A warm evening in the summer with nothing to do? Do you want to experience something different? Perhaps now is the perfect moment to make your way to the Fonda Speedway! Watching a speedway race is comparable to taking a narcotic for people who are adrenaline addicts.
It whisks you away from this mundane world and into a realm where everything moves at a breakneck pace. The sensation of exhilaration that you experience when you witness cars speeding past a rival is out of this world. When you can experience the speed of the vehicles on the track, all the tension in your daily life begins to fade. There is nothing else that matters.
In the 1950s and 1960s, drag strips spread like wildfire throughout the rural areas of the United States.
As vehicle speeds grew, additional resources were required, including track grounds that had been painstakingly prepared, additional run-out areas, personnel with advanced safety training, and larger pit spaces.
People who wanted to watch runs at speeds of 200 and later 300 miles per hour flocked to the larger locations. These larger venues could accommodate more spectators. In certain regions, the population growth rate was so quick that once-rural villages overnight transformed into suburban bedroom communities.
Most of the time, the citizens of the vicinity did not take well to the additional traffic and noise brought about by drag racing. As a result of this, several of the less significant competitor tracks went out of business.
Racing on the Fonda Speedway
Among the casualties was the 1/8-mile drag track at the Fonda Speedway in Fonda, New York; the site would be pretty much forgotten if it weren’t the place of origin for a racing deity.
Shirley Muldowney, who would win the Top Fuel championship three times and be inducted into the Global Motorsports Hall of Fame, got her start in the sport at Fonda. After opening its doors for the first time in 1953, the track is today regarded as one of the most historically significant in the United States.
The Fonda Speedway, located in Fonda, New York, is a half-mile clay oval called the “Track of Champions.” It is located off Exit 28 of the New York State Thruway. The course staged races for the NASCAR Cup Series twice, the first time from 1955 to 1966 and then from 1968 to 1970.
In addition to the Saturday night races for the Modified, Sportsman, and Limited Sportsman classes and the Pro Stock and 4-Cylinder competitions, the track is also the home of the Fonda 200.
The Fonda Speedway plays host to the Fonda 200, a modified auto race covering 100 miles (or 161 kilometers). In 1955, the legendary Junior Johnson won the first ever “Fonda 200,” a NASCAR Grand National event. Since the race has been known as the “Fonda 200.”
The names Johnson, David Pearson, and “The King,” Richard Petty, may be found on the list of victors of the Fonda 200 as NASCAR Grand National competition winners in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
When Charlie Rudolph discovered that Fonda Speedway was checkered square in 1983, the race that would later be known as the “Fonda 200” would become an annual event, except for the year 1996, the event was held each year until 2002, when it was followed by a break that lasted for 17 years.
This significant historical event was held again in 2019 and 2021, although it was not held in 2020 due to limits imposed by COVID-19. Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, New York, placed his mark on the win list for the Fonda 200.
Friesen has since won each of the event’s previous two iterations. And finally, the 2022 cup was claimed by Matt Sheppard in a majestic spectacle of the three-day race, taking the $53,000-to-win ‘Fonda 200’ win for himself.
If you prefer to arrive at the racetrack early and tailgate, this is the place for you. Visits to the Fonda Speedway Museum, housed in one of the buildings that run beside the train lines at the Fonda Fairgrounds, are a great way to spend some time before the start of the exciting racing action.
You will better understand why the Fonda Speedway is known as the “Track of Champions” by viewing the many exhibits located within, showing you a portion of the facility’s heritage.
Being one of the iconic figures at the “Track of Champions,” she has racked up 99 wins and seven track championships throughout her 50-year career racing over the half-mile oval at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Jackie Lape and her partner, Dave, from Canajoharie, have continued to work effortlessly to establish the speedways’ legacy.
In 2016, a few years after Dave had retired from racing, the Lapes found themselves back at Fonda, where they helped preserve the speedway’s history by overseeing a collection of artifacts from the speedway’s early years of motorsport in the 1950s.
The museum is situated on the fairgrounds in a facility supplied by Fonda Fair Board, with an astounding collection of vintage race gear attached to the walls and hanging from the rafters.
The goal of Fonda is to provide a thrilling experience for both the spectators and the competitors in the races. The Fonda Speedway hosts several different events with the attendance of those watching in mind. From dirt racing to automobile sprints, racer memorials, and even fan appreciation nights, there are many different types of racing events.
The Fonda Speedway has a solid understanding of how to interact with and includes its audience. The excitement displayed by fans during the meet and greets with dirt track heroes makes it highly possible that the fan appreciation events are the most well-attended event of the night, second only to the race itself.