WARNER RACES TO SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON AT FONDA
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – A group effort
On Saturday evening at the Fonda Speedway, Rocky Warner started the Amsterdam Truck Center Modified feature in the ninth position, took the lead on a lap 26 restart and went on to his second win of the 2023 season and the 10th of his career in the division. In victory lane he summed it all up as a big group effort.
“It is a big group effort,” Warner said in victory lane. “We bust our humps on these cars, you can’t just wheel them anymore you’ve gotta be good and we were pretty good tonight. I gotta be honest with you, hats off to Marc Johnson. We rained out last night at Utica and he rained out at Malta, so he said listen if you want to bring the car down and we’ll go through it. We went down there, ate dinner with the wife, sent her home to bed and we worked on the car until 1:30 this morning.”
Other winners on the sixth racing program of the season under the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series banner at Fonda presented by Pro Care Total Property Management Company were Dan Santabarbara (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Kenny Gates (Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks), Mike Hill (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Ken Hollenback (SOHC) and Brandon Ely (DOHC) in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.
The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series were also in competition with the winners of those events including Don Briggs (Antique), Will Reed (Late Model), Carl Cram (Mystiques), Jack Miller (Modified), and Mike Francisco (Sportsman).
The New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) also presented Safety Awards of $75 and $50 to the top two finishers in each of the feature events that were members of the organization. The winners were Rocky Warner and JaMike Sowle (Modified), Dan Santabarbara and Jason Greco (Sportsman), Kenny Gates and Beau Ballard (Pro Stock), Mike Hill and Connor Prokop (Limited Sportsman), Ken Hollenback and Adam Montville (Four Cylinders).
The NYSSCA Safety Award winner in the MVVDMS were Don Briggs and Bryan Scofield (Antiques), Carl Cram and Harry Baldwin (Mystiques), Will Reed and John Roese (Late Models), Mike Francisco and Nathan McFadden (Sportsman), Jack Miller and Randy Delaney (Modified).
NYSSCA also presented special awards during opening ceremonies to six people including Wes Moody (Lifetime Achievement), Joe Kriss (Dedication to Racing in Memory of Harry Peek), Nick Stone (Dedication to Racing in Memory of Jim Langenback), Payton Talbot (Outstanding Performance during the 2022 Racing Season), Chris Persons (Dedication to Racing), and Jason Greco (Dedication to Racing).
Pastor Greg Nitz said a prayer during opening ceremonies while Mimi Lazzaro sang the National Anthem. It was a special evening for Mimi and her family as well as her father’s new book “LAZZARO: The Man and His Machines,” was launched and for sale at the track while the #4 Schwinning chassis sat in back of victory lane during the entire evening. Bowen from Broadalbin, NY was the winner of the $2,403 50/50 prize after a hard nights work by our 50/50 ticket sellers Julie, Heather, and Rose!
It took three tries to get the 30-lap Amsterdam Truck Center Modified feature underway with Dave Camara taking the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag. Rocky Warner started the event in the ninth position but moved to the front quickly, getting by JaMike Sowle for the third position on lap seven. Camara held a straightaway advantage by lap ten with Warner getting by Brian Pessolano for the second position with a slide job pass in turn two just past the halfway point.
While Warner was closing in on the lead car of Camara on lap 22, 12th place starter and last weeks winner Ronnie Johnson was also moving up through the field, getting by Sowle and Pessolano for the third position along with 11th place starter and defending track champion Matt DeLorenzo who followed Johnson through for the fourth position on lap 23.
When Chris Curtis slowed on the backstretch on lap 24 it brought out the only caution of the event and closed up the field. While under caution, Johnson went to the hot pit with a flat left front tire and restarted the event at the rear of the field. On the restart Danny Varin slowed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution yet again but the next restart saw Warner take the lead which he stretched out over the final few laps.
Sowle had a great restart, going from fourth to second with DeLorenzo and 10th place starter Jessica Friesen both getting by Pessolano for the third and fourth positions respectively. That was the way the race would finish with 15th place starter Demetrious Drellos finishing in the fifth position.
“Thanks to Tadd (car owner Tadd Parks) for giving me such a great car,” Warner said in F.X. Caprara Car Companies Victory Lane. “I showed Dave (Camara) my nose on the bottom, so I think that he thought that I was running the bottom. You don’t get to out school an old veteran like Dave, but we got one on him tonight I’m sure that he will get one back on us.”
Dan Santabarbara and Jason Greco started the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature on the front row with Santabarbara the early leader. By lap seven Santabarbara held a straightaway advantage over Greco with the yellow out on lap eight for a two-car wreck in turn four. Santabarbara held the lead on the restart while the battle was further back in the pack in the top five.
At the halfway point the top five consisted of Santabarbara, Greco, Troy Zilles, Michael McCallion, and Brett Mortensen. After battling for many laps, Mortensen got by McCallion for the fourth position while 10th place starter Tanner Warner and 11th place starter and current point leader Payton Talbot worked their way to the front.
While Santabarbara pulled away for the win in the Falconi Real Estate Investment & Development Group #7J and Greco and Zilles were solidly in the top three, Warner and Talbot both got by Mortensen for the fourth and fifth positions to complete the top five with Mortensen finishing in the sixth position. For Santabarbara it was his second career win in the division and his first of the 2023 season.
“We had a real good car,” Santabarbara told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane. “We had a bad couple of weeks, we got wrecked here on the frontstretch and then blew a motor. It has been a struggle, but we got through it. Thanks to Hunt’s, they gave me a hell of a bullet here tonight.”
Three wide competition has become a normal occurrence in the Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stock division and Saturday evening was no different. Jason Morrison led lap one with Andy Graves getting by Morrison for the lead on lap two with a pass on the inside of turn two. Jim Normoyle, Caden Dumblewski, and Morrison were three wide on lap four for the second position with Dumblewski getting the spot after battling down the middle of the other two cars.
Kenny Gates started the event in the eighth position and by lap six got by Dumblewski for the second spot while Graves was now out to a straightaway lead. The yellow flag was out on lap nine closing up the field with Graves, Gates, Shane Playford, ninth place starter Nick Stone, and seventh place starter Beau Ballard completing the top five.
After a side-by-side battle for many laps, Gates took the lead away from Graves on lap 13 with two more caution flags slowing the field to the checkered flag. One of the caution flags resulted in a red flag after Playford and Stone came together just outside of turn four resulting in Stone getting sideways and into the wall on the inside of the frontstretch Stone ended up on his roof on top of the wall with Dumblewski also involved after having no place to go. Stone and Dumblewski were both okay after the wreck.
Gates went on to his third win of the 2023 season and the 89th of his career in the division followed by Ballard who got the second position in the final laps. Graves, Playford, and 12th place starter Ivan Joslin completed the top five.
“This car is freakin’ awesome,” Gates said in victory lane. “Andy built me a rocket ship. We adapted well to this coil car and it’s going great. It used to always be a dry slick track was my kind of track and then the coil cars came along. We were struggling on the leaf’s but now this coil car has us really hooked up on the dry slick. We’re going good and it’s amazing how comfortable the car is.”
A competitive feature event in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman division saw three different leaders during the 15-lap event with Kirsten Swartz the first to lead the event. She led the first four laps of the event until Connor Prokop who was in the Hill #92C after a hard wreck in his own car last Saturday, took away the number one position with a pass on the inside of the backstretch.
Mike Hill started the event in the sixth position and took the lead away from Prokop on lap seven and led the remaining laps for his first career win in the division in the Stryker Trucking LLC sponsored #22. Prokop, seventh place starter Kyle Dingman, 10th place starter AJ Greco, and Swartz completed the top five.
“The car finally felt good for the first time here,” Hill said in victory lane. “Being here has always been a dream, to be here racing at Fonda and getting here to victory lane it’s great. I’ve been here in victory lane with Ballard and now it’s great to be here myself.”
Ken Hollenback (SOHC) and Brandon Ely (DOHC) were the winners in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.
“I guess I put the time in where other guys die on the starts and don’t run that good,” Hollenback said after his win. “Tonight, I got out handled but probably out horsed by 100 HP.”
“You can’t beat the K-Series Honda’s, Ely said after his victory. “That’s where it’s at, you want to win get a K. I had issues with a solenoid tonight but a quick trip to O’Reilly Auto Parts in Johnstown for a new part and a quick install as the cars were lining up for the feature got me here tonight.”
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – ROCKY WARNER, JaMike Sowle, Matt DeLorenzo, Jessica Friesen, Demetrious Drellos, Brian Calabrese, Dave Camara, Pep Corradi, Brian Pessolano, Bobby Hackel IV, Ronnie Johnson, Jack Lehner, Alex Yankowski, Chris Curtis, David Schilling, Tucker O’Connor, Dave Constantino, Ryan Walther, Danny Varin, Ryan Odasz, Ron Holmes, Cody Clark, Kurtis Hohensheldt (DNS)
2nd win of 2023 and 10th of his career in the division for Warner
LAP LEADERS – 1-25 Camara, 26-30 Warner
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Sowle, Camara, Corradi
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Warner ($75), Sowle ($50)
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – DAN SANTABARBARA, Jason Greco, Troy Zilles, Payton Talbot, Tanner Warner, Brett Mortensen, Chad Edwards, Michael McCallion, Chip Constantino, Butchie Irwin, Mark Mortensen, Brendan Gibbons, Stephen Gray, Matt Perry, Blaine Klinger, Jason Reome, Clayton DuMond, Jeremy Slosek, Dylen Eldred, Zach Dufel, Jeremy Tyrrell, Tim Dwyer, Mathew Richardson, Harry Shaffer, John DuMond
1st win of 2023 the 2nd of his career in the division for Santabarbara.
LAP LEADERS – 1-25 Santabarbara
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Santabarbara, Greco, Zilles
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Dwyer
DID NOT QUALIFY – Brent Cross, Clyde Peek, Kathy Bellen, Kadon Hohensheldt, Seth Martin, Jim Nagle
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Mark Mortensen 11 positions 22nd to 11th
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Santabarbara ($75), Greco ($50)
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – KENNY GATES, Beau Ballard, Andy Graves, Shane Playford, Ivan Joslin, Luke Horning, Josh Coonradt, Jason Morrison, Gary Silkey, John Holmes, Michael Achzet, Don Collins, Caden Dumblewski, Nick Stone, Chuck Dumblewski, Jim Normoyle, Randy Cosselman (DNS)
3rd win of 2023 and the 89th of his career in the division for Gates.
LAP LEADERS – 1 Morrison, 2-12 Graves, 13-20 Gates
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Playford, Horning
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Gates ($75), Ballard ($50)
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – MIKE HILL, Connor Prokop, Kyle Dingman, AJ Greco, Kirsten Swartz, Chris Kugler, Bobby Rhinehardt, John Anderson, Lance Hill, Timmy Wilmot, Michael Kalkbrenner, Lucas Duncan, Bob Rowback, Ryan Sweet, Dylan Huston, Jeff Bobilin, Jonathan Feagles, Tyler Bobar, Bella Pickard, Brandon Goodell, Steve Wagoner (DNS), Cian DiMezza (DNS)
1st win of 2023 and the 1st of his career in the division for Hill.
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 Swartz, 5-6 Prokop, 7-15 Hill
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Hill, Dingman, Swartz
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Hill ($75), Prokop ($50)
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – BRANDON ELY (DOHC), Ken Hollenback (SOHC), Adam Montville, Kerrie Hollenback, Slappy White, Tyler White, John Napoli, Keith Tesiero Jr., David Frame, Chris Dyer, Len St. Andrews, George Barringer, Wayne Russell Jr., Tim DeGrote, Tim Warner, Thomas Smith, David Peek-Britten, TJ Marlitt
2nd win of 2023 and the 3rd of his career in the division for Ely
5th win of 2023 and the 90th of his career in the division for Ken Hollenback
LAP LEADERS – 1 St. Andrews, 2-12 Ely
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Ken Hollenback ($75), Montville ($75)
CAPTAIN CARL’S LUXURY CRUISES/DONE BETTER POOLS NON-QUALIFIERS RACE FOR SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN CARS – 5-LAPS – Brent Cross
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) ANTIQUE FEATURE – DON BRIGGS, Bryan Scofield, Cliff Haslun, Mike Wheeler, John Wood, Jim Glass, Jimmy Hyde
NYSSCA SAFETY AWARD WINNERS – Briggs, Scofield
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MYSTIQUE FEATURE – CARL CRAM, Harry Baldwin, Peter Nowicki, George Palmer, George Berbench, Mark Anatriello, Frank Brown
NYSSCA Safety Award Winners – Cram, Baldwin
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) LATE MODEL FEATURE – WILL REED, John Roese, Matt Mosher, Ed Docskalik, Curtis Condon
NYSSCA Safety Award Winners – Reed, Roese
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) SPORTSMAN FEATURE – MIKE FRANCISCO, Nathan McFadden, Tim Hegarty, Jon Trudeau, Malachi Matthews, Brian Gray, John Constantino, Jimmy Fugel, Merv Blackwell
NYSSCA Safety Award Winners – Francisco, McFadden
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MODIFIED FEATURE – JACK MILLER, Randy Delaney, Anthony Cardamone, Phil Beaver, Don Colvin, Darral Hulbert, Joe Rando
NYSSCA Safety Award Winners – Miller, Delaney