Fonda Speedway set to open season today

Defending track champion Bobby Varin puts the Palmer Service modified through its paces during last Saturday's open practice session at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

FONDA – Fonda Speedway is scheduled open its gates for the 68th consecutive season of competition on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds half-mile track today.

Under the new management team of BD Motorsports Media LLC for the 2019 season, Brett Deyo and his staff look to “Bring Fonda’s Rich History Back to Life” as it states on the new Fonda Speedway website www.thefondaspeedway.com.

“For a lifelong fan of Modified racing, taking the helm at Fonda Speedway is an honor and responsibility,” Deyo said in a press release after announcing that he had taken over the speedway. “Fonda is an iconic facility rich in history and supported by passionate fans and competitors. I’m hoping to make the most of this opportunity from the Fair Board and continue the ‘Track of Champions’ auto racing legacy.”

Since the announcement last September that Deyo was taking over the “Track of Champions” in 2019, there have been numerous announcements made during the winter months that have fans, drivers, car owners, and anyone involved in the sport excited about the 2019 season at the Fonda Speedway.

With the new management team under the BD Motorsports Media LLC promotion, Fonda Speedway launches into the 2019 campaign with reduced admission, special events, and larger purse structures. It’s truly a “win-win-win” for fans of the Montgomery County half-mile track.

The Sunoco modifieds will kick off the historic 2019 racing season at the Fonda Speedway today with some serious cash on the line. The opening night winner will take home a $4,000 paycheck.

While the stars and cars compete for some big cash on opening night, the fans can enjoy this race unfold before their eyes for no extra admission cost. Adult grandstand admission will remain at $11, Seniors (65-and-older) stay at $9 and children age 11 and younger will be admitted free.

Also on the racing card will be the 602 sportsman ($1,000 To Win thanks to Eric Orozco Racing), pro stock (Best of 8 Series), Montgomery County Office for Aging limited sportsman, and the Trackside Body Works street stocks.

Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with hot laps at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.

The inaugural opening-day event at Fonda was held back in 1948 when Buddy Shuman was the winner. Fast forward to 2018 when Stewart Friesen was the winner of the opening-day event, leading all 50 laps to take the first of a total of eight wins at Fonda in 2018.

In opening-day events at Fonda held over the last 67 years, Jack Johnson leads the way with eight opening-day victories in 1972, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1994. Following close behind with seven opening-day wins is Lou Lazzaro who won events in 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1977 and 1978.

Two drivers have taken home five opening-day wins as Dave Lape (1981, 1984, 1989, 1993 and 1995) and Pete Corey (1955, 1956, 1959, 1962 and 1967) both accomplished the feat. Jeff Trombley has four opening-day victories in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002, while Bobby Varin (2001, 2005, and 2010), and Stewart Friesen (2015, 2016, 2018) both have three wins. Jim Luke (1954, 1957), C.D. Coville (1979, 1980), Danny Johnson (1990, 2007), and Pat Ward (1996, 2009).

Drivers who have one victory in opening-day events at Fonda are Buddy Shuman (1948), Chuck Kotwica (1953), Irv Taylor (1958), Bill Wimble (1960), Tom Kotary (1961), Ken Shoemaker (1965), Don Wayman (1968), Rene Charland (1970), Maynard Forrette (1973), Dave Pelczar (1974), Pep Pepicelli (1975), Jimmy Horton (1985), Bob McCreadie (1986), Mike Romano (1987), Dave Camara (1998), Brett Hearn (2003), Tim McCreadie (2004), Mitch Gibbs (2006), Ronnie Johnson (2011), Mike Mahaney (2012), Matt Sheppard (2014), and Justin Boehler (2017).

The Fonda Speedway Museum will also open its doors for the 2019 season today. The museum keeps Fonda’s rich history alive and well in the form of displays, videos, photographs, whole race cars, and race car parts and pieces as well.

David, Jackie and Jessica Lape, along with the father and son team of Randy and Travis Colegrove, and Matt Noles have done a fantastic job with the museum, keeping the history of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds alive. The museum is definitely a must see for any racing fan that grew up at the track in the past or is currently growing up there at this time.

“We will continue to open the museum at 3:30 p.m. each week unless the racing program is rained out,” Jackie Lape said in a news release. “We will also invite each weekly winner to come to the museum the following week to greet fans and sign autographs.”

“Confirmed meet-and-greet drivers for opening weekend at the museum will be 2018 Fonda Speedway sportsman track champion Chad Edwards, 2018 Fonda Speedway pro stock track champion Kenny Gates, and we are waiting on a confirmation from 2018 Fonda Speedway modified track champion Bobby Varin. We also have some new items obtained over the winter that will be on display, and we are always adding items as we receive them. We plan to add a racing T-shirt display this season as well so anyone who wants to add one to our display, please bring it to the museum.”

Since 1953, the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. Now under the management of BD Motorsports Media LLC, the speedway will operate weekly on Saturday nights from April through August plus several special events. Fonda Speedway is located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds off New York State Thruway Exit No. 28 at 21 S. Bridge Street Fonda, NY, 12068.

 Fonda Speedway is on the web at www.thefondaspeedway.com. To learn more, call the office at (518) 915.4395, like Fonda Speedway on Facebook www.facebook.com/thefondaspdwy or follow on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy. 


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