By: Ron Szczerba

Fonda, NY – the Amsterdam Truck Center Modified “Ultimate Underdog 33” took place on Thursday evening on day one of the 2023 edition of the Fonda 200. The race was open to any driver unable to pick up a Modified victory at any speedway this season. When the checkered flag flew it was Danny Varin taking his first Modified victory of the season in the BDR Speed #16S for a $2,000 victory.

“Yeah I kind of like that stuff,” Danny Varin said in victory lane referencing all of the cautions and attrition during the race. “I’ll tell you it’s all bout hitting your marks, it’s all about missing little spots, it’s all bout technique. I think that I thrive on that stuff, so I didn’t mind it at all tonight.”

The Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman were also in action with Mike Arnold taking the first win of his carer in the division at Fonda. Arnold had four wins prior to this one in the Street Stock division at Fonda.

Opening ceremonies began with an invocation from Pastor Greg Nitz followed by the Canadian Anthem sung by Mimi Lazzaro and then the National Anthem which was sung by Fonda Speedway starter Joe Kriss. The 50/50 was won by Eric from Johnstown and was worth $1,011!

The green flag flew for the start of the 33-lap “Underdog 33” Amsterdam Truck Center Modified event with outside pole position starter Alex Yankowski taking the lead followed by the inside front row starter Ryan Odasz in the Magsarus #93. By lap five Yankowski was out to a straightaway advantage and two laps later he was in lap traffic.

The field got bunched up on a lap eight restart resulting in severe damage to the #1X of Willy Decker who was running in the eighth position at the time bringing out the caution flag. Yankowski continued to lead on the single file restart with 21st place starter Dave Camara in the 10th position at the time as Yankowski again pulled away to a big lead over Odasz.

Despite the big lead Yankowski had built up it definitely wasn’t a Sunday afternoon drive as he encountered two cars in front of him on the backstretch just before the halfway point that came in contact with each other forcing Yankowski to take quick action to avoid them. At the halfway point in the event Yankowski led with Odasz, Danny Varin, Tyler Dippel, and Bobby Varin in the top five.

Danny Varin took over the second position from Odasz on lap 23 and looking at the average lap times in the event on My Race Pass at this point in the race, Yankowski was turning 0.50 sec faster laps than Danny Varin and again pulled away from the field. Another scare for the leader occurred with five laps remaining in the event when a lap car went to drive off the track on the backstretch forcing Yankowski to put his car sideways in order to avoid.

The yellow came out again at this point for Jason Reome who suffered a collapsed front end and while the field was under caution the leader Yankowski was forced to the pit area with left rear suspension damage handing the lead over to Danny Varin with only a few laps remaining. Dippel took the second position away from Odasz just before the final caution of the event flew with three laps remaining, but his great run came to an end shortly afterwards when he hit the frontstretch wall and suffered a flat tire.

“He (Yankowski) has had some bad luck, more times than not we’ve been following him around the speedway this year when something has gone wrong,” Danny Varin said. “It really sucked for him, he had everybody covered tonight.”

Danny Varin led the final laps for his 12th career win in the division at Fonda followed by his father Bobby Varin who took the second position from Odasz late in the event, Odasz, seventh place starter Dave Constantino, and 12th place starter Brian Calabrese.

“We’re building with this team,” Danny Varin said. “Thanks to everyone involved on this car, a lot of them I haven’t even met yet. It is really a huge group effort. I try to praise all the guys that have been with me a long time, without them I wouldn’t even be racing. This win is a good boost for the team and hopefully we can build off of this.”

Tim Deffer led at the start of the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman feature with Jeff Bobilin in tow. Deffer’s straightaway advantage was taken away on lap four when the caution came out with sixth place starter AJ Greco taking the second position away from Bobilin on the restart. Mike Arnold started the event in the eighth position and was the new third place car on lap ten after also getting by Bobilin.

Deffer restarted on the outside after a caution on the next lap and lost the lead to Greco at that point with Arnold also getting by Deffer for the second position on lap 12. Two consecutive yellow flags slowed the field on laps 13 & 14 with Greco still leading followed by Arnold and 15th place starter Tyler Bobar. Greco chose the outside for the restart and that proved to be the wrong choice with Arnold taking the lead away when the race restarted.

“Once he (Greco) grabbed the top and left me the bottom, I knew if we could drive it into one and two harder than him that it would definitely stick to the bottom and tonight seemed like the night to definitely be on the bottom.”

Bobar’s night came to an end with four laps to go when he drove to the pit area making it a two car race to the win between Arnold and Greco. Arnold crossed the finish line first to score his first career win in the division in the New Day Motors #76 followed by Greco, Connor Crane, Deffer, and Mike Hill.

“We had some damage with our car at Albany Saratoga and Lebanon Valley recently,” Arnold said. “So, I reached out to Mitch Poole that we wanted to finish out the season could we use your car, and he said come down and get it. If he didn’t let us use it we weren’t going to be here tonight.”

The second day of the 2023 Fonda 200 weekend continues today, Friday with Amsterdam Truck Center Modified qualifying for the Fonda 200 along with the Below Zero Ice Cream Pro Stocks, the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders, the CRSA Sprint cars, and the Street Stocks. The 15-lap Amsterdam Truck Center Modified qualifiers will all be worth $500 to the winner thanks to sponsorship from Fastline Performance, DKM Fabrication, Upstate Auto, and Scott Hamlin Racing.

Fonda Speedway Weekly Report

Miss any action from last week’s racing? The Fonda Speedway weekly report can take care of that. A 90 second summary of the previous Saturday racing action will air throughout the week across seven local radio stations including:

WCSS 1490 & 106.9 in Amsterdam/Schenectady

WIZR 930 & 102.9 in Johnstown/Fonda/Gloversville

WKAJ 1120 & 97.9 in St. Johnsville/Canajoharie

WYVS 96.5 in Speculator and the North Country

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 – 9/14/2023 DAY 1 OF THE 2023 FONDA 200 WEEKEND

AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIED “UNDERDOG 33” FEATURE – 33-LAPS – DANNY VARIN, Bobby Varin, Ryan Odasz, Dave Constantino, Brian Calabrese, Stephen Gray, Tyler Dippel, Bill August, Alex Yankowski, Chris Curtis, Derel Bornt, Jason Reome, Pep Corradi, Dave Camara, Jessica Friesen, Willy Decker, Ronnie Holmes, George Foley, Matt Sobiech, Clayton DuMond, David Manchester, Ancel Collins, Dan Santabarbara, Michael Trautschold

1st win of 2023 and the 12th of his career in the division for Danny Varin

LAP LEADERS – 1-28 Yankowski, 29-33 Danny Varin

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Yankowski, Calabrese, Bobby Varin


DID NOT QUALIFY – Garrett Poland, Mark Pullen, Chip Constantino, Carter Gibbons, Tanner Warner, Jim Mahaney, Brett Mortensen, Harry Shaffer, Andy Graves

MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 20-LAPS – MIKE ARNOLD, AJ Greco, Connor Crane, Tim Deffer, Mike Hill, Lance Hill, Jonathan Feagles, Phil Arnold, Corky Warner, Nick Arnold, Josh Coonradt, Kirsten Swartz, Chris Kugler, Jim Mallia, John Anderson, Lucas Duncan, Maddy Broedel, Bob Rhinehardt, Walter Cook, Michael Kalkbrenner, Jeff Bobilin, Kyle Dingman, Tyler Bobar, Steve Wagoner, Brandon Tyler, Dale Van Allen, Kolton Weiler, Bob Rowback, Bill Port, Keith Burkart, Collin Williams (DNS), Joel Knudsen Jr. (DNS)

1st career win in the division at Fonda for Mike Arnold

LAP LEADERS – 1-10 Deffer, 11-14 Greco, 15-20 Mike Arnold

HEAT RACE WINNERS – Mike Arnold, Crane, Bobilin