RJ GETS HIS 32ND CAREER WIN ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT FONDA
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – After a win on Friday evening Ronnie Johnson was looking for more. And he got it. With some incentive from long time sponsors Gary Mickles from Mickles Automotive and Chris Persons from Persons Farms he was able to get his 32nd career win at Fonda, tying him with Steve Danish for 14th on the Fonda Speedway All-Time Win List.
The race finished just in time for Johnson who got a flat right rear tire as victory lane ceremonies were being held.
“I think this is the first time I’ve ever done this,” Johnson told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane in reference to winning on back-to-back nights. “It has been a goal of mine for 20 years and it feels good.”
The win came in a throwback paint schemed car back to his father Jack Johnson’s car in 1988 with Ronnie’s last win at Fonda coming on 7/31/2021 the year that he was Co-Track Champion with Rocky Warner.
“One of our goals was to do this throw back to my father’s 1988 paint scheme and to win a race with it here at Fonda,” Johnson said. “It topped off a great weekend and hopefully a great year.”
Other winners on A-Verdi Storage Containers Night at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway were Zach Dufel (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Ivan Joslin (Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks), Lance Hill (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Ken (SOHC) and Kerrie (DOHC) Hollenback (Fonda Fair Four Cylinders), and Tomy Moreau (CRSA Sprints).
Eleven-year-old Robbie Greco sang the National Anthem just after Pastor Greg Nitz’ prayer during opening ceremonies for the evening. Pam from Rose, NY was the winner of the $2,597 50/50 for the evening after another great effort by the 50/50 ticket sellers Julie, Rose, and Heather. Great job ladies!
Pep Corradi started on the pole position in the 30-lap Amsterdam Truck Center Modified feature and took the early lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag with third place starter Ronnie Johnson in second at the completion of lap one. Corradi was using the outside groove to his liking while Johnson ran down low, a groove that he stuck with for the entire feature event.
On the inside of turns three and four on lap five, Johnson took the lead away from Corradi with sixth place starter Alex Yankowsi also getting by Corradi for the second position two laps later. Yankowsi was running the extreme outside of the speedway and swung around Johnson for the lead in turn four on lap eight. The top two of Yankowski and Johnson were able to pull away to a straightaway advantage over the third place running Corradi until the caution flew on lap 10 closing up the field.
Yankowski chose the outside for the restart and maintained his lead while behind Johnson the action was starting to heat up. At the halfway point in the event the top five consisted of Yankowski, Johnson, eighth place starter Jack Lehner, ninth place starter Matt DeLorenzo, and tenth place starter Demetrious Drellos.
DeLorenzo and Drellos both got by Lehner for the third and fourth positions with just over ten laps to go with lap traffic coming into play on lap 23, one lap before Johnson started reeling Yankowski in as the top groove that Yankowsi was using started to go away. On lap 25 Johnson got by Yankowski for the lead on the inside of turn two and from that point on the only time that he got out of the bottom groove was to get by the lap cars ahead of him.
“I don’t think I could have beat him if the top didn’t go away on him,” Johnson told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “But I knew that sometimes the track tightens up on the bottom here so that was my thing, I was stuck down there, tried to keep working the bottom, and it kept getting better and better so that worked for us tonight.”
DeLorenzo got by Yankowski for the second position with two laps remaining, going three wide down the middle to get by both the lap car of Daniel Morgiewicz and Yankowski for the spot. Johnson went on to the win followed in the top five by DeLorenzo, Yankowski, Drellos, and Lehner.
“It was a cat and mouse game with the lap cars, you know guys are coming behind you and tonight it worked for us,” Johnson said. “I’ve had it the other way to where it didn’t work out but tonight we timed the lap cars right and it worked. I just want to thank all my sponsors, crew, and dedicated fans, thank everybody for everything.”
The 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman began with outside pole sitter Mathew Perry out to the early lead with Zach Dufel second after starting on the pole. Brendan Gibbons started the event in the fifth position, moving up to the third position on lap six after getting by Brett Mortensen for the spot.
Perry was running a great race until lap 18 when he suffered a left front flat tire after contact was made with the inside wall in turn two. That resulted in Perry falling back through the field while Dufel took over the lead with Gibbons now in second. Dufel led the remaining laps in the #91H KRD Grooming sponsored DKM Car for his first career win in the division followed by Gibbons, 12th place starter Peyton Talbot, Brett Mortensen, and eighth place starter Chip Constantino.
“This is the first complete night of the season for us after blowing transmissions and wrecking on the backstretch,” Dufel said in F.X. Caprara Car Companies Victory Lane. “It has been a heck of a start, but this makes up for it, this is incredible. The #91H was Michael Jackson’s dad’s last car number when he raced so we wanted to keep the family number alive.”
“The #74 (Perry) was a lot better than me in turns one and two but I could drive it in as hard as I wanted in turns three and four and it would stick so I was able to catch up to him,” Dufel continued to say. “I kept seeing him get closer and closer to the wall thinking that he may hit it, so I had to be ready to pounce on it when he did.”
Three wide competition was the theme at the start of the 20-lap Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stock feature as cars were three wide for the first three laps for positions at the front of the field. When lap one was completed, Randy Cosselman was the race leader after starting on the outside pole but that only lasted one lap as fourth place starter Caden Dumblewski was the new race leader on lap two.
Sixth place starter Ivan Joslin was next to go three wide for the lead which he was able to take over on lap three in turn two. The red flag was out on lap four for Shane Playford who climbed the wall in turn one and barrel rolled the car several times. Playford was not injured in the wreck, but the car suffered heavy damage.
Joslin chose the outside for the restart and ran side by side with Dumblewski for two laps before finally clearing him for the number one spot. Joslin, Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Luke Horning, and Kenny Gates were in the top five at the halfway point with Gates getting by Horning for the fourth position with two laps to go.
Joslin went on to his second win of the season and the 14th of his career in the division flowed by Dumblewski, Coonradt, Gates, and Horning.
“When we came out for our pace lap I saw the brown on the top, so I knew that I had to get there ahead of those guys,” Joslin said. “He (Dumblewski) bobbled in turn two and opened the door up for me, I took the lead and ran my own race, I just paced myself and told myself not to screw up. My uncle Dennis Joslin owns this car said that we still had something to prove with this leaf spring car and we are out here showing that we can still make it happen.”
Lucas Duncan led lap one of the 15-lap Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature from his outside front row starting position until Lance Hill got around him on the outside of turn four on lap two to take the lead. Hill held the lead through for the remainder of the event in the SHR Speed Shop/Scott Hamlin racing #22 Dave Lape tribute car for his first win of the 2023 season and the second of his career followed by 14th place starter Tyler Bobar, Mike Hill, Kyle Dingman, and Tim Deffer.
“I want to thank my crew,” Hill said in victory lane. “They worked really hard on this car, put this body on it for the Dave Lape Memorial event last week and I wish we could have done better that night but tonight I got Dave his 100th win.”
Canadian driver Tomy Moreau took the lead at the drop of the green flag in the 20-lap CRSA Sprint feature after starting on the pole with Peter Dance in tow. Moreau maintained the lead through two restarts for cautions on laps six and ten, and lap traffic over the final three laps for his first career win at Fonda and the first of his career with the CRSA Sprints.
Twelfth place starter Jordan Hutton made his way up to the second position on lap 13 and closed in on the leader in lap traffic but fell short at the checkered flag with Dance, Dalton Herrick, and Timmy Lotz completing the top five.
“To get a win here at Fonda is great,” Moreau told CRSA announcer Brady Houser in victory lane. “The track has so much history.”
Ken (SOHC) and Kerrie (DOHC) were the winners of their respective classes in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature. Jon Mason, Wayne Russel Jr., and Justin Ramsey completed the top five finishers overall in the 12-lap event.
Next Saturday June 10 will be New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Night at Fonda with all divisions in action along with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS). NYSSCA will be giving away safety awards to the top finisher in each of the feature events who is a member of the NYSSCA organization and the second-place finishing NYSSCA member in each of the feature events as well.
The Safety Awards will include a $75 award and a NYSSCA hat to the top finishing NYSSCA member in each of the feature events along with a $25 award and a NYSSCA hat to the second NYSSCA member across the finish line.
Some other special awards will be handed out by the organization as well for accomplishments during the 2022 racing season.
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!
All races at Fonda Speedway – will be broadcast live on FloRacing (www.floracing.tv) as part of the $150 annual subscription.
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.
DATE – 6/3/2023 A-VERDI STORAGE CONTAINERS NIGHT
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – RONNIE JOHNSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Alex Yankowski, Demetrious Drellos, Jack Lehner, Cody Clark, Rocky Warner, Chris Curtis, Jessica Friesen, Pep Corradi, JaMike Sowle, Bobby Hackel IV, Dave Constantino, Ryan Odasz, Bobby Varin, Brian Pessolano, Tucker O’Connor, David Schilling, Ryan Walther, Dave Camara, Brian Calabrese, Daniel Morgiewicz, Josh Hohenforst, Dale Gray, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Shawn McPhee, Brian Gleason (DNS)
1st win of 2023 and the 32nd career win at Fonda for Johnson
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 Corradi, 5-7 Johnson, 8-24 Yankowski, 25-30 Johnson
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Corradi, Curtis, Sowle
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – ZACH DUFEL, Brendan Gibbons, Peyton Talbot, Brett Mortensen, Chip Constantino, Tanner Warner, Jeremy Tyrrell, Clayton DuMond, Blaine Klinger, Chad Edwards, Stephen Gray, Michael McCallion, Butchie Irwin, Mark Mortensen, Jason Reome, Dylan Eldred, Harry Shaffer, Matthew Perry, Bubba McPhee, Kaydon Hohensheldt, Clyde Peek, Dan Santabarbara (DNS), Josh Kane (DNS), Jason Greco (DNS), Troy Zilles (DNS)
1st career win in the division at Fonda for Dufel
LAP LEADERS – 1-17 Perry, 18-25 Dufel
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Warner, Talbot, Brett Mortensen
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Talbot 9 positions 12th to 3rd
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – IVAN JOSLIN, Caden Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Luke Horning, Andy Graves, Beau Ballard, Jason Morrison, Randy Cosselman, Gary Silkey, Slater Baker, Jim Normoyle, Michael Achzet, Hunter Keith, Don Collins, Ken Griffen, Shane Playford
2nd win of 2023 and the 14th career win at Fonda for Joslin
LAP LEADERS – 1 Cosselman, 2 Dumblewski, 3-20 Joslin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Coonradt, Joslin
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – LANCE HILL, Tyler Bobar, Mike Hill, Kyle Dingman, Tim Deffer, Jonathan Feagles, Bobby Rhinehart, John Anderson, Chris Kugler, Brandon Tyler, Timmy Wilmot, Dylan Huston, Cian DiMezza, Jeff Bobilin, Lucas Duncan, Maddy Broedel, Gus Kamberelis, Connor Prokop, Steve Wagoner, Michael Kalkbrenner, AJ Greco, Kirsten Swartz, Brandon Hazzard
1st win of 2023 and the 2nd career win at Fonda for Hill
LAP LEADERS – 1 Duncan, 2-15 Hill
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Kugler, Dingman, Hill
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), Jon Mason, Wayne Russell Jr., Justin Ramsey, Keith Tesiero Jr., Josh Ramsey, David Peek-Britten, Tim Warner, Len St. Andrews, TJ Marlitt, John Ray
4th win of 2023 and the 89th career win at Fonda for Ken Hollenback
4th win of 2023 and the 38th career win at Fonda for Kerrie Hollenback
LAP LEADERS – 1 Russell Jr., 2-12 Ken Hollenback
CRSA SPRINT CAR FEATURE – 20-LAPS – TOMY MOREAU, Jordan Hutton, Peter Dance, Dalton Herrick, Timmy Lotz, Mike Kiser, Alex Adamsky, Chad Miller, Mark Taylor, Ronnie Greek, John Cunningham, James Layton, Aaron Shelton, Steve Glover, Dan Craun, Dustin Sehn, Tyler Chartrand, Jeff Trombley, Kyle Pierce, Blake Warner, Kristen Dombrowski, Thomas Radivoy, Fred Proctor (DNS)
1st career win for Moreau at Fonda and also in CRSA competition
LAP LEADERS – 1-20 Moreau
CRSA HEAT RACE WINNERS – Hutton, Kiser, Dance