FONDA – On a hot and muggy night at Fonda Speedway, it was appropriate that a car sponsored by a local ice cream company sat in Victory Lane.
Johnstown’s A.J. Romano led all 30 laps of Saturday night’s modified feature to pick up his 34th career win and first feature win of the season at the Track of Champions.
“This is the third time out with this car,” Romano said. “Butchie Washburn [Washburn's Ice Cream] bought us this new Troyer and we have a new JPM small block in it.”
Joining Romano with victories Saturday night were John Scarborough (602 sportsman), Pete Broderson (pro stock) and Dave Horning Sr. (street stock). Ken Hollenbeck and Ben Righi picked up the wins in the single cam and dual cam 4-cylinder features, respectively.
Following a ceremony on Victory Lane inducting Jumpin’ Jack Johnson, “Dover” Dave Cruickshank and long-time Fonda Speedway flagger Jack Blackwood Jr. into the NYSSCA Hall of Fame, Dave Lape and Romano brought the field of 25 modifieds to the green.
Romano quickly established a sizable lead over Alton Palmer and Lape, while Floyd Billington battled Danny Varin for fourth.
Romano’s lead disappeared on lap eight when Aaron Jacobs came to a stop in turn two.
After two restart attempts, Romano again pulled into the lead with Bobby Varin pressuring Palmer for the runner-up spot and Danny Varin racing Mark Kislowski for fourth.
Varin moved past Palmer for second on lap 16 and by lap 20, cut Romano’s advantage to four car lengths.
The six-time modified track champion slipped past Romano, but could not hold the lead as Romano countered the move to regain the top spot.
“I knew somebody was going to be coming because I felt really good, almost too good, early,” Romano said. “I have been doing this long enough to know that if you are right on in the first four or five laps, then you figure you are going to get slower later. And that is what happened: we kept getting slower. It got to be about 10 to go and I was getting nervous. Then Bobby made a slide past us and I was fortunate enough to get the thing turned and get back by him. From then on out, I had a death grip on the wheel.”
Romano picked his spots in lapped traffic to rebuild his advantage over Varin and pick up the victory. Palmer held off a late-race charge by Stewart Friesen for third and Danny Varin completed the top five. Ronnie Johnson, Jim Davis, Kislowski, Craig Hanson and Matt DeLorenzo made up the second five.
Drew Fallis broke out to the early lead in the 602 sportsman feature, before relinquishing the led to Troy Palmer on lap five. Jeff Rockefeller and Scarborough made a charge to the front with Scarborough taking second on lap eight.
With the race running under green flag conditions, Palmer was able to build a lead over Scarborough, however the long green-flag run allowed Scarborough to establish a rhythm.
When Palmer got pinned behind a lapped car on lap 17, Scarborough picked his spot, swinging to the high side of turn four the take over the point.
Palmer rallied back but could not get to Scarborough by the time the checker fell over his hood for the fourth time this season. Palmer was second with Ray Zemken third, Rockefeller fourth and Mark Mortensen fifth. Cody Bleau, John McAuliffe, Rocky Warner, Ricky Quick and Tony Farone rounded out the top 10.
The 20-lap pro stock feature was a tight battle from green to checkers.
Justin Knight grabbed the lead at the drop of the green before Chuck Dumblewski charged into the lead on the second lap.
The lone caution of the event came on lap three when Andy Graves came to a stop on the back stretch.
Dumblewski held his lead on the restart with Kenny Gates, Luke Horning and Broderson close behind.
Gates and Broderson engaged in a four-lap, side-by-side battle hitting the finish line inches apart. Broderson finally got a full car length in front of Gates on lap 13 and set sail for the leader.
Broderson swung under Dumblewski in turn four on lap 15 to take the lead, while Gates wrestled the runner-up spot away from Dumblewski with three laps to go.
Broderson hit the finish line first, with Gates second, Dumblewski third, Horning fourth and Ivan Joslin fifth.
Jerry Cohn showed the pack the fast way around the speedway for the opening three laps of the 15-lap street stock feature before retiring to the pits after breaking an axle under caution on lap four.
Reuben Kennedy took over the lead, but Horning Sr. was on the move, hitting the line in a dead heat with Kennedy on lap six and taking over the point a lap later.
Horning survived a late-race restart to pull off to his seventh feature win of the season, Kennedy was second, followed by Randy Cosselman, Chuck McSpirit and Greg Havlicek.
Fonda swill return to action Thursday when the UNOH All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 sprint cars invade the speedway along with a 30-lap $4,000-to-win modified feature. Racing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
© Copyright 2012 The Leader Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.