By: Ron Szczerba
FONDA, NY – The Hanson Paving Modified has been competing at the “Track of Champions” for a long time and is part of the track’s history. Ken Hanson competed at the track in car #20 and has one career victory to his credit coming back on 7/5/1986. Craig Hanson competes at Fonda in car #20C and on Saturday evening he added to the history of the Hanson family at Fonda with his eighth career win. What made it even more special is that it came on his father Ken’s birthday!
Ken was present at Fonda for the win and was also a part of a special photo with the family on FX Caprara Victory Lane. “I really wanted to win one for dad on his birthday,” Hanson said in victory lane. “After the wreck last week, I was ready to quit but all my guys helped me put the car back together and here we are, so I have to thank them for that.”
Known as the “Grader Operator” for his work on the track on race nights and during the week, Hanson was not happy with the track conditions when Chris Moore asked him about getting right back on the track to work on it as he does on a weekly basis. “Not happy with the track tonight,” Hanson said. “It was too rough.”
Other winners on Supply Wagon Rentals Night at Fonda were Cody Clark (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Zach Dufel (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Nick Stone (Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks), Kerrie Hollenback (DOHC) and Ken Hollenback (SOHC) in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.
The Empire Super Sprints (ESS) also made their first appearance at Fonda since 2018 with Danny Varin taking home his third consecutive win of the season in the series after winning at the Utica Rome Speedway the night before and the Fulton Speedway prior to that.
Fonda Speedway announcer Chris Moore said the prayer before Mimi Lazzaro sang the Canadian National Anthem and Stephanie May the National Anthem to start the evening’s festivities.
Congratulations to John from Little Falls who won the 50/50 worth $2,820! Great job as always by Julie, Rose, and Heather selling all of those tickets!
Craig Hanson took the lead from the outside pole at the drop of the green flag to start the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature event. The red flag was out on lap two after Jim Introne had his front-end collapse while running down the backstretch forcing him to come to a stop at one of the fastest points on the track. Tucker O’Connor was not able to see the stopped race car and hit Introne along with Brian Pessolano and Rocky Warner who also got caught up in it. All drivers were okay but done for the evening at that point.
On the restart, Bobby Varin moved into the second position after starting seventh followed by Pep Corradi and Ronnie Johnson who was now fourth after starting ninth. Hanson pulled away to a straightaway advantage on lap seven while Corradi and Johnson were side by side for third with Johnson getting the position on lap ten. Hanson was in lap traffic two laps later with eighth place starter Demetrious Drellos using the outside groove to get to the fourth position on lap 11.
A yellow flag for Steve Akers on lap 14 slowed the field and took away the over four second lead that Hanson had built up. Drellos moved to the third position on the restart after getting by Varin with 13th place starter Jessica Friesen getting by Corradi into the top five at that point as well. Winner of the last two races at Fonda Matt DeLorenzo was also on the move after starting 12th, getting by Friesen and Varin for the fourth position with ten laps to go. That is when things started to get interesting.
Johnson was right on Hanson’s rear bumper on lap 23 and with five laps to go took the lead away from Hanson with a move on the inside of turns three and four. Shortly afterwards the caution was out for Jack Lehner who suffered a flat tire and with the lap not completed it went back to the last completed lap handing Hanson back the lead. Hanson chose the inside on the restart and maintained the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag.
Drellos took the second position away from Johnson on the restart with DeLorenzo also moving up to the third position. DeLorenzo was the new second place car with four laps to go and pressured Hanson over the remaining laps, but Hanson was able to maintain the lead and went on to his eighth career win at Fonda in the Hanson Paving #20C Bicknell car and his first win since 7/30/2016!
“We’ve got something going on with the carburetor and the motor was skipping,” Hanson said in victory lane. “When Ronnie got by me, I thought I gave it away.”
Michael Ballestero and Harry Shaffer started the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel 602 Crate Sportsman feature on the front row with Ballestero taking the early lead. At the completion of lap one the yellow flag was out for Tanner Warner who stopped on track to bring out the caution then drove to the hot pit to change a broken right rear shock. Cody Clark moved into the top five on the restart after starting 10th and two laps later got by Brett Mortensen for the fourth position.
By lap ten Clark was the new second place car after getting by McCallion for the spot and two laps later Clark went to the outside of Ballestero in turn two to take the lead away. At the halfway point the top five consisted of Clark, Ballestero, McCallion, Kurtis Hohensheldt, and 15th place starter Brian Calabrese. Chad Edwards started the event in the 12th position and moved up one position at a time into the second spot with three laps to go.
Lap traffic came into play in the closing laps of the event, but Clark was able to take the win in the Upstate Motorsports #4 DKM car followed by Edwards, 11th place starter Payton Talbot, Ballestero, and McCallion.
“This year has been a roller coaster ride for us,” Clark said in victory lane. “We have been consistent this year but not able to get to victory lane until tonight, so we hope to be able to keep things going for the rest of the year.”
Bob Rowback led at the drop of the green flag in the 15-lap Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. feature event with Ryan Sweet in tow. The red flag was out with no laps competed for Lance Hill who hit the implement tire protecting one of the poles on the backstretch. Hill was able to continue on in the feature event, but the red was thrown for debris scattered around the racetrack.
Rowback continued to lead on the restart with seventh place starter Zach Dufel in the second position on lap four after getting by Sweet for the spot. On the outside of turn four on lap seven, Dufel took the lead away from Rowback and led the remaining laps for his first career win in the division in the Miracle Ear sponsored #1H. Last weeks winner Josh Kane finished second after starting ninth and was followed by Tom D’Angelo, Rowback, and Sweet.
Scott Towslee led at the drop of the green in the 20-lap Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature but when lap one was completed it was Slater Baker in the race lead with fourth place starter Jason Morrison now second. Morrison was the new race leader on a lap three restart with Nick Stone up to the fourth position after starting eighth.
Stone was the new race leader on lap six after getting by Morrison for the spot with Kenny Gates, Luke Horning, and Shane Playford running three wide for the third position on lap eight. At the halfway point the top five consisted of Stone, Playford, Gates, Morrison, and eighth place starter Beau Ballard.
After two consecutive cautions on lap 10, a single file restart saw Horning get by Playford for the second position with Horning immediately pressuring Stone for the lead. With five laps to go, Horning made a slide job pass in turn four to take the lead only to have Stone make a cross over move to maintain the lead at the completion of the lap.
Horning made the same move again in turn two on the next lap with Stone able to cross over and maintain the lead again and from that point on Stone pulled away to his fourth consecutive win and the 63rd of his career in the division at Fonda over Horning, Ballard, Playford, and Josh Coonradt.
“Slide jobs are a lot of fun,” Stene said in victory lane. “He (Horning) is not the guy that you want to see in front of you when you’ve got two thin lines on the track to work with. Once I got the lead back it took me a few laps to get away from him. If he gets a little better well, we don’t really want to see that.”
Dale VanAllen led the first four laps of the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature event before John Napoli took over the top spot-on lap five. Napoli led two laps before 11th place starter Kerrie Hollenback took over the lead and went on to the overall win for his 24th career victory in the division. Ken Hollenback was declared the SOHC winner after finishing the event in the second position for the 72nd win of his career in the division.
Napoli finished in the third position but was disqualified for a ball joint infraction moving Zach McSpirit, Christopher Jennings Sr., and Len St. Andrews into the top five at the checkered flag.
The Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Series made an appearance at Fonda for the first time since 2018 with a four wide salute to the fans before the green flag was thrown. At the start of the event, it was Steve Glover who grabbed the lead after three tries were needed to get the first lap completed.
Jason Barney was next to lead with Chuck Hebing second on lap six while Danny Varin moved up to the seventh position after having to pit to repair the top wing on his car during one of the early caution periods. Paulie Colagiovanni moved into the second position on lap 13 and two laps later was the new race leader with Varin now all the way up to the second position.
Varin took the lead on lap 18 with a pass on the inside at the line to complete the lap and led the remaining laps for his third consecutive win in the ESS Series this year and the fourth of his career in the series at Fonda in the St. Lawrence Radiology/Supply Wagon Rentals #01 car. Jordan Poirier, Colagiovanni, Josh Pieniazek, and Barney competed the top five in the event.
“When we put this car together, we didn’t have too many sponsors but then people came on board to help us,” Varin said. “We struggled for a couple of years but tonight the car was on rails, I just needed some clean air.”
Next Saturday, May 21 the Fonda Speedway will be back in action with all regular divisions in action along with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS). Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. next Saturday with Hot Laps at 6:00 p.m. and Racing at 7:00 p.m.
If you are a race fan that gets to the track early, be sure to check out the Fonda Speedway Museum & Hall of Fame which is located on the Fonda Fairgrounds at the rear of the parking area going down towards turn four. The museum is open from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on race days and admission is free!
Since 1953, the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. 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/thefondaspeedwy or follow the speedway on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy.
DATE – 5/14/2022 SUPPLY WAGON RENTALS NIGHT
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – CRAIG HANSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Demetrious Drellos, Ronnie Johnson, Bobby Varin, Pep Corradi, Jessica Friesen, Dave Constantino, Chris Curtis, JaMike Sowle, Jack Lehner, Rich Christman, Steve Akers, Nick Heywood, Brian Calabrese, Darwin Greene, Ray Zemken, David Schilling, Dylan Scribner, Brian Pessolano, Adam McAuliffe, Jim Introne Jr., Tucker O’Connor, Rocky Warner, Danny Varin (DNS), Ryan Odasz (DNS), Ronnie Holmes (DNS)
8th career win in the division for Hanson and the first since 7/30/2016
LAP LEADERS – 1-30 Hanson
HEAT RACE WINNERS – O’Connor, Calabrese, Hanson
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – CODY CLARK, Chad Edwards, Payton Talbot, Michael Ballestero, Michael McCallion, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Brian Calabrese, Chip Constantino, Brett Mortensen, Brendan Gibbons, Tony Farone, Harry Shaffer, Troy Palmer, Clayton DuMond, Mark Mortensen, Troy Zilles, Greg Havlichek, Carter Gibbons, Tanner Warner, Jason Reome, Jeremy Tyrrell, Dan Santabarbara, Tim Dwyer, Cory White, Griffen Mansmith
14th career win in the division for Clark
LAP LEADERS – 1-11 Ballester, 12-25 Clark
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballestero, Brett Mortensen, McCallion
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Edwards from 12th to 2nd
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-laps – NICK STONE, Luke Horning, Beau Ballard, Shane Playford, Josh Coonradt, Jason Morrison, Devon Camenga, Kenny Gates, Randy Cosselman, Steve Cosselman, Caden Dumblewski, Slater Baker, Chuck Dumblewski, Gary Silkey, John Holmes, Scott Towslee, Ivan Joslin, Don Collins
4th win in a row and the 63rd of his career in the division for Stone
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Baker, 3-5 Morrison, 6-20 Stone
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Towslee
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – ZACH DUFEL, Josh Kane, Tom D’Angelo, Bob Rowback, Ryan Sweet, Mark Lighthall, Kyle Dingman, Michael Kalkbrenner, Walter Cook, Wesley Sutliff, Craig Wholley, Lance Hill, Timmy Wilmot, Nate Bedell, Harol Robitaille (DNS), Connor Prokop (DNS)
1st career win in the division for Dufel
LAP LEADERS – 1-6 Rowback, 7-15 Dufel
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Wholley, Sweet
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-laps – KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), Zach McSpirit, Christopher Jennings Sr., Len St. Andrews, Heath Bush, Dale VanAllen, Chad Hoffman, David Peek-Britten, Gina Voris, TJ Marlitt, Shawn Hemstreet, John Napoli (DQ)
3rd win of 2022 and the 24th of his career in the division for Kerrie Hollenback
4th win of 2022 and the 72nd of his career in the division for Ken Hollenback
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 VanAllen, 5-6 Napoli, 7-12 Kerrie Hollenback
LUCAS OIL EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT FEATURE – 25-laps – DANNY VARIN, Jordan Poirier, Paulie Colagiovanni, Josh Pieniazek, Jason Barney, Chuck Hebing, Jeff Trombley, Steve Glover, Joe Trenca, Mike Kiser, Davie Franek, Cory Sparks, Jordan Thomas, Jeff Cook, Joe Kata, Dylan Swiernik, Matt Tanner, Tyler Cartier, Chad Miller, Mikey Kruchka, Lacey Hanson, Keith Granholm, Brett Wright, Kelly Hebing
3rd ESS win (in a row) of the 2022 season for Varin and the fourth of his career in the ESS series at Fonda
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Glover, 3-14 Barney, 15-17 Colagiovanni, 18-25 Varin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Kata, Wright, Poirier
DASH WINNER – Franek