Racing Around: First month of season has been good

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Nick Stone powers his ‘Manimal’ chassis in the low groove, while Luke Horning runs the high side of turn four in his Playfab chassis during pro stock heat race action last Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (James A. Ellis)

SPORTS The first month of racing has been full of excitement and surprises at the local speedways.

How could anyone predict that there would be a pair of drivers at Fonda Speedway — Nick Stone and Ken Hollenbeck — with undefeated records in feature events?

The Todd Hoffman/Todd Stone team has been firing on all cylinders this year at the Track of Champions with six wins in six features.

Stone has cut his racing schedule back to one night a week to concentrate on his growing “Manimal” chassis fabrication and fledgling parts business.

Having an experienced car owner like Hoffman also helps. He and the 8N crew know what it takes to win races and championships at Fonda and other tracks.

“I go to the shop on Tuesday, and they already have the car cleaned and checked over,” Stone said. “It is a big relief not having to do the maintenance on the car, especially with everything else I have going on.”

The pro stock field is tightening up, though. After dominating the first few weeks, Stone has had to come up with late-race heroics to hold off Beau Ballard, also driving a “Manimal,” Luke Horning and Shane Playford in “Playfab” chassis cars and Kenny Gates in a JACR chassis.

Hollenbeck has also put together a six-race win streak in the single overhead cam division of the 4-cylinder mini stock class. Hollenbeck has been a factor in the division with his single cam entry, while the majority have dual overhead cam engines.

His brother, Kerrie, has picked up the DOHC victory in five of the six nights of racing, with John Napoli getting the opening night win.

Another surprise has been the return of Matt DeLorenzo and Craig Hanson to Victory Lane at Fonda Speedway.

It’s not a surprise that they won, just the amount of time between feature wins for the duo.

After being shut out at Fonda since Sept. 14, 2013, DeLorenzo scored back-to-back victories in May, while Hanson ended a winless streak dating back to July 30, 2016, on May 14, giving his father and former driver and feature winner Ken an unmatched birthday present.

You can add Danny Varin to that list. Varin has had success at the “Track of Champions” in sprint cars lately. However, on May 21, he parked the No. 93 modified in Victory Lane for the first time since Aug. 10, 2019.

One of my favorite returns to Victory Lane happened at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, when 60-year-old Kenny Tremont grabbed the checkers on May 6 for his 81st career win at “The Great Race Place,” and 390th of his career.

HORNING PERFECT AT THE RIDGE

Last Sunday night, Cousin Luke Horning posted his fourth pro stock victory in as many nights of racing at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, while Andrew Buff picked up his third win of the season in the 602 crate sportsman division.

Mike Hill topped the limited sportsman field, while Jay Ingersoll, Jr. and Norman Lamphear respectively won the SOHC and DOHC mini-stock features.

The street stock division had its largest turnout of the season with Adam Tranka taking home the victory over Josh Samrov.

Connor Crane took home the junior slingshot victory, while the ageless Danny Ballard topped the all-star slingshot field.

ROYAL SUPERCROSS THURSDAY

The opening night of Supercross action at Royal Mountain Ski Center was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday due to inclement weather.

Royal opened its summer season last weekend, hosting a two-day CNYRMA D-3 event that drew more than 450 riders both days to the nine-time track of the year.

SPECIAL EVENT AT CAROGA CREEK

Motorcycles and quads will take to the popular go-kart track in Ephratah on June 11 for a second time this season.

The bikes and quads will follow the regularly scheduled go-kart race program slated to start at noon.

PIT NOTES

Demetrios Drellos has been fast and consistently posting top five finishes this season at both Fonda Speedway and Albany-Saratoga. It may not be too long before the famed Drellos No. 111 will find its way back to Victory Lane.

The 305 CRSA Sprint Cars will make their first appearance of the year Saturday at Fonda Speedway. It is the second race of the season for the sprinters after three postponements and Billy Vaninwegen Jr. getting the season-opening victory at Weedsport.

Hard to believe it has been 16 years since Fultonville’s Brian Grisel came up with the idea for the 305 SPEC head class with an eye on keeping the price of racing down and the competition equal.

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park is hosting a full regular race program, plus the first Wheels of Fury Enduro of the season on Little League Night Sunday, with all Little League players wearing their jerseys admitted free.

The Ridge is counting down the days until the DIRTcar 358 modifieds return to the fast quarter mile on June 12.

Fans, get your Sharpies ready. After a two-year hiatus, the on-track meet-and-greet returns to Fonda Speedway on June 11. Making it even sweeter, it is Bill Lake Modular Homes Fan Appreciation Night with a $5 general admission price with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series also on the full regular race card.

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