Racing Around: Saying goodbye to a fan and friend

You don’t have to race cars and win feature events to be a champion at the track.

That is what Max Phillips was.

With his family by his side, Max passed away Tuesday at the age of 76 after a long bout with cancer.

Max was a friend, confidant, advisor and a race fan through and through.

There was never a question of his allegiance was as ever since I started covering the local race scene on a regular basis, Max has been at the side of Bobby Varin and when Danny Varin slipped into a racecar I think it just made him even happier.

It was not hard to find Max in the pit area either. All you had to do was look for a group of people gathered around a guy sitting on a four-wheeler. People sought him out just to talk if it was just a how’s it going tonight.

There were nights I would travel to St. Johnsville to cover a sporting event and look up in the stands and there would be Max watching a game. I asked if he had someone playing and he simply replied “These are all my boys. I am here to support them all.”

Max’s dedication to racing, especially at Fonda Speedway, was recognized in 2016 when he was inducted into the speedway’s hall of fame.

Even when he wasn’t at the track, he kept in touch with his friends through Facebook and I admit there were days when I would feel down and then see one of his posts. It seemed no matter what happened that day he was grateful for each and every day. A lesson he wanted to share with everyone who knew him.

The family will be receiving friends and relatives Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Vincent A. Ehea Funeral Service, 20 Bridge St. in St. Johnsville.

A memorial service will be conducted at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Christian Church of Rural Grove in Sprakers.

Pit notes

The Chevrolet Performance 75 DIRTcar Sportsman Feature from the 45th annual NAPA Super DIRT Week will air tonight at 7 p.m. on MAVTV.

Tickets went on sale online Monday for Super DIRT Week 2018

Two-time Fonda Speedway modified track champion Ronnie Johnson announced on his Facebook page after the 2017 racing season at the Track of Champions that he will be racing Saturday nights at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 2018.

Johnson started racing at the Valley in the 1990s and early 2000s for Bryan Goewey before making Fonda Speedway his Saturday night home.

2017 Ice Jam winner Justin Boehler also announced the Pro Tech 50J team also will be moving its Saturday night racing program to Lebanon Valley. Boehler finished the season with one win and eight top five finishes at Fonda.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will host its awards banquet Jan. 13 starting at 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown.

The price is $35 per ticket and everyone is asked to RSVP and pay for the tickets by Jan. 5. No tickets will be available at the door and drivers must be present to collect point fund money.

RSVPs may be sent to Glen Ridge, PO Box 144, Galway NY 12074. For further information contact Michelle at (518) 842-5530.

By Paul Wager

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