FRIESEN WINS THIRD $10,000 TO WIN FIRECRACKER 50 IN A ROW AT FONDA
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday than with racing and fireworks? That is exactly how the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway celebrated the holiday with the Short Track Super Series in town for STSS Northern Region Modified and Crate 602 Sportsman events. After the final checkered flag flew a gigantic fireworks display lit up the sky as the celebration continued.
Stewart Friesen continued his mastery of the “Track of Champions” winning his eighth feature of the season at Fonda and his third consecutive in the “Firecracker 50” $10,000 to win event. The win now shows Friesen with 76 career victories on the All-Time Modified win list at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds half mile track.
“This is one of the biggest races of the year for us and it is always special to win a race on the Fourth of July,” Friesen told STSS announcer Jeff Ahlum in the Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Mike Cole Memorial Victory Lane. “This win is for Mike Cole who we all miss very much.”
STSS announcer Jeff Ahlum started the evening with a prayer and an invocation followed by a beautiful rendition of both the Canadian and National Anthem’s by Fonda Speedway victory lane announcer Mimi Lazzaro. A great job was also done by Lori Scanlon who signed the anthems to the huge crowd on hand.
Great job by all the 50/50 ticket sellers who raised a total of $6423 for the evenings first prize. Congratulations to Rick from Fort Plain who won the first prize money!
Fonda Speedway announcer Chris Moore along with STSS announcer Jeff Ahlum, and Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame announcer Jim King had a great time in the tower announcing the events to the fans. King was in town for the Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame ceremonies on Saturday when his father Bill King was inducted and now joins his son Jim in the prestigious Hall of Fame.
The luck of the draw found Rocky Warner and Matt Sheppard on the front row for the 50-lap “Firecracker 50” with Sheppard taking the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. Sheppard was the only modified without sail panels on his car, but it didn’t seem to matter as he was fast right from hot laps to the feature.
Sheppard bobbled in turn one on lap six as he got into the berm on the inside of the track and shot out towards the wall, barely escaping hitting the wall and continued on with Warner closing in. The first of many yellow flags for flat tires throughout the event flew on lap six for Mike Mahaney who was running third when he had issues. He would pit and restart at the rear of the field.
Sheppard chose the outside for the restart with third place starter Stewart Friesen taking the second position away from Warner while eighth place starter Billy Decker, who was in the third position when the restart occurred, fell back outside of the top 10 when the green flag flew as he nearly got into the wall in turns one and two and lost many positions as a result. One lap later the yellow was out again for Mahaney and Max McLaughlin who both went to the hot pit and restarted at the rear of the field.
Friesen took over the lead on the restart and over the remaining restarts went back and forth between restarting on the inside or the outside. David Schilling and Bobby Hackel IV were running fourth and eighth respectively on lap 14 when they brought out a caution on lap 14 with Decker using all the restarts to advance back to the front as he was back in the third position after a lap 15 restart.
At the halfway point the top five consisted of Friesen, Sheppard, Warner, Decker, and 10th place starter Mike Gular. Friesen put five lap cars in between himself and the second-place car of Sheppard just past the halfway point with Warner able to get by Sheppard in lap traffic on lap 27. Friesen did the same thing that Sheppard had done earlier in the event one lap later as he got into the berm on the inside of turns one and two and shot straight out towards the wall, narrowly escaped hitting the wall and continuing on as Warner tried to close in.
Warner’s luck turned all bad with 20 laps to go as he ended up in the turn four wall after what looked like contact between himself and a lap car. Warner was done for the evening after a great run to that point. Decker continued to advance positions to the front, and with only seven laps remaining in the event was sitting in the second position after getting by Sheppard for the position.
The race stayed green over the remaining laps as Friesen went on to his eighth win of the season and the 76th of his career at Fonda in the Halmar #44 Bicknell car over Decker, Sheppard, 17th place starter Mat Williamson, and Gular.
“The car was great, but the sail panels tighten the car up so much that we were trying to free it up for the feature,” Friesen told STSS Announcer Jeff Ahlum in victory lane. “I was just trying not to spin and blister the tires.”
“The car was really good,” Decker told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “The track was fast tonight and fortunately we brought a race car that felt comfortable. The cautions helped me as I went softer on tires for the feature. I almost took the wall down in turns one and two, but I had a lot of fun tonight.”
“Fonda isn’t like any other tracks that we run, and the track is always different every time we come here,” Sheppard said after his third-place finish. “One day we’ll come here and get the setup right.”
Cody Clark and Mark Mortensen started the 25-lap Crate Sportsman feature on the front row with Clark taking the early lead. Chad Edwards started the event in the sixth position and on lap six was the new fourth place car with the first of three yellows in the event coming out at that point for Troy Palmer who slowed in turn one.
Clark restarted on the outside with Mortensen making a bid for the lead on the inside at the drop of the green flag but as the top two exited turn two Clark pulled away yet again. Edwards was the new third place car on the restart after getting by Will Shields for the spot with another yellow out on lap nine.
At the halfway point the top five consisted of Clark, Mortensen, Edwards, Shields, and 12th place starter Tanner Warner. Just as Mortensen was closing in slightly on the leader, Clark made a great move in between two lap cars in turn four to maintain his lead on lap 18. One final yellow flag slowed the event with three laps to go for Tucker O’Connor and Kurtis Hohensheldt in turn four with O’Connor driving away and Hohensheldt done for the night going off on the hook.
Clark pulled away on the restart with the race for the second position between Mortensen and Edwards heating up overt the last few laps. On the final lap, Edwards made a slide job pass in front of Mortensen in turn two to take away the second position, but Mortensen stayed right with him on the inside until he got airborne after hitting a hole in turn four and settled for the third position.
Clark went on to his third win of the season and the 12th of his career in the division in his #4 DKM car over Edwards, Mortensen, Warner, and 21st place starter Tim Hartman Jr.
“I want to thank all of my fans and sponsors for their support after we ran into some issues a couple of weeks ago,” Clark said in victory lane. “I was getting by lap cars one by one and thanks to DKM for a great race car. This gives us some motivation for next Saturday and the rest of the season as the point battle looks like it will go down to the wire.”
“Typical Fonda,” Edwards said after the race. “You race the competitors and race the track.”
“It is always hard to start on the front row,” Mortensen said after his third-place finish. “I thought the cautions would help but I couldn’t get the exit out of the turns on the inside that I needed, and Cody (Clark) was just fast. I must have slowed down quite a bit at the end and Chad (Edwards) was able to get by me.”
Next Saturday, July 10 Sampson Motor Car and Yellow Transportation will present a racing card in all regular divisions with racing starting at 7:00 p.m. The Pro Stock feature will be the prestigious 16th Annual Hondo Classic named after the late fan favorite Hondo Carpenter.
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.
FUCCILLO AUTOPLEX OF NELLISTON ‘FIRECRACKER 50’ RESULTS SUMMARY – FONDA SPEEDWAY SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Event No. 4 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, Mike Gular, Anthony Perrego, Andy Bachetti, Jessica Friesen, Alex Yankowski, Josh Hohenforst, Max McLaughlin, J.R. Hurlburt, JaMike Sowle, Billy Van Pelt, Brett Haas, George Foley, Tyler Dippel, Craig Hanson, Rocky Warner, David Schilling, Pep Corradi, Joe Judge, Dave Constantino, Mike Mahaney, Bobby Hackel IV, Ronnie Johnson, Adam McAuliffe, Alan Johnson, Bobby Varin, Jack Lehner.
Did Not Qualify: Steve Akers, Ryan Susice, E.J. McAuliffe, Kurt Hundeland, Ancel Collins, Aaron Jacobs, Shane Jablonka, Ray Zemken, Michael Trautschold, Kyle Coffey, Rich Christman.
Hazer’s World Lap Money ($500 Total): Matt Sheppard ($80); Stewart Friesen ($70); Billy Decker ($50); Mike Gular ($60); Rocky Warner ($60); Mat Williamson ($50); Anthony Perrego ($40); Jessica Friesen ($40); David Schilling ($20); Mike Mahaney ($10); Alan Johnson ($10); Craig Hanson ($10); Andy Bachetti ($10)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Jessica Friesen (eighth) & JaMike Sowle (13th)
Autism Awareness Winner’s Award presented by Halmar ($250): Stewart Friesen
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses: Mat Williamson (fourth) & Alex Yankowski (ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): JaMike Sowle(Redrew 12th)
Design for Vision/Sunglass Central Award (Oakley Sunglasses): Stewart Friesen(winner)
FloRacing Heat Winner Bonuses ($50): Craig Hanson, Adam McAuliffe, Billy Decker & Mike Mahaney
Henry’s Exhaust System Bonus ($50 Certificate): Max McLaughlin (11th)
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Stewart Friesen ($150 Certificate – first); Billy Decker ($75 Certificate – second); Matt Sheppard ($50 Certificate – third); Josh Hohenforst ($25 Certificate – 10th)
Prime MAC Tools Hard Luck Award (Hand Tool Set): Bobby Varin
Spyder High Performance Filters Bonuses: Mike Gular (FREE Filter – fifth); Brett Haas (50-percent Certificate – 15th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Billy Decker (second); J.R. Hurlburt (12th); Joe Judge (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Stewart Friesen
TKS Painting Front-Row Bonuses: Rocky Warner (Pole – $50); Matt Sheppard (Outside Pole – $25)
Upstate Auto Hard Charger Award ($250): Andy Bachetti (27th to seventh)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7 Bonus ($75 Certificate): Andy Bachetti (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Event No. 2 Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): CODY CLARK, Chad Edwards, Mark Mortensen, Tanner Warner, Tim Hartman Jr., Payton Talbot, Tim Dwyer, Brian Calabrese, Will Shields, Tucker O’Connor, Michael Ballestero, Joey Bruning, Carter Gibbons, Jeremiah Munson, Troy Zilles, Brett Mortensen, Bobby Flood, Hunter Lapp, Kyle Dingman, Joe Toth, Nick Stone, Daniel Morgiewicz, Johnny Young, Dave Dipietroll, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Greg Havlicek, Steve Davis, Jason Reome, Michael McCallion, Troy Palmer.
Did Not Qualify: Dale Welty, Ryan Conrad, Aaron Burton, Ryan Walther, Kevin Crave, Stephen Gray, Blaine Klinger, Walter J. Hammond, Maverick Eldridge, Chip Constantino, Ryan Simmons, Brendan Gibbons, David Richer, Griffin Mansmith, Tony Farone, Jeremy Tyrell, Doug Snyder, Taylor LaPlante, Walter Hammond.
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Payton Talbot(sixth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Michael Ballestero(Redrew 10th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Chad Edwards(second) & Joey Bruning (12th)
Greco’s NAPA Hard Charger ($100 Gift Card): Brian Calabrese (30th to eighth)