Racing Around: Glen Ridge set to add to hall of fame

August 18 is going to be a big night at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

Not only is the rescheduled Vengeance on the schedule, but it is also the night of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at The Ridge.

The Class of 2019 includes car owner and sponsor Bill Nelson, driver Butchie Irwin, former driver and now race director Denny Tilison, Rob and Bob VanAernam and former speedway promoter “Custom” Bob Niemietz.

Nelson has been a longtime supporter of racing, not only at The Ridge, but all the local tracks, not only as a car owner but as a driver himself early in his career. Several drivers have found success behind the wheel of the No. 85 modified, including his son Erik. However, Bobby Varin took the team to the top with back-to-back track championships at The Ridge.

Irwin was a regular at the track with championships in both the pro stock and sportsman divisions but has also turned laps in sprint cars and modifieds during his tenure.

Tilison’s involvement at The Ridge predates the big cars turning laps on the quarter mile. As a racer he was behind the wheel of a Tobias slingshot when they were the feature division in 2003. He also ran street stocks before hanging up his helmet. Since then he has been a pace car driver, flagger and race director at Fonda Speedway, while also serving as race director at The Ridge.

Rob and Bob VanAernam are being honored as a family for their support both on and off the track. Rob won four straight track titles between 2010 and 2013 to go with 28 career street stock victories. He also has wins in the cruiser division. Bob was a huge supporter of the speedway as a driver, providing towing services and an ambassador for the track and especially the street stock division.

Custom Bob was on hand as race director when the track opened as a go-kart facility and helped introduce the big cars to the track making the street stocks the feature division. He has filled the role as race director a couple of times from 2002-04 and then again in 2006.

This will be the second Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Little Track on the Hill. Last year the inaugural class included The Hayes Family, Bob Vedder, Randy Hotaling and Don Warner.

Rounding the bases

It was great to see the representation of Fonda Speedway Tuesday night at the Amsterdam Mohawks game at the Rao Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam.

Promoter Brett Deyo, track managers Jamie and Denise Page, drivers Harry Shaffer, Mike Jackson, Cody Bleau, Jason Greco, Chuck Dumblewski, Craig Hanson along with slingshot driver Corky Warner and Wing Champ Kart Series competitor Zoey Roberts were in attendance.

Warner’s Trifecta

Last week Rocky Warner pulled off the trifecta of winning the modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway before winning a drag race with Josh Hohenforst off turn four to notch the modified feature win at Fonda Speedway before heading to Glen Ridge on Sunday and picking up the 602 crate modified feature win there.

However, as impressive as the weekend sweep was for him, I don’t think I have seen his laugh and smile as much as he was in Victory Lane at The Ridge as he watched his son, Corky, pick up his first career feature win in the junior slingshot division.

It was a big night for the Warner family as his son, Tanner, joined Rocky on the track behind the wheel of the No. 28M for the Hoosier Daddy 2, Don Warner Memorial race.

With Corky’s victory, that means I have seen three generations of the Warner family — Corky, his father Rocky and grandfather Don — put their name in the record books with feature wins at The Ridge.


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