Area Racing Preview: Fonda Speedway to host several special events in 2013

FONDA – The Track of Champions will truly live up to its name this season.

Fonda Speedway will honor seven-time modified track champion David Lape on Sept. 14 and will host three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart as he returns to the speedway with his 410 sprint car on July 18.

Fonda Speedway also will welcome the World of Outlaw Late Models to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds half mile dirt track.

“The last couple of years we have tried to have some higher end shows,” Fonda Speedway promoter Ric Lucia said. “The Lucas Late Models were pretty successful the two times they were here but they couldn’t come back this year. So we are going to try the World of Outlaws Late Models this year.”

Stewart got his first look at Fonda Speedway last year, racing with the 410 All-Star sprints. He won his heat race and placed third in the A-main.

“Tony Stewart has fun here last year,” Lucia, who begins his 17th year as speedway promoter, said. “He took to the race track and liked it.”

Lape announced that 2013, his 50th year of racing, will be his last as a regular campaigner. The veteran driver out of Canajoharie stands third on the tracks career modified feature win list with 99, trailing only Jack Johnson with 149 and Lou Lazzaro with 113.

“We are very up for it as I respect him and all his accomplishments,” Lucia said.

The speedway opened its 2013 season Saturday with the annual 40-lap, $4,000-to-win Ice Jam for modifieds. Matt DeLorenzo benefited from defending track champion Stewart Friesen’s late-race flat tire to claim his second Ice Jam victory.

The speedway will open its 2013 points battle on April 14 with a regular weekly race program featuring modifieds, 602 sportsmen, pro stocks, street stocks and single and dual cam 4 cylinders.

Fonda Speedway also will welcome the CRSA 305 sprint cars on April 27 and Sept. 14. The ESS sprints will visit on Memorial Day Weekend May 25 and return on Sept. 21 for its championship event.

Also during the season fans will be welcomed to the track surface for kiddie rides on May 11 and a driver meet and greet on the front stretch on July 27.

One big change for the season involves the eighth annual Hondo Classic for the pro stock division.

Traditionally run on the Fourth of July weekend, the popular event has been moved to July 18 as part of the mid-week show with the All-Star Champions sprint cars.

After seeing progress made in upgrading the facility, Lucia could only watch as the track was hit by three floods. However, he said the track is close to where it was before the disasters.

“We have gotten most of the racetrack back but we are still cleaning up from the floods,” he said. “Now the wind has blown down part of the sign on the back stretch. We are getting things back to normal.”

Lucia said that he is already looking forward to next season.

“You try to raise the bar each year and next year we are going to keep looking for something else,” he said.