AIS track ready to resume racing

Adirondack Speedway

Todd Thomas is a longtime fan of racing at Adirondack International Speedway and is hoping his fandom can help the race track when the season is allowed to start.

Thomas, 29, is the new general manager for the track and one of the youngest track managers in the region, along with Tyler Bartlett, 32, of Can-Am Speedway. He said he wants to make sure there is some sort of 2020 racing schedule at the New Bremen circuit after the departure of the previous management put the season in doubt.

“I wanted the changeover (in managers) to be as fast as possible,” Thomas said.

Thomas takes over for Frank Nortz, who stepped away after a disagreement over the handling of different aspects of the facility. Nortz was leasing the track and hoping to hold an abbreviated schedule, but scrapped plans and dropped the lease. Part of the conflict came from an ATV event at the Stuck in the Muck Off-road Park that resulted in a fatal accident in the parking lot May 16. Stuck in the Muck shares the lot with Adirondack Speedway.

Thomas said he is aware of the work Nortz had put into the speedway.

“I told Paul (Lyndaker, the track owner) that this is going to one of the hardest transitions because we lost someone that put a few years into this place,” Thomas said.

A Facebook post announcing the change in management thanked the previous staff for their hard work and contributions the last few seasons.

Thomas has been making multiple phone calls to track owners, like Peggy Gill of Evans Mills Speedway, and drivers on what moves he should make. He’s also big on communication with the drivers and fans. AIS will hold a drivers meeting at noon today to see what classes and rule changes they’d like to see.

“My big push is the drivers meeting,” Thomas said. “The more drivers that come, the more I’ll know what they want.”

He plans to feature the same rules packages for classes that run other area tracks like Evans Mills and Oswego Speedway so competitors can easily run at multiple tracks. Thomas also plans on holding classes like enduro or demolition derbies that aren’t offered at other places.

“The rules (for AIS) are almost verbatim to Evans Mills,” Thomas said. “I only want the drivers (who race at multiple tracks) to (have to) make small changes like gearing and suspension.”

He said that he’s received positive feedback since becoming the track’s general manager because it means the season will be salvaged. Thomas has been quick to tell anyone that’s been asking for a definite start to the season that he wants to the same thing.

“We can race when (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo lets us,” Thomas said.

New York is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening under the COVID-19 pandemic regulations and sports and recreation are slated to be a part of Phase 4, which is tentatively scheduled for late June.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Reporter/Agate Person

A lifelong resident of Northern New York. Dan graduated from Lyme Central School and attended SUNY Oswego. He's worked in all forms of media, including radio and print. Dan covers hockey, wrestling, track and field, tennis, volleyball and golf.

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