Patriot Sprint Tour To Make First Appearance Of ’21 At Fonda Speedway Saturday

Story By: RON SZCZERBA / FONDA SPEEDWAY – FONDA, NY – A-Verdi Storage Containers will present the racing action at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway this Saturday, June 26 featuring the first appearance of the season for the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprint Cars in a $3,000 to win and $300 to start main event.

Also on the racing card will be the Sunoco Modifieds, the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman, the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks in event number four of the American Racer/Lias Tire Super Six Series Event paying $1,000 to win, the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman, and the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.

Gates open at 4:00 p.m. with hot laps at 6:00 p.m. and racing at 7:00 p.m. Adult Admission is $15 with Seniors (ages 65 and over) $13 and Kids 11 and under FREE!

Pit Admission is $35 (Non-Members) or $30 (Fonda Members).

The Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club will also be holding their annual bicycle giveaway so if any race teams or anyone else is interested in providing a bicycle for the giveaway you can contact Ashley Abeling on Facebook or just bring a bicycle with you to the track on Saturday. The Kid’s Club is located underneath the grandstands at gate two (down towards turn four) at the east end of the covered grandstands.

Please also visit the Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame & Museum which opens at 3:00 p.m. every Saturday evening!

With permission from Mike Emhof of the Patriot Sprint tour, here is Earl Halaquist as Remembered by Michael Monnat.

By the first time I saw Earl Halaquist race a sprint car for the United Racing Club (URC) in 1960 at the Five Mile Point Speedway in Kirkwood, New York, he was already half-way through his career. Yet, at that point, he hadn’t even begun to receive national notoriety. That all changed with the dawn of the Sixties and his prodigious and overwhelmingly spectacular use of George Nesler’s sprint car racing equipment.

Halaquist had been around the sprint car game since arriving home after serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II, making his debut in 1946 in Little Valley, N.Y. From that point forward through the Fifties, he raced with sanctions like the Eastern States Racing Association (ESRA), the Big Car Racing Association (BCRA), and URC.

Back to that July night at Five Mile Point, Halaquist didn’t win the feature, but he was impressive getting a second place finish behind Hal Rettberg. That was only the beginning as the decade that changed the country belonged to the Earl Halaquist/George Nesler duo.

Six URC titles (1962, ’64, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’69) impressed the hell out of me and, during that time; I caught every local show and went to a few regional shows, as well. Halaquist won on dirt and asphalt. He won on the big tracks and the bullrings. In short, he won on everything and everywhere; he won 14 features in 1967 alone. Along the way, he garnered 52 URC main events; most coming at a time when ‘having a roof over your head’ meant living at home.

The quiet, unassuming family man from Sidney, N.Y., had a full-time job with Bendix, in addition to running up and down the East Coast chasing feature wins and point titles. He retired after spending 1970 driving midget cars with the American Race Drivers Club (ARDC). I didn’t meet Earl Halaquist in person until 1992 when he was inducted in the We-Go Racing Fan Club Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Hall of Fame and, in 2000; he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (NSCHoF).

In 2010, he was posthumously inducted into the URC Hall of Fame. His many skills spoke for themselves and everything about him read ‘class act.’ Earl Satch Halaquist, who was born on September 7, 1925, in Rock Rift, N.Y., died on January 12, 2001, at the age of seventy-five. Great driver, great man. Nothing else needs to be said!

Thomas Schmeh is once again putting together a lap sponsorship program for this coming Saturday’s Earl Halaquist Memorial at the Fonda Speedway! If you are interested in sponsoring a lap, please contact him or a PST official. Laps are $20 each.

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