By RON SZCZERBA
FONDA, NY – A rain out on Memorial Day weekend meant double features for the Sunoco Modifieds at Fonda on Saturday evening with Bobby Varin getting the victory in the rained out event from 5/25 while Stewart Friesen picked up the win in nightcap 30-lap event.
For Varin it was his first win of the 2019 season and the 65th of his career in the division in 22 winning seasons. For Friesen it was also his first win of the 2019 season and the 55th of his career at Fonda in just nine winning seasons.
Varin currently sits fourth on the All Time Modified Win List at Fonda with 65 wins while Friesen moved ahead of Kenny Shoemaker with the victory for sole possession of fifth place on the All Time Modified Win List with 55 wins.
Other winners on Saturday evening who got to celebrate in the Fuccillo Automotive Group Mike Cole Victory Lane included Brian Calabrese in the Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman division ($1,000 to win thanks to Eric Orozco Racing), Steve Wagoner in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman, Luke Horning in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks, Stephen Young in the Trackside Body Works Street Stocks, and Cole Lawton in the Four Cylinder Cruisers.
For Wagoner and Lawton it was their first career wins in their respective divisions.
The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) had four classes of cars in competition on Saturday evening at Fonda including Vintage Antique, Vintage Modified, Vintage Sportsman, and Vintage Late Models. It was also New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Safety Awards Night for the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS), which is run by Laurie Fallis who does a great job promoting the organization.
The NYSSCA Safety Award consisted of $75, a NYSSCA hat, and a NYSSCA Yearbook for the first Vintage race car across the finish line in the feature event who is a member of the NYSSCA organization and $25, a NYSSCA hat, and a NYSSCA Yearbook to the second Vintage racecar across the finish line in the feature event who is a member of the NYSSCA organization. There will also be a $50 Wildcard Award handed out to a NYSSCA member in the Vintage racecar series.
The winners of the MVVDMS feature events with combined classes running in the same feature event Frank Blanchard (Vintage Antiques), Rob Sanford (Vintage Modified), Bryon Seyfried (Vintage Sportsman), and Malcum Warner (Vintage Late Model).
It was Bicycle Giveaway Night presented by the Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club with Ashley Abeling doing a fantastic job with the Kid’s Club as they gathered a total of 34 bicycles to give away.
The Northville Central School Band performed a great rendition of the National Anthem with three busses necessary to transport the students to the track on Saturday.
The Make-A-Wish of Northeast, NY organization was on hand with a table setup with information about the organization. As a part of the Make-A-Wish of Northeast, NY display, wish kids Mac Palandro and Xzavier Cool were on hand with their families to enjoy the racing action for the evening. Both wish kids were also able to sit in the Make-A-Wish race car of Mark Mortensen who had his #1M car on display at the Make-A-Wish table area.
Ed Biittig Sr. has been doing a fantastic job with a prayer during opening ceremonies and Saturday evening was no different as he said to the crowd “As you all know this track means a lot to me. This week there was a service for race car driver Jim Becker’s Uncle Bruce Becker whose last wish was to make it back to the track under the Brett Deyo era which he was able to do. Folks, we don’t have a clue when it will be over is my message to you tonight.”
A moment of silence was also observed for Bob Rees who recently passed away and was a former competitor at the “Track of Champions”.
Esther LaBelle was the winner of the 50/50 prize for the evening worth $1,606! Esther and her husband Ken are race fans who attend racing at the Fonda Speedway on a weekly basis along with their daughters Amanda and Becky. Amanda actually works for the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Service (GAVAC) and was also at the track on Saturday evening in her role as an EMT. The LaBelle Family are sponsors on the #1M 602 Crate Sportsman car of Mark Mortensen and the #1B Limited Sportsman car of Brett Mortensen.
The 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature rained out from 5/25 was the first race on track after warm-ups with Korey Wilder leading at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. At the completion of lap one it was Ryan Odasz in the lead but that was short lived as he came to a stop in turn four on lap two with the first yellow flag of the event out at that point.
Wilder inherited the lead on the restart while Brian Gleason was second and eighth place starter Danny Varin was third with two more caution flags out on laps eight and 11. On a lap 12 restart, Danny Varin was the new race leader with his father Bobby Varin making his way to the front after starting back in the ninth position, sitting in the fifth position at that point.
As Danny Varin continued to lead the event, Bobby Varin went from fifth to third on lap 13 and one lap later he was the new second place car after getting by Wilder for the spot. When Danny Varin had some misfortune with his racecar on lap 15 and was forced to the pit area, Bobby took over the lead with the attention now focused on 11th place starter Stewart Friesen who was in the top five.
On lap 22, Stewart Friesen was able to get by both his wife Jessica and Wilder for the third position and one lap later he got by Brian Gleason for the second position setting up a classic finish to the checkered flag. Friesen was running lap times a half second quicker than Varin with five laps to go and was closing in fast on the leader.
Friesen had a ton of momentum built up on the outside of turn three on the final lap and was able to get alongside of Varin coming out of turn four. A scrape with the wall in turn four may have scrubbed off enough speed on Friesen’s car and Varin went on for the win by 0.11 seconds in the Palmer’s Service Center #76 Teo car and was followed in the top five by Stewart Friesen, Gleason, Jessica Friesen, and Michael Maresca.
“I ran the same line on the track for the whole race,” Varin told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “The track was just a little off tonight but it was fast. Heads up to the track crew for trying something different. Our car was fast and we caught a couple of brakes. I saw him (Friesen) on the outside of me in turn four in a daredevil ride on the cushion but I’m definitely glad to put this Palmer’s Service Center car in victory lane.”
The regularly scheduled 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature began with Ryan Odasz the race leader at the drop of the green flag in his self-owned #88 car after issues with the Nelson Motorsports ride in the first feature. Craig Hanson started the event in the fifth position and was the new second place car on lap three with third place starter Pep Corradi, sixth place starter Danny Varin, and 10th place starter Stewart Friesen completing the top five.
Varin and Friesen swapped the fourth position a couple of times before Varin settled in that spot on lap eight. They both got by Corradi for the third and fourth positions respectively with the yellow flag out for Varin on lap nine as he slowed on the backstretch. Hanson led the race on the restart with Odasz and Friesen getting hooked together briefly and falling back to the fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Hanson held a comfortable advantage on lap 10 when all of a sudden the caution came out for Michael Maresca who suffered a flat tire and on this restart Hanson continued to lead while David Schilling and Rocky Warner made their way into the top five after starting seventh and 13th respectively.
Warner and Friesen both got by Schilling for the second and third positions at the halfway point in the event with the yellow out again on lap 18 for Darwin Greene who came to a stop on the backstretch. Friesen took the second position away from Warner on the restart as Hanson continued to lead the event with the caution out again on lap 24.
Friesen put heavy pressure on Hanson when the green flag flew to restart the race and on lap 25 used the inside groove in turn two to duck under Hanson and take over the race lead. With three laps to go Friesen pulled away to a straightway advantage until a caution came out for Corradi in turn four.
Warner got by Hanson for the second position on the restart as Friesen continuing to lead with one final caution out with one lap to go for Odasz and Maresca who tangled in turn four setting up a one lap dash to the finish. Friesen maintained the lead on the restart and went on for the win in the Halmar #44 over Warner, Schilling, Hanson, and 12th place starter Bobby Varin.
Friesen celebrated on the roof of the #44 car with a DKM flag in hand and then climbed down to talk with Mimi Lazzaro afterwards. “This is a great DKM racecar so hats off to those guys along with a great small block from Billy the Kid,” he said. “I’m glad to be back here in victory lane at Fonda, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Thanks to the “Black Flag Crew”, we are going to celebrate tonight.”
The $1,000 to win thanks to Eric Orozco Racing Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman feature was an epic side by side battle for three quarters of the 25-lap event with two tries needed to get the race underway. Joe Orlando took the lead at the drop of the green flag after starting on the pole with Kurtis Hohensheldt in the second position.
Coming down the front straightaway to complete lap four, fifth place starter Brian Calabrese went three wide to the inside of Orlando to take the race lead with fourth place starter Andrew Buff also getting by Orlando for the second position. The red flag was out on lap seven for a three car crash on the backstretch involving Thomas VanVorst, Harry Shaffer, and Kathy Bellen who had rolled over on her roof. All drivers were okay and not injured.
12th place starter Tim Hartman Jr. was the new third place car on the restart as Calabrese and Buff began their side by side battle for the lead which lasted throughout the remainder of the race. Buff took away the race lead on lap eight, getting by Calabrese on the outside of the front straightway as the lap was completed.
On lap 15, Calabrese took the lead away again and he and Buff remained side by side at times over the closing laps of the event. 11th place starter JaMike Sowle took the third position away from Hartman Jr. as they swapped the position a couple of times before Hartman Jr. took over the third spot for good with five laps to go.
Calabrese was able to put some distance between he and Buff in the closing couple of laps to take his second career win at Fonda in the Mason LM Contractor sponsored #21C over Buff, Hartman Jr., 15th place starter Chad Edwards, and Sowle.
“This is unbelievable,” Calabrese said in victory lane. “We’ve been struggling with the American racer tires and had some bad luck last night at Albany Saratoga. Buff showed me the outside tonight and I am living a dream right now. This one actually means more than my first win here at Fonda which came after a disqualification.”
John Young led the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature at the start from the pole position but at the completion of lap one it was third place starter Steve Wagoner who was the new race leader with eighth place starter Dylan Eldred second by the halfway point in the 20-lap event.
As Wagoner stretched out his advantage over Eldred each lap in the caution free event, seventh place starter Brett Mortensen was picking off cars lap after lap sitting in the third position on lap 14. That’s the way the finish would play out with Wagoner taking his first career win in the Doug’s Pools & Spa’s #32 over Eldred, Mortensen, ninth place starter EJ McAuliffe, and 10th place starter Rich Christman.
Cassidy Wilson led from the outside pole at the start in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature with fourth place starter Andy Graves in tow. On lap two the first yellow flag was out for Ivan Joslin and Kenny Gates who had nowhere to go when a car slowed on the backstretch and spun to avoid contact. Gates was able to continue while Joslin was done for the evening.
On the restart, sixth place starter Justin Knight was the new second place car with eighth place starter Nick Stone in third. On the outside of turn two on lap five, Knight was the new race leader for one lap only as Stone led the following lap six. When Stone slowed on the backstretch one lap later, Knight took over the lead again with Wilson second and 12th place starter Luke Horning now third.
Horning went three wide to the outside of both Wilson and Knight to take over the race lead on lap eight and with five laps to go he held a straightaway advantage over Knight. Horning took his third win of the 2019 season and the 17th of his career at Fonda in the Catalytic Recovery sponsored #97 over Knight, ninth place starter Chuck Dumblewski who got the third position on the final lap, seventh place starter Josh Coonradt, and Wilson.
“The track was super-fast tonight,” Horning said. “I just had to get up there on the outside and let it bite.”
Stephen Young led at the start of the 15-lap Trackside Body Works Street Stock feature after starting on the outside pole with the yellow out on lap five. As Young continued to lead, Cliff Haslun and Jason Samrov were side by side for the second position on laps six and seven with Samrov eventually getting the spot.
Another yellow on lap 13 for Michael Arnold who suffered a flat right rear tire, set up a green, white, checkered finish with Young leading the remaining laps in the event for his first win of the 2019 season and the second of his career in the division over Samrov, Haslun, Arnold, and Zach Sorrentino.
Cole Lawton took the lead at the completion of lap one in the Four Cylinder Cruiser feature and never looked back as he led every lap for his first career win in the division at Fonda. Ken Hollenbeck was second followed by Wayne Russell, Riley Pedrick, and John Napoli.
Next week at Fonda it will be New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Safety Awards Night with all divisions in action including Twin 20’s for the Sunoco Modifieds ($1,500 to win each), the Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman, the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman, the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks (Best of 8 Series Presented by American Racer), and the Trackside Body Works Street Stocks.
Racing will begin on Saturday, June 8 at 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 – RAIN DELAYED FROM 5/25/2019 – 30-LAPS – BOBBY VARIN, Stewart Friesen, Brian Gleason, Jessica Friesen, Michael Maresca, Rocky Warner, Josh Hohenforst, Korey Wilder, Cody Bleau, Matt DeLorenzo, Craig Hanson, Steve Akers, Dave Constantino, Darwin Greene, Scott Huber, Vinny Sanganetti, David Schilling, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, Pep Corradi, Willy Decker, Dylan Scribner, Aaron Jacobs, Ryan Odasz, Elmo Reckner, Jimmy Horton (DNS), Mike Gular (DNS), Rusty Smith (DNS)
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH – REGULAR FEATURE FROM 6/1/2019 – 30-LAPS – STEWART FRIESEN, Rocky Warner, David Schilling, Craig Hanson, Bobby Varin, Cody Bleau, Danny Varin, Matt DeLorenzo, Jessica Friesen, Dave Constantino, Korey Wilder, Steve Akers, Scott Huber, Brian Gleason, Vinny Sanganetti, Michael Maresca, Ryan Odasz, Pep Corradi, Elmo Reckner, Darwin Greene, Dylan Scribner, Aaron Jacobs, Josh Hohenforst, Willy Decker (DNS), Demetrious Drellos (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Ryan Odasz, Craig Hanson, Danny Varin
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH ($1,000 TO WIN THANKS TO ERIC OROZCO RACING) – 25-LAPS – BRIAN CALABRESE, Andrew Buff, Tim Hartman Jr., Chad Edwards, JaMike Sowle, Adam McAuliffe, Mark Mortensen, Nick Scavia, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Aaron Burton, Cody Clark, Kale Groff, Tony Farone, Dan Santabarbara, Corey Cormier, Joe Orlando, Kathy Bellen, Thomas VanVorst, Harry Shaffer, Tim Dwyer, Brian Pessolano, Mike Jackson, Brian Borst, Griffen Mansmith (DNS), Josh DeMagistris (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: JaMike Sowle, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Tim Dwyer
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH – 20-LAPS – STEVE WAGONER, Dylan Eldred, Brett Mortensen, EJ McAuliffe, Rich Christman, John Young, Bill Port, Brendan Gibbons, Spencer Rapp, Alan Hanson, William August
HEAT RACE WINNERS: No Heat Races Were Run
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH – 20-LAPS – LUKE HORNING, Justin Knight, Chuck Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Cassidy Wilson, Jason Morrison, Jim Normoyle, Devon Camenga, Randy Cosselman, Kenny Gates, Jamie Warner, Andy Graves, Alicia Hughes, Nick Stone, John Roese, Buck Gasner, Ivan Joslin, Bill Knapp (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Nick Stone, Cassidy Wilson
TRACKSIDE BODY WORKS STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH – 15-LAPS – STEPHEN YOUNG, Jason Samrov, Cliff Haslun, Michael Arnold, Zach Sorrentino, Robert Wilmont, Justin Taylor, Dave Horning Sr.
FOUR CYLINDER CRUISER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – COLE LAWTON, Ken Hollenbeck, Wayne Russell, Riley Pedrick, John Napoli, Zach McSpirit, TJ Marlitt, Josh Samrov DQ
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE ANTIQUE FEATURE FINISH – FRANK BLANCHARD, Ed Docskalik, Tex Gorden, Mark Reardon, Alan McDonald
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE REPLICA FEATURE FINISH – ROB SANFORD, BRYON SEYFRIED, John Flach, Dan Wood, Jay Lais, Stanley Wetmore, Mike Francisco, John Constantino, Dan Karl, MALCUM WARNER, Marv Blackwell, Bill Liese, George Palmer, Carl Cram, Scott Gathier, Tex Gorden (DNS)