FRIESEN WINS IN FRONT OF A PACKED GRANDSTAND AT FONDA
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – Holmes & Kugler Towing presented Dollar Night at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway on Saturday evening and the fans came out and packed the place with only $1 admission required to see some great racing.
“It’s been a hectic couple of weeks,” Stewart Friesen said after the win. “We appreciate all of your support this week, it’s awesome to see these grandstands full and rockin’ and it’s great to be back here again.”
When the final checkered flag flew to complete the racing program visiting victory lane were Stewart Friesen (Amsterdam Truck Center Modifieds), Mark Mortensen (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Kenny Gates (Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks), AJ Greco (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Ken and Kerrie Hollenback (Fonda Fair Four Cylinders).
It was a special night for AJ Greco who celebrated his first career win in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature and was able to celebrate in victory lane with his family and crew. Also, it was the first time that Evan Mortensen, son of Mark Mortensen, was able to celebrate in victory lane with his father who scored his 26th and All-Time Win List tying win in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman division.
Opening ceremonies were led off by Pastor Greg Nitz followed by the National Anthem by Stephanie May. The 50/50 girls performed their magic and came up with a $4,293 prize which was won by Lewis from Sprakers. Special thanks to Tim Horn and the Turn 4 Crew who donated a second prize to the 50/50 and also donated three $30 Walmart Gift Cards to the Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club!
Brian Calabrese was the early leader in the Amsterdam Truck Center Modified feature with the caution out at the completion of lap one for Dave Camara who suffered a flat left rear tire. He pitted and returned to the rear of the field for the restart. Danny Varin took over the lead on the restart with Jessica Friesen the new second place car after starting fifth.
Stewart Friesen started the event in the seventh position and moved to the front quickly, sitting in the fourth position on lap four and one lap later he was the new third place car after getting by Demetrious Drellos. Stewart got by his wife Jessica Friesen for the second position on lap eight and three laps later was the new race leader after getting by Varin on the inside of turns one and two.
Stewart Friesen, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, Drellos, and Cody Clark were in the top five at the halfway point with Drellos taking over the second position from Varin as Stewart Friesen was now out to a straightaway advantage with four lap cars in between himself and Drellos. Two yellow flags slowed the event with only a few laps to go but Stewart held the lead on the restarts and went on to his first win of the season and the 86th of his career at Fonda.
Drellos, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, and Bobby Varin completed the top five at the finish.
“Jay (Castimore) said that we were pretty good so if he says we’re pretty good we must be pretty good,” Friesen said in victory lane as his tire man Castimore examined the tires after the feature in FX Caprara Car Companies Victory Lane. “The track was challenging tonight, slick and a little choppy down low in turns one and two. A lot of us call this place Fondega because it is so fast, one of the gnarliest dirt tracks around, and we are very fortunate to have it in our back yard.”
The first night of handicapping in all divisions except for the Modifieds placed Zach Dufel and Mark Mortensen on the front row for the start of the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature. Mortensen wasted no time in taking the lead at the drop of the green flag and tried to put the bad luck that he had the first two weeks behind him.
Josh Kane was the second pace car at the start with Mortensen out to a 3.6 second lead on lap seven. Chad Edwards started the event in the 10th position and at that point in the event he was the new fourth place car with Mortensen splitting the lap cars of Don Bellen and Matthew Perry to maintain the lead which he continued to stretch out lap after lap.
The top five at the halfway point consisted Mortensen, Kane, Blaine Klinger, Edwards, and 12th place starter Peyton Talbot. Edwards was the new third place car on lap 18 after getting by Klinger for the spot. Klinger’s great run came to an end three laps later when he stopped on the backstretch to bring out the yellow, taking away the big lead that Mortensen had built up.
Mortensen led on the restart with another quick yellow coming out with no laps completed but he was able to pull away on the restart for his 26th career win in the division in the Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In, Person’s Farm’s, Palmer’s Service Center sponsored #1M DKM Car, tying him for first on the All-Time Win List in the division. Kane, Edwards, and Talbot raced hard for the second position over the final laps with Kane, Talbot, Edwards, and Aaron Burton completing the top five at the finish.
“The last couple of weeks have been kind of rough, one was my own fault and the other a broken driveshaft,” Mortensen explained in victory lane. “To start on the second row with handicapping starting tonight definitely helped. I pretty much stuck to the bottom, caught the lap cars, passed who I could, and kind of came to a standstill doing that. The starter was telling me I had some distance in the lead and then the yellow came out putting the cream of the crop right behind me.”
Jason Morrison led at the start of the 20-lap Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stock feature from his outside front row starting spot with Shane Playford second after starting fourth. Eighth place starter Kenny Gates was the new fourth third place car on lap six after getting by Luke Horning for the spot with the only yellow flag in the event coming out on lap six for a crash in turn two involving Ivan Joslin and Caden Dumblewski. Both were able to restart at the back of the field.
Horning went from fourth to second on the restart and one lap later Morrison, Horning, and Playford were three wide for the number one spot, which Horning was able to get on lap seven on the outside of turn four. Gates was the new second place car on lap 12, got by Horning for the lead one lap later, and went on to the back-to-back win in the Palmer’s Service Center, Happy Returns sponsored #35 for the 88th win of his career at Fonda which is on top of the All-Time Win List in the division.
Graves, Horning, Playford, and Josh Coonradt completed the top five.
“88 wins here that’s freakin’ incredible,” Gates told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “I can’t believe it, just so excited. I was committed to the bottom, Luke (Horning) was committed to the top, and Andy (Graves) was running great right in the black right down the middle. We stayed off of each other lap after lap and I’m like holy cow, don’t screw up a bit or there’s gonna be a big mess.
The last feature of the evening was the 15-lap Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman with Chris Kugler leading the first four laps from his pole position start. AJ Greco started the event in the fourth position and took over the lead on lap five with an inside move in turn three. Two more caution flags slowed the event, but Greco held on for his first career victory in the division over Johnny DuMond, Michael Kalkbrenner, Kugler, and Kyle Dingman.
“I knew Michael (Kalkbrenner) was behind me and he is pretty quick, so I was just trying to get good restarts,” Greco said. “It’s good to have my whole family here, I kind of forgot that tomorrow is Mother’s Day so when my dad asked what I got her I said maybe I can win her a trophy.”
Ken (SOHC) and Kerrie (DOHC) dominated the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature for their 87th and 36th career wind respectively. Adam Montville, Jon Mason, and Wayne Russell Jr. completed the top five.
Next Saturday May20 the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) 410-Sprint Cars presented by Mobil 1 will compete at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds track. When the schedule for the ASCoC was unveiled on Facebook and other media outlets back in December, local race fans took notice about the race date at Fonda with the drivers competing for $10,000 to win that evening!
The visit by the ASCoC marks the ninth time in Fonda Speedway history that 410 Sprint Cars have competed at the “Track of Champions”, with each of the previous four events falling under ASCoC sanctioning.
Shane Stewart (7/28/2002 World of Outlaw Gumout Series), Daryn Pitman (7/29/2003 410-Sprint Open), Craig Keel (7/14/2005 410-Sprint Open), and Danny Lasoski (7/18/2006 National Sprint Tour 410-Sprints) won the first four 410-Sprint events ever held at Fonda while the last four events, all sanctioned by the All-Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC), were won by Daryn Pittman (2010), Tim Shaffer (2011 & 2012), and Danny Dietrich (2013).
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 – 5/6/2023 HOLMES & KUGLER TOWING NIGHT
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – STEWART FRIESEN, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, Bobby Varin, Jack Lehner, Cody Clark, Brian Calabrese, Dave Constantino, David Schilling, Tucker O’Connor, Alex Yankowski, Brian Gleason, Chris Curtis, Bobby Hackel IV, Ronnie Johnson, Rocky Warner, Josh Hohenforst, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Pessolano, JaMike Sowle, Pep Corradi, Dave Camara, Shawn McPhee, Kolby Schroder, Dylan Scribner, Dale Gray
1st win of the 2023 season and the 86th of his career in the division at Fonda for Stewart Friesen
LAP LEADERS – 1 Calabrese, 2-10 Danny Varin, 11-30 Stewart Friesen
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Drellos, Constanino, Stewart Friesen
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Johnson
DID NOT QUALIFY – Kurtis Hohensheldt, Daniel Morgiewicz Jr., Brent Cross
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – MARK MORTENSEN, Josh Kane, Payton Talbot, Chad Edwards, Aaron Burton, Butchie Irwin, Stephen Gray, Jeremy Tyrrell, Troy Zilles, Clayton DuMond, Harry Shaffer, Tanner Warner, Michael McCallion, Brendan Gibbons, Chip Constantino, Brett Mortensen, Aaron Cross, Dylan Eldred, Jason Greco, Matthew Richardson, Jason Reome, Blaine Klinger, Zach Dufel, Don Bellen, Matt Perry, Clyde Peek, Dan Santabarbara
1st win of the 2023 season and the 26th of his career in the division at Fonda for Mark Mortensen who is now tied for 1st on the All-Time Win List in the division.
LAP LEADERS – 1-25 Mark Mortensen
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Talbot, Mark Mortensen, Edwards
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Zilles 26th to 12th
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – KENNY GATES, Andy Graves, Luke Horning, Shane Playford, Josh Coonradt, Beau Ballard, Ivan Joslin, Jason Morrison, Gary Silkey, Caden Dumblewski, AJ Walters, Jim Normoyle, Slater Baker, Michael Achzet, Randy Cosselman
2nd win of 2023 season and the 88th of his career in the division at Fonda for Gates
LAP LEADERS – 1-6 Morrison, 7-12 Horning, 13-20 Gates
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Horning, Morrison
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – AJ GRECO, Johnny DuMond, Michael Kalkbrenner, Chris Kugler, Kyle Dingman, John Anderson, Timmy Wilmot, Steve Wagoner, Lance Hill, Bobby Rhinehardt, Tim Deffer, Mike Hill, Kirsten Schwartz, Lucas Duncan, Dale Van Allen, Dylan Huston, Bella Pickard, Bob Rowback, Jim Mallia, Connor Prokop, Ryan Sweet, Jonathan Feagles, Gus Kamberelis (DNS), Phil Arnold (DNA
1st career win in the division for Greco
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 Kugler, 5-15 Greco
HEAT RACE WINNERS – DuMond, Greco, Wagoner
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), Adam Montville, Jon Mason, Wayne Russell, Jr., Tim Warner, David Peek Britten, Dan Haslun, John Napoli, Chris Duffney, Jr., TJ Marlitt, Len St. Andrews, John Ray, Brandon Ely
2nd win of the 2023 season and the 87th of his career in the division at Fonda for Ken Hollenback
2nd win of the 2023 season and the 36th of his career in the division at Fonda for Kerrie Hollenback
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Kerrie Hollenback, 3-12 Kerrie Hollenback