By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – Saturday evening at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway was a night of firsts with three first time winners in the five regular divisions that compete on a weekly basis. Brian Gleason became the 138th different driver to win in the Sunoco Modified division at Fonda in the 1407 total feature events run since 1948.
“This is a long time overdue,” Gleason told Mimi Lazzaro in F.X. Caprara Victory Lane. “I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad to finally get a win here, now we can move on to the second one. I’m very fortunate to have some great people behind me, Mike DeLorenzo is one of the best crew chiefs in the pit area and I’m thrilled to get him up here with me. It’s a great team effort and carrying the family name KJG Motorsports on the quarter panels really means a lot. Dan Bedell built me a great big block and Bicknell builds a great race car.”
Jason Morrison became the 98th different winner in the 740 total feature events held since the early eighties with his first career win in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock division. “Nick Stone has built an awesome car,” Morrison said in victory lane after his win. “These coil cars are fantastic.”
Bob Rowback was the other first-time winner on Saturday evening in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman division. Rowback was the 41st different winner in a total of 97 feature events run in the division since 2012. “I’ve been coming here to Fonda for 30 years,” a very emotional Rowback said in victory lane. “My family is here, my mom is here, this is a very emotional moment for me.”
Other winners on A-Verdi Storage Containers Night at the “Track of Champions” were Chad Edwards (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Ken Hollenback (SOHC Fonda Fair Four Cylinders), Kerrie Hollenback (DOHC Fonda Fair Four Cylinders), and Danny Varin (Earl Halaquist Memorial Patriot Sprint Car).
As of the time this press release was written the 50/50 which was worth $2,391 has not been claimed so check your tickets if you still have them! As always thank you for a great job on a very hot night by our 50/50 girls Rose, Julie, and Heather!
Pastor Greg Nitz said the prayer during opening ceremonies while Calleigh McMahon did a great job performing the National Anthem before the nights racing action began on a very hot evening at Fonda
Jack Lehner led at the start of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature in the Nelson Motorsports #85 with Nick Heywood in tow after both started the event on the front row. Ronnie Johnson who was in a brand new DKM Fabrications #2RJ started the event in the fifth position and by lap four he was the new second place car behind Lehner who was a half straightaway ahead at that point.
On lap eight lap traffic came in to play allowing Johnson to close in on Lehner with Lehner using the lap car as a pick to maintain the lead for a couple more laps. On lap ten, Johnson was the new race leader with the top five at the halfway point consisting of Johnson, Lehner, Heywood, Bobby Varin, and Brian Geason who started in the eighth position.
On lap 17, Johnson held a straightaway advantage while Gleason continued his march to the front, getting by Heywood for the third position with only nine laps to go. Three late race yellow flags affected the final outcome of the race starting on lap 24 when Lehner slowed in turn one while running second.
Johnson chose the inside lane on the restart, but it was Gleason who was in the second position at the time who took over the lead at that point. “I was a little nervous on the outside on the restart,” Gleason said afterwards. “I was trying not to spin my tires. I drag raced Ronnie to the flag stand, and I said okay we’ve got something here and I was able to clear him.”
Two more caution flags flew before the completion of the event, one with four laps to go and another on the restart but each time Gleason prevailed and held the advantage over Johnson. There were two drivers who were on the move during the event, one being Danny Varn who had just won the Patriot Sprint Car race with his self-owned #01 car and Demetrious Drellos who started the event in the 26th position after problems with his car during his heat race.
Varin was up to the third position on the last restart of the event after starting in the tenth starting spot while Drellos swung around multiple cars in the final laps to gain positions into the fourth position on the final lap. Gleason went on to his first career win in the KJG Motorsports #1G over Johnson, Danny Varin, Drellos, and Bobby Varin.
“I didn’t really know where I weas running, I was just trying to pick off as many cars as I could,” Gleason said in victory lane. “When the #85 (Lehner) broke I didn’t realize that he was running second and I was third. Those yellows at the end were really killing me but I’m glad that it is over.”
Five caution flags slowed the field during the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature with Jeremy Tyrrell leading at the start of the event with Carter Gibbons second after they both started on the front row. Brett Mortensen started the event in the fifth position and made a three wide move around both Brendan Gibbons and Michael McCallion for the third position on lap three and one lap later Mortensen got by Tim Dwyer for the second spot.
Tyrrell was a half straightaway ahead at that point but that changed quickly after Troy Palmer got into Carter Gibbons and spun him out on the backstretch bringing out the caution. Palmer was put back to the rear of the field on the restart for his actions. On the restart, Tyrrell jumped the start and then slowed down suddenly on the front stretch with Tim Dwyer suddenly turning to the right causing a scary wreck when Michael McCallion went over one of Dwyer’s tires, flipped over several times, and ended up between the concrete wall and the catch fence in turn one also taking out one of the track lights and bringing out the red flag. Fortunately, McCallion was not injured in the wreck.
On this restart, Mortensen cleared Tyrrell coming out of turn two to take over the lead, holding a straightaway advantage over Tyrrell by the time the lap counter switched to lap ten. Eleventh place starter Chad Edwards took the second spot away from Tyrrell at that point, just before the caution came out for Brendan Gibbons who suffered a right front flat after contact from another car in turn two.
On two consecutive restarts, Mortensen chose the outside and maintained the lead until a caution on lap 16 slowed the field again. On this restart, Mortensen maintained the lead until turn four when Edwards got by on the inside and slid up in front of Mortensen to maintain his position. On the final restart with four laps to go, Edwards stayed out front while 15th place starter Payton Talbot got by Mortensen for second with a slide job pass with Edwards going on to his fifth win of the season followed by Talbot, Mortensen, Chip Constantino, and 18th place starter Tanner Warner.
“Brett (Mortensen) ran a perfect race, I knew that my only shot to get him was on a restart,” Edwards said in victory lane. “I knew I’d have to give him a little slide job in three and four, it stuck into turns one and two and I just got enough to get by him. From there I took his line away and that was it.”
Chuck Dumblewski led the first four laps of the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature after starting on the outside pole with fourth place starter Jason Morrison in second place with both running side by side for the lead on laps two and three. Dumblewski held on to the lead after the two wide action with Morrison until lap five when Morrison got by Dumblewski for the lead on the inside of turns three and four.
Ivan Joslin and Beau Ballard were the new second and third place cars on lap eleven after both were able to get by Dumblewski with eleventh place starter Nick Stone also getting by for the fourth position on the next lap. Morrison led the remaining laps and went on to his first career victory at in the division at Fonda followed in the top five by Stone who got the second spot on the final lap, Joslin, Ballard, and Dumblewski.
“These coil cars are fantastic, Morrison said after the win. “I know we’re having some ups and downs with them, but they are here to stay no doubt.”
Bob Rowback led all fifteen laps in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature, surviving two yellow flags and a challenge on the final lap from Kyle Dingman for his first career win in the Yesse Did It sponsored #85R over twelfth place starter Dingman, ninth place starter Josh Kane, eight place starter Zach Dufel, and seventh place starter Mark Lighthall.
John Napoli led the first two laps of the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature until Ken Hollenback took control of the event on lap three and led the remaining laps for his tenth win of the season. Kerrie Hollenback was second and declared the DOHC winner with the top five at the checkered flag consisting of Napoli, Len St. Andrews, and Zach McSpirit.
Danny Varin led the last twenty-eight laps of the 30-lap Earl Halaquist Memorial event for the Patriot Sprint Cars after Matt Tanner led the first two laps of the event. The win for Varin was his third win in the Halaquist Memorial event after winning it back in 2017 and 2018.
“This win is all due to the great team we built over the winter,” Varin said in victory lane. “There are a lot of people behind the scenes including Pete Mason and 87 Speed Supply owner and car builder Ryan Linder who built this car and the rest of my crew and sponsors as well.”
Next weekend on July 2 and July 3 will be a double header weekend at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway with events on both Saturday and Sunday as we celebrate the Fourth of July Weekend!
On Saturday it will be Hall of Fame Night with the induction ceremonies starting at 3:00 p.m. at the Fonda Speedway Museum & Hall of Fame. Inductees for 2022 include drivers AJ Romano, Tim Clemons, and Steve Welch along with car owner Jeff McWalker. Also receiving the Bruce Dostal Memorial Dedication to the Fonda Speedway Museum Award will be Alton & Carole Palmer and the Canajoharie Eagles Club.
Racing on Saturday will include Thunder on the Thruway Series events for the Sunoco Modified, Swagger factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman, and Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks along with all other regular divisions and the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) with racing starting at 7:00 p.m.
The Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club will also be holding their annual “Bike Night” on Saturday so any race teams or anyone else who would like to donate a bike you can bring it to Ashley Abeling at gate two at the east end of the covered grandstand.
Then on Sunday the Short Track Super Series (STSS) will present the “Firecracker 50” a 50-lap event for the Sunoco Modifieds with $10,000 going to the winner. Also in action will be the STSS Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman who will be running for a $2,000 winners share. A huge Fireworks display will close out the evening with racing beginning at 7:15 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 – 6/25/2022 A-VERDI STORAGE CONTAINERS NIGHT
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – BRIAN GLEASON, Ronnie Johnson, Danny Varin, Demetrious Drellos, Bobby Varin, Pep Corradi, Matt DeLorenzo, Chris Curtis, Nick Heywood, Craig Hanson, Rich Christman, Rocky Warner, Dave Constantino, Jessica Friesen, JaMike Sowle, Tucker O’Connor, David Schilling, Brian Pessolano, Ryan Odasz, Scott Huber, Ray Zemken, Roger Henion Jr., Ed Harris, Jim Introne Jr., Jack Lehner, Bill August, Darwin Greene, Don Bellen
1st career win in the division at Fonda for Gleason
LAP LEADERS – 1-9 Lehner, 10-24 Johnson, 25-30 Gleason
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Heywood, Lehner, DeLorenzo
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – CHAD EDWARDS, Payton Talbot, Brett Mortensen, Chip Constantino, Tanner Warner, Clayton DuMond, Jason Greco, Troy Zilles, Stephen Gray, Nick Stone, Tim Dwyer, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Cory White, Jeremy Tyrrell, Jason Reome, Tony Farone, Troy Palmer, Brendan Gibbons, Carter Gibbons, Michael McCallion, Cody Clark, Mark Mortensen, Greg Havlichek (DNS), Harry Shaffer (DNS)
5th win of 2022 and 18th of his career in the division at Fonda for Edwards who is now second on the all-time win list with 18 wins with two other drivers currently tied for first place
LAP LEADERS – 1-5 Tyrrell, 6-16 Brett Mortensen, 17-25 Edwards
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Brett Mortensen, Edwards, McCallion
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Talbot +13 from 15th to 2nd
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-laps – JASON MORRISON, Nick Stone, Ivan Joslin, Beau Ballard, Chuck Dumblewski, Kenny Gates, Jim Normoyle, Luke Horning, AJ Walters, Shane Playford, Gary Silkey, Randy Cosselman, Caden Dumblewski, John Holmes, Jeff McPhail, Don Collins, Dillon Vanston, Josh Coonradt (DNS)
1st career win in the division at Fonda for Morrison
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 Chuck Dumblewski, 5-20 Morrison
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Chuck Dumblewski
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – BOB ROWBACK, Kyle Dingman, Josh Kane, Zach Dufel, Mark Lighthall, Walter Cook, Tim Deffer, Bob Fachini, Lance Hill, Gus Kamburelis, John Anderson, Matt Perry, Harold Robitaille, Connor Prokop, Ryan Sweet, Michael Kalkbrenner, Wesley Sutliff (DQ)
1st career win in the division for Rowback
LAP LEADERS – 1-15 Rowback
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Rowback, Cook
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-laps – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), KERRIE HOLENBACK (DOHC), John Napoli, Len St. Andrews, Zach McSpirit, TJ Marlitt, Wayne Russell, Christopher Jennings Sr., David Peek-Britten
10th win of 2022 and the 78th of his career in the division for Ken Hollenback
7th win of 2022 and the 28th of his career in the division for Kerrie Hollenback
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Napoli, 3-12 Ken Hollenback
PATRIOT SPRINT TOUR EARL HALAQUIST MEMORIAL FEATURE – 30-laps – DANNY VARIN, Matt Tanner, Paulie Colagiovanni, Josh Pieniazek, Davie Franek, Dalton Rombough, Joe Trenca, Denny Peebles, Jonathan Preston, Kyle Smith, Mike Kiser, Chad Miller, Steve Glover, Dave Axton, Chase Moran, Andrew Jacobus, Brett Wright, Tyler Emmons, Aaron Jacobus, Jordan Hutton (DNS), Jordan Thomas (DNS), Dave Dykstra (DNS), Jacob Dykstra (DNS), Jeff Trombley (DNS)
1st career Patriot Sprint Tour win at Fonda for Varin
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Tanner, 3-30 Varin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Tanner, Peebles, Varin