Decker, Friesen, McLaughlin and Hackel Win Fonda 200 Qualifiers

By MIKE MALLETT

FONDA, NY – Four drivers started their Fonda 200 Weekend off the right foot by grabbing qualifying wins on Friday night.  Billy Decker, Stewart Friesen, Max McLaughlin and Bobby Hackel each found victory lane in Elite Series 15-lap qualifiers at Fonda Speedway.

Decker, of Unadilla, N.Y., grabbed the lead early in the first event and drove away for the victory after getting by Thursday night winner Jack Lehner.   He was good, but felt like he needs to be better on Saturday to be in the hunt for a win.

“We were all right there,” said Decker.  “We need to make a couple changes I think for when the track completely blows off.  Hopefully make the changes to go in the right direction, but you know I’m just happy to get a win.”

Decker paced early on the bottom before electing to utilize the outside lane in turns one and two.  That made the difference as that’s where he was able to make the move for the lead after a restart.




“It was a little bit slimy when we were packing there, so I was a little reluctant to go up there,” said Decker.  “That caution came out and I went up there and I felt pretty good.  It was still a little slimy up there in three and four so I didn’t use that.  If you can steer left, you get a little brave so you go up there and make it happen.”

Friesen Dominates Qualifier #2

Stewart Friesen had a lot on his mind after winning the second qualifying event over his wife Jessica.  Unfortunately, Jessica has some engine issues that have the team scrambling a bit.

“Our race was pretty good,” said Friesen.  “The 1z (Jessica) has more motor problems so that’s kind of a bummer for the whole deal, but proud of the Halmar team.  We just got to work on the motor department. It’s a bummer.”

The win puts Friesen, a former Fonda 200 winner, into the redraw tomorrow for a top 12 starting spot for the start of the 200-lap affair.

“I’ll have a good look at the front and be able to pace a little bit tomorrow,” said Friesen.  “We’ll see what the track does tomorrow. It’s in really good shape right now. We’ll just try to set ourselves up as best we can for the second part of the race.”

McLaughlin Runs Away with Qualifier #3

For a Fonda outsider, McLaughlin looked stout in the third 15-lap qualifying event running away from Anthony Perrego and Matt Sheppard. 

“We have a good car right now,” said McLaughlin.  “This Mullins powerplant is really, really good and that always helps.  Our Deyo car has been really fast everywhere.   We lost brakes on lap 15 at Utica.  I felt like we had a shot to win there too. You know, we are going to try to make it a little bit better and hopefully give these guys a run for their money tomorrow.”

McLaughlin admits Fonda isn’t one of his better tracks.  He has limited experience at the Mohawk Valley oval.

“I’ve never really been that good here,” he said.  “It’s not one I circle on the calendar at the beginning of the year, but with the speed we’ve shown here lately and how good this car is, it’s going to be a really fun 200 laps.”

Hackel Hustles to Win

Bobby Hackel made the Fonda Speedway home midway through the 2022 season.  He’s improved each time out and on Friday night he held his own to win the final qualifier to lock into the redraw for Saturday’s 200.

“It feels amazing,” said Hackel.  “Last year at this point I was starting on the front row of a consi so we’re way ahead of the game compared to that. I got really good equipment under me right now and everything I need to get the job done. I just got to capitalize on that and keep working with the people that are helping me move forward. Pete Chuckta from PMC, Jason Barney at 87 Speed and then Killer Crate.”

Thursday night he led much of the Ultimate Underdog 33 lap feature before Jack Lehner got the lead away from him late.  He kept everyone else at bay to earn a solid second place finish.  That run and finish was a nice way to kick-off the weekend.

 “I’ve been here the last quarter of the year because I’m going to try to make this my home next year,” said Hackel. “That built us up.  I haven’t had bad nights, but you’re going to have that just jumping into a new track.  Last night (Thursday) was more about track time on the weekend. I’m racing to have a good run and capitalize on things.”

DATE – 9/16/2022 DAY 2 OF THE 2022 FONDA 200 WEEKEND PRESENTED BY SOUTHSIDE BEVERAGE

STSS SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING RACE #1 FOR THE FONDA 200 – 15-LAPS – $500 BONUS THANKS TO PARKS COMPANIES LLC – 7 QUALIFY – 3 REDRAW – BILLY DECKER, Ryan Godown, Jack Lehner, Payton Talbot, JaMike Sowle, Marc Johnson, Matt DeLorenzo, Scott Huber, Ryan Darcy, Josh Reome, Aaron Jacobs, Rocky Warner, Jeremy Slosek (DNS), Nick Stone (DNS)

$100 BONUS FOR THE HIGHEST FINISHING FONDA SPEEDWAY REGULAR FROM THE GANG IN SECTION 8 – PAYTON TALBOT

STSS SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING RACE #2 FOR THE FONDA 200 – 15-LAPS – $500 BONUS THANKS TO FASTLINE PERFORMANCE – 7 QUALIFY – 3 REDRAW – STEWART FRIESEN, Jessica Friesen, Andy Bachetti, Alan Johnson, Brian Gleason, Danny Creeden, Nick Heywood, Jimmy Horton, Tucker O’Connor, Brian Pessolano, Danny Johnson, Bobby Varin, Craig Hanson

$100 BONUS FOR THE HIGHEST FINISHING FONDA SPEEDWAY REGULAR FROM THE GANG IN SECTION 8 – BRIAN GLEASON

STSS SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING RACE #3 FOR THE FONDA 200 – 15-LAPS – $500 BONUS THANKS TO UPSTATE AUTOMOTIVE – 7 QUALIFY – 3 REDRAW – MAX MCLAUGHLIN, Anthony Perrego, Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, Ronnie Johnson, Danny Varin, Tim Fuller, Tyler Dippel, David Schilling, Allison Ricci, Brett Haas, JR Hurlburt, Matt Sobiech

$100 BONUS FOR THE HIGHEST FINISHING FONDA SPEEDWAY REGULAR FROM THE GANG IN SECTION 8 – RONNIE JOHNSON

STSS SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING RACE #4 FOR THE FONDA 200 – 15-LAPS – $500 BONUS THANKS TO DAVE PRIME JR. MAC TOOLS – 7 QUALIFY – 3 REDRAW – BOBBY HACKEL IV, Mike Mahaney, Demetrious Drellos, Dave Constantino, Alex Yankowski, Chris Curtis, Jeff Trombley, Darwin Greene, Tanner Warner, Ancel Collins, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Daniel Morgiewicz, Neil Stratton

$100 BONUS FOR THE HIGHEST FINISHING FONDA SPEEDWAY REGULAR FROM THE GANG IN SECTION 8 – DEMETRIOUS DRELLOS

ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 25-LAPS – KENNY GATES, Beau Ballard, Josh Coonradt, Ivan Joslin, Slater baker, Frank Twing, Jim Normoyle, Gary Silkey, Zach Sorrentino, Kyle Weller, Jeff McPhail, Steve LaRochelle, Caden Dumblewski, Mike Baker, Dillon Vanston, John Holmes, AJ Walters, Don Collins, Randy Cosselman, Chuck Dumblewski

1st win of the 2022 season and the 86th of his career in the division at Fonda for Gates

LAP LEADERS – 1-4 Ballard, 5-6 Baker, 7-25 Gates

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Coonradt

FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 15-LAPS – BRANDON ELY (DOHC), KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), Kerrie Hollenback, Billy Hillman, Jay Ingersol, Bruce Liddle, Steve Burbank, Kyle Lanfear, Dale Van Allen, Jamie Warner, Jordan Ryder, Chad Hoffman, Todd Morey, Dustin Cameron, Chris Jennings Sr., Chris Hall, John Ray, Keith Tesiero Jr., Blaze Post, Kyle Coley (DNS)

$50 BONUS FROM UPSTATE AUTO FOR BOTH THE SOHC (KEN HOLLENBACK) & DOHC (BRANDON ELY) WINNERS

17th win of the 2022 season and the 85th of his career in the division at Fonda for Ken Hollenback

1st career win in the division at Fonda for Ely

LAP LEADERS – 1 Burbank, 2-3 Ken Hollenback, 4 Ely, 5 Ken Hollenback, 6-15 Ely

STREET STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – ADAM TRANKA ($500 BONUS FROM STONE MOTORSPORTS/ONLINE PERFORMANCE), Jason Samrov ($300 BONUS FROM STONE MOTORSPORTS/ONLINE PERFORMANCE), Matt Mosher ($200 BONUS FROM STONE MOTORSPORTS/ONLINE PERFORMANCE), Ray Pierre Jr., Cliff Haslun, Jason Barrett, Lou Gancarz, Even Denue, Josh Samrov, Greg Brockway, Isaac Hirsch, Bob Gibson, Matt Wells, Dave Horning Sr., Chris Murray (DQ Illegal Exhaust)

1st career win in the division at Fonda for Tranka

LAP LEADERS – 1-20 Murray (DQ Illegal Exhaust)

CRSA SPRINT CAR FEATURE – 20-LAPS – MIKE KISER, Jeff Trombley, Jordan Hutton, Thomas Radivoy, Dalton Herrick, Tomy Moreau, Kyle Pierce, Billy Vaninwegen, Dana Wagner, Trevor Years, Timmy Lotz, Mike VanPelt, Mark Taylor, Darryl Ruggles, James Layton, Link Pettit, John Cunningham (DNS), Aaron Shelton (DNS), Ron Greek (DNS)

1st win of 2022 and the 5th of his career in the division at Fonda for Kiser moving him to the top of the All-Time Win List at Fonda for the CRSA Sprint Cars

LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Moreau, 3-6 Hutton, 7-14 Trombley, 15-20 Kiser

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Moreau, Vaninwegen

ARNOLD AINSWORTH DASH FOR CASH FOR THE TOP SIX IN STSS HALMAR ELITE SERIES POINTS – 6-LAPS – RYAN GODOWN ($450), Matt Sheppard ($250), Stewart Friesen ($100), Max McLaughlin, Jimmy Horton, Mat Williamson