FONDA, NY – Fonda Speedway celebrated “Opening Night” for the 72nd year of competition at the historic Montgomery County Fairgrounds track on Saturday evening with a special Jack Johnson Memorial event. When the checkered flag dropped it was Tim Fuller in victory lane at the completion of the 40-lap “Montgomery County Open”. It was the first event of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series that the Fonda Speedway is now sanctioned by and the first Modified event to be sponsored by the Amsterdam Truck Center.
“He kind of took me under his wing,” Tim Fuller said in victory lane after winning $12,000 in the Jack Johnson Memorial event on Saturday evening at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway. “He taught me a few things, I’ll never forget him, some things that can’t even be announced. He was a class act, there will never be another Jumin’ Jack Johnson and to be able to win on this night and see that orange car again in victory lane, it’s very special.”
Other winners on Saturday evening were Payton Talbot (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Ivan Joslin (Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks), Connor Prokop (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Kerrie Hollenback (DOHC) and Wayne Russell (SOHC) in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.
During Opening Ceremonies, Mimi Lazzaro honored Terri Mohrman for her 40 years of service as EMT at the Fonda Speedway.
“You may not know who they are, you may have seen them around, but tonight I want to introduce you to Terri Mohrman who has spent the last 40 years here at the Fonda Speedway as the head of the EMT’s now known as the “Teal Suits”, Lazzaro said. “Terri is a guardian angel here at the Fonda Speedway and the only one that my father Lou Lazzaro would let touch him and get medical attention from. You have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly here at the Fonda Speedway and I have such love and kind words for what you have done here for the love of the sport.”
“I am glad that I am still able to do it,” Mohrman said.
After the American and Canadian National Anthem’s were performed by Mimi Lazzaro and Joe Kriss respectively it was time for some green flag racing with the racing program being pushed along quickly due to weather coming in later in the evening.
At the start of the 40-lap Jack Johnson Memorial event, David Schilling was the early race leader at the completion of lap one from his third place starting position after a redraw for starting positions. Outside pole position starter Tim Fuller took the lead away from Schilling on the outside of turn four on lap two with Fuller in lap traffic on lap eight. When Rocky Warner backed into the wall in turn three on lap nine it brought out the caution and closed up the field.
Fuller chose the inside lane for the restart and maintained the lead with Johnson taking the second position away from Schilling and 14th place starter Matt Sheppard now in the top five. On lap 13, 18th place starter Stewart Friesen stopped in turn two to bring out the caution as he suffered a flat left front tire while running in the top ten. Friesen went to the hot pit for a new tire and some adjustments and rejoined the field for the restart in the 24th position.
Sheppard took the second position away from Johnson on the restart and at the halfway point in the event Fuller was the leader with Sheppard, Johnson, Josh Hohenforst, and seventh place starter Brian Gleason in the top five. Fuller was in lap traffic on lap 23 with a half straightaway lead at that point in the event. The yellow was out again on lap 27 with Fuller again choosing the inside for the restart.
“When I saw Sheppard on the inside of me for the restart, I thought I was screwed,” Fuller said. “You’ve got the baddest guy on the planet for a modified lining up beside you. I was debating whether to restart on the outside, but the inside was the best here because there was a little bit of crumbs out there on the outside. There was always enough there on the bottom to get enough traction, the shortest way around, but it was uncomfortable when I saw him line up beside me.”
On the restart Fuller again maintained the lead with Sheppard in tow followed by Johnson, 11th place starter Andy Bachetti, and 19th place starter Mike Mahaney now in the top five. Fuller pulled away on the restart as Bachetti and Mahaney raced side by side over the final three laps. Sheppard was closing in quickly in the final two laps, but Fuller was able to hang on for the victory, the fourth of his career at Fonda and his first at the track since 9/22/2018 with the top five at the checkered flag consisting of Sheppard, Johnson, Bachetti, and Mahaney.
“Thanks to St. Lawrence Radiology, Mike and Barb Maresca for giving me a good piece under me, Fuller said in FX Caprara Victory Lane. “To win this thing is special. We had some times, he was a bad ass no doubt about it, he was a legend and those legends only come around once in a lifetime. I did this back in back in 2017 on Hoosier tires when I won the track championship. I love it here, I really do, and I’ll definitely be back.”
Defending Track Champion Payton Talbot started the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature on the outside pole and took the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. Tanner Warner started the event in the fourth position and dropped back a few positions early on but as the event went on, he got those positions back, going from fourth to second on lap nine after getting by Clayton DuMond and Stephen Gray for the position with Talbot now out to a straightaway advantage.
At the halfway point the top five consisted of Talbot, Warner, DuMond, Gray, and 12 place starter Chip Constantino. With just under ten laps to go the rain started to fall, forcing the cars to the pit area for a short time. The quick rain shower stopped soon after wards and the cars were brought back to the track in order to run it in. When the race was restarted Talbot pulled away again to a comfortable lead with the focus now on the rest of the top five with some great racing going on.
When the checkered flag fell it was Talbot going on for the win in the Ted’s Body Shop #14T, the fifth win of his career in the division, followed by Warner and Constantino, with Brett Mortensen and Chad Edwards making moves during the final lap to finish fourth and fifth respectively, Edwards coming all the way from the 19th position.
“The car was awesome, the best car I’ve had here in a long time,” Talbot told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “I didn’t know what it was gonna be like to come back after the rain delay, didn’t know if there was gonna be more moisture in the track and whether or not to go back to the bottom or take the top but the car was definitely hooked up.”
New division sponsor Below Zero Ice Cream was welcomed into the Fonda Speedway with their first feature event as Ivan Joslin took the lead at the drop of the green flag after starting on the pole after a redraw for starting positions. By lap three, Josh Coonradt, Beau Ballard, and Luke Horning were next in line behind Joslin with Kenny Gates joining the top five by the halfway point. Gates moved into the fourth position on lap 13 after getting by Horning while Coonradt was trying everything he could to get by Joslin for the lead.
Joslin never gave up on the outside groove and drove 20 perfect laps to propel him to the win in the One Zee Tees #49 as Coonradt just couldn’t get enough grip to go low and get by Joslin. At the checkered flag the top five consisted of Joslin who won for the 13th time in his career in the division, Coonradt, Gates, Ballard and Horning.
“I saw that the outside was the place to be because there was brown up there,” Joslin said in victory lane “I knew that I had to get up there and make them pass me on the bottom. I could hear Josh (Coonradt) the whole time, I knew that if he passed me, he was gonna have to slide it, but he wasn’t close enough to do it. I was a little tight in my heat race but made a little adjustment and it all worked out.”
With a $400 bonus from Holmes & Kugler Towing on the line it made the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature a $500 to win event with pole position starter Lance Hill the early race leader. Connor Prokop started the event in the 18th starting position and moved up to the second position just after the halfway point. Just as Prokop was about to take the lead away from Hill with only one lap remaining the yellow came out forcing the second restart of the event.
On the restart, Prokop swung around the outside of Hill in turns one and two to take the lead on the final lap for his fourth career win in the division in the Ted’s Body Shop #12P. Kyle Dingman, Timmy Wilmot, and Bobby Rhinehardt completed the top five.
“When the caution came out, I got real mad because I thought that I had it then,” Prokop said in victory lane “On the restart I just kept doing the same thing and it worked out.”
The 12-lap Fonda Fair Four Cylinder event was an entertaining one with Brandon Ely starting on the pole, leading the first 11 laps, and surviving contact from Ken Hollenback on lap eight which broke something in the left rear of Ely’s car with Ken Hollenback forced out of the event after the contact with Ely.
Ely hung on with a left rear tire that was nearly falling off until the final lap when Kerrie Hollenback made contact with him going into turns three and four forcing him sideways enough that Kerrie was able to go in between Ely and John Napoli for the overall win in his DOHC racecar. Wayne Russell Jr. finished the event in the sixth position but was declared the SOHC winner.
For Kerrie Hollenback it was the 35th career win in the division while for Russel Jr. it was the fourth of his career in the division at Fonda.
A new event for 2023 was a B-Main for non-qualifiers in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman if there are over 30 cars in attendance. The event will be sponsored by Captain Carl’s Luxury Cruises and Done Better Pools and was won by Matt Perry.
Next Saturday April 29 the Fonda Speedway returns to action with a regular show in all divisions along with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series. Gates will open on the 29th at 3:30 with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 6:30.
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 or follow the speedway on Twitter and Instagram: @thefondaspdwy.
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MONTGOMERY COUNTY OPEN JACK JOHNSON MEMORIAL MODIFIED FEATURE $12,000 TO WIN – 40-LAPS – TIM FULLER, Matt Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Mike Mahaney, David Schilling, Alex Yankowski, Josh Hohenforst, Stewart Friesen, Brian Gleason, Matt DeLorenzo, Chris Curtis, Bobby Varin, Michael Maresa, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, JaMike Sowle, Cody Clark, Brian Calabrese, Tucker O’Connor, Dylan Scribner, Dave Camara, Brian Pessolano, Rocky Warner, Marc Johnson, Dave Constantino
4th career win in the division for Fuller at Fonda, his last win coming on 9/22/2018.
LAP LEADERS – 1 Schilling, 2-40 Fuller
HEAT RACE WINNERS – O’Connor, Danny Varin, Hohenforst, Drellos
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Maresca
DID NOT QUALIFY – Kurtis Hohensheldt, Shawn McPhee, Dale Gray, Jason Reome, Craig Hanson, Ron Holmes, Bobby Hackel IV, Josh Masterson, Ryan Walther
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – PAYTON TALBOT, Tanner Warner, Chip Constantino, Brett Mortensen, Chad Edwards, Clayton DuMond, Michael McCallion, Stephen Gray, Donovan Lussier, Brendan Gibbons, Cedric Gauvreau, Dan Santabarbara, Derrick McGrew Jr., Aaron Burton, Butchie Irwin, Joe Toth, Jeremy Tyrrell, Jason Greco, Josh Kane, Harry Shaffer, Blaine Klinger, Jim Nagle, Kadon Hohensheldt, Don Bellen, Troy Zilles
5th career win in the division for Talbot at Fonda.
LAP LEADERS – 1-25 Talbot
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Constantino, Kane, Irwin
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Edwards
DID NOT QUALIFY – Matt Perry, Bubba McPhee, Jean-Francois Tessier, Bob Rowback, Zach Dufel, Clyde Peek, Mark Mortensen
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Edwards 19th to 5th
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – IVAN JOSLIN, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Beau Ballard, Luke Horning, Andy Graves, Caden Dumblewski, Shane Playford, Jim Normoyle, Chad Jeseo, AJ Walters, Jason Morrison, Kyle Weller, Gary Silkey, Slater Baker, Steve LaRochelle, Michael Achzet
13th career win in the division for Joslin at Fonda
LAP LEADERS – 1-20 Joslin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Gates, Graves
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – $500 TO WIN THANKS TO A $400 BONUS FROM HOLMES & KUGLER TOWING – 15-LAPS – CONNOR PROKOP, Lance Hill, Kyle Dingman, Timmy Wilmot, Bobby Rhinehardt, Phil Arnold, Johnny DuMond, Michael Kalkbrenner, Tim Deffer, Steve Wagoner, Ryan Sweet, Chris Kugler, Gus Kamburelis, John Anderson, Lucas Duncan, Jonathan Feagles, Dylan Huston, Maddy Broedel, AJ Greco, Jeff Boblin, Bella Pickard, Cian DiMezza, Kirsten Swartz
4th career win in the division at Fonda for Prokop
LAP LEADERS – 1-14 Hill, 15 Prokop
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Hill, Rhinehardt, Wilmot
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – $100 BONUS TO BOTH THE SOHC & DOHC WINNERS THANKS TO UPSTATE AUTO – 12-LAPS – KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), John Napoli, Brandon Ely, David Frame, Corey Valade, Wayne Russell Jr. (SOHC), John Ray, Jamie warner, Ken Hollenback, Dan Valade, Blaze Post, TJ Marlitt, Todd Morey
35th career win in the division at Fonda for Kerrie Hollenback
4th career win in the division at Fonda for Marlitt.
LAP LEADERS – 1-11 Ely, 12 Kerrie Hollenback
CAPTAIN CARL’S LUXURY CRUISES/DONE BETTER POOLS NON-QUALIFIERS RACE FOR SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN CARS – 15-LAPS – RAIN SHORTENED TO 2 LAPS – MATT PERRY