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 Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

The wall has been repaired and the fairgrounds are drying out, so this weekend that should all change — if Mother Nature cooperates.

Fonda Speedway is scheduled to come to life for its 64th consecutive race season Saturday, with the $4,000-to-win Ice Jam 50 for the big block modifieds highlighting the opening-day show.

Also on the racing program will be a 25-lap dirt sportsman 602 race, a 20-lap pro stock feature, and a 15-lap street stock feature.

The pit gate is slated to open at 3 p.m. with the main gate opening at 3:30 p.m. Cars are slated to take to the track for the first time this year for hot laps at 5 p.m. with the first heat race hitting the speedway at 6 p.m.

Grandstand adult admission will be $15 while a senior with ID will be $13, and kids 12 and under $5.

The Ridge was scheduled to host warm-up and inspections Friday night, but for the second-straight week, wet grounds have forced the cancellation of activities at the little track on the hill.

Competitors for both tracks can still have their cars go through the pre-season tech inspection on Friday starting at 2 p.m. behind the covered grandstand at Fonda Speedway. Drivers are asked to bring their safety equipment, including helmets, gloves, race suit, shoes, and head socks with them for inspection.

Stewart Friesen has won the last two Ice Jams, a trend that defending modified track champion Ronnie Johnson is looking to end.

Johnson, who won the event in 2011, is back behind the wheel of the Jake Spraker owned No. 1RJ modified this season with an eye on collecting his third track championship.

“We are going to approaching racing the same way we did last year,” Johnson said. “Jake and Nancy Spraker have given me a great, positive attitude and possibly the best equipment I have had in years. It certainly showed last year.”

Johnson will be racing on Friday nights at Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Saturday’s at Fonda.

Last year, Johnson ran Malta with his own equipment but that will change this season.

“We are racing at both tracks with Jake’s cars,” he said. “I am really excited. I have not been in a situation like this in racing in a long time. Everybody knows what Jake Spraker is all about when it comes to being a car owner. I never knew Jake as well as I know him now and probably underestimated him as a car owner. He is probably one of the best car owners in the business when it comes to knowing what it takes to get the job done. You talk about throw-back racers, well Jake is a throw-back car owner. There is no drama, no bologna. He provides you with what you need. People say he demands production and wins on your end but he also demands it on himself. I think the bottom line is he wants to have a good time, and be as competitive as can be.”

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