By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – If you have a copy of the book FONDA!, look at the cover and you will see the grandstands filled to capacity back in the day. Well on St. Lawrence Radiology Dollar Night at the Fonda Speedway on Saturday, it was like old times, back in the day, as the grandstands and bleachers were again filled to capacity as a $1 admission for a regular racing program in all divisions brought the fans out to watch and they got to see a great show with great racing in all divisions.
Celebrating in the Fuccillo Automotive Group Mike Cole Memorial victory lane at the end of the night were Rocky Warner (Sunoco Racing Modified), Tim Hartman Jr. (Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman), EJ McAuliffe (Montgomery County Office for Aging Limited Sportsman), Luke Horning (Algonkin Motel Pro Stock), Dave Horning Sr. (Trackside Body Works Street Stock), and Ken Hollenback (Four Cylinder Cruiser).
The racing program began with a prayer from Ed Biittig Sr. saying, “It is great to see all of you people here tonight. There are people that we need to remember today and they are Bob James who is suffering through some health issues, Bob Ogren a former racer who suffered a heart attack last week, and former Fonda Speedway promoter Seymour Hayes who we lost last week after a battle with ALS.”
“Recently I had the privilege of going to see Seymour and he talked about being worried about Jack Johnson who is also suffering with ALS. He was also glad to hear that Fonda Speedway is back to where it was 30 years ago. My message to you is if you’re thinking of going to see someone, do it, don’t wait! I’m proud of the speedway, the huge crowd that is here tonight, and to be a part of it.”
A moment of silence was then observed for Seymour Hayes followed by the National Anthem which was sung by Jenna Sue.
Ralph Friers of Fultonville, NY was the winner of the 50/50 which was worth $4,112!
The 30-lap Sunoco Racing Modified feature began with Korey Wilder and Cody Bleau on the front row with Wilder the early race leader. Bleau led lap two of the event after a caution for Ryan Odasz with third place starter Brian Gleason and ninth place starter Bobby Varin also getting by Wilder for the second and third positions.
Wilder’s great run in the top five came to an end on lap four when he slowed on the front stretch bringing out another caution. Just after the restart, Varin was the new second place car and on the outside at the line to complete lap five, Varin was the new race leader. Demetrious Drellos and Bleau swapped the second position a couple of times while 12th place starter Stewart Friesen made his way into the fourth position by lap nine.
Friesen continued his march to the front as lap by lap he got by another car to make his way up to the second position on lap 16 after getting by Bleau. Varin was trying to find the fast way around the speedway, diamonding the corners on both ends of the track, as Friesen was able to close in. On lap 16, Friesen got by both a lap car and Varin in turn three for the race lead and immediately stretched out his advantage to a straightaway by lap 20.
Friesen was in heavy lap traffic at that point and next thing you knew the caution was out for Friesen who then got pushed to the pit area. Varin took over the lead again after Friesen’s misfortune with Bleau, Drellos, and 10th place starter Rocky Warner now three wide for the second position. Bleau held the second position while Warner regrouped and got by Drellos on lap 23 for the third position and then by Bleau for the second position with five laps to go as Varin was pulling away.
Jessica Friesen started the event in the eighth position and was one of the only cars running the bottom groove as she also got by Bleau for the third spot. The final caution of the event was out with two laps to go for Darwin Greene who spun his car around in turn four setting up a two lap dash to the checkered flag.
Varin led at the drop of the green flag with Warner gaining a ton of momentum on the outside with one final lap to settle the finish of the event. Warner had a great run on Varin going into turns three and four on the final lap and in turn four went even higher than where Varin was running and swept around Varin for the race lead in a thrilling finish to the event.
Varin ended up second followed in the top five by Jessica Friesen, Bleau, and Drellos.
While Warner was celebrating in victory lane with the Glove City Transportation #1J Teo car owned by Jake and Nancy Spraker, Varin drove through to give Warner a thumbs up and congratulations on a great race win. It was Warner’s third career win in the Modified division at Fonda.
“How was that for a dollar,” Warner said to the crowd. “Bobby is a heck of a wheelman I was hoping he would come back to the bottom, he did, and I was able to get by. Running Albany Saratoga on Friday’s is helping me out a lot on Saturday’s and it’s great to see Fonda booming again like it is tonight.”
Jeremy Tuttle led the first two laps of the Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman feature with an early caution out on lap two slowing the field. After two tries at the restart, Tuttle was penalized for jumping the restart and put back two spots as the new front row consisted of Kurtis Hohensheldt and Andrew Buff.
Hohensheldt led on the restart with eighth place starter Cody Clark now in the third position. Another caution on lap five slowed the field again and on this restart, which was single file, it was Clark who was the new race leader after sweeping by Hohensheldt on the outside of turn four. At the halfway point in the event, Clark was the race leader followed by Hohensheldt, 11th place starter Tim Hartman Jr., seventh place starter Brian Borst, and Nick Scavia in the top five.
Hartman Jr. was able to get by Hohensheldt for the second position and by lap 16 he was side by side with Clark for the race lead. Two laps later Hartman Jr. was the new race leader after getting by Clark on the inside of turn four with the caution out shortly afterwards. On this restart, Hartman Jr. continued to lead with Mark Mortensen the new fifth place car after restarting eighth. Mortensen wasn’t done after starting 18th, getting by Hohensheldt and Scavia on the outside for the third position.
Hartman Jr. continued to lead and put some distance between himself and the second place car of Clark while Mortensen and 15th place starter Chad Edwards put on a great race for the third position in the closing laps, side by side at times for the position. Hartman won for the second week in a row in the Parillo Services #22 car owned by Mike Parillo for his sixth career win in the division.
Clark, Mortensen, Edwards, and Scavia completed the top five at the checkered flag.
Mortensen won the NAPA Hard Charger Award after starting 18th and finishing third.
“It’s great going two for two, this car is unreal,” Hartman Jr. told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “Thanks to Mike Parillo, this car is so fast.”
Brendan Gibbons had a great start for the 20-lap Montgomery County Office for Aging Limited Sportsman feature, starting third and going to the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. On the inside of the track on lap three, Michael McCallion was the new race leader, but that was only brief as Gibbons took the lead back coming out of turn two.
Gibbons was running a great race in the lead with the final caution of the event coming out on lap 12. On this restart, 12th place starter EJ McAuliffe took over the second position from McCallion and on the outside of the front straightaway to complete lap 15, McAuliffe was the new race leader. McAuliffe went on to his third win of the season and the fourth of his career in the division followed by Rich Christman, Gibbons, McCallion, and Steve Wagoner.
“This cars been great all year,” McAuliffe said in victory lane. “Thank you to everyone that helps me with it.”
As is usually the case on a weekly basis, the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature was one of the best races of the evening and it all started with Cassidy Wilson leading the first two laps. On the outside of turn four on lap three it was Randy Cosselman who was the new race leader with sixth place starter Josh Coonradt the new second place car.
Nick Stone started the event in the eighth position and by lap five he and Coonradt were swapping the second position as Cosselman continued to lead. After a caution on lap six, Stone was the new race leader after getting by Cosselman in turns three and four but that only lasted three laps as Coonradt was able to get by for the lead on the outside of turn four on lap nine.
The yellow flag was out at the halfway point in the 20-lap event for 10 cars involved in a wreck in turns one and two and on the restart 12th place starter Luke Horning was the new second place car. On lap 11, on the outside of turn four, Horning was the new race leader with Coonradt falling back to the fourth position after Stone and seventh place starter Chuck Dumblewski also got by for position.
Horning went on to his second win of the season and the 16th of his career in the division over Stone, Dumblewski, Coonradt, and 11th place starter Kenny Gates.
“Thanks for coming out tonight dad,” Horning said of his father who was sitting out in the grandstands. “Look at this place on dollar night. When the checkered flag flew this was fun, after using the brakes up to get to the front, but this car is amazing.”
The 15-lap Trackside Body Works Street Stock feature saw Michael Arnold leading lap one after starting on the outside of the front row but that was short lived as Stephen Young took over the point on lap two on the inside of the track as the lap was completed. Jason Samrov started the event in the third position but was the new second place car on lap eight after getting by both a lap car and Arnold for the spot.
Arnold spun his car in between turns three and four on lap 10 with the yellow coming out at that point and Dave Horning Sr. now on Young’s rear bumper after the restart. On the inside of turn three with only two laps to go, Horning Sr. took away the lead from Young and went on to his fourth consecutive win and the 62nd of his career in the division over Samrov, Zach Sorrentino, Justin Taylor, and Cliff Haslun.
“They are making me work for it,” Horning Sr. said of his competitors. “I think they’re getting mad at me for winning all the time. I’m trying to race as clean as I can and they are trying to rough me up. Thanks to everyone including Trackside Body Works for what they do for this division and please keep Bob James of Bobco Video in our thoughts.”
The Four Cylinder Cruiser feature saw eight cars compete in the 12-lap event with John Napoli the early race leader. Josh Samrov started fourth and took over the race lead before lap one was completed. Samrov led for two laps before Ken Hollenbeck took the lead on lap four after starting last in the eighth position. Hollenbeck went on to yet another win, his third of the season, and the 45th of his career in the division.
“Dave (Horning Sr.) told me to follow him to victory lane tonight so that what I did,” Hollenbeck said in victory lane.
Next Saturday, May 25th the Patriot Sprint Tour will join the racing action for the Earl Halaquist Memorial with all other divisions in action except for the Four Cylinder Cruisers with a starting time of 7:00 p.m.
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.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish – 30-Laps: ROCKY WARNER, Bobby Varin, Jessica Friesen, Cody Bleau, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, David Schilling, Willy Decker, Craig Hanson, Michael Maresca, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Gleason, Scott Huber, Dave Constantino, Josh Hohenforst, Darwin Greene, Pep Corradi, Steve Akers, Ed Harris, Vinny Sanganetti, Stewart Friesen, Aaron Jacobs, Korey Wilder, Ryan Odasz, Allison Ricci (DNS)
Heat Race Winners: Korey Wilder, Cody Bleau, Rocky Warner
Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish ($1,000 to win thanks to Eric Orozco Racing) – 25-Laps: TIM HARTMAN JR., Cody Clark, Mark Mortensen, Chad Edwards, Nick Scavia, JaMike Sowle, Brian Borst, Adam McAuliffe, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Dan Santabarbara, Tim Dwyer, Kale Groff, Joe Orlando, Mike Jackson, Thomas VanVorst, Griffen Mansmith, Jeremy Tuttle, Tony Farone, Brian Pessolano, Mike Fisher, Aaron Burton, Brian Calabrese, Andrew Buff, Kathy Bellen
Heat Race Winners: Kurtis Hohensheldt, Nick Scavia, Brian Calabrese
NAPA Hard Charger Award – Mark Mortensen started 18th and finished 3rd
Montgomery County Office for Aging Limited Sportsman Feature Finish – 20-Laps: EJ MCAULIFFE, Rich Christman, Brenden Gibbons, Michael McCallion, Steve Wagoner, Alan Hanson, Kyle Hoard, Bill Port, Dana Camenga, John Young, Brett Mortensen, Jack Hamm, Spencer Rapp
Heat Race Winners: No Heat Races Were Run
Algonkin Motel Pro Stock Feature Finish – 20-Laps: LUKE HORNING, Nick Stone, Chuck Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Ivan Joslin, Jason Morrison, Randy Cosselman, Bill Knapp, Justin Knight, Steve Cosselman, Shane Henderson, John Roese, Reuben Kennedy Jr., Andy Graves, Devon Camenga, Adam Warner, Buck Gasner, Cassidy Wilson, Dave Horning Sr., Jamie Warner, Alicia Hughes, Beau Ballard, Jim Normoyle
Heat Race Winners: Josh Coonradt, Chuck Dumblewski, Luke Horning
Trackside Body Works Street Stock Feature – 15-Laps: DAVE HORNING SR., Jason Samrov, Zach Sorrentino, Justin Taylor, Cliff Haslun, Stephen Young, Michael Arnold, Dylan Kinch
Four Cylinder Cruisers Feature Finish – 12-Laps: KEN HOLLENBECK, Josh Samrov, Cole Lawton, Wayne Russell, Riley Pedrick, PJ Cram, John Napoli, Zach McSpirit, TJ Marlitt (DNS)