By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – The racing program at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway on Saturday evening had a little bit of everything included in it for the fans. First and foremost was the 2017 Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame ceremonies which was held at the Fonda Speedway Museum.
The class of 2017 Hall of Fame inductees included drivers Jerry Cook, Earl Mewhorter, Jim Luke, John Constantino, John Kollar, and Keith Tesiero Sr.; car owners Jim Magielda, Jake Spraker, and RC Putman; track personnel Clancy Miller; and Track Contributor Warren Roosevelt Sr.
The 2017 Fonda Museum “Bill Fake Pioneer Award” was presented to Frank Trinkaus while the second Annual “Bruce Dostal Dedication to Fonda Speedway Museum Award” went to Frank Blanchard and Corey White.
There was also a Late Model Reunion held at the track with some of those cars taking part in the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDS) feature event.
Satch Sales and Benjamin Moore Paints were the sponsors for the evening with the Benjamin Moore Paints sponsored #1M of 2011 Fonda Speedway 602 Sportsman Track Champion holding a Meet N’ Greet at the front gate of the speedway for all of the employees of Benjamin Moore Paints. Autographed pictures were given out at the Meet N’ Greet and the children were able to sit in the race car which was a thrill for them.
When it came to the racing action it was Darwin Greene who stood in victory lane with the IMEK sponsored #1 for the second time in his career, surviving a brush with the concrete wall with only eight laps to go in the 30-lap modified feature event.
“I guess that I should have waited a second to clean my shield off,” Greene said. “I did it in turn four and it threw off my timing and I got into the front stretch wall coming out of turn four. It’s my wife’s birthday today and I want to dedicate this win to her. I couldn’t do this without her, she takes care of our fuel, our food for the crew, and a lot of other things as well.”
Other winners on Satch Sales and Benjamin Moore Paints Night included Rocky Warner (sportsman), Travis Billington (limited sportsman), Ivan Joslin (pro stock), Steven Young (first career win in street stocks), Ken Hollenback (4-cylinder/cruisers), John Constantino (Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDS) Sportsman), and Rob Sanford Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series Modified (MVVDS).
Pep Corradi and Darwin Greene started the 30-lap modified feature on the front row with Corradi taking the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. On the outside of turns one and two on lap three, Greene got by Corradi for the race lead and immediately stretched his advantage to a full straightaway by lap six.
Greene was in lap traffic by lap nine with Josh Hohenforst and Tim Fuller coming from the rear of the field after starting eighth and 11th respectively with possibly the two fastest cars on the track besides Greene. Hohenforst was the new third place car on lap 14 with Fuller close behind only a position or two back.
On lap 22, Greene made contact with the front stretch wall coming out of turn four with the right rear of his car but kept on going, fighting lap traffic along the way. Greene maintained the lead to the checkered flag with Hohenforst getting by Corradi for second on the final lap coming out of turn four. Justin Boehler finished third followed by Fuller and 10th place starter Ronnie Johnson. On the final lap in turn four, Corradi ended up in the turn four wall unable to complete the event ending a great top two run in the event.
Greene took a few victory laps in unique style, running around his car in victory lane with the checkered flag in hand while his son chased him.
“This one is better,” Greene told victory lane announcer Toby LaGrange when asked how this win compared to his first win which came last year on 9/17/2016. “In the record books at Fonda, a 30-lap race tonight and to go out and dominate like we did, this one is definitely better.”
Tony Farone took the lead at the drop of the green flag in the 25-lap sportsman feature from his pole position start with sixth place starter Rocky Warner up to third at the completion of lap one. The next lap Warner got by Kurtis Hohensheldt for the second position and set his sights on the leader. Warner took the extreme outside line on the back stretch to set up a pass in turn three where he took the lead and pulled away.
Once Warner got the lead the race was for the second position as he just pulled away from the rest of the field, to a straightaway advantage by lap 10 and a half track advantage by lap 19. At that point in the race eighth and ninth place starters Chad Edwards and Tim Hartman Jr. were second and third respectively and battling hard to the checkered flag for position.
When the checkered flag dropped it was Warner going on to his fifth win of the season and the 22nd of his career in the division in the Jake Spraker Used Cars/Glove City Transportation #1J over Edwards who held off Hartman Jr. for second while Farone and 10th place starter Mark Mortensen completed the top five.
“This one is for Jake,” Warner simply said in victory lane after his car owner Jake Spraker was nominated into the Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame earlier in the day.
AJ Walters used an outside front row starting spot to take the lead early on in the 20-lap pro stock feature event. Ivan Joslin started the event in the fifth position, fell back early, but came forward again to take over the second position on lap 14 from Jim Normoyle. On lap 17, Walters and Joslin were side by side for the lead and when the lap was completed Joslin was the leader at the line.
Two consecutive caution flags came out on lap 15 while the red flag was out with only one lap to go after Chuck Dumblewski flipped his car over in turn four. Dumblewski was placed in the ambulance for observation complaining of back pain after the wreck. Joslin led the final lap of the event for his second win of the season and the eighth of his career in the division over eighth place starter jay Casey, 12th place starter Jason Casey, 10th place starter Kenny Gates, and Walters.
“This was a total team effort,” Joslin said in victory lane. “That was a good race, they watered the top during intermission and everyone was afraid to go out there but I knew it would eventually come in.”
Steven Young won the first street stock feature of his career, leading every lap in the 12-lap feature for the win over fifth place starter Johnny Young, seventh place starter Joey Wilson, fourth place starter Cliff Haslun, and third place starter Jim Groncki.
Larry Niemiec started on the outside pole in the 12-lap limited sportsman feature event and led every lap for what looked like his third win of the season. In post-race inspection however, Niemiec was disqualified for a rev box infraction handing the win over to sixth place starter Travis Billington. For Billington it was his first win of the season and the fifth of his career in the division over William August, Cory White, Kathy Bellen, and Bill Port.
Ken Hollenback led all 12-laps in the 4-cylinder/cruiser feature event for his fourth win of the season and the 41st of his career in the division over Andy Graves, Kerrie Hollenback, and Pat McSpirit.
Darral Hulbert led the first 13 laps of the 20-lap Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDS) feature until Rob Sanford got by when lap traffic held up the leader on lap 14. Sanford went on to the overall victory followed in the top five by Hulbert, Don Greco, John Constantino, and Buck Gasner.
On Wednesday the Fonda Speedway will be back in action with the 50-lap, $5,000 to win Jack Johnson tribute event for modifieds. A 30-lap GRIT sportsman feature is also on the racing card along with the 12th Annual Hondo Classic for pro stocks honoring the late Honda Carpenter. For more information on this special Wednesday evening racing program you can go to www.newfondaspeedway.com
SATCH SALES/BENJAMIN MOORE PAINTS DIRTCAR MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – DARWIN GREENE, Josh Hohenforst, Justin Boehler, Tim Fuller, Ronnie Johnson, Bobby Varin, Jeremy Wilder, Scott Huber, Jimmy Davis, Craig Hanson, Pep Corradi, Ryan Odasz, Cody Bleau, Shaun Pangman, Troy Palmer, Jeff Hoetzler, Kenny Sparks, Mike Maresca, Mike Ketchum, Bob Vedder (DNS)
SATCH SALES/BENJAMIN MOORE PAINTS DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – ROCKY WARNER, Chad Edwards, Tim Hartman Jr., Tony Farone, Mark Mortensen, Cody Clark, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Ray Zemken, Dave Constantino, Aaron Burton, Harry Shaffer, David Manchester, Brian Calabrese, Josh DeMagistris, Dan Santabarbara, Travis Billington, Anthony Cardamone, Griffen Mansmith, Nick Scavia, Bruce Loomis (DNS), Justin Auspelmyer (DNS)
SATCH SALES/BENJAMIN MOORE PAINTS DIRTCAR PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – IVAN JOSLIN, Jay Casey, Jason Casey, Kenny Gates, AJ Walters, Jim Normoyle, Josh Coonradt, Frank Twing, Mark Sullivan, Dennis Joslin, Ron Delease, Jeff McPhail, Jason Morrison, Jamie Warner, Chuck Dumblewski, Randy Cosselman, Jim Yesse, Bill Knapp, Chuck McSpirit (DNS), Ashley Celebucki (DNS), Reuben Kennedy Jr. (DNS), Adam Warner (DQ for moving his car under the red flag during the feature event)
STREET STOCK FEATURE – 12-LAPS – STEVEN YOUNG, Johnny Young, Joey Wilson, Cliff Haslun, Jim Groncki, Harold Chadderden, Bubby Shaffer, Scott Wells
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 12-LAPS – TRAVIS BILLINGTON, William August, Cory White, Kathy Bellen, Bill Port, Larry Niemiec (DQ rev box infraction)
4-CYLINDER/CRUISER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBACK, Andy Graves, Kerrie Hollenback, Pat McSpirit, Wayne Russell, Dale VanAllen, Zach McSpirit
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) 20-LAP FEATURE – ROB SANFORD (MODIFIED), Darral Hulbert, Don Greco, John Constantino (SPORTSMAN), Buck Gasner, Frank Blanchard, Doug Mathewson, John Roese, Kavin Winston, Dan Karl, Charlie Scofield, Malcum Warner