DECKER, FRIESEN, MCLAUGHLIN, & HACKEL WIN FONDA 200 QUALIFIERS WHILE GATES GETS BACK TO VICTORY LANE IN THE PRO STOCKS
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – Day 2 of the 2022 Fonda 200 weekend presented by Southside Beverage was held on Friday evening at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway with five different classes of race cars in action including the STSS Modifieds, the Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks, the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders, the CRSA Sprint Cars, and the Street Stocks all in action.
When the checkered flag flew for the final time on Friday evening standing in victory lane were Kenny Gates (Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks), Brandon Ely (DOHC Four Cylinder) & Ken Hollenback (SOHC Four Cylinder), Mike Kiser (CRSA Sprint Cars), and Adam Tranka (Street Stocks). Along with that four 15-lap qualifiers were held for the Fonda 200 for the STSS Modifieds with Billy Decker, Stewart Friesen, Max McLaughlin, and Bobby Hackel IV taking those wins.
Pastor Greg Nitz said a prayer to start the opening ceremonies followed by Joe Kriss singing the National Anthem. Congratulations to Joan from Lake Luzerne who was the winner of $2,928 in the 50/50 raffle. Great job as always by the 50/50 girls!
STSS Modified Fonda 200 Qualifier #1 presented by Park’s Companies saw Billy Decker take the lead from Jack Lehner on lap eight and go on for the win and the $500 bonus from Park’s Companies. In victory lane afterwards, Decker had a great quote about the Fonda 200 coming up tomorrow.
“The outside was a little slippery there when we were doing the pace laps but then it felt pretty good under that caution, so I sailed it in there, it stuck, and I got away with one,” Decker told Mimi Lazzaro in F.X. Caprara Car Companies Victory Lane. “It would be big; we didn’t come here to get our hair cut. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow now and I certainly would like to knock this one off. These new lights help a guy like me see better.”
STSS Modified Fonda 200 Qualifier #2 presented by Fastline Performance was won by Stewart Friesen who led all 15-laps on the way to the $500 bonus from Fastline Performance.
“You get a better look at the front stretch with these new lights that’s for sure,” Friesen said in victory lane afterwards. “The place looks good, and the track is in good shape. The Halmar #44 is fast, more motor problems with the #1Z which is unfortunate, but I’m proud of the Halmar Team, we’ve got a fast hot rod here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The track is very fast right now but it’s going to change a lot for tomorrow for sure.”
STSS Modified Fonda 200 Qualifier #3 presented by Upstate Auto saw Max McLoughlin lead every lap on his way to the $500 bonus from Upstate Auto.
“I just had to float it through the corner through the black,” McLaughlin said in victory lane. “The lap traffic got a little interesting there a couple of times, my car really got free around the lap cars. I was pretty happy with the car, but we’ll make a couple more changes to it to get it a little bit better and hopefully come tomorrow we’ll be able to give them a run for their money. Fonda isn’t one of my better tracks, but it sure has been good so far this weekend.”
Bobby Hackel IV led all 15-laps of the STSS Modified Fonda 200 Qualifier #4 taking home a $500 bonus from Dave Prime Jr. Mac Tools.
“Yesterday (Thursday) was a good precursor for tonight,” Hackel said in victory lane. “Unfortunately, it’s one race you almost never want to qualify for (the Underdog 33 for non-winners). We’ve had a really good season and getting out here to Fonda and running Utica Rome, getting my ass out on the road is helping our program racing with Brett Deyo and his staff, I just love what they are doing.”
“I’m trying to chase the coat tails of the big guys,” Hackel continued saying. “I learn from them every time and we’re getting close. I want to be better out on the road, race with the best of the best, keep chasing them around and learning things. They do it full time, so they better be good, so if I want to get there someday, I better go out and do it and learn to race with them. I’ve got great people behind me that are leading me to do this, so I’ll keep trying to roll with it, keep making notes, and learn how to drive these things better.”
The 25-lap Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature began with Beau Ballard leading from his pole position start with Slater Baker in second. The red flag was out on lap three for Chuck Dumblewski who flipped his car in turn four and then again on the restart for Randy Cosselman who came to a stop in turn four. Dumblewski was not injured in the wreck but was done for the night at that point.
Baker took the lead away from Ballard on lap five with Kenny Gates up to the second position after starting seventh. On lap seven on the inside of the backstretch, Gates was the new race leader while Baker, Ballard, and Josh Coonradt were waging a three-way battle for the second position. At the halfway point, the top five consisted of Gates, Baker, Ballard, Coonradt, and 10th place starter Ivan Joslin.
Gates’ straightaway advantage was taken away by a caution flag on lap 14 placing the new second place car of Ballard alongside for the restart. Both Coonradt and Joslin got by Baker for the third position on lap 16 just before the yellow came out again. Two restarts were needed to get the race going again with Ballard sticking right to Gates’ rear bumper on every restart.
One final caution was out with five laps to go but on this single file restart Gates got away from Ballard and stretched out his advantage to the checkered flag for his 86th career win, his first win since this event on Fonda 200 weekend last year! Ballard, Coonradt, Joslin, and Baker completed the top five.
“It’s taken us all year to get here,” Gates said in victory lane. “I couldn’t be happier. I just had to run clean laps because I knew that the Utica Rome Track Champion (Ballard) was right up my tail, so I had to turn good laps, or he was gonna go by us. I was able to hit my marks and finish the race out clean to get here to victory lane. There was grip on the bottom tonight and that suits me perfectly. They call me the catfish and the catfish swam on the bottom tonight.”
The 15-lap Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature saw four lead changes over the 15-lap distance with 2022 Track Champion Ken Hollenback and invader Brandon Ely waging a war for the overall lead in the event on laps two through six when they swapped the lead three times. On lap six, Ely took the overall lead in the event with his DOHC after starting sixth and went on to his first career win at Fonda. Ken Hollenback finished second overall and was the SOHC winner.
“It feels good, there is no better feeling, it means everything,” Ely said in victory lane. “I’ve got a big racing legacy for a family and to pull a win off here it’s phenomenal, I couldn’t ask for a better night. I am the grandson of Chuck Ely and Butch Jelley is my great uncle, so I am the prodigy of those two.”
“It was pretty good,” Ken Hollenback said of his car and his overall second place finish. “It was kind of scary in the beginning, so I was just trying to be patient. He (Ely) was a little quicker, but we were good enough to finish second.”
Stone Motorsports/Online Performance put up $1,000 total ($500 to win, $300 for second, and $200 for third) to bring the Street Stocks back to Fonda for Fonda 200 weekend with Chris Murray leading every lap of the 20-lap event for the win after starting the race in the second position. In post-race tech, Murray was disqualified for an illegal exhaust handing the win over to pole position starter Adam Tranka who finished behind Murray before the disqualification.
“You’ve got to be in it to win it,” Tranka said in victory lane. “Chris (Murray) had a very fast car; I was just trying to settle in there. The last couple of laps I was getting closer and closer, but I just couldn’t get to him. This is a really great win for us, I’ve come here since I was a little kid so to get a win here at Fonda, Oh My God.”
The 20- lap CRSA Sprint Car feature began with Tomy Moreau leading at the drop of the green flag until lap three when Jordan Hutton got by for the lead on the inside of turns one and two after starting second. Hutton held the lead for three laps until lap seven when fourth place starter Jeff Trombley got by on a restart with a slide job pass in turn two.
Trombley held the number one position until 10th place starter Mike Kiser made a cross over move in turn four to get by for the lead on lap 15 and he led the remaining laps for his first win of the season at Fonda and the fifth of his career at the “Track of Champions” in the CRSA Sprint class placing his in the number one position on the All-Time Win List.
“It came together really well,” Kiser told Brady Houser in victory lane. “I normally don’t run the bottom, but I tried the top and it just wasn’t working. It’s too far around, I’ve never hit the bottom so hard for so many laps in my life so I guess that I can drive in the slick a little bit. Jeff (Trombley) is a great guy, he’s always helping me, so I’ve got to thank him and the Warren Alexson #3 Team for all of their help. This motor from John Grant has great power so I have to thank him as well.”
“The car was good,” Trombley said after finishing second. “I burnt the right rear off a little bit, and I got loose the last four or five laps, but Mike ran a good race.”
“I think I just made a few mistakes,” Hutton said after finishing third. “I let Trombley get underneath me on the restart and when that happened, I lost a little bit of momentum and gave up the bottom but I’m pretty satisfied with a third-place finish.”
A special six lap Dash for Cash was also held in memory of Arnold “Arnie” Ainsworth who was a legendary photographer and racing historian and recently passed away. The dash was held for the top six in STSS Halmar Elite Series points with money put up by Arnie’s grandson AJ who paid $450 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. Ryan Godown took the first-place prize with the win and was followed by Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Max McLaughlin, Jimmy Horton, and Mat Williamson.
Today concludes the 2022 Fonda 200 Weekend presented by Southside Beverage with the $53,000 to win Fonda 200 for the STSS Sunoco Modifieds and a 25-lap STSS Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman race with racing set to begin with hot laps at 5:00 p.m.
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 of 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: @thefondaspdwy or Instagram: @fondaspeedway.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, FloSports, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, BDR Speed, Halmar International, Ollie’s, River Valley Builders, Hurlock Auto & Speed, Velocita-USA, St. Lawrence Radiology, Franklin Products, Design for Vision & Sunglass Central, Belmont’s Garage, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Prime MAC Tools, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH, Elite Welder Testing & Training, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Penske Racing Shocks, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Spyder Filters, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, Wegner Automotive & Wilwood.
STSS 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 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 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 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