When race teams headed South earlier this year to compete in the Short Track Super Series and DIRTcar events, there was a concern about the continued tire shortage that raised its head toward the end of the 2021 season.
In a season preview, Fonda Speedway, Utica-Rome Speedway and STSS promoter Brett Deyo noted that “supply chain issues [for tires and parts] will plague our sport all season.”
He was correct.
Earlier this week, Race Tires of America, Inc., which produces the American Racer track tires for Fonda, Utica-Rome and STSS, among others, announced it was halting production of the dirt modified tires due to the lack of nylon. No timeline was set as to when production of the tires would restart.
“Tire conservation is going to be key this year for both American Racer and Hoosier,” Deyo said in the preview. “We are all going to need to do our part: dealers, promoters and racers.”
With that in mind, the rules concerning tires have been updated to help the race teams to keep their cars on the tracks.
For the modified and sportsman divisions, the American Racer tire compounds will remain the same as previously announced, with the option of running harder available compounds.
However, Hoosier D300 or harder tires also may be run. If the teams opt to do this, they must run Hoosiers on both rear wheels, or both front or all four corners. Of course, if they run Hoosiers, they cannot qualify for the American Racer Cup bonus.
To make the playing field a little more even for tires, modified and sportsman teams will be given a voucher when they sign in Saturday to purchase one tire at the track. A shipment of tires is expected at Fonda before Saturday’s race program, with 48 compound right-front, 48 compound left-rear and 50 compound right-rears available.
“As a season business with only 20-25 race days to recoup 365 days’ worth of expenses, we must do our best to remain operational during these challenging times so Fonda Speedway will still be around to host racing when the tire shortage ends,” Deyo said. “We are aware some teams do not wish to or cannot race under these circumstances. We understand and support your decision. We know many of our teams will continue to do their best to support us weekly. We cannot thank you enough for your dedication.”
Utica-Rome Speedway faces a different problem as the inventory at its regional distributor, Lias Tire Company, is already depleted and there will be no tires available for purchase at the track for the modifieds and sportsman divisions.
With the cancellation of Wednesday’s open practice, attention now turns to getting the racing surface at Fonda Speedway in shape for the Andy’s Speed Shop-sponsored Montgomery County Open Honoring Jack Johnson.
The modifieds will have the option of running sail-panels for the 40-lap, $12,000-to-win main event. The 10th-place finisher will net $1,000, with $500 to take the green, plus Finish Line Landscaping is putting up $112 for the heat race winners, B&B Dumpsters is sponsoring a $212 hard charger award, and the Tow Van is putting up a $112 award for the driver who is first on the hook.
The new tire rules will be in effect for the event along with the 602 sportsmen, limited sportsmen, pro stocks, four-cylinder cruisers and the first appearance of the year by the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series.
Pit gates will open at 2 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. to allow for inspections and pick-up of passes and licenses.
General admission will be $20, and the infield drive-in will be open with up to four passes for $100. Hot laps are set for 5:30 p.m., with the green flag dropping on the first qualifier at 6:30 p.m.
Last Friday, Rocky Warner and Bobby Varin made the trip to Outlaw Speedway in Dundee for the 35-lap, $4,000-to-win Cindy Lane Memorial.
Warner placed second in the main event, and Varin was third. Both drivers were under a second behind winner Jeff Daugherty. Danny Johnson placed fourth, with Kyle Coffey rounding out the top five.
Matt DeLorenzo made the most of his front-row starting spot to lead the opening 18 laps before Peter Britten wrestled the lead away on a lap 19 restart and held on to win the 40-lap, $6,500-to-win opening night modified feature last Friday at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. DeLorenzo placed second followed by Larry Wight, Mike Mahaney and Michael Maresca.
An appearance by the Monster Truck Racing League has been added to the schedule this summer at Fonda Speedway.
Co-promoted by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society and BD Motorsports Media LLC. “Monsters on the Mohawk” is scheduled for July 5-6 with six full-size Pro Monster Trucks scheduled to compete.
A pre-event pit party will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. for ticketholders to take pictures with the trucks and drivers and Monster Truck rides will be available for $10.
Gates open at 5 p.m. nightly, with tickets purchased in advance online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monsters-on-the-mohawk-tickets-321656141177 for $20 for adults, $10 for kids (ages 3-12). Children 2 and under are free. Tickets sold at the gate will be $25 for adults, $15 for kids (ages 3-12) and children 2 and under are free and $5 for parking.
The Monster Truck Racing League will also be at Utica-Rome Speedway on Sept. 10-11.