By ED & BETTY BIITTIG
Friday night at the Great Race Place, Albany-Saratoga felt like a July night of racing with temps hovering around 90 degrees. A banner number of race cars (170) were on hand to welcome the 58th season at the track and the fans filled the bleachers to capacity. With 42 Modifieds on hand it looked like a major series event with $5800 on the line for the winner. Taking the money and the checker was Australian, Peter Britten, his fourth time in victory lane on opening night. What was a great decision, was the running of two main events for the 55 Crate Sportsman on hand. Both Modifieds and Sportsman were running for show points.
A first time visitor to Malta on Friday was D. J. Gonyo (2nd cousin to Leon) who lives in Chazy, NY and regularly races at Mohawk International and Airborne Speedway. D. J. began his career in karts and at 14-years moved to Novice Sportsman and then on to Limited Sportsman. Five years ago he moved to 602 Crate Sportsman. D. J. said he liked everything about the Malta track and would love to return on the nights that Mohawk is off. His plans for 2023 are to run Mohawk and Airborne weekly with trips to Cornwall for their Race of the Cure.
Alissa Cody of Catskill is a fourth generation driver in a family that has many years in our sport. Alissa is the granddaughter of A. J. Lutes and the daughter of Jeff Lutes. She began her racing career in karts at seven years old. In 2014 she moved to Sportsman where she had a win at Accord Speedway. Five years ago she moved to Modifieds and so far her best finish is a top ten.
She said, “I like racing at Albany Saratoga” and plans to return this week for another shot at some track time. She said although the car handled well her small block needed some adjustments and she didn’t have much for the impressive field of Modifieds on hand last Friday. We do know she’s not a quitter and we wish her well.
Fonda’s practice session on Saturday was a big success for the 105 cars and racers that came and for the fans that came for a chance to see cars on the track for the first time. After a bit of grooming the track came up fast and racy for the later sessions.
Whether you see it as good or bad luck, Danny Varin blew the engine in his Sprinter after taking a few very fast laps. Good luck that it happened in a test and tune event and bad luck that it happened at all. According to Varin, his engine builder informed him he’s way behind schedule and may not have it back to him before the first Sprint race at Fonda on May 6.
After taking a year off, Josh Hohenforst will be back in his Modified this season at Fonda. Josh was present for the practice session on Saturday with a plain black body on the car. He ran into the same problems that go across all of racing, suppliers are behind for one reason or another. “I wouldn’t have been able to come back if I hadn’t kept most of my equipment,” said Hohenforst.
Good News!! Fonda is getting a new lap counter and even better news is that it’s scheduled to be delivered this week. This is all thanks to Bill and Cindy Yurkewicz of Yurkewicz Auto Crushers in Fultonville, the Track of Champions will have a new lap counter in the infield this season. Bill and Cindy are big supporters of local racing and have been for many years. This season they are title sponsors for the Pro Stock division at Glen Ridge along with being associate sponsors on several cars; the Pro Stocks of “Cousin” Luke Horning, Andy Graves, and they are owners of the Pro Stock driven by Kyle Weiler. They sponsor the Limited Sportsman of Lucas Duncan, and the 602 Crate Sportsman of Jason Greco.
The annual NESCOT (North East Stock Car Old Timers) Steak Roast has a new venue and date this year. The popular event will be held on Sunday, August 6, 2023, at Fonda Speedway on the Fonda Fairgrounds, lunch from 12 noon to 3:30 pm when dinner will be served at approximately 5:00 pm. Information on the event and/or membership to NESCOT can be accessed through their Facebook page at NESCOT Racing. Information is also available from NESCOT Officers, President, Al McCoy (518-461-5223) VP, Mitch Poole (518-588-3737), Treasurer, Don Cadoret (518-374-5481) and Secretary, Pat Cadoret (518-281-6867).
A couple of our local racers branched out into Late Model racing this past week in Delaware. Brock Pinkerous of Ellenville was the winner of the Rush Late Model non-qualifiers event at Delaware International. Demetrios Drellos of Queensbury won the B-Main at Delaware and finished eighth in the main event.
Due to a push back of the closing on the sale of Five Mile Point Speedway, the track announced this past week that it will run several special events in 2023, marking the 73rd consecutive season at the Kirkwood oval. Check their webpage for a full schedule of the events to be run.
Until next week please send all news and/or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.