Sports Columns

Racing Around: Mid-week shows make a comeback

Midweek, traveling series races used to be a big draw for local speedways as fans packed the grandstands to watch the local heroes defend their home turf against the big-name invaders. Then the economy tanked a few years ago, quite a few loyal race fans, and teams, often had to decide if they ...

Racing Around: Shaffer savoring first win

You’ll have to excuse “Happy” Harry Shaffer if he shed a few tears Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. After 30 years of competition, the veteran sportsman driver fulfilled a promise to his father and parked his ride in Victory Lane for the first time in his career at the Track of ...

Racing Around: New team takes over at GRMP

Change was inevitable as low car counts and bad weather have hampered the racing at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park for all but three races so far this season. Wednesday night it was announced that effective immediately, long-time race team owners Mike Parillo and Ray Sefrin will take over the ...

Racing Around: Edwards registers victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway

After the 2016 season, Chad Edwards parted ways with a potent Dodson “Team Green” ride and hooked up with long-time team owner and sponsor Tom Spencer for a fresh start for both of them. Sunday, the “Final Phase” team clicked for its first win of the season. Edwards parked the No. ...

Racing Around: Sprint cars make visit to Fonda

It’s Memorial Day weekend and for local race fans, that traditionally means sprint cars. And this year is no exception. The Patriot Sprint Tour will make a two-day trip through the area, stopping first at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night before heading to Fonda Speedway on ...

Racing Around: Glen Ridge finally runs its opener

After three straight postponements, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park finally got its season opener in last Friday. With approximately 55 cars in the pits spread out through six divisions, the racing was competitive and provided fans with a first-time winner in the modified division. Danny Varin ...

Racing Around: Fonda to host tribute races

Last season, Fonda Speedway started a tradition of honoring past champions with tribute nights, and it turned out to be a feature fans appreciated. Some of the legends were on hand along with their families and friends to greet fans and talk racing while looking over memorabilia in the Fonda ...

Racing Around: Area tracks looking to draw fans

I read an article last week in which NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said he is dealing with the challenge of connecting with a new, younger generation of fans. I cannot count how many times I have heard fans say “this place used to be packed. What happened?” It is not a situation ...

Racing Around: Boehler enjoying first win

Anyone who ran into Justin Boehler after he left Fonda Speedway on Saturday night would have just thought it was a regular night of racing. He was laid back, calm and just quietly enjoying a late-night dinner with his crew and friends. You would not have known that just over an hour earlier ...

Racing Around: Gates set to defend his title

Drivers are always looking to get the season off to a fast start and have the pack chasing them for the rest of the season. That is what Kenny Gates did last season. After a controversial end to the 2015 season where he was declared co-champion with Pete Broderson in the pro stock division ...

Racing Around: Fonda to open Saturday

Since the car show at Via Port Rotterdam Mall in mid-March, it has been a hurry-up and wait situation for the local racing scene. Snow, rain and a collapsed front stretch wall at Fonda Speedway along with wet grounds forced cancellations of practice sessions at both the Track of Champions and ...

Mike Hauser, left, is pictured with Michael Dante, right, and his wife, Mary Jane. (Photo submitted)

Upstate N.Y. Sports Lore: Vitti goes from Glovers Park to Hollywood

How do you connect bandleader Tommy Dorsey, Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, Star Trek, Bonanza, Days of our Lives, Jimmie Foxx and Franco Harris to Gloversville Baseball? It is done through a former Gloversville Glover baseball player named Ralph Vitti. In 1949, 17-year-old Ralph Vitti from ...

Upstate N.Y. Sports Lore: Saxy Marshall…Gloversville’s Mr. Football

On the Darling Field grounds in Gloversville sits an unassuming baseball field. The field dates back to the early days of Darling Field (1923) and played host to youth, high school, collegiate, and semi-pro teams. It also featured exhibition games with Negro League and top traveling teams from ...

Upstate N.Y. Sports Lore: Jack McKeon returns to his Gloversville roots

On July 17, baseball legend Jack McKeon was in Troy to scout the Florida Marlins Class A level Batavia Muckdogs as they took on the Houston Astros A level Tri-City Valley Cats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. McKeon is the only manager to win 1,000 games in the minor leagues (1398) and 1,000 games ...

Racing Around: State fair missing modifieds

I have to admit there was a sense of disappointment when I attended the New York State Fair this week.Yes, it did have a new look without the grandstand overlooking the famed mile race track with a midway and paved parking now filling the void.But I have moved past that, the grandstand and ...

Johnson’s second title satisfying

With Bobby Varin starting five spots in front of him and Jeremy Wilder one row back with the Fonda Speedway track championship on the line, Ronnie Johnson made a quick decision.On the opening lap, Johnson saw an opening and quickly moved from eighth to second and about a quarter mile later was ...

Three-way showdown for Fonda track title

When I spoke to Jeremy Wilder earlier this season, he told me he was looking to be consistent in his finishes this season at Fonda Speedway.He has done just that.Wilder has put together a string of 11-straight top five finishes after placing ninth on the opening night at Fonda and sits atop the ...

Racing Around: Fonda Speedway plays host to Jack Johnson Tribute

Everyone knew it would be extremely difficult to come close to last year's inaugural Jack Johnson Tribute Night at Fonda Speedway.Wednesday's Jumpin' Jack Johnson Tribute may not have been as spectacular, but it was still a great night.Pete Demitraszek and his track crew faced an uphill battle ...