RPW Column By: TOBY LAGRANGE / FULTONVILLE, NY – It came to life nearly two decades ago as the Daytona of Karting facilities and before too long, transformed into the Fastest Quarter Mile on Dirt. Since that first green flag the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park has played host to thousands of racers, hundreds of nights of racing and some of the most exciting action in the area.
The 2019 season saw the promotional team of Ray Sefrin and Butch Hazzard try something different. They adopted the same rules, including tires and fuel, that their American Racer Tire, Sunoco Racing Fuels neighbors the Fonda Speedway had adopted and joined the American Racer Cup program.
With the change from Hoosier Tires to American Racers during the off-season, hopes were high for an increase in car counts and at the front gate. Despite their best efforts and bringing in and in some cases back, different divisions the counts at the ticket booth were not getting better.
This included those on the pit side of things where car counts in the headlining Sportsman-Modified division were lower than in previous years. Once the off season hit, Hazzard and Sefrin went to work trying to not only grow the car counts at the track but to ensure that there would be at least another 20 more seasons of action on the Haye’s Family owned property.
A change was in order and a change was made. The 2020 season will see the track known as The Ridge return to running Hoosier Tires and switch to VP Racing Fuels.
“We felt that we had more opportunity with running Hoosier (tires)” Hazzard said. “A lot of the guys who wanted to come in 2019 had Hoosiers. In 2019 the car counts dropped and we felt that we needed to go back to basics. We decided to go back to a formula that has worked for us.”
With the switch to Hoosier Tires, the track now is aligned with the DIRTcar Northeast organization and will play host to a DIRTcar Pro Stock series event and possible a DIRTcar Sportsman Series event as well. The switch will also align the track rules wise with the nearby Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Lebanon Valley Speedway and Utica-Rome Speedway.
“We do have a DIRTcar Pro Stock Series race on the schedule,” Hazzard said. “Currently we are working on a DIRTcar Sportsman Series race as well.”
The 2020 season at Glen Ridge will tentatively kick off on Sunday May 3rd. Once released expect to see numerous special events dot the schedule including one or two Modified shows, a pair of visits by the CRSA Sprint Car Series, a visit by the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series, Hall of Fame night and some other surprises.
The 2019 season will officially take the checkered flag on Saturday February 29th with the annual Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn of Johnstown/Gloversville. Drivers from all of the weekly divisions will be honored including 2019 Track Champions Rocky Warner (Modified), Rocky Warner (Sportsman-Modified), Luke Horning (Pro Stock), Limited Sportsman (Jerry Cohn), Cliff Haslun (Street Stock), Tim Billington (Cruiser – Single Cam), John Napoli (Cruiser – Dual Cam), Mike Hill (Slingshot), Brock Pinkerous (Junior Slingshot).
The changes made for the 2020 season have been met with mixed feelings by many in the local racing community. From my perspective it is a risky gamble to not be aligned with your closest neighbor (the Fonda Speedway). However, I also recognize that when something is not working, you really have two choices – keep spinning your tires in the clay or change something to make it better.
Sometimes in motorsports a change that one track makes can lead to a negative impact on other tracks. In this case I do not feel the change to Hoosier Tires and VP Racing Fuel will hurt anyone. I do feel that it will help The Ridge in the long run as they look to build their program and maybe draw some new racers, teams, sponsors and especially fans into the western Capital District.
That is something that benefits everyone, regardless of who is supplying the tires and fuel. With the current state of motorsports as a whole…doing things to benefit everyone is something we all should be thinking more about.