Racing Around: Opening weekend not without challenges

Opening weekend has come and gone for the local speedways and there was plenty of excitement and frustration.

Just like for the race teams, the unpredictable spring weather left the track management teams with unanticipated problems. If there was an opening night without a glitch somewhere in the program, now that would be news.

With new clay on the track at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, turn three was bumpy but a look at postings on the track’s Facebook page shows they have brought in Reclamation to work on the racing surface and smooth it out ahead of this weekend’s King of Dirt 602 Sportsman Tour race.

It will be interesting how this will affect the racing on the fast quarter mile.

Early in his tenure at Fonda Speedway, Ric Lucia brought Reclamation in and churned up the track. The process worked to provide a smoother, more competitive racing surface.

However, it was not the racing surface that shortened Sunday’s program; it was a wire arcing on one of the lights when they flipped the switch before the crate modified feature. I am sure the lights were checked out and the track worked on under the lights before Sunday. It happens.

Anyway, double features for the crate modifieds on May 5.

At Fonda, a soft spot on the outside of the backstretch came into play after warmups. Track management worked quickly in an effort to fill and smooth the situation. I am sure it was addressed on the good weather days earlier this week.

Anyway, on to this week.

The CRSA sprint cars join Saturday’s race card at Fonda Speedway along with an on-track Meet and Greet. The drivers have embraced this and often bring photos, candy or presents for the kids. I have seen everything from dinosaurs to onions given away. One meet and greet, Stewart Friesen offered kids the opportunity to autograph the number on his car, which made it special when he parked it in Victory Lane that night with all his new “sponsors.”

A side note on that, one of the kids who signed the Friesen’s car, Darryn Fallis, was brought to Victory Lane that night and had his picture taken with Friesen pointing to his autograph and was given the trophy. Sunday night Fallis picked up his first career feature win at The Ridge on his first time in a junior slingshot. Of course, Fallis was driving the No. T-31 made popular by his grandfather, Drew, when he drove at Fonda Speedway.

Pit Notes

The open practice session scheduled for tonight at Utica-Rome Speedway has been cancelled due to wet grounds.

Albany-Saratoga Speedway moved its season-opener from last Friday to Tuesday night and drew a solid field of competitors. Tim McCreadie outraced Matt Sheppard in the closing laps to pick up the win. Friesen was third, Kenny Tremont fourth and Ronnie Johnson fifth.

Connor Cleveland won the 25-lap sportsman feature, while Michael Wagner Fitzgerald topped the field in the limited sportsman feature and Brandon Emigh won the pro stock main.

At Lebanon Valley, Brett Hearn won the opening-night modified feature over Tremont, Andy Bachetti, Eddie Marshall and J.R. Heffner. Ronnie Johnson placed sixth in the main event in his return to Saturday-night racing at the Valley. 2017 Glen Ridge crate modified champion Chris Curtis picked up the victory in the 20-lap sportsman feature and Rob Yetman won the pro stock main.

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