Racing Around: End of an era at Fonda

Fonda Speedway has been a regular fixture in the Mohawk Valley for 61 years, and for 52 years, in one capacity or another, Bruce Dostal has been a part of that Saturday night tradition.

Dostal started going as a fan when the track opened, then as a driver in the ’60s and ’70s before becoming a fixture in the pit area with his A&B Speed shop truck.

When the final checker drops on the 2013 season, it could be the end of an era at the Track of Champions.

Earlier this year, Dostal sold his A&B Speed shop to Don Bellen but remains involved, only on a lesser basis, with the business.

“Donny actually took over at the beginning of the year at the Ice Breaker,” Dostal said. “It was time for me to kick back, relax and watch the business continue without me doing all the work.”

Bellen has been involved in racing for many years and has been in the cockpit of a variety of racers, including sprint cars and modifieds.

“Don has been working here since 1993, but before that he was a customer, helped build cars and has been at the shop and helped me at different times. The business is now Don Bellen’s A&B Speed. It has been on the side of the truck all season,” Dostal said.

Dostal began racing in 1961 and began fabricating parts for his cars, and others, as a cost-cutting means. The business grew from there.

“I started racing in 1961 and in 1971 started A&B Speed.” Dostal said. “In 1971, I still had my own car and had started building cars for other people.”

In true racer fashion, the choice of name for the business was driven by the drive to be first.

“We wanted to be first in the phone book,” he said. “It doesn’t have any structural meaning; we just wanted to be first in line.”

The list of drivers who have piloted Dostal-built cars, and won with them, over the years is impressive, but one car that started out as a drawing on the floor of his shop became well known.

“Dave Lape came here and we sketched out what became the Troyer Destroyer on the floor,” Dostal said. “That evolved into his ChampCar chassis business.”

Dostal said he will probably still be at the tracks to lend a hand, but also may take a few summer weekends off.

Championship night

Glen Ridge Motorsports Park will wrap up its points battles Friday night.

Last year Bobby Varin and Jeremy Wilder took the modified point’s chase down to the final night of racing with Wilder prevailing to win the track championship.

Varin posted a victory last Friday and it poised to take home his first Glen Ridge track title in the Nelson-owned Bloomfield’s No. 85.

The battle for the sportsman title will probably come down to the final inches of the main event as Korey Wilder and Brian Pessolano are separated by just five points heading into Friday’s race program.

Shane Playford and Rob VanAernam have essentially locked up the cruiser and street stock division titles respectively.

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