By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – If you were to think or say that Bobby Varin is on a hot streak you would be accurate as not only did Varin win last week at Fonda, he also won at the Devils Bowl Speedway in Vermont last Wednesday, and followed that up with another win at Fonda this Saturday night. All of the wins came in the Palmers Service #76 owned by Alton and Carole Palmer with Varin saying in victory lane “we have a fantastic team here, my crew is priceless, and we have a lot of fun together,”
Other winners on Amsterdam Printing & Litho Night at the “Track of Champions” included Brian Borst who captured his first career win in the “crate” sportsman division, his first win in over 15 years after winning a total of 15 times in the former “open” sportsman division, Travis Billington (limited sportsman), Randy Cosselman who was a winner in the pro stock class for the first time in his career, and Johnny Young in the street stock division.
The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) were also in action at Fonda on Saturday with the winners in different categories including Rob Sanford (modified), Floyd Billington (sportsman), and Malcum Warner (late model). It was a blast from the past of sorts as all of the vintage cars were pitted on the old pit road down the center of the speedway, the old drag strip as it has often been called, bringing back memories of how it used to be at Fonda back in the day when those style of cars were pitted there on a weekly basis.
The 30-lap modified feature was eerily similar to the prior week’s race with Darwin Greene leading at the drop of the green flag after starting on the pole position. When the cars came down to the start finish line to complete lap one it was Scott Huber who was the race leader from his third starting position with Cody Bleau in the second spot on lap three after starting fourth.
The car on the move early as he was last week was Josh Hohenforst who started the event in the 10th position but by lap five he was already in the fourth spot. Bleau was the new race leader on lap five after getting by Huber for the position on the inside of the backstretch with Hohenforst continuing his march to the front as he also got by Huber for the second position on lap 11.
Bleau held a half straightaway advantage at that point in the race but Hohenforst quickly moved in and swept around the outside of Bleau in turn two on lap 15 to take the race lead with 11th place starter Bobby Varin, Pep Corradi, and Huber completing the top five at the halfway point behind the front duo of Hohenforst and Bleau.
The yellow flag was out on lap 19 for Corradi whose great run came to an end as he came to a stop on the front stretch and on the restart Varin was the new second place car after getting by Bleau for the spot and this is where the feature started to look very similar to last week’s event as Varin was chasing Hohenforst for the lead.
Hohenforst held a half straightaway advantage with five laps to go but Varin closed in quickly and with three laps to go was right on the leaders rear bumper. Going in to turn two with two laps to go, Hohenforst slid up high allowing Varin to duck underneath him for the race lead. The two raced side by side going into turn four but coming out of the turn Varin slid up in front of Hohenforst to take the lead.
Despite lap traffic during the final lap Varin held the number one spot to the checkered flag for his 62nd career win at Fonda and his second consecutive win over Hohenforst, Bleau, 15th place starter Jeremy Wilder, and sixth place starter Shaun Pangman.
“Back to back wins are always special,” Varin said in victory lane. “I really didn’t know if I had anything for him (Hohenforst) as he had the top groove working for him. I just kept working low trying to get to him and when I did I knew that I had to skate across and get back to the top as soon as I could. I also didn’t know what was going to happen with the two lap cars on the final lap but it all ended up working out for us.”
The sportsman feature began with Jeff Holt getting out of shape on the front stretch at the drop of the green flag causing the cars behind him to scatter as he started in the third position. No laps were completed as the caution flag came out with an original restart following. Jason Greco led at the drop of the green flag for the second time with Brian Borst in the second position.
The yellow flag was out again on lap three for Griffen Mansmith who spun his car in turn four and on the restart Borst was the new race leader. Last week’s winner Mark Mortensen was the new fifth place car on lap eight after starting 12th and at the halfway point Borst, Greco, David Manchester, and Robert Bublak in the top five with Mortensen now back to sixth.
With five laps to go the top two of Borst and Greco were a straightaway ahead of the third place car of Manchester with lap traffic coming into play with three laps to go. Borst cruised to the win over Greco, Manchester, Bublak, and Nick Scavia who was on the move on the outside late in the event after starting 17th.
The win for Borst was his first at Fonda since 7/31/1999 when he competed in the “open” sportsman division where he has a total of 15 career wins.
“To get a win in this class is unbelievable,” Borst said in victory lane. “These cars are totally different than what I used to run here at Fonda. I have to thank Mike Romano for all his help with this car, my wife for allowing me to do this again, the rest of my family, and my crew.”
Jason Morrison led the first two laps of the pro stock division until lap three when outside pole position starter Randy Cosselman took the lead after a side by side battle for the spot. AJ Walters started back in the fourth position and moved into the second spot on lap eight after getting by Ivan Joslin for the spot. When Josh Coonradt slowed on the backstretch on lap 11 it brought out the caution giving everyone one last shot at the leader.
Cosselman stayed smooth and steady for the remainder of the event despite pressure from Walters and took his first career win in the Hoose Construction sponsored #5C. In victory lane Cosselman’s crew took the hood off of the car and stood it up against the car for the grandstand to see. On the hood it said “In Memory of Don Warner #97”. Walters, Chuck Dumblewski, 11th place starter Kenny Gates, and Joslin completed the top five.
“I’ve been waiting for this for five years,” Cosselman said in victory lane. “There are a lot of fast cars here at Fonda and after the race AJ (Walters) came alongside of me and gave me a thumbs up which was cool. I have to thank AJ and Chuck (Dumblewski) for racing me clean, my wife, kids, and my crew. It can’t get any better than this.”
Scott Gauthier led the first two laps in the street stock feature before Johnny Young took the lead on lap three and went on to his second win of the season and the 10th of his career at Fonda over Rob VanAernam who pressured him the final laps of the event, Jason Samrov, Michael Arnold, and Cliff Haslun.
Michael McCallion led the first two laps of the limited sportsman feature before Derrick McGrew Jr. took over the point to lead the next two laps. When McGrew slowed in turn three with a flat right rear tire Dylan Bokus took over the lead and went on to what would have been his first career win at Fonda. In post-race inspection Bokus was disqualified for a rev box infraction handing the win over to Travis Billington for his second win of the season.
Following Billington across the line were EJ McAuliffe, Larry Niemiec, Greg Perron, and Derrick McGrew Jr.
Next Saturday, June 16 will be feature a regular show in all divisions on New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Night along with Father’s Day Starters where someone in attendance will be selected to be the honorary starter. Starting time will be 7:00 p.m.
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – BOBBY VARIN, Josh Hohenforst, Cody Bleau, Jeremy Wilder, Shaun Pangman, Tim Fuller, Rocky Warner, Scott Huber, Jessey Mueller, Demetrious Drellos, Jeff Rockefeller, Anthony Cardamone, Kenny Sparks, Nick Anatriello, Pep Corradi, Darwin Greene, Craig Hanson, Jimmy Davis
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – BRIAN BORST, Jason Greco, David Manchester, Robert Bublak, Nick Scavia, Ray Zemken, Cody Clark, Mark Mortensen, Tony Farone, Aaron Burton, Adam McAuliffe, Brian Pessolano, Chad Edwards, Brian Calabrese, Charlie Tibbitts, Ricky Quick, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Dan Santabarbara, William August, Josh DeMagistris, Mike Jackson, Rob Maxon, Griffen Mansmith, Jeff Holt
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – RANDY COSSELMAN, AJ Walters, Chuck Dumblewski, Kenny Gates, Ivan Joslin, Cassidy Wilson, Shane Henderson, Tim McCarthy, Josh Coonradt, Bill Knapp, Jason Morrison, Jack Hamm, Jamie Warner, Alicia Hughes, Luke Horning, Buck Gasner, Ashley Celebucki, Ron Delease, Jim Normoyle
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – TRAVIS BILLINGTON, EJ McAuliffe, Larry Niemiec, Greg Perron, Derrick McGrew Jr., Dylan Eldred, Michael McCallion, Bob Schmidt, Jason Baker, Nate Furman, David Manchester Sr., (DNS), Dylan Bokus (DQ)
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO STREET STOCK FEATURE – 12-LAPS – JOHNNY YOUNG, Rob VanAernam, Jason Samrov, Michael Arnold, Cliff Haslun, Bill Yager Scott Gauthier, Steven Young, Kenny Hollenback
AMSTERDAM PRINTING & LITHO MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) FEATURE – ROB SANFORD (MODIFIED WINNER), FLOYD BILLINGTON (SPORTSMAN WINNER), John Constantino, Car #69A, Dan Wood, Frank Blanchard, Jay Lais, Matt Larrivee, MALCUM WARNER (LATE MODEL WINNER), John Roese, Charlie Scofield, Doug Mathewson, Chip Gauthier, Buck Gasner, Tony Kamburelis, Bryon Seyfried, Kavin Winton (DNS)