By Ed & Betty Biittig
A year controlled by weather decided to give Albany-Saratoga a break this past week. Wednesday evening was an all-feature event to make up for a rain-delayed show from June 16.
It seemed only fitting that this special night could be run in memory of a friend of racing and Albany-Saratoga, Don Davies. The speedway held a celebration of life for Don, and track announcer Dan Martin did an amazing job of sharing who Don Davies was to so many in our sport, along with being a racing journalist for over 50 years. Promoter Lyle DeVore shared with all in attendance and watching on DTD-TV how much Don had done for him and the speedway. It was all a very fitting farewell to a friend.
One happy driver in victory lane on Wednesday was Adam Pierson, who was celebrating his second trip to the winners circle at the track. Adam is not new to winning; he has 158 career wins in nine different divisions of racing.
On Friday, we were back at Albany-Saratoga, and the first people we found when entering were at a table manned by the folks from KFC of Saratoga, located on Route 50. They are one of the many sponsors at Malta and have games set up for fans to win a chance at a gift certificate from KFC. The folks for this photo are Street Stock driver Jimmy Duncan, Kathleen, Deacken, Kim, Courtney, Jimmy, Megan, and Makenzie.
We ran into Dakota Green in the winners circle on Friday with his No. 69 Limited Sportsman. And because No. 69 is closely associated with the Green family that races at Accord, we asked if he was related. He said no, and the reason he picked No. 69 for his car was because it reads the same upside down and right side up.
Due to heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted for Saturday, Fonda Speedway cancelled racing early, ending the points battles and declaring the 2023 championships in all divisions.
Those drivers to be celebrated and crowned as track champions on Fonda 200 Weekend are: Demetrios Drellos, Modified Champion; Payton Talbot, 602 Sportsman; Kyle Dingman, Limited Sportsman; Ivan Joslin, Pro Stocks; and Ken and Kerrie Hollenbeck, Four Cylinder Champions, Single and Dual Cam.
The MVVDMS champions for 2023 were also declared, and those were: Carl Cram, Mystique; Randy Delaney, Modified; John Roese, Late Model; Don Briggs, Antique; and Mike Francisco, Sportsman.
We checked Fonda records for the past 25 years and found that only twice before was the championship night affected by the weather.
In 2006, the championship night of August 19 was rained out and pushed to September 16, after the annual fair, when two 22-lap features determined the champions.
In 2014, the championship night was forced to be canceled due to rain after the Pro Stock, Street Stock, and Four Cylinder features, and the point leaders going into the Night of Features were declared the champions.
This information may be of no consolation to those who wanted to see the points end on the track. However, there were probably many factors that went into the difficult decision.
We are reminded of a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “You can please some of the people all of the time; you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
The Rush Late Models made their debut at Glen Ridge on Sunday, sponsored by Yurkewecz Auto Crushers, and the exotic-looking fast-moving machines were well received by the fans in the stands. Also, many in the pits were very interested and curious about the drivers behind the wheel of something new in area racing.
We snapped a photo after the feature as late model car builder Ed Carley talks with Demetrios Drellos and Derrick McGrew, Sr. and Jr.
Chad Homan of Rochester was the winner of the first Rush Late Model feature at The Ridge and said after the event that he loved the track and would definitely look forward to coming again next year when the division will run weekly at the track.
There were several Rush Late Model competitors at The Ridge on Sunday. Some travel many miles and hours to get there. Car owner Chuck Claver came with his car and driver, Sean Beardsley, from the Fulton area. Chuck said he thought the track looked a bit like Brewerton and would probably come next season if the show was completed by 10 or 10:30 pm so he could get home at a reasonable hour.
Zach Carley runs his Late Model regularly at Genesee Speedway and follows the Rush Series when he can. He said the Glen Ridge track was in great shape and very fast. Prior to coming to the track on Sunday, Derrick McGrew, Jr., had already raced two nights in Virginia at Natural Bridge Speedway and was looking forward to running on Sunday. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken drive shaft that ended his night.
Demetrios Drellos has been a big proponent of the Late Models coming to the area, and he was there on Sunday ready to talk with anyone interested in his No. 111 Late Model. Demetrios was leading the feature when he had a battery cable come loose, but he was able to get the car going while still in the car and on the track, restarted in the rear, and made his way to finish in the runner-up spot.
We ran into a father-son team at The Ridge on Sunday. Dave and Alex Viall are both racing in the Slingshots division at the track. Alex, who is 10 years old, began racing two years ago, and last year Dave decided to join him and bring back the fun he remembered when he raced in Pro Stocks at Fonda.
This week’s Tremont Trivia is one that probably both Kenny and his crew would like to have buried in the history books, but every year when Super DIRT Week rolls around, the story pops up at least once somewhere.
In 2002, Tremont was leading but ran out of gas on the white flag lap and lost his chance to win the event for the second time.
One connection we have to the story is that Ed Jr., was on the phone with Kim Hart, who had a radio show in the Capital District and was broadcasting the action to her audience. Ed Jr., was giving a lap-by-lap report for the final laps with the anticipation that Tremont, being in the lead, would win the event for the second time.
Tremont won the event for the first time in 1999 and became the first Lebanon Valley driver to do so.
Until next week, please send all news and/or comments to email@example.com.