By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – What could be better than your first career win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series? A win at your home track on a Saturday night in the division that you have had so much success in during your career, the big block modifieds. That is the dream that Stewart Friesen realized this week as on Thursday evening he was in victory lane after the Dirt Derby at the Eldora Speedway and on Saturday evening he was back home at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway in the Fuccillo Automotive Mike Cole Victory Lane.
It was “Dollar Dog” Night at Fonda on Saturday, which was presented by long time Fonda Speedway supporters Carole and Alton Palmer and their local heavy duty truck repair business Palmer’s Service Center. Alton was the “Grand Marshall” for the evening as he and his driver Bobby Varin paced the feature field during pace laps in their Palmer’s Service sponsored racecars driven by Bobby Varin and Ricky Quick whose car Alton was in for the pace laps.
Alton Palmer’s success at Fonda speaks for itself as he is the All Time Sportsman win leader with 56 along with track championships in the division in 1987, 1996, 1997, 1998, & 1999. He also has five wins in the modified division at Fonda, the first one coming on 8/8/2001 and his last on 5/21/2011.
Other winners on Palmer’s Service Night were Tim Hartman Jr. (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman $1,000 to win thanks to Eric Orozco Racing), Rich Christman (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Nick Stone (Algonkin Motel Pro Stock Best of 8 Series $800 to win presented by American Racer Tire), Jason Samrov (Trackside Body Works Street Stock), and Ken Hollenbeck (Four Cylinder Cruisers).
During pre-race ceremonies, Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo presented a photo collage’ to Stewart Friesen for his win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Thursday evening.
“He’s been a friend of mine for a long time, it wasn’t always easy or a lot of fun”, Deyo said to the crowd about his friend Stewart. “You’ve been through a lot during your career and it was tough at times with different cars, car owners, and tracks.”
“I love to travel the northeast racing dirt modifieds,” Friesen said after a big ovation from the crowd. “I am still friends with my car owners through the years and I owe this all to them. After not getting the job done at Pocono in the truck series race, we came back home to Fonda last week and I want to thank you all for your support. Now you can’t come over to me anymore and ask when I’m going to win a truck series race,” Friesen said jokingly.
Last week there was a malfunction with the water truck just before feature time which allowed too much water to escape on to the track. The Algonkin Pro Stock drivers attempted to pack in the track before their feature, using a lot of expensive racing fuel in the process. For their efforts, Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo awarded each of them with an American Racer tire on Saturday night.
During intermission, Deyo along with Jessica Friesen and her and Stewart’s son Parker, presented the Crossroads Center for Children a check for $15,700 from the fundraiser held at the track a couple of weeks ago which included a chicken barbeque and a Chinese auction where many items were auctioned off after being donated by many racing teams and other businesses.
The Waters Family from Dolgeville, NY were the winners of the 50/50 worth $2180! As a side note the Fonda Speedway 50/50 girls have raised approximately $60,000 in sales so far this season! Great job Julie Compani, Heather Marr, and Dylanne Kae!
Joe Kriss performed the National Anthem to start the evening but at feature time it was Sonoco Modified rookie Brian Pessolano and Korey Wilder making up the front row at the start of the 30-lap main event. An early yellow slowed the field with no laps completed with an original restart to follow. The yellow flag was out again at the completion of lap one for Wilder who spun on the backstretch. Under caution, defending track champion Bobby Varin went to the hot pit and restarted at the rear of the field.
Pessolano was the leader on the restart with third place starter Brian Gleason in the second position with another caution out shortly afterwards for a three car wreck in turn three involving Michael Maresca and Scott Huber. A single file restart ensued with Pessolano and Gleason in the top two spots followed by 10th place starter Danny Varin who was now third.
There was another single file restart after two more cautions on lap five before the race finally settled down with Pessolano continuing to lead the event. After a one lap side by side battle, Danny Varin took the second position away from Gleason and at the halfway point in the event it was Pessolano, Danny Varin, Gleason, David Schilling, and Dave Constantino making up the top five.
On a restart after a caution on lap 15, Pessolano chose the outside for the restart which turned out to be the wrong decision as Danny Varin took the lead at that point with Gleason also getting by Pessolano for the second position. Farther back in the top five, Stewart Friesen started to show his speed on the inside of the speedway after starting 11th, taking the third spot away from Pessolano on lap 18.
Gleason and Friesen started to close in on Pessolano with four laps to go with Friesen getting by Gleason for the second position on lap 27. One lap later, Friesen was the race leader after getting by Danny Varin for the lead on the inside of turns three and four with only two laps to go. Friesen would go on to the win, his fourth of the 2019 season and the 58th of his career in the division at the “Track of Champions.”
Danny Varin, seventh place starter Dave Constantino, Gleason, and 12th place starter Rocky Warner completed the top five in the event. After his issues early in the event, Bobby Varin was able to battle back to a fine 10th place finish.
“Great race car, great race team,” Friesen told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane after exciting the Halmar #44 DKM Cyclone. “It was certainly fitting for me to win on the dirt at Eldora earlier this week and I want to thank all of the Fonda fans for their support. Now we are going to go and celebrate a couple of wins.”
The 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature began with Brian Borst in the lead from his outside pole position start. Borst extended his lead to a full straightaway over Harry Shaffer before the yellow flag was out on lap 11 for Jeremiah Munson who was in the wall in turn two. On the restart eighth place starter Tim Hartman Jr. was the new second place car followed by 10th place starter Brian Calabrese and seventh place starter Tony Farone.
Farone’s great run came to an end on lap 15 when he and JaMike Sowle were involved in a wreck in turn two. On the single file restart, Hartman took over the lead on the outside of the backstretch just before the caution was out again for Borst who had his front end collapse after contact with another car in turn two. The top five at that point consisted of Hartman Jr., Calabrese, 16th place starter Aaron Burton, sixth place starter Andrew Buff, and 12th place starter and defending track champion Chad Edwards.
With five laps to go, Edwards was making moves through the top five into the third position on lap 21 after getting by Buff, while Mark Mortensen made his way into a top five position after starting back in the 19th spot. Hartman Jr. would go on to his fifth win of the 2019 season and the ninth of his career in the division in the Lussier’s Autobody #22 over Calabrese, Edwards, Buff, and Mortensen.
“That was a lot of fun,” Hartman Jr. said in victory lane following the event. “I get to come here on victory lane to take the pictures but it is my crew that gets me here with all of their hard work during the week and the adjustments made here at the track.” When asked by Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane about people thinking that he may be running illegally, Hartman said “It doesn’t really matter I’m standing here in victory lane.”
The Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman 20-lap event began with pole starter Bill Port leading early before Steve Wagoner took over the lead before lap one was completed. Fourth place starter EJ McAuliffe took the second position away as lap one was completed and on lap four on the inside of turns three and four McAuliffe was the new race leader.
The yellow flag was out on lap four with McAuliffe, Wagoner, John Young, ninth place starter Rich Christman, and last week’s winner and seventh place starter Michael McCallion making up the top five. McAuliffe continued to lead on the restart with Christman falling back to the eighth position at that point. McCallion took the second position away from Wagoner on lap five but was in the turn four wall a few laps later bringing out the caution flag.
When Wagoner slowed suddenly on lap 11, Alan Hanson took over the second position with the yellow coming out for Wagoner who came to a stop on the backstretch. Somehow Christman ended up restarting in the third position and when McAuliffe slowed on the final lap Christman was able to get around him on the outside of turn one and go on to his fourth win of the season over Hanson, McAuliffe, Young, and 10th place starter Brett Mortensen.
The Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature started with Justin Knight leading the 20-lap event from his outside pole position starting spot. By the time lap four was completed, Knight was out to a straightaway lead until the caution flew for Jason Morrison who was in the backstretch wall. Fourth place starter Jim Normoyle was the new second place car on the restart but when he slid up high in turn three it allowed Ivan Joslin to take over the position.
Luke Horning and Nick Stone started the event in the sixth row with both in the top five by lap eight, Horning in the third position and Stone completing the top five. Stone continued his march to the front, getting by Kenny Gates for the fourth position and then Horning for third at the halfway point. Stone got by Joslin for the second position on lap 12 and tried many times to get by Knight on the inside of each turn of every lap.
Stone made the inside move stick in turn three on lap 17, taking over the lead with Horning also getting by Knight for the second spot. Stone went on to his third consecutive win, the 45th of his career in the division in the Meltz Lumber/RCT Roofing #27. Horning, Gates who got by Knight for the third position on the final lap, and Joslin completed the top five.
“There is definitely tough competition here at Fonda but we’ve been able to hit on the setup the last couple of weeks,” Stone said in victory lane. “I just kept plugging away at the bottom, but once I got by for the lead I wanted to move to the top. Everybody wants to get the lead right away, but I just stayed patient until I was able to.”
Josh Samrov led the first two laps of the 15-lap Trackside Body Works Street Stock feature before fourth place starter Dave Horning Sr. took over the lead on lap three on the inside of turn three. Jason Samrov started the event in sixth position and was behind Horning Sr. in second at that point with Rob VanAernam third after starting seventh.
VanAernam spun in turn four on lap 10 bringing out the red flag after Stephen Young was also collected in the accident after making contact with VanAernam’s stopped car. Young was put on a backboard and taken to the hospital for observation but an update on Stephen on Sunday morning as Fonda Speedway NYSSCA Track Rep Bonnie Mortensen contacted him, he was very sore but okay. Great news for sure!
Jason Samrov went on to his fifth win of the season, the 13th of his career in the division, and currently leads the points going into next week’s Benjamin Moore Championship Night when all 2019 track champions will be crowned. Horning Sr., Michael Arnold, VanAernam, and Josh Samrov completed the top five.
Ken Hollenbeck led all 12-laps in the Four Cylinder Cruiser feature event for his fifth win of the season and the 47th of his career in the division which is top on the all-time win list. Cole Lawton, PJ Bleau, John Napoli, and Riley Pedrick completed the top five in the event.
Next Saturday, August 10 all 2019 Fonda Speedway Track Champions will be crowned in all divisions on “Championship Night” presented by Benjamin Moore. All divisions will be in action and it will also be “Backpack Giveaway Night” presented by Fonda Speedway management and the Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club led by Ashley Abeling. Racing will start next Saturday 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 – 30-LAPS – STEWART FRIESEN, Danny Varin, Dave Constantino, Brian Gleason, Rocky Warner, David Schilling, Brian Pessolano, Craig Hanson, Cody Bleau, Bobby Varin, Allison Ricci, Darwin Greene, Scott Huber, Korey Wilder, Roger Henion Jr., Steve Akers, Alissa Cody, Pep Corradi, Jessica Friesen, Vincent Visconti, Josh Hohenforst, Michael Maresca, Dylan Scribner, Ed Harris (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Jessica Friesen, Brian Gleason, Danny Varin
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH $1,000 TO WIN THANKS TO ERIC OROZCO RACING – 25-LAPS – TIM HARTMAN JR., Brian Calabrese, Chad Edwards, Andrew Buff, Mark Mortensen, Aaron Burton, Adam McAuliffe, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Joe Orlando, Dan Santabarbara, Josh DeMagistris, Brendan Gibbons, JaMike Sowle, Thomas VanVorst, Ryan McCartney, Kathy Bellen, Brian Borst, Harry Shaffer, Tim Dwyer, Tony Farone, Ricky Quick, Griffen Mansmith, Jeremiah Munson, Nick Scavia, Joe Williams, Cody Clark
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Harry Shaffer, Andrew Buff, Brian Borst
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH – 20-LAPS – RICH CHRISTMAN, Alan Hanson, EJ McAuliffe, John Young, Brett Mortensen, Dylan Eldred, Bill Port, Steve Wagoner, Michael McCallion, Jack Hamm, Vincent Whittaker (DNS)
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH BEST OF 8 SERIES PRESENTED BY AMERICAN RACER $800 TO WIN – 20-LAPS – NICK STONE, Luke Horning, Kenny Gates, Justin Knight, Ivan Joslin, Josh Coonradt, Beau Ballard, Cassidy Wilson, John Roese, Bill Knapp, Randy Cosselman, Jim Normoyle, Matt Roberts, Dave Horning Sr., Jamie warner, Jason Morrison, Chuck Dumblewski (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS: Justin Knight, Jason Morrison
TRACKSIDE BODY WORKS STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH – 15-LAPS – JASON SAMROV, Dave Horning Sr., Michael Arnold, Rob VanAernam, Josh Samrov, Stephen Young, Cliff Haslun
FOUR CYLINDER CRUISER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBECK, Cole Lawton, PJ Bleau, John Napoli, Riley Pedrick, TJ Marlitt, Wayne Russell (DNS), Dale VanAllen (DNS)