Fonda Speedway getting set for 2013 season

FONDA?- The annual Fonda Speedway car show at the Rotterdam Square Mall may be eight weeks away, but the 61st consecutive racing season at the Track of Champions is already on track.

With an eye on kicking off the season with its annual Ice Jam on April 6, Ric Lucia is putting the finishing touches on his 17th season as Fonda Speedway promoter.

“The schedule is almost done. It just took a little longer than I had hoped,” he said. “We have booked the all-star [410] sprints [July 18] and I tried to get Lucas Late Models back but they would not come because Utica-Rome [Speedway] had dropped out. So we booked a World of Outlaws Late Model show on June 19.”

According to a World of Outlaws Late Model Series news release, the Fonda date will head a week-and-a-half-long trek across the Northeast for the WoO LMS, which also will race June 20 at Brighton (Ont.) Speedway; June 23 at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway; June 25 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park; and June 27-29 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. for the Seventh Annual Firecracker 100.

The Lucas Oil Late Models have been on Fonda’s schedule for the last three years with Jimmy Owens winning in 2010 and 2011. Last year the show was rained out and unable to be rescheduled.

Fonda also will host special appearances during the season by the RaceSaver 305 CRSA and ESS sprint cars along with other special events on the calendar.

“Last year, Tony Stewart was here with the All-Star sprints,” Lucia said. “He liked racing here and was trying to comeback for the 360 race at the end of the year, but couldn’t. So we will see, maybe he will come back.”

Plans are in the works to honor seven-time modified track champion Dave Lape as he has announced that after the 2013 season, his 50th in racing, he will retire as a driver.

“When David gives us the date, we will announce the celebration of his career,” Lucia said. “We are very up for it as I respect him and all his accomplishments.”

When the racing ended in 2012, the track prep for 2013 began.

“We put some clay down in the fall,” Lucia said. “Last year we got about three-quarters of the stuff back together after the floods. Now we have to get the other quarter done plus just keep up with the general maintenance and we are going to make a new sign for the backstretch.”

Another project at the speedway that fans will be able to enjoy this season will be the Fonda Speedway Museum on the Fonda Fairgrounds.

“Basically we got the building just before the fair,” Lucia said. “This year we want to expand it by putting in more permanent fixtures. We have the building and are committed to making it better.”

Modified race teams also will have an option this year.

“We have a spec motor we are going to try this year,” Lucia said. “The motor is similar to the one on the truck series; that is how that motor was derived. What we are trying to promote it as an affordable alternative for drivers who want to be able to step up and try modified racing. We are getting the details together for that.”

The engine and Fonda American Racer tires also will be legal to run with the modifieds on Friday nights at nearby Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

“We are looking forward to the year and seeing what develops,” Lucia said. “It has been hard to concentrate on it the past few days because it has been so cold. The first two weeks of the season is always tough, but if it is 30 degrees and snowing, we’re not doing it.”