Racing Around: Hondo Classic slated for Saturday

If the rain holds off long enough it will be a big night of competition Saturday at Fonda Speedway.

The modifieds will step aside as the featured division of the night at the 12th annual Hondo Classic for the Pro Stocks moves to center stage.

It is a bittersweet event for many drivers and race fans because it honors the memory of Hondo Carpenter, a very popular and personable driver, who was killed in an ATV accident on July 4, 2005.

Kelley and Kaitlyn Keefe have been the organizers behind the event since its inception and this year the fans have donated more than $3,300 in prize money and contingencies.

A trend I noticed in this year’s event is the amount of lap money that is being put up by sponsors in memory of close friends and family.

The Keefe’s have said “as long as there is interest from the racers and support from the sponsors, we will keep it going. We still miss Hondo every day. He loved the pro stock division and so do we. I guess that means no end is in sight.”

Nick Stone, the only three-time winner of the event, has returned to the track the past couple of weeks in preparation to defend his 2016 Hondo Classic victory. He also won back-to-back events in 2007 and 2008.

Kenny Gates and Pete Broderson won the event twice, while Jim Burton, Kenny Martin Jr., Chip Smith and Rob Yetman have all won it once with Burton picking up the win in the inaugural event in 2006.

Also in action on Benjamin Moore Night at Fonda Saturday will be all regular divisions along with the CRSA Sprint cars.

Celebration Friday at Albany-Saratoga

Friday, racing photographer John Grady will be celebrating his 87th birthday and, along with his son, Chris, will be holding the celebration at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. There will be thousands of John’s photos on display at the track for fans to browse and many will be for sale. Proceeds from the sale will go to benefit the Dementia Society.

New era on hold

Last Sunday was supposed to be the launching of a New Era at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park under the promotership of Mike Parillo and Ray Sefrin.

There was a good turnout with 16 crate modifieds, 10 limited sportsman, 10 pro stock, 14 slingshots, 11 POWRi midget sprints, and nine 4-cylinders in the pits when a pair of thunderstorms rolled through the valley wiping out the opening night.

The group will try again this Sunday with the same racecard only the ELS mini sprints will take the place of the POWRi midgets.

Rain checks and wristbands from opening night will be honored.

Bill Ag Memorial

Ronnie Johnson successfully defended his title in the Third Annual Bill Ag Elimination Race last Saturday.

To do it he had to run just two laps in the final round of the event to take home $1,475.

To do that though, he had to stop Tim Fuller who amassed willing of $2,212.12 by defeating Stewart Friesen, Josh Hohenforst, Bobby Varin and Jeremy Wilder to get to the championship match against Johnson.

Though he was disappointed by not making a clean sweep of the event, Fuller came up what could be the quote of the year in Victory Lane joking saying: “If Jack [Johnson] wasn’t his [Ronnie Johnson’s] father I would have punted him.”

New Yorker

The Super DIRTcar Series rolls into Utica-Rome Speedway Sunday night for the running of the New Yorker 100.

The modifieds will be joined by the DIRTcar Sportsman and the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints along with fireworks.

Admission is $30 Adults and $5 Kids under 16. Pit gates open at 2 p.m. and the grandstands open at 3:30 p.m. The green flag is slated to drop at 6 p.m.

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