By: Ron Szczerba

Fonda, NY – Meant to be.

Stewart Friesen traveled to the Fonda Speedway on Saturday evening to take part in a special event honoring someone who was a dear friend of his after competing in the Craftsman Truck Series event in Charlotte on Friday evening.

Taking the lead on lap “22” of the inaugural Dave Lape Memorial event, he went on to his second win of the 2023 season and the 87th of his career at the “Track of Champions” in the Amsterdam Truck Center Modified/F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series event with a $4,022 prize awaiting him in victory lane.

Fittingly Dave Lape’s favorite song “Against the Wind” played as Friesen drove from the scale area to F.X. Caprara Car Companies Victory Lane.

“Dave was my hero as a little kid,” Friesen said to Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “I grew up out west at the Ransomville Speedway and when he came to town with his family, who were close to my family, he let me sit in his racecar, ride my minibike in his trailer, and hang out with the guys for the races. When I raced for Tadd Parks we got to park next to Dave in the pits and those are probably some of the best memories I have of him and racing here at Fonda. Super special to get this win on his night.”

Other winners on M.W. Roosevelt & Son/Roosevelt’s Towing night at Fonda were Peyton Talbot (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Beau Ballard (Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks), Jonathan Feagles (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Ken (SOHC) and Kerrie (DOHC) in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.

The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) were also in competition Saturday at Fonda with the winners including Don Briggs (Antiques), John Roese (Late Model), John Marks (Mystiques), Randy Delaney (Modified), and Malachi Matthews (Sportsman).

Pastor Greg Nitz said the prayer during opening ceremonies followed by the National Anthem sung by 11-year-old Olivia Delaney, granddaughter of Randy Delaney who won the MVVDMS Modified feature later that evening. Gavin from Central Bridge was the 50/50 winner which was worth $2,945!

Four #22 cars were in competition on Saturday evening at Fonda, Joe Rando in the black #22 replica of the “Troyer Destroyer” in the Vintage division, Anthony Cardamone in the blue #22 which was the last Champ Car that Lape ever built that was actually raced with many wins and championships in 1990 and 1991 also in the Vintage division, John Orsini in the #22 Cadillac bodied replica car in the Vintage division, and Mike Hill in the red #22 that competed in the Limited Sportsman division. All four cars paced the field before the 30-lap Dave Lape Memorial feature event.

“Thank you to everyone for being here tonight,” Jackie Lape said to the crowd. “It is a great place to be on a Saturday night. David was dedicated to the Fonda Speedway, he loved it. His father started him out here in 1965 and he was at Fonda for 50 years. It was our family; it was what we did. Jessica was here at six days old, and David won the feature the following Saturday night.”

“We have so many wonderful memories from this place, a few memories that weren’t great,” Jackie continued to say. “When you’re a racer, you just race and if you did good great and if you don’t you keep on pushing on to the next day. That is what David taught us the most, that was some of his final words and I think this would work for everyone, you just keep going, do what you do, be good to others, and you just keep going and be happy.”

A redraw for starting positions placed Bobby Hackel IV and defending track champion Matt DeLorenzo on the front row with DeLorenzo the race leader at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. Unfortunately, the field didn’t complete a lap due to the red flag coming out for a four-car wreck in turn one which blocked the track. Two more restarts were necessary before any laps were completed with DeLorenzo taking the early lead.

Stewart Friesen started the event in the sixth position and moved methodically to the front, taking the third position away by lap two and one lap later got by Bobby Hackel IV for the second spot. The yellow was out again on lap six for a two-car wreck in turn four with DeLorenzo choosing the inside for the restart. DeLorenzo maintained the lead with Friesen chasing behind while Jack Lehner and Demetrious Drellos both got by Hackel for the third and fourth positions.

At the halfway point in the event, DeLorenzo was in lap traffic and was followed in the top five by Friesen, Lehner, Drellos and Hackel. On the outside of the backstretch on lap “22”, Friesen took the lead away from DeLorenzo with the yellow out shortly afterwards for Shawn McPhee who went up in a cloud of steam with possible overheating issues.

“I could get to Matt (DeLorenzo) but then I would screw up or get in dirty air and he would check out,” Friesen said. “I knew that lap traffic was gonna be our shot and I was able to get to him in lap traffic. He chose the bottom in turns one and two and I was able to roll the top and clear him. I knew that the Halmar 44 would be good in clean air, and I set sail.”

Friesen chose the inside for the restart and stretched out his advantage lap after lap to the checkered flag for his second win of the 2023 season and the 87th of his career in the division followed in the top five by DeLorenzo, Drellos, Lehner, and 12th place starter Rocky Warner.

“Matty was definitely tough, it was good racing with him and everyone else that was here tonight for the Dave Lape Memorial/Thunder on the Thruway Series event, Friesen said. “This one is for Jon Gurley. He was our fabricator on the Halmar Truck Team, we shared a lot of beers together and had a lot of fun. I want to dedicate this win to him and his family.”

Chad Edwards took the lead in the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature after a redraw placed him on the front row for the start. Just as the Modified feature took three tries to get started the same happened in the Sportsman division with Edwards in control when lap one was completed. Defending Track Champion Peyton Talbot started the event in the fourth position and before you knew it he was the new second place car at the completion of lap two.

Talbot took the lead away from Edwards on lap three with a pass on the backstretch and was in lap traffic by lap nine with the yellow coming out at that point for Brendan Gibbons who suffered a flat right rear tire while running sixth. He returned to the rear of the field on the restart. Talbot chose the outside for the restart with the top five at that point consisting of Talbot, Edwards, Joe Toth, Blaine Klinger, and 14th place starter Tanner Warner.

The restart was beneficial to the sixth place running car of Mark Mortensen who gained two spots up to the fourth position and then by the halfway point Mortensen ran third after a great race with Klinger for the spot. Talbot was again in lap traffic with four laps to go but he had enough of a lead that nobody would challenge him as he went on to his third win of 2023 and the seventh of his career in the division over Edwards, Mortensen, Klinger, and Toth.

“The car was pretty good,” Talbot told Mimi Lazzaro. “I thought that it was gonna be a little sketchy tonight, but we made some adjustments, and they worked out pretty good. The top in one and two was good and you could really hustle on entry. It was definitely a drivers track tonight.”

All Time Win leader in the Below Zero Ice Cream division Kenny Gates led at the drop of the green flag in the 20-lap main event with Shane Playford second. Sixth and eighth place starters, Beau Ballard and Nick Stone moved into the third and fourth positions respectively on lap four with Ballard making his way by Playford for the second position on lap nine after a side-by-side battle.

Gates led at the halfway point followed by Ballard, Playford, Stone, and Luke Horning with the yellow flag out for Ivan Joslin on lap ten. On the restart, Ballard was the new race leader after getting under Gates for the lead with Gates getting shuffled back to eighth in the process. Stone was the new second place car on lap 13 with Playford behind him with the yellow out again with five laps to go.

Despite one more caution flag with two laps remaining, Ballard pulled away to his first win of the season and the fourth of his career in the division followed by Stone, Playford, Horning, and Gates who got back up to the fifth position.

“We’ve been struggling pretty hard the last few weeks with this new car,” Ballard said in victory lane. “I thought that we were on to something the first week then we just back peddled from there. Spent a lot of time in the garage this week making changes and I think we finally made the right ones; this thing was a rocket.”

Jonathan Feagles led all 15 laps in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature for his first career win in the division over Michael Kalkbrenner, Kyle Dingman, Steve Wagoner, and Connor Prokop.

Ken (SOHC0 and Kerrie (DOHC) Hollenback were the winners of the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature events.


AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER/F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES DAVE LAPE MEMORIAL MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – STEWART FRIESEN, Matt DeLorenzo, Demetrious Drellos, Jack Lehner, Rocky Warner, David Schilling, Jessica Friesen, Matt Sheppard, Bobby Hackel IV, Josh Hohenforst, Max McLaughlin, Dave Constantino, Chris Curtis, Ronnie Johnson, Tucker O’Connor, Alex Yankowski, Pep Corradi, Cody Clark, JaMike Sowle, Dace Camara, Bobby Varin, Shawn McPhee, Ron Holmes, Brian Pessolano, Brian Calabrese, Brent Cross, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Daniel Morgiewicz

2nd win of 2023 and the 87th of his career at Fonda for Friesen.

LAP LEADERS – 1-21 DeLorenzo, 22-30 Friesen

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Hackel, Varin, Stewart Freisen


$22 from Palmer’s Service Center for drivers who drew the 22nd spot in the initial draw in all divisions – Max McLaughlin (Modified), Jason Greco (602 Crate Sportsman), Shane Playford (Pro Stock).

$122 Dave Lape’s Ladies 2nd place – Matt DeLorenzo

$122 Mimi Lazzaro & Sheila Palmer 4th place finisher – Jack Lehner

$99 Sacandaga Seamless Gutters/Nigel Skottke 7th place finisher – Jessica Friesen

$122 Riley Mortuary/Pat Riley 8th place finisher – Matt Sheppard

$250 Fulton County Electric/Jim Senzio 11th place finisher – Max McLaughlin

$122 Dave Lape’s Ladies 13th place – Chris Curtis

$122 Dave Lape’s Ladies 22nd place – Shawn McPhee

$76 Palmer’s Service Center/Alton & Carole Palmer 22nd place finisher – Shawn McPhee

$122 B & B Dumpster Rentals/Bodie Bellinger Hard Charger – Jessica Friesen +8 15th to 7th.

$122 Sacandaga Seamless Gutters/Nigel Skottke last car on lead lap – JaMike Sowle

SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL/F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – PEYTON TALBOT, Chad Edwards, Mark Mortensen, Blaine Klinger, Joe Toth, Tanner Warner, Clayton DuMond, Jason Reome, Dylan Eldred, Chip Constantino, Jeremy Tyrrell, Jim Nagle, Stephen Gray, Brendan Gibbons, Michael McCallion, Seth Martin, David Hackett Jr., Josh Kane, Brent Cross, Don Bellen, Harry Shaffer, Brian Calabrese, Jason Greco, Troy Zilles, Aaron Burton, Brett Mortensen, Butchie Irwin

3rd win of 2023 and the 7th of his career for Talbot.

11th place finisher Jeremy Tyrrell won a $250 bonus from Jim Senzio of Fulton County Electric

LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Edwards, 3-25 Talbot

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Edwards, Constantino, Talbot, Calabrese


DID NOT QUALIFY – John DuMond, Clyde Peek, Kathy Bellen, Zach Dufel, Matt Perry, Lance Hill, Dan Santabarbara


BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM/F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – BEAU BALLARD, Nick Stone, Shane Playford, Luke Horning, Kenny Gates, Caden Dumblewski, Josh Coonradt, Gary Silkey, Ivan Joslin, Jason Morrison, Randy Cosselman, Slater Baker, Kyle Weller, Johnny Holmes, Jim Normoyle, Michael Achzet, Andy Garves (DNS)

1st win of 2023 and the 4th of his career for Ballard.

LAP LEADERS – 1-10 Gates, 11-20 Ballard

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Stone

Special thanks to the Man with the Red Chair who paid a bonus of $100 to each finisher from 2nd to 11th in the Pro Stock feature.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – JONATHAN FEAGLES, Michael Kalkbrenner, Kyle Dingman, Steve Wagoner, Connor Prokop, John Anderson, Mike Hill, Gus Kamberelis, Kirsten Swartz, Bobby Rhinehart, Lance Hill, Dylan Huston, Chris Kugler, Lucas Duncan, Jim Mallia, Bob Rowback, Timmy Wilmot, AJ Greco, Zach Welch, Bella Pickard, Ryan Sweet, Brandon Tyler

1st career win for Feagles

LAP LEADERS – 1-15 Feagles

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Feagles, Rhinehart

FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), Keith Tesiero Jr., Len St. Andrews, Chris Duffney Jr., David Peek-Britten, TJ Marlitt, Tim Warner, Wayne Russell Jr., Adam Montville, Todd Morey

3rd win of 2023 and the 88th of his career for Ken Hollenback

3rd win of 2023 and the 37th career win for Kerrie Hollenback

LAP LEADERS – 1-6 Montville, 7-12 Ken Hollenback


MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) ANTIQUE FEATURE – DON BRIGGS, Bryan Scofield, Mike Wheeler, John Wood, Cliff Haslun, Jimmy Hyde, Brent Williams, Harley Sheppard, John Orsini, Dustin Chapman, Malcum Warner, Mark Tomek, Tony Kamberelis (DNS), Mike Gray (DNS)

MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MYSTIQUE FEATURE – JOHN MARKS, Carl Cram, Harry Baldwin, George Berbench, George Palmer, Mark Anatriello, Dan Karl, Peter Nowicki


MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) SPORTSMAN FEATURE – MALACHI MATTHEWS, Mike Francisco, Jimmy Fugel, Merv Blackwell, Jon Trudeau, Nathan McFadden, Frank Brown, Brian Gray, John Constantino

MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MODIFIED FEATURE – RANDY DELANEY, Joe Rando, Jack Miller, Anthony Cardamone, Jon Kulesco, Don Colvin, Darral Hulbert (DNS)