Weather puts brakes on openers

This was supposed to be the opening weekend for the local racing season.

Instead, thanks to Mother Nature, the season-opening weekend has been pushed to April 17 and 18.

Fonda Speedway has cancelled its traditional season-opening 40-lap $4,000-to-win Ice Breaker and now with the prediction of uncooperative weather and deep frost still under the track, pushed opening night to April 18.

“We have new clay on the track, but we are more worried about wrecking cars because it is not ready,” Fonda Speedway promoter Matt DeLorenzo said.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park also has bumped its season-opening event to April 17 to allow the grounds to thaw out and dry.

When the racing action does officially hit the speedways, there will be new personnel in place at both tracks.

After having multiple race directors sitting in the tower at Fonda Speedway, DeLorenzo has promoted flagger Denny Tilison to race director and long-time assistant starter Joe Kriss will take his place as the head flagger at the Track of Champions. That is a long journey for Kriss, who as a kid used to stand in the fourth turn and wave the flags from in front of the stands.

Charlie “Tuna” Squires will continue his duties as pit steward, a position he took over inmidseason at Fonda.

Rob Hayes takes over as track handicapper, while Roger Heroux, who came on late last year to help with track preparation, returns this year to help keep the Fonda Speedway surface race-ready.

Glen Ridge also has changes in key personnel.

The top one being Pete and Matt Demitraszek returning as promoters after Mike Sowle stepped aside in the offseason.

A familiar name on the local racing scene and former chief flagger at Glen Ridge, Joe Achzet, returns to the speedway, this time as race director.

Steve Buregea will take over the duties as pit steward at The Ridge, while Kriss will return to the starters stand as head flagger.

When racing does hit the new clay at Fonda Speedway a pair of series events for the support divisions will kick off.

The 30-lap, $1,000-to-win Ice Melt Basement Systems King Of Dirt Crate Sportsman presented by Dodson Construction, Kevin Koval’s Adirondack Basement Systems and driven by Hoosier Racing Tires and the 30-lap, $750-to-win Lazzaro’s Auto Body King Of Dirt Pro Stocks

Hood Popper presented by Stone Motorsports and Auto Sales.

The Ice Melt kicks off a six-race series with two races apiece at Fonda (April 18, Sept. 25), Lebanon Valley (Aug. 25, Sept. 5) and Albany-Saratoga (June 26, Sept. 11) Speedways.

The pro stocks will run a three-race series at the tracks.

The Fonda leg is slated for April 18 before heading to Albany-Saratoga on July 3 and Lebanon Valley on Aug. 29.

If, and that is a big if, the weather warms up and the track crews can get the surfaces in shape, drivers may get a chance to shake down their rides.

Fonda has a tentative open practice session scheduled for April 15, while Lebanon Valley has sessions scheduled for April 11 and 18 and Albany-Saratoga has an open practice set for April 12.