Story By: BUFFY SWANSON / NORTHEAST DIRT MODIFIED HALL OF FAME – WEEDSPORT, NY – The Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame sends sincere condolences to the family and many friends of seven-time Fonda Speedway champion Dave Lape, who passed away after a long illness on September 7, at the age of 75.
Lape, from Canajoharie, NY, was inducted into the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame in 2004.
The legend began in 1964, with Lape moving up from go-karts to stock cars at the old Victoria Speedway outside Schenectady. He made the jump to the flashier Fonda Speedway—“The Track of Champions”—the following year, finally cracking the winner’s circle in ’69.
But once Lape got rolling, there was no stopping him. Over a span of five decades—from the 1960s to 2004—he racked up 191 feature wins at a dozen tracks in New York, Vermont and Quebec.
And the championship titles followed: in addition to the seven Modified crowns at his home track of Fonda, Dave took three at Weedsport, two at Utica-Rome and one at Albany-Saratoga.
Lape was the overall Mr. DIRT Modified tour champion in 1977, wresting that title from a tough Will Cagle. He won Orange County Fair Speedway’s prestigious Eastern States 200 in 1984, and took DIRT’s July 4th weekend thriller at the storied New York State Fairgrounds mile in 1987. In total, Lape won 119 times under the DIRT banner.
In addition to his accomplishments behind the wheel, Dave was also a successful car builder, marketing his Champ Car chassis (the “Troyer Destroyer”) from 1982-96, and formed LAPCO to promote and produce special events alongside his good friend Andy Fusco. For nearly two decades, Lape served as a member of DIRT’s Appellate Board.
As noted, Dave was inducted into the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame in 2004; he was likewise honored by the New York State Stock Car Association in 2011.