Makin’ Tracks: Fonda SDS Features Many Unpredictable Moments – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

It was like Russian roulette at the Fonda Speedway for the Super Dirt Series invasion.

Someone was going to have a tire left and win the race while so many others, at the most inopportune times, would have their chances flattened or exploded.

Such was the marathon night.

The story of the race was who didn’t have to pit for tires.




Winner Bobby Varin said, “I think we were the only car in the field running that tired as I ran harder tire than anyone else.”

Meanwhile, third place finisher Pat Ward had no idea how or why his right rear survived as he said, “I went with a 300, the softest tire I had, and knew in the first 20 laps I was in trouble.”

Well, he might have thought he was in trouble, but many others were.

Leader Peter Britten was dominant after he blasted by Stewart Friesen on the 65th lap in a balls out power move off of turn two and down the back straightaway. On the 89th lap he exited with a tire deciding to end its life.

Just eight laps before that Stewart Friesen showed what kind of driver he was. Running second, he powered off turn four and you could hear the right rear explode. The rear end of the car shot toward the concrete wall, but like an NHL goalie he made an ESPN Top Ten plays save.

The biggest heartbreak had to be Tim Fuller who inherited the lead with 11 laps to go. It appeared to be his race, but on the 98th lap he too saw a tire starting to go down. He tried to nurse it, but coming off turn two on the last lap it expired and he got shuffled. He finished, but in a half lap went way back.

The tire changing stories were really too many to believe. On the 68th lap eventual second place finisher Danny Varin pitted. In the podium interviews he said, “I was back there in 25th or so on lap 75 and then I started to pick them off one at a time.”

Varin either picked them off or watched them drop by the wayside due to tire woes.

Top ten runners all night long headed to the pits to provide their crews with the get ready for Oswego tire changing war. Brett Hearn was top ten when a right front went. Max McLaughlin and Jimmy Phelps were doing well until they got the fickle finger pointed in their direction.

It just didn’t seem to end but there was much more to the story.

Decker, Sheppard and Wight

Okay so this looked like a perfect opportunity for Billy Decker to pad the Super DIRTcar Series point lead, but…he didn’t.

When the feature field lined up there was Decker in the 11th starting position and where were the second and third guys in the points? They were side-by-side in positions 29 and 30. Matt parked his primary car despite having a qualifying spot and Larry simply had a rough night and went to his back up after taking a heavy hit between turns one and two in the consi.

Both the 9s and 99L moved up through the field, but Larry did it in a “when is the right rear tire going to blow” style and put on a hell of a show.

By lap 25 Wight was up to 12th and Sheppard 13th.

Decker had a great opportunity, but the car was off the pace and sitting in 16th on the 35th lap. He finally went to the pits, apparently for a tire, and returned.

At the halfway point Friesen was leading while Wight was sixth. A three wide race out of four saw Danny V, Hearn and Wight fighting for position.

Wight got up toe fifth on the 52nd and battled with his close friend and teammate Pat Ward for fourth

On the 75th lap Sheppard made his second pit stop of the race and went to the rear for the third time on the night. He wasn’t out of it.

Decker was working his way back up through, while Wight was faltering slightly. With 20 laps to go Wight was fifth, Decker sixth and Sheppard 19th. It appeared Decker was really going to benefit.

The laps ticked down and with four circuits to go the Wight right rear finally terminated its existence.

At the end it was father and son, Bobby and Danny Varin, one-two and a popular podium finish for Pat Ward.

When they started to tabulate the points Decker was fourth. Fifth place Brian Gleason was too light and Super Matt ended up sixth.

The point race continues with Decker just that much ahead of Sheppard with four point races remaining.

I’m sure the main comment in the pits was “damn tires!!”

Pit Stops

Marathon that ended at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Cars didn’t’ get on the track until 6:30 p.m. and the first heat went off at 8:13 p.m. which was an hour later than scheduled time…

Mods, Pro Stocks, Sprints and Street Stocks. Simply too much for one night if you aren’t on schedule. However, Fonda wasn’t the only track this past weekend that had that problem…

Sadly Dave Medler and I drove two and a half hours to go racing and at 12:38 p.m. when the Mods ended we hit the road. Wanted to see Sprint and hear the Street Stock announcer, but it was much too late…

I think the SS announcer Dan Haslun (I think that was his name) was fun. Getting fans attention is a chore and this guy had the fans in our section laughing hysterically with some of his phrasings. He was passionate and so much fun to listen to. One line saw a driver hit a yuke tire and he said, “I hit a yuke tire once. It sucks”. Keep working at it kid. You have your own style…

Solid fields for all divisions. 14 Street stocks were okay as there were around 30 sprinters, about 34 Mods and 30 plus Pro Stocks…

Top Fonda Sportsmen driver Mark Mortensen was in Finnie Stagnetti’s mod for the first actual race. They’ve been friends for a long time and Vinnie put Mark the team car to Jimmy Davis…

Peter Britten indicated he had just finished the 21A earlier that day and it was a brand new car…

Bobby Varin on a tear as prior to the night’s action he had been putting together a late season win streak. He’s heading for Fulton for the Outlaw this weekend…

Larry Wight a late arrival as he noted, “I had to finish cutting the hayfield. Deer season is near.”…

Friesen rushed from a fifth place in the NASCAR Trucks at New Hampshire to Fonda for Mod and Sprint duty. He was quite happy and noted that the new relationship with GMS is making a tremendous difference. He said, “We hope to build on this.”

Plans for next year not firmed up just yet…

Frank Cozze will be at Oswego and Charlotte in the George Huttig car that Mike Perrotte runs…

A.J. Walters fast time for the Pro Stocks…

Pro Stock point leader Rob Yetman got locked up with Ivan Joslin on the start of his heat and played catch up all night…

Pole sitter in his heat,Walters, spun in front of the field and he too ended up having to play catch up…

Ward, Friesen, Phelps and Fuller got heat wins while Jessey Mueller won the consi…

Mike Mahaney too light after heat and headed to consi.  He ended up sixth…

Hearn settled for seventh…

Fuller pulled to the outside after his tire blew but drove it for all it was worth to get a finish and he came home eighth…

Phelps was ninth after a late race tire change…

After both feature races we watched there was a lengthy, and I mean lengthy, delay before cars got to victory lane. I would say it was more than five minutes before Bobby Varin got to the interview square due to cars having to be weighed before making it back out…

Kenny Gates put on a heck of a run as did Chuck Dumblewski and Nick Stone to finish in the top three Pro Stock positions…

Billy Whittaker noted that he wasn’t enthused of being in the first group as the track is usually a little heavier then. He had never raced on the Fonda surface. Lots of cars finished so he had more than his share of getting running in traffic practice…

Gary Edwards, an Orange County regular, was a surprise entry…

Rocky Warner’s big-block and small-block career has officially commenced. His final Sportsman races are coming up in the next few weeks and his last one will be at Charlotte for the big Sportsman event…

Good show, just a very, very, very long night…

Outlaw 200 this weekend then Utica-Rome kicks off SDW followed by days at Oswego, races at Weedsport, Brewerton and the World of Outlaws at Fulton. Get your racing fill as it will be snowing soon.

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