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 track are gone and the events they hosted are just memories.

What was disappointing was how it appeared the modern era of racing had been overlooked in a couple of exhibits.

In one building there was an artist building a “sandcastle” paying tribute to the grandstand.

There was the Grave Digger monster truck, a harness horse, even Frank Sinatra, Steve Martin and Patti LaBelle, but no modifieds.

I kind of spit and sputtered a bit before my wife decided she would ask the artist why. He told her she was not the first to mention it and that he would be adding checkered flags, the words the Moody Mile and a sculpture of the No. 63 modified to the front of the artwork.

OK, so racing was not forgotten in the tribute to the grandstand.

Later we went through an exhibit showing the history of the New York State Fair and the fairgrounds from its early days right through to the new look.

Again I looked for the modifieds, after all they were part of the Labor Day events at the fair for years.

I saw a photo of a racing accident in 1911 in which 11 spectators were killed after a car crashed through a wooden rail leading to auto racing being banned at the track for eight years. But I could not find a photo or mention of the modifieds.

I know race fans, drivers and the media who follow the sport believe in the rich history of the sport at the track, but at first glance it seems that it was just an event without significance to the organizers.

I did read that the redesign of the fair is an ongoing project. I hope that includes noting the significance the mile held for race teams and fans someplace in the “upgrade.”

Running at the Ridge

Last Saturday marked the first of three Saturday night race events at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park while the Fonda Fair takes place at Fonda Speedway.

Bobby Varin held off Jeremy Wilder to pick up the victory in the 35-lap modified feature, while Rocky Warner won the 25-lap sportsman main, Justin Knight won the pro stock feature and Pat McSpirit drove to his first cruiser division victory of the season. Shilo Boyce also picked up his first win in the POWRi Midget feature.

Fonda Speedway street stock champion Josh Coonradt made the trip up the hill along with Chase Aussicker and they finished second and third respectively in the pro stock feature with their street stocks.

Ronnie Johnson and Jessey Mueller were among the invaders visiting the fast quarter mile for the first time. Johnson took home a seventh place finish while Mueller placed 11th in the modified feature.

It was announced on the track’s Facebook page the points at The Ridge will end this Saturday instead of the original Sept. 10 date.

Wilder leads Varin by 10 points heading into this week’s 60-lap modified feature, while John Roese leads Jason Morrison by five points, 670-665 in the pro stock points. Chris Andrew needs to take the green to win the cruiser track title as he leads McSpirit 822-770. Warner has already locked up the sportsman track title with a 70-point lead over David Constantino heading into Saturday’s race, giving the Flying Squirrel a sweep of the local track titles.

No New Yorker 200

It was announced that due to several conflicts with various tracks and organizations the Utica-Rome Speedway and the Race of Champions series have decided to cancel the Race of Champions 200 for modifieds scheduled for Sept. 10.

However, they are adding a special 40-lap, $3,000-to-win Race of Champions Modifieds event on Sept. 11.

The new schedule for the New Yorker weekend includes the King of Dirt Sportsman, King of Dirt Pro Stocks as well as the CRSA sprint cars on Sept. 10, while the postponed Cole Cup for the 360 sprint cars as well as the RoC modifiers and the newly added RoC 602 sportsman series will be run Sept. 11.