Usually, on Father’s Day, children present gifts and gestures of love to their dads. On Saturday night at Raceway 5, on the eve of Father’s Day, Don Newton gave a special early Father’s Day gift to his stepson Trey Paladino.
Moments after winning a thrilling Street Stock feature event at the Batavia dirt track, Newton, with tears flowing, was involved in a very special cell phone call from Victory Lane. He called Paladino to tell him about his race win and to give the boy an emotional lift. Paladino, 5, underwent brain surgery in the last few days at Buffalo’s Women and Children’s Hospital for a condition called Chiari. He is home recovering and could not attend the events at Raceway 5.
“I talked to him on the cell phone and he was crying on the phone and I couldn’t hold it together any more,” said Newton, who won his second Raceway 5 Street Stock race of the season. “It’s tough not having him and his mother both here with me tonight.”
Newton and his family are hoping for the best for Paladino’s recovery in the coming weeks.
“Trey’s doing good,” said Newton. “He has his moments. He’s still a little tense but the doctor said that everything is going good. This win is for him.”
Paladino’s welfare is the most important matter on Newton’s mind, but he is having a stellar year on the Raceway 5 track, considering he has spent a lot of time away from the track.
Newton led the entire 20-lap race Saturday night, holding off Ron Mogavero by inches at the checkered flag.
“I drove last year after we built the car new and I hadn’t drove for 4½ years before that,” Newton replied. “I had raced 15 years before taking that break and got back in the car last year. I finished sixth in points here last year and finished second a bunch of times. I got beat by Ron over and over last year and I told him this year is my year to win and make him the bridesmaid.
“Ron and me both fought for the win tonight. It was a slingshot there at the end. It was us pushing hard for what we both wanted. Our family and the Mogavero family all work together great.”
Friends and family are hosting a benefit for Paladino, June 30 at the East Pembroke Fire Department.
In another father-and-son drama at Raceway 5 Saturday, Mikey Wonderling bested a strong 19-car 360 Late Model field in the $1,000-to-win special in a race that included a solid third-place finish for his father, Mike Wonderling Sr.
When ask if he was going to give the large winner’s purse to his dad in honor of Father’s Day, Mikey responded, “My dad might get some of the money but he ain’t getting all of it. I won a $1,500-to-win race a few years back at Black Rock Speedway,” in Dundee, “but this is a big win.
“I’ve got to thank my brother Jeremy. He came up to the shop and worked on my car for 2½ hours because it was quite out of whack. Probably if he didn’t come up there I wouldn’t have won tonight.”
“I could see Mikey up there and he ran great,” said Mike Wonderling Sr. “My son Brady was in the race. too, but unfortunately he got knocked out on the first lap. It would have been great to run 1-2-3 but two out of the top three is good.”
Some have been critical of Raceway 5’s track conditions this season, but promoter Jim Mazur says he and his crew work long hard hours on it each week.
“The rains have been kicking our butt lately,” said Mazur. “The track grader broke this week. Car counts have been good with between 80 to 90 every night. Opening night in May, I thought our track was good but then it’s just been rain, rain and more rain. It got flooded. I think the track’s coming around now. If we can get a good week of dry weather we can get the track fixed and hopefully the rest of the season will be good.
“This is an around-the-clock type of job. I never knew it was when we started here three years ago, but I know it is now.”
Apparently Mazur will have to hope harder for dry weather as on Sunday, rain returned to the area.
Elsewhere, Jose Torres has enjoyed a banner year in the 4-Banger class at Ransomville Speedway. Torres claimed his third Ransomville victory of 2013 last Friday.
Rich Carnes also has gotten off to a fast start in the NASCAR Charger division at Holland Motorsports Complex. Carnes won the extra distance 50-lapper Saturday for his second victory at the track this season.
Dave Krawczyk won for the third time this season in the Street Stock class at Lake Erie Speedway.