By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – Jeremy Wilder has suffered through a frustrating season in the Bill Schoon’s owned #24 to the point where it was time to “experiment”. So some changes were made to Wilder’s own #22 Teo car that could be tried out on his car before transferring it to the Schoon’s Teo car. Consider the “experiment” a success.
Saturday evening on Police, Fire, & EMS Appreciation Night at the Fonda Speedway, Wilder took the JJS Trucking self-owned #22 to victory lane for his second win of the 2017 season and the eighth of his career at Fonda.
“We have been struggling with the #24 car this season,” Wilder said after the win. “So we decided to try something different with our car that we can transfer over to the #24 if it worked.”
Other winners on Saturday evening at Fonda were Cody Clark (sportsman), William August (limited sportsman), Nick Stone (pro stock), Bubby Shaffer (first career in the street stock division), and Ben Righi (4-cylinder/cruisers).
Troy Palmer led the 30-lap modified feature at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag with fifth place starter Jeremy Wilder in the second position at the completion of lap one. It didn’t take long for Wilder to get the lead as on lap three he went around the outside of Palmer in turn three to take over the top spot. By lap six, Wilder was already out to a straightaway advantage over Palmer.
Ryan Odasz got by Palmer for the second position on lap eight while ninth place starter Ronnie Johnson was the new third place car on lap 12 after he also got by Palmer for the spot. A restart after a yellow flag on lap 12 saw Johnson get by Odasz for the second position while Bobby Varin, Stewart Friesen, and point leader Tim Fuller made their way to the front after starting back in the pack outside the top 10.
Wilder held a straightaway advantage again by lap 21 and was in lap traffic as Varin, Friesen, and Fuller all got by Johnson for the second, third, and fourth positions. Varin closed in on the leader in the closing laps but ran out of time as Wilder went on for the victory followed by Varin, Friesen, Fuller, and Johnson.
“It’s hard when you get the lead early like we did but the car was really good tonight,” Wilder said. “The top came in for us and car was just flawless up there.”
The 25-lap sportsman feature began with Harry Shaffer in the lead at the drop of the green flag with David Manchester in tow. By lap five Shaffer held a straightaway advantage over Manchester while he was playing defense trying to hold sixth place starter Cody Clark behind him.
Manchester and Clark swapped the second position a couple of times on laps nine and ten with Clark gaining the position for good on lap 11. On the outside of the front stretch on lap 15, Clark took over the race lead with the yellow coming out one lap later.
On the restart, 11th place starter Rocky Warner moved into the second position but never got close to Clark who went on to his second win of the season and the fifth of his career in the division over Warner, Chad Edwards, Tony Farone, and Shaffer.
“It took me awhile to get to the front but this was an awesome win,” Clark said in victory lane. “The track was slick but there were two grooves so it was good racing.”
AJ Walters led at the start of the 20-lap pro stock feature with Jim Normoyle in tow. Nick Stone and Kenny Gates were coming to the front together after starting in the ninth and 10th positions respectively and at the halfway point in the event Walters continued to lead with Jim Normoyle, Stone, Gates, and Frank Twing in the top five. With five laps to go, Stone got by Normoyle for the second position and set his sights on the leader.
With two laps to go it was a two car battle for the win with Walters running low and Stone trying everything he could to get by Walters on the outside. With one lap to go, Stone was the new race leader after getting around Walters on the outside of the backstretch. Stone held on for his second consecutive win after winning the Hondo Classic on Wednesday evening with Walters, Normoyle, Gates, and Twing completing the top five in the event.
“The track was fast tonight,” Stone said in victory lane. “I just stayed patient and kept plugging away because AJ (Walters) ran a great race tonight.”
The 10-lap street stock feature saw Jim Groncki the early leader until lap two when Cliff Haslun took over the top spot. Haslun led until he got out of shape coming out of turn four and hit the front stretch wall on lap six. Haslun was not hurt but was done for the night. Ellis “Bubby” Shaffer took the race lead at that point and went on to his first career win in the division at Fonda over Steve Cosselman, Harold Chadderdon, Johnny Young, Haslun, and Groncki.
Kathy Bellen led lap one of the limited sportsman feature until William August took over on lap two and led the remaining laps in the 10-lap event to take his third win of the 2017 season over Cory White, Bellen, Devin Willis, and Chris Cross.
Ben Righi led the final six laps of the 4-cylinder/cruiser feature for his first win of the 2017 season and the 13th of his career at Fonda over Wayne Russell, Pat McSpirit, and Zach McSpirit. The win for Righi came in the Ken Hollenback #12 with Righi the substitute driver for the evening.
On Saturday August 12, A Verdi Storage Containers presents a regular show in all divisions along with the ESS Sprint cars. Starting time will be 7:00 p.m. For more information about the “Track of Champions” you can go to their website www.newfondaspeedway.com
POLICE, FIRE, & EMS APPRECIATION NIGHT DIRTCAR MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – JEREMY WILDER, Bobby Varin, Stewart Friesen, Tim Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Justin Boehler, Mike Maresca, Josh Hohenforst, Troy Palmer, Cody Bleau, Craig Hanson, Shaun Pangman, Darwin Greene, Pep Corradi, Scott Huber, Bobby Vedder, Vinnie Sanganetti, Ryan Odasz, Tony Pepicelli, Kenny Sparks (DNS)
POLICE, FIRE, & EMS APPRECIATION NIGHT DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – CODY CLARK, Rocky Warner, Chad Edwards, Tony Farone, Harry Shaffer, Tim Hartman Jr., Brian Calabrese, Nick Scavia, David Manchester, Ray Zemken, Anthony Cardamone, Griffen Mansmith, William August, Bruce Loomis, Mark Mortensen, Aaron Burton, Dan Santabarbara, Josh DeMagistris, Ricky Quick
POLICE, FIRE, & EMS APPRECIATION NIGHT DIRTCAR PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – NICK STONE, AJ Walters, Jim Normoyle, Kenny Gates, Frank Twing, Gus Hollner, Jason Casey, Cassidy Wilson, Chuck Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Jay Casey, Devon Camenga, Mark Sullivan, Jeff McPhail, Jason Morrison, Malcum Warner, Ivan Joslin, Dennis Joslin, Randy Cosselman, Ron Delease, Nick Ryan (DNS)