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Munson makes move to sprint cars

Sometimes change is good. At least that is what veteran sportsman driver Jeremiah Munson is hoping.

After posting seven open sportsman wins, 12 602 sportsman feature wins and claiming the 2009 602 sportsman track championship at Fonda Speedway, Munson is jumping ship to compete with the CRSA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Car Series.

“I just wasn’t having fun racing in the sportsman division with crate engines,” Munson said. “It is kind of like driving down the Thruway at 65. It just got old.”

A couple years ago, Jeff Ferguson put Munson in touch with sprint car driver Cory Sparks and a deal was worked out for Munson to purchase one of Sparks’ sprint cars with an eye on running with the 305 sprinters.

“I wanted to try something new, hopefully to make it fun again and have the sense of speed again,” he said. “So I decided to give these things a try.”

The car sat for a season as Munson continued to race in the sportsman division and figure out the workings of an alcoholburning, fuel-injected engine.

“It can be a little aggravating because I am pretty fresh at it and trying to fine tune them is a little difficult,” he said. “Cory has been helping me out and giving me advice.”

Munson debuted the No. 51 sprinter at Fonda Speedway’s car show in March and took the track for the first time Wednesday at an open practice session at the Track of Champions.

Unfortunately, he could not get the car up to speed and give it a true test.

“The engine is new and it is the first time running it here at Fonda,” Munson said. “It seems fine when we are idling, but won’t come up to speed. We will keep working at it.”

When the team figures out the engine problems, Munson said he is looking forward to touring on the CRSA RaceSaver circuit.

“We are going to mainly focus on the Capital District shows, but even though I have a 305, I am still going to try the ESS shows when they come to Utica-Rome and Fonda,” he said. “I just want to have a good time and have fun again.”

Test and tune

Cars took to Fonda Speedway for hot laps for the first time this season Wednesday night.

Several teams turned out to test the fresh clay put down on the racing surface in the off season and the reports came back favorable.

“Things actually went better than expected,” Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo said. “We had to touch up turns one and two a couple of times, but overall, I am pleased with the way things went.”

Unfortunately, a couple of drivers will have a lot of work to do before returning to the track.

Rookie sportsman driver Nick Scavia looked solid in his first laps at Fonda Speedway, but developed a problem with the steering in the car. Scavia hit the first turn wall and rolled, coming to rest on his roof in turn two.

The car sustained heavy damage, but his team was confident the young driver will be back, but probably not for the season opener Saturday.

Dick Nichols’ street stock ride also suffered heavy damage when it appeared an axle broke, sending him hard into the backstretch wall.

Nichols is making a return to racing this season after taking a short hiatus from the sport. He has a dozen feature wins under his belt, most coming when there were so many street stock campaigners at Fonda they had to run two features a night.

Season opener

After putting the season-opener on hold for two weeks, Fonda Speedway is scheduled to drop the green flag on the 2015 racing season Saturday night.

A large turnout is expected, especially in the sportsman and pro stock divisions as the King of Dirt Series openers for both divisions are on tap after being delayed from weeks one and two.

The race program will get under way earlier than normal.

The pits will open at 2 p.m. with the front gates opening at 3 p.m.

Warm-ups are anticipated to start about 4 p.m. with racing starting at 5 p.m.

It should be noted that the starting time for the season has been moved from 7 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Still on hold

Due to wet grounds, the season-opener for Glen Ridge Motorsports Park has been pushed back to April 24.

Condolences

The racing family at Glen Ridge lost a member.

Dan Szala, who assisted track photographer Bob Lansing at the speedway, was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this week. He was 21.

If you met Dan, you liked him.

He did a lot of things at the track quietly and without fanfare, while learning his craft as a photographer.

He was one of the people who just did things and you never realize how much he did until he took a rare night off.

Rest in peace, Dan.