Furman enjoying new class
When a door began to close for pro stock driver Nate Furman, an unexpected window of opportunity opened.
After being involved in a wreck last year in his pro stock at Fonda Speedway Furman had difficulty getting his car back in race shape and it looked like his year was over.
“We just didn’t think the car was right to bring back to the track,” Furman said. “We put a bunch of new parts on to it and it still didn’t look right.”
Then the window opened.
“Jamie Spaulding ended up wrecking his car [POWRi midget] at Glen Ridge and he needed somebody to drive his car,” Furman said. “I told him we were on hold right now. We talked and he said let’s go and let me drive it.”
Going from a full-bodied, 400 horsepower, 3,000-pound car to a 1,100-pound, 220 horsepower open-wheel car can be a huge challenge.
“It is a completely different animal,” Furman said. “There is no comparison. It is a blast. I love driving a pro stock, but these cars are more nimble. You have to drive these cars. There is no just setting it and letting it go. You have to drive these cars through the corner. There is more handling to it than anything. I wasn’t an open-wheel guy. I didn’t go to Fonda Speedway to watch the modifieds, I watched the pro stocks. But after driving one of these, my hope is for next year is to get a 602 and try to upgrade.”
The switch has also led to some busting from some of the pro stock friends and competitors.
“I get busted some about going from a pro stock to a midget but it is different,” Furman said. “I never thought I would like open wheels, but I do. But there is nothing to bounce off from. If you hit something you are going for a ride. My wife even asked if I really wanted to do this.”
Furman found out quickly that the POWRi competitors are a close knit group that are focused on growing their sport locally. They have even named Glen Ridge Motorsports Park as their home track for the 2016 season.
“The group is one big family,” Furman said. “My first race I messed up and kind of ran up on somebody. It was my first time in the car and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Within 20 minutes the guy came over and said I know you are new, but we are all friends here and help each other out. It is more of a club right now and we are trying to get it big here.”
The POWRi Midgets are slated to run their first event at The Ridge on May 6 and are scheduled to be part of the race program every other week throughout the season.
Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and Fonda Speedway are both scheduled to open their gates for their season openers this weekend.
Glen Ridge was scheduled to open last week but extremely wet grounds forced the opening-night cancellation.
Fonda did get cars on the track for a practice session Saturday, but due to the lack of water at the fairgrounds, fans were unable to enjoy the sounds of race engines winding out on the track.
Points will begin in all divisions including the combined point funds for the modified and sportsman divisions between the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park and Fonda Speedway. Both tracks will be managed this year by Demitraszek Enterprises.
After suffering serious medical issues over the winter, Rocky Warner returned to racing last weekend and claimed the 602 sportsman main event on opening night at Utica-Rome Speedway.
Gloversville’s Luke Horning also opened his racing season on a positive note as he beat Nick Stone to the checkers to claim the pro stock main event at Utica-Rome.