smooth, flat and racy for the heat races and early features.
During intermission, Heroux helped the track crew get the track ready for the main events.
"At intermission, we went out and I asked him what to do, and he said let's hit it [with water] on the bottom and the top and hit it once with the tiller, then pack it back in," DeLorenzo said. "I think it was about the best track I have ever seen. Every class put on a good race and I didn't have one negative comment from any driver."
However, DeLorenzo is not satisfied with just one week with a surface that seemed to satisfy almost everyone.
"Let me do it two weeks in a row, then you can congratulate me," he said. "That was probably one of the best nights we have had, Now we just need to get the people and the drivers back who were mad and try to fill the grandstand. Hopefully we are on the right track, and all we can do is build on what we did Saturday to make it even better than it was."
Down the stretch
OK, time to build a little drama in the Fonda Speedway modified points battle.
If Bobby Varin, currently second in points with 672, wins the final three races of the regular season and points leader Stewart Friesen (684) finishes second behind him in each race, they would tie for the track championship.
As far as they 602 sportsman title chase, if Cody Clark (587 points) wins out, Rocky Warner (643) needs to average an eighth-place finish in the final three races to lock up his third track championship in three different classes. Warner already had the street stock title (2005) and the pro stock title (2011) to his credit. He also would be the sixth different champion in the 602/budget sportsman division since its inception in 2009.
The battle for second in the class is one that will probably change on every lap in the next three races. Clark holds a two-point advantage over Adam McAuliffe (585), and three over David Constantino and Connor Cleveland with 584 points each. Rick Quick is right there in sixth with 582 points.