Column By: RAY ROGERS / RPW – FONDA, NY – Fonda Speedway kicks off the fall racing season with the return of the most prestigious and lucrative event in its history this weekend…the Fonda 200.
It seems like just yesterday that the 2019 Fonda Speedway schedule was released and everyone was talking about Brett Deyo’s decision to bring the 200 back. Well, the event is now upon us and its time to let the festivities begin.
However, what makes the Fonda 200 so special and why all the hype? Simply put…history.
No other race in the northeast boasts a winning list of drivers like the 200 does…all Hall of Famers or future inductees into the Hall. It all began in 1955 when NASCAR Hall member Junior Johnson claimed the first 200 lap event, sanctioned by the NASCAR Grand National Series, making Fonda a true NASCAR home track. Since then, 27 200-lap events have been run on the historic half-mile and the win list is like a who’s who of NASCAR and Dirt Modifieds greats.
Winning this race will immortalize one driver among the greats at one of the east coast’s most historic racing facilities. Along with the prestige comes the payout…$53,000 to the winner and a healthy purse throughout the field, totaling over $126,000. That gives every driver who shows up something to walk away with. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.
For race fans, the “200” will be the race to be at. Why you may ask? All season at Fonda we have witnessed great finishes and heartbreaks. However, one storyline has always been at the forefront…who will win the “200?” Will one of our own take the win or will an outsider claim checkers?
Maybe one of the greats of the next generation will pass the test and add their name to the record books at the “Track of Champions?” Only one way to witness history is to be there.
If you are planning on visiting the beautiful Mohawk Valley this weekend for the Fonda 200, here’s some info that may be helpful.
The Fonda Speedway is located on the northern bank of the Mohawk River just off the New York state thruway exit 28. Traffic may be heavy during peak hours heading in and out of the speedway so give yourself plenty of time to find a seat and enjoy the show.
If it’s your first trip to the Track of Champions, here a few tips on getting in and out of the speedway smoothly. Parking is located directly across from the Speedway on Park St. and is tailgate friendly. If you plan on coming from the north, enter the village of Fonda via Rt 30A. Once you reach the Rt 5 intersection, go straight onto Broadway, left on Park St.
Those of you coming from points south, use Rte. 30 or I90 to Fultonville. Coming from the east, Use New York State Thruway exit 27 in Amsterdam to Rt 5 west once in Fonda continue to Broadway and take a left follow Broadway to Park st and you have arrived!
Coming from the west, use exit 28 NYS Thruway to Fultonville Rt 30. Parking lot behind the covered grandstand will be open but will fill up quickly so plan accordingly if you plan on parking there.
It all starts at 5:45 on Friday when cars hit the track for hot laps, opening ceremonies at 6:45 and racing at 7. Friday nights card consists of Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprint Car double features, Street stocks, ProStocks, Four Cylinder Cruisers and Sunoco Modified Qualified qualifying for the 200 on Saturday. Following the on-track action on Friday will be live entertainment from Tompkins Drive at the Fairgrounds Entertainment building located behind the turn four stands. The Fonda Speedway Museum will be open all weekend both before and after the weekend’s events. Also this weekend the Fonda Speedway Museum welcomes Gary Balough and his famous “Batmobile” for a special 200-weekend display.
On Saturday the event Race fans have waited 17 years for, The Return of the Fonda 200. Gates to the historic half-mile open at 1 pm on Saturday and hot laps are set to rollaway at 5 and racing begins at 6. Joining the Sunoco Modifieds Last chance qualifiers will be the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman, for a 25 lap $1,500 to win season finale. Opening ceremonies for the Fonda 200 will follow the Sportsman feature with Driver introductions, America’s and the Canadian national anthems, and the command to start the engines. Then 200 laps of modified action to see who will claim the $53,000 payday and add his name as The 2019 Fonda 200 champion.
If you are planning on coming out to the Fonda Speedway this weekend plan on one thing, A good time, this race will be one to remember not only for one driver but for the fans as well. Come out early visit the Museum do some tailgating and take in the sights and sounds of the Track of Champions one last time this season I hope to see you there.