Column By: LAURIE FALLIS / RPW – FONDA, NY – With the biggest news of the Northeast Dirt racing community in 2018 being the promotional change at Fonda Speedway, all eyes are squarely on new promoter Brett Deyo as he takes the helm of one of the most prestigious tracks in the northeast.
Deyo’s a gentleman that brings credibility to the speedway and also someone who has proven to be successful at what he knows best…promotion.
With rain showers hitting the track late last Friday night, it didn’t put a damper on the ‘full speed ahead’ attitude for Saturday’s practice season for the management team.
The weather, as it turns out, could not have been any better. Practice is a day where not only the racers get to fine tune things, but the speedway as well, with them being all new to the facility with fans and cars hitting the track.
I was able to catch up to Brett early in the day on Saturday to get a prospective on what it took his team to get to practice day along with his thoughts on the “Track Of Champions.” He was getting a few of the little things set for his debut as promoter after so much anticipation through the long winter.
I had to ask him first off if he was able to get any sleep with anticipation of getting the season started at practice?
“Not a whole lot as we were here late last night getting things ready,” Deyo said. “We sure have gotten a lot done in the last couple of weeks since we’ve been up here. We feel we’re opening on a pretty good foot for the practice session and will continue on to next week to be ready for Opening Day on April 20th.”
I asked what are his emotions would be when he finally got to see cars hit the track.
“I’m pretty excited about getting things rolling here,” he said. “When I was younger, my parents would always come up to Fonda for the big races along with midweek events, so the history at this track is not new to me.”
He knows the history of the speedway and knows just what kind of place it is.
“I grew up at Orange County,” he said. “That was my Saturday night home, but this track has always been special. I know the history and how important it is. It’s certainly a big deal and a lot of pressure of being the caretaker of Fonda’s history. We have special things going on all year to keep the history involved.”
Being that he lives so far away from the “Track of Champions,” does he feel ready to go this season?
“I know we’ve done everything possible to make the day go smooth as it can,” he said. “We’ve put in a tremendous amount of hours and want to get off on a decent foot. We hope people are patient as it is also practice for us like the racers. We just want to get the kinks out and certainly glad it’s a nice day.”
Saturday was the day many have been waiting for. I asked Brett how challenging was it to get to this point?
“Its more challenging for the first year because we started with no equipment at all,” he said. “We had to get all new for the concession. We had to get all the equipment to the track, hooked up and running. That is a challenge we won’t have face in the years to follow.”
Running other tracks over the years, Deyo had an idea of what he had to do to get things in order.
“A lot went into this,” he said. “Even down to getting water trucks, packer trucks and a grader to the track. We were fortunate enough to get some help to ease the burden and that’s a good thing, but yes it was very challenging after starting out with nothing.”
Deyo also knows he’ll be handling things as they come and learning on the fly.
“There’s no owner manuals to these places,” he said. “You just need to figure it out. For example, getting the lights working. It was the same at Georgetown (another track he promotes) which is also a big old place like Fonda. It needed a lot to get started and we figured it all out there. and we’ll do it here too.”
Another question I had was about his thoughts on how the track surface was going to be for the first on track action.
“There are still some soft spots from the winter,” he said. “We’re glad we are able to get in our practice so we can work on the areas that need it. The weather has been great for us so far this year, so once we get cars on the track, we can work on getting the best racing surface possible.”
Fonda Speedway is certainly shaping up with the past being brought back. Sponsors billboards along the rails in back of Victory lane and a third turn flagger will also be implemented. The scale area has also been brought back into the infield for safety reasons. This will be an added feature for the fans to see.
With excitement in the air, the character and feeling of what Fonda Speedway means to dirt track racing and the importance of it is certainly here and will continue to grow.