Column By: RAY ROGERS / RPW – FULTONVILLE, NY – Behind every race team and racing facility, there’s always someone paying the bills. More often than not, it’s a small business or family-run establishment who’s love for the sport overshadows the publicity they receive.
Last Sunday, I spent the evening at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park with race sponsor Pat Riley of Riley Mortuary Services in Amsterdam NY. Pat has been a long time race fan and also a huge supporter of local stock car racing. The Riley name first appeared on the #22 of Dave Lape who carried the logo until the end of his driving career.
Since then, Pat has sponsored numerous race teams including this season’s crop of Riley drivers Brian Pessolano, Demetrios Drellos, Jeremy Wilder, and Sundays feature winner at the Ridge, Dave Constantino. I asked Pat if the publicity on the cars had a positive impact on his business
“No, I don’t believe so,” he said. “That’s not why I do it. For me, it’s all about the racing. If I pay for a new tire on one of my guy’s car, I do it so I can see them compete and be competitive. To me, that’s worth more than the advertisement.”
Pat is a true race fan who seldom misses a Saturday night at Fonda, or any other race he can attend.
Also on Sunday night, I had the chance to see two other small business owners in action who are making a big impact on local racing. Mike Parillo and Ray Sefrin are both local Montgomery County small business owners.
Sefrin’s West End Towing and Repair has adorned many race cars, including the 79 that Rocky Warner drove to many victories all over New York State.
Parillo has been a staple at the Fonda Speedway and local race scene for many years, either working as a public servant or with the Parillo racing name on the side of several successful race cars.
Last season, this duo seized the opportunity to take over the Glen Ridge Motorsports park when promoter Pete Demitraszek stepped away to put his main focus on Fonda. Both have really stepped things up this season at the Ridge, with a new racing surface and many other improvements around the facility. Both have put their heart and soul into the fastest 1/4 mile on dirt and the improvements will go a long way into the future of the little track on the hill.
Without the efforts and the funds that local business owners like Riley, Sefrin, and Parillo put forth, local race fans may not have the quality racing we have today. So the next time you need a Tow, an electrition or a new kitchen sink for that matter, don’t look in the yellow pages. Look around the race track. Everything you could possibly need may be right in front of you.
This weekend, the Fonda Speedway celebrates Memorial Day weekend with the annual visit from the Empire Super Sprints along with the Big Blocks, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and Street Stocks. Come out a bit early and visit the speedway museum and then enjoy a great evening of racing at the Track of Champions. Racing action starts at 7pm.
Sunday, Glen Ridge once again opens its gates for race fans at 4pm with the green flag set to fly at 6pm with a full card of great racing action.
Don’t forget to support your local racing sponsors. They are the ones who really put on the show, and I hope to see you all at the races!