Racing Around: Glen Ridge kicks off its new era

After being put on hold for a week by Mother Nature, the “New Era” began at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

It was great to see a big turnout both in the pits and stands Sunday for the first night of competition under promoters Mike Parillo and Ray Sefrin. I am sure they were both smiling and exhausted by the end of the night.

Parillo will be the first to tell you he likes to see his cars win, but Sunday it was a little different. Driver Tim Hartman Jr. held off Rocky Warner and parked the Parillo Services No. 22 in Victory Lane.

Instead of accepting the $1,100 winner’s share of the purse, Parillo had Hartman draw a numbered chip and awarded the money to another driver. In this case, the beneficiary of the winner’s purse was 15th-place finisher Rich Coons.

The threat of rain and sprinkles throughout the night kept the program moving at a good pace, something I hope continues to happen (the pace, not the rain).

There were a couple of glitches along the way, but for the most part opening night was pretty good.

I know that the constant threat of rain all week, including Saturday’s storms that wiped out racing at Fonda Speedway, made track prep difficult. Although the track came up relatively smooth, it appeared slick and the racing groove did not start to widen out until late in the program. Unfortunately, this lead to multiple accidents. I agree with the track management’s decision that after one attempt at a side-by-side restart, a single-file restart was the right move.

The other glitch is kind of a double-edged sword. During intermission, the concession stand ran out of a few items. Of course that means there were a few dissatisfied customers, but it also means that they were busier than normal.

The promoters will try to pull off back-to-back successes this week with the Lucas Oil POWERi Midgets joining the regular race card. Series promoter Nate Furman has put up a bonus for any ELS Mini Sprint or DMA Midget Sprint driver the wins a POWRi event.

Hondo Classic rescheduled

Saturday’s storm wiped out the racing program at Fonda Speedway that included the prestigious Hondo Classic for Pro Stocks.

The race has been rescheduled for Aug. 2 as a companion to the 60-lap Jack Johnson Tribute race.

This Saturday’s race program at The Track of Champions will include a fireworks show.

A.J. Slideways to be honored

Even though he is still competing on a weekly basis Alan Johnson will be inducted into the DIRTcar Hall of Fame in Weedsport on Monday.

The 59-year-old driver has recorded big-block modified feature wins in 43 consecutive seasons and has three Super DIRT Week main event victories.

He is also scheduled to compete in the Hall of Fame 100 on Tuesday at Weedsport.

Johnson is part of the 2017 class of inductees that includes Steve Paine, who is also still active, and the late Freddy Adam. Several other special award winners will enter the Hall of Fame this year as well, including Gaston Salvas for Outstanding Service, Vicki Emig as Woman in Racing, Richie Tobias as a Mechanic, Randy Ross as Car Owner, and Lenny Sammons as the Andy Fusco Media Award winner.

Fines levied

The buzz this week out of Utica-Rome Speedway, besides Stewart Friesen’s victory in the New Yorker and Danny Varin locking up the Donath MotorWorx ESS Speedweek five-race series championship, was the on-track fight between Matt Sheppard and Larry Wight after an accident that ended with Wight rolling his modified.

Sheppard has been fined $1,000, loss of championship points and monies earned in Sunday’s race. He was also suspended from all DIRTcar Racing weekly-sanctioned events until Monday.

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