By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – On a beautiful fall evening for racing, 119 cars signed in for competition in a five division racing program consisting of the Patriot Sprint cars, the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks, the Trackside Body Works Street Stocks, and the Four Cylinder Cruisers. The Sunoco Racing Modifieds were also on hand for qualifying heat races for the prestigious $53,000 to win “Fonda 200”.
When the final checkered flag flew on the evening Jordan Poirier (Earl Halaquist Memorial), Josh Pieniazek (Patriot Sprint A-Main), Nick Stone (Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks), and Zach Sorrentino (Trackside Body Works Street Stocks) were the winners of the evening’s events.
The all-important heat race events were also held for the Sunoco Modifieds with Stewart Friesen, Josh Hohenforst, and 2019 Track Champion Rocky Warner taking those victories. With those wins, those three drivers will start in the top three positions respectively in the $53,000 to win “Fonda 200 on Saturday! The top 10 drivers in each of the 15-lap Sunoco Modified heat races were locked into the “Fonda 200” with those results at the bottom of this release.
Opening ceremonies began with Ed Biittig Sr. who said to the crowd “Ladies and Gentleman this season at Fonda has been a very special one and has meant a lot to me. This past week on Wednesday I went to Pangburn Road in Duanesburg to visit Fonda Speedway legend Jack Johnson as a huge ovation came from the crowd. I told Jack what the Deyo’s were doing at Fonda and a smile came on his face.”
“Jack is still Jack and to look at his face you could see the wins he had at Fonda,” Biittig continued on to say. “Then I went into the museum tonight and looked at the cars and all of the wins that those drivers had here at Fonda and how special that was. Thank you to Brett & Heather Deyo and their staff for bringing the 200 back and enjoy your evening”.
The lead guitarist for Tomkins Drive, Cal LaClair, performed a guitar version of the National Anthem before the racing began. Tomkins Drive was also live in the Entertainment Building following the completion of the racing activities.
The first feature of the evening was the rain delayed Earl Halaquist Memorial event with Danny Varin leading from his pole position start after qualifying was completed back in May for the event. By lap eight Varin held a straightaway advantage over Josh Pieniazek who started fourth. Varin was in lap traffic at the halfway point in the event with the top five at that point consisting of Varin, Pieniazek, Jordan Poirier, Jeff Trombley, and Joe Trenka.
On lap 16, Poirier took the second position away from Pieniazek but the race took a turn for the worse at that point when Varin drove to the pit area relinquishing the lead to Poirier. Poirier stretched his advantage to a full straightaway by lap 22 and was in heavy lap traffic until the end of the event but took his first ever Patriot Sprint win and his first ever win in the Earl Halaquist event over Pieniazek, Jordan Thomas, Trombley, and Trenca.
“I didn’t even know that Danny (Varin) pulled in,” Poirier said in the Fuccillo Automotive Group Mike Cole Memorial victory lane. “I was trying to get through lap traffic and then I didn’t see him. I didn’t expect the cushion to be like that but the car was really good.”
Next up was the $1,000 to win Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature with fourth place starter Jason Morrison leading lap one. Fifth place starter Nick Stone was in the second position in Bill Knapp’s #21 car and on lap two he got around the outside of Morrison for the lead in turns three and four.
Also on the move was 2019 track champion Luke Horning who started the event in the 11th position and by lap six he was going three wide to get around Jeff McPhail and Devon Camenga for the third position. Horning continued his march to the front on lap eight when he took the second position away from Morrison while Stone enjoyed a straightaway advantage over the field.
At the halfway point in the event Stone was the leader followed by Horning, Morrison, 14th place starter Kenny Gates, and Chuck Dumblewski. The only position that changed for the remainder of the event was the third and fourth positions which Gates and Dumblewski took away from Morrison in the final five laps of the event.
Stone went on to his fourth win of the 2019 season and the 46th of his career in the division over Horning, Gates, Dumblewski, and Morrison. The win was Stone’s fourth out of the last six races during the 2019 season!
“Fifth was definitely a good starting spot for me,” Stone said in victory lane. “The starter was showing me that I had a good lead so I just stayed cautious with the lap cars. Bill Knapp wanted me to run this car to try to figure some stuff out and the car is good.”
Roberts Towing & Recovery sponsored the $500 to win Trackside Body Works Street Stock feature with Ed Hatch leading the first two laps after starting on the pole position for the event. An early caution fell on lap three and on the restart Stephen Young took over the race lead but just as quickly as he took over the lead his car broke and he was forced to the pit area handing the lead back over to Hatch.
Zach Sorrentino started the event in the fifth position and on a lap four restart took over the race lead from Hatch. Michael Arnold put on a show coming to the front after having to pit on lap nine and restarting at the rear of the field. Arnold made it all the way back up to the third position behind Sorrentino and Hatch while John Devine and Mark Burch completed the top five at the checkered flag.
For Sorrentino it was his first win of the season and the third of his career in the division.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” Sorrentino told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “We’ve won the last race of the season the last two years and it sucks to have to wait all season to get a win.”
2019 Four Cylinder Track Champion Ken Hollenbeck proved that it doesn’t matter where you start in the feature if you have a good car. Hollenbeck started the 12-lap Four Cylinder Cruiser feature in the ninth position while John Napoli started on the outside pole and led the first four laps of the event.
On a lap five restart, 12th place starter Riley Pedrick took over the race lead with Hollenbeck now up to the second position after making his way through the field. Hollenbeck took over the race lead on lap seven on the outside of turns three and four and went on to his eighth win of the season and the 50th of his career in the division over Brandon Ely, Pedrick, Dale VanAllen, and Napoli.
The final event of the evening was the 30-lap A-Main for the Patriot Sprint cars with Josh Pieniazek leading at the start. By lap seven Pieniazek was already in lap traffic with the red flag out for Matt Tanner who flipped his car in turn two while running fourth. Tanner was not injured in the wreck and on the restart Pieniazek continued to lead the event.
At the halfway point Pieniazek led and was followed by Mike Kiser, Jordan Thomas, Jonathan Preston, and Jordan Poirier. The red flag was out again on lap 16 for Davie Franek who went through the wooden fence and out on to the sidewalk along the road that runs along turns one and two of the speedway. Franek was also okay after the wreck with no injuries reported.
Pieniazek was never seriously challenged during the event despite a caution with only four laps remaining in the event as he went on to the win over Thomas, Poirier, Joe Trenka, and Paulie Colagiovanni.
“Fonda is my home track,” Pieniazek said in victory lane. “I was just trying to maintain my position to the finish. I wasn’t about to try going down low on the track, I wasn’t about to change what I was doing.”
The “Fonda 200” weekend concludes today with the running of the B-Mains for the Sunoco Modifieds, a complete racing program for the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman, and the 28th running of the “Fonda 200”, the first 200 lap event at Fonda since the last one was held 17 years ago which was won by Brett Hearn!
Since 1953, the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. Now under the management of BD Motorsports Media LLC, the speedway will operate weekly on Saturday nights from April through August plus several special events. Fonda Speedway is located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds off New York State Thruway Exit No. 28 at 21 S. Bridge Street Fonda, NY 12068.
Fonda Speedway is on the web at www.thefondaspeedway.com. To learn more, call the office at 518.915.4395, like Fonda Speedway on Facebook www.facebook.com/thefondaspdwy or follow on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy.
THE EARL HALAQUIST MEMORIAL PATRIOT SPRINT TOUR 360 SPRINT MAKE-UP FEATURE FINISH FROM MAY 25 – 30-LAPS – JORDAN POIRIER, Josh Pieniazek, Jordan Thomas, Jeff Trombley, Joe Trenka, Davie Franek, Cory Sparks, Dalton Herrick, Pete Richardson, Roger Levesque, Danny Varin, Josh Flint, Bobby Varin, Dylan Swiernik (DNS), Kevin Carlson (DNS), Jared Zimbardi (DNS), Dustin Purdy (DNS)
FOUR CYLINDER CRUISER FEATURE FINISH – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBECK, Brandon Ely, Riley Pedrick, Dale VanAllen, John Napoli, Zach McSpirit, Jeff Degroat, Duane Baker, Shawn Hemstreet, Hunter Miller, Ray Young, Bob Ely, Wayne Russell, Katrina Bean, Cheri Pieniazek, TJ Marlitt, Cordell Younger, Ashley Celebucki, Cole Lawton
TRACKSIDE BODY WORKS STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH $500 TO WIN PRESENTED BY ROBERTS TOWING & RECOVERY – 15-LAPS – ZACH SORRENTINO, Ed Hatch, Michael Arnold, John Devine, Mark Burch, Matt Moshier, Lou Gancarz, Josh Samrov, Pete Vila, Jason Barrett, Dave Horning Sr., Keri Vandenburg, Curtis Condon, Stephen Young
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Zach Sorrentino, John Devine
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH – 20-LAPS – NICK STONE, Luke Horning, Kenny Gates, Chuck Dumblewski, Jason Morrison, Josh Coonradt, Devon Camenga, Jeff McPhail, Justin Knight, Beau Ballard, Andy Graves, Shane Henderson, Jim Burton, Tony Markou, Jim Normoyle, Randy Cosselman, Dave Horning Sr., Buck Gasner, Steve Cosselman, Joe Achzet, Jamie Warner, Bob Fachini (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Jeff McPhail, Nick Stone, Randy Cosselman
PATRIOT SPRINT TOUR 360 SPRINT CAR FEATURE FINISH – 30-LAPS – JOSH PIENIAZEK, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Poirier, Joe Trenka, Paulie Colagiovanni, Jeff Trombley, Dalton Herrick, Steve Glover, Thomas Radivoy, Roger Levesque, Jonathan Preston, Mike Kiser, Davie Franek, Floyd Billington, Matt tanner, Pete Richardson, Link Pettit, Kyle Smith (DNS), Josh Flint (DNS), Cory Sparks (DNS), Bobby Varin (DNS), Danny Varin (DNS)
PATRIOT SPRINT HEAT RACE WINNERS: Paulie Colagiovanni, Joe Trenka, Jordan Thomas
PATRIOT SPRINT DASH WINNER: Jordan Poirier
SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #1 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – STEWART FRIESEN (starts on the pole for the Fonda 200), Brett Hearn, David Schilling, Matt Sheppard, Dave Constantino, Alex Yankowski, Danny Johnson, Brian Pessolano, Brian Gleason, Allison Ricci
SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #2 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – JOSH HOHENFORST (starts on the outside pole for the Fonda 200), Andy Bachetti, Jessica Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Billy Decker, Elmo Reckner, Danny Varin, Mike Gular, Matt DeLorenzo, Craig Hanson
SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #3 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – ROCKY WARNER (starts third in the Fonda 200), Bobby Varin, Demetrious Drellos, Tim Fuller, Anthony Perrego, Roger Henion Jr., Darwin Greene, Scott Huber, Tim Clemons, Steve Akers