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SHEPPARD TAKES $10,000 FIRECRACKER 50 WIN AT FONDA
1602
7/4/2024

7/4/2024

Fonda Speedway


SHEPPARD TAKES $10,000 FIRECRACKER 50 WIN AT FONDA

By: Ron Szczerba

Fonda, NY – It was an epic battle between two Matt’s. As Fonda Speedway announcer Chris Moore said it was a battle between “Super Matt” and “Money Matt.” At the conclusion of 50-laps, “Super Matt” was the winner of the Firecracker 50 and the $10,000 prize after a see saw battle over the last half of the event. The win was the seventh of his career at the “Track of Champions.”

It was the second win in “Firecracker 50” events at Fonda for Sheppard after winning it last year in 2023 and the fifth win for Sheppard in events of 50-laps or more at Fonda.

Other winners on the eve of Fourth of July were Payton Talbot in the $2,000 to win Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman and Chris Stalker in the special $500 to win Street Stock race sponsored by Online Performance Parts/Stone Motorsports. The Bill Ag Memorial Match Races were also run on Wednesday at Fonda with Rocky Warner the overall winner of the event.

Pole position starter Ronnie Johnson started the 50-lap event with the yellow out at the completion of lap one. Warner’s win in the Bill Ag event was the highlight of the night for him as he slowed in turn three and was towed back to the pit area. Alex Payne was done for the evening at that point as well with Bobby Hackel IV going to the hot pit and rejoining the rear of the field.

Mat Williamson was the leader on the restart with fifth place starter Stewart Friesen the new second pace car on lap four after getting by Johnson for the spot. On a lap six restart, Friesen was the new race leader after beating Williamson into turn one and from that point on he pulled away to a comfortable lead.

At the halfway point, Friesen was the race leader followed in the top five by Williamson, Anthony Perrego, Matt Sheppard, and Johnson. Two laps past the halfway point, Friesen slowed in turn two with a flat right rear tire with Williamson taking over the race lead. The last 20 laps were hard fought between Williamson and Sheppard as they swapped the lead numerous times.

After a one lap side by side battle, Sheppard took his first lead of the event on lap 29 just beating Williamson to the finish line to complete the lap. Sheppard’s lead only lasted one lap as on the next restart Williamson took the lead away with the next ten laps staying green until Johnson ended up in the tire wall between turns three and four. Johnson was okay but was done for the evening at that point.

Williamson led on the restart but that only lasted for one lap with Sheppard getting by for the lead in turn four and pulling away at that point. Two laps later the yellow flag brought the field back to Sheppard when Roger Henion Jr. suffered a flat left rear tire. On the restart, the red flag was out for a wreck involving Henion, Jessica Friesen, and Cody Clark in turn three where Henion flipped his car several times. Jessica Friesen and Clark were both able to restart at the rear of the field and Henion was okay after the wreck.

Under red flag conditions, the sixth place running car of Jack Lehner and the eighth place running car of Michael Maresca both ran out of fuel and were forced to the pit area. They both restarted at the rear of the field, but with only 13 cars left on the track they still were able to get a good finish at the checkered flag.

On the restart, Sheppard chose the inside groove and took the lead at the drop of Joe Kriss’ green flag with Williamson trying his best to get a run on the outside of the track. Williamson was unable to do so with Sheppard going on to the win in the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply #9S followed in the top five by Williamson, Perrego, eighth place starter Alex Yankowski, and seventh place starter Tyler Dippel.

“What a crazy race and turn of events,” Sheppard told Jeff Ahlum in victory lane. “I fell back at the drop of the green flag, got a good restart the next time, drove up through then a bad restart and back to fifth again. It was just back and forth. The car got better the longer we ran but weird tire cycles for sure. What a big win, about time I won one of these STSS events I didn’t want you to forget about me.”

“Hopefully it was a good race for the fans,” Williamson said after his podium finish. “I couldn’t do anything after about three laps past the restart, the outside would get crumbed up. I was really driving that thing in; this Clement’s open motor really pulls. Once the top got dirty Matt would pull away and I didn’t have anything for him.”

“They both (Sheppard and Williamson) had really good cars,” Perrego said after his third place finish. “I fell like when we had a longer green flag run my car would come back. All in all, it was a good night here at Fonda, to be on the podium here with these two guys gives us something to look forward to for the Fonda 200.”

Brian Calabrese started the 25-lap Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature on the pole after the luck of the draw and took the early race lead. The red flag was out with no laps completed for Clayton DuMond who flipped numerous times in turn three after another car tapped him in the left rear. DuMond was okay after the wreck.

Calabrese led on the original restart with Payton Talbot and Brendan Gibbons both getting by Ricky Quick for positions in the top four. Talbot took the second position away from Chad Edwards on lap ten and lap after lap closed in on Calabrese, getting by Calabrese for the lead on lap 17. Despite two more caution flags nobody had anything for Talbot as he went on to his third win of the season and the 14th of his career at Fonda in the Belmont’s Garage #14T.

Calabrese, Edwards, Quick, and Gibbons completed the top five.

“This was a crazy race,” Talbot said after his victory. “Starting fourth with those two (Calabrese and Edwards) on the front row I knew it was going to be tough. This car was just amazing, and I can’t thank Andy Belmont enough.”

Chris Stalker led the first two laps of the Street Stock feature before Adam Tranka took the lead away on lap three. Tranka was headed for his second career win at Fonda until turn four of the final lap when something broke on the car and he slowed in turn four.

Stalker took over the lead and crossed the finish line first for his first career win at Fonda, worth $500 thanks to Online Performance Parts/Stone Motorsports over seventh place starter Jason Samrov, ninth place starter Andrew Fitzgerald, 11th place starter Josh Samrov, and 10th place starter Slater Baker.

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.

AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIEDS
Firecracker 50 Feature (50 Laps): 1. 9S-Matt Sheppard[6]; 2. 3W-Mat Williamson[3]; 3. 4P-Anthony Perrego[4]; 4. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[8]; 5. 1D-Tyler Dippel[7]; 6. 44-Stewart Friesen[5]; 7. 01-Chris Raabe[22]; 8. 9J-Marc Johnson[2]; 9. 1Z-Jessica Friesen[17]; 10. 7MM-Michael Maresca[21]; 11. 02-Jack Lehner[13]; 12. 35M-Mike Mahaney[16]; 13. 34-Dave Constantino[19]; 14. 4-Cody Clark[15]; 15. 21-Gary Edwards III[18]; 16. 19JR-Roger Henion Jr[27]; 17. 2RJ-Ronnie Johnson[1]; 18. 111-Demetrios Drellos[10]; 19. 42-Tucker O'Connor[24]; 20. 24P-Brian Pessolano[20]; 21. 879-Darryl Mitchell[25]; 22. 22W-Brandon Walters[23]; 23. 35B-Francois Bellemare[26]; 24. 28T-Michael Trautschold[14]; 25. 70A-Alex Payne[9]; 26. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[11]; 27. 1-Rocky Warner[12]

Bill Ag Match Race #1 (2 Laps): 1. 02-Jack Lehner; 2. 7MM-Michael Maresca[1]

Bill Ag Match Race #2 (2 Laps): 1. 02-Jack Lehner; 2. 2RJ-Ronnie Johnson[1]

Bill Ag Match Race #3 (2 Laps): 1. 02-Jack Lehner; 2. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[1]

Bill Ag Match Race #4 (2 Laps): 1. 84Y-Alex Yankowski; 2. 02-Jack Lehner[1]

Bill Ag Match Race #5 (2 Laps): 1. 1-Rocky Warner[1]; 2. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[2]

MONEY WON IN BILL AG MATCH RACES BY DRIVER
Jack Lehner - $1,900
Rocky Warner - $1,100
Alex Yankowski - $926
Michael Maresca - $100
Ronnie Johnson - $100
Bobby Hackel - $100

44 entries
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 14T-Payton Talbot[4]; 2. 21C-Brian Calabrese[1]; 3. 10%-Chad Edwards[2]; 4. 84-Ricky Quick[3]; 5. B24-Brendan Gibbons[8]; 6. 89-Dylan Madsen[11]; 7. 1B-Brett Mortensen[5]; 8. 117N-Butchie Irwin[14]; 9. 78-Tanner Warner[16]; 10. 12T-Tyler Peet[18]; 11. 96-Michael McCallion[9]; 12. 82H-David Hackett[19]; 13. 31J-John DuMond[17]; 14. 12P-Connor Prokop[20]; 15. 9K-Blaine Klinger[24]; 16. 03-Joshua Jock[25]; 17. 00X-Josh Coonradt[23]; 18. 123-Dale Welty[26]; 19. 14J-Jeremy Tyrrell[13]; 20. 63-Chip Constantino[6]; 21. 42H-Kadon Hohensheldt[10]; 22. 38SP-Jared LaBagh[7]; 23. 25-Stephen Gray[22]; 24. 7J-Dan Santabarbara[21]; 25. 1M-Mark Mortensen[27]; 26. 314-Clayton DuMond[12]; 27. 27-Michael Ballestero[15]

Greco’s NAPA Hard Charger – Blaine Klinger +9

18 entries
ONLINE PERFORMANCE/STONE MOTORSPORTS STREET STOCKS
Stone Motorsports/Online Performance Feature (20 Laps): 1. 177-Chris Stalker[1]; 2. 24V-Jason Samrov[7]; 3. 5VT-Andrew Fitzgerald[9]; 4. 24N-Josh Samrov[11]; 5. 17-Slater Baker[10]; 6. 71-Rob VanAernam[12]; 7. 24M-Dan Madigan[3]; 8. 54T-Adam Tranka[2]; 9. 711-Jason Barrett[14]; 10. 77-James Dellea[5]; 11. 08-Lou Gancarz[13]; 12. 72-Ray Pierre Jr[15]; 13. 7-Chris Murray[4]; 14. 54-Wayne Russell Jr[16]; 15. 91-Matt Mosher[6]; 16. 39-Matt Wells[8]; 17. (DNS) 44-Malcolm Warner; 18. (DNS) 89-Mike Duggan

SPECIAL AWARDS FROM THE BILL AG MEMORIAL COMMITTEE
Awarded by driver
Jack Lehner - $ 1,811 plus $300 Andy’s Speed Shop Gift Certificate
Rocky Warner - $1,400
Alex Yankowski - $1,026
Roger Henion Jr. - $350
Stewart Friesen - $300
Bobby Hackel - $300
Ronnie Johnson - $300
Chris Raabe - $300
Brian Calabrese - $250
Dave Constantino - $250
Marc Johnson - $200
Michael Maresca - $200
Anthony Perrego - $200
Mat Williamson - $200
Jessica Friesen - $150
Francois Bellemare - $100
Cody Clark - $100
Tyler Dippel - $100
Demetrios Drellos - $100
Gary Edwards - $100
Mike Mahaney - $100
Darryl Mitchell - $100
Tucker O’Connor - $100
Brian Pessolano - $100
Alex Payne - $100
Matt Sheppard - $100
Michael Trautschold - $100
Brandon Walters - $100
Mat Williamson - $100
Round 1 -$500 Jack Lehner
Rick &Tom Kietlinski - $250
Tadd Parks-$100
The Hazzard family In memory of Wayne Hazzard -$50
Andy's Speed Shop - $100 Gift Certificate
Round 2 - $600 Jack Lehner
Melissa Rava- $250
Chris & Erin Abele -$200
Alan Hosbach -$50
Andy's Speed Shop -$100 Gift Certificate
Round 3- $700 Jack Lehner
Happy Harry Shaffer & Shelly - $350
Auspelmyer Excavating & Paving -$250
Andy's Speed Shop -$100 Gift Certificate
Round 4- $826 Alex Yankowski
Swagger Factory Apparel - $301
Pro-Tech Scale Service - $250
Tadd Parks - $100
Brian Wisler - Mac Tools - $100
In Memory of Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief J. Michael Mancini - $50
Martin Kelly - $25
Final Round - $1,100 * Rocky Warner*
DirtTrackDigest - $500
Randy Mallett - $150
Tadd Parks - $300
Louise & Tom Carville -$100
Ed Lamberton/ Wheel People - $50
Elimination Awards - $100 Each
Mark Siegenthaler - 1st driver eliminated Micheal Maresca
Chad Edwards - 2nd driver eliminated Ronnie Johnson
Fonda Speedway 50/50 Ladies - 3rd driver eliminated Bobby Hackel
Mimi Lazzaro - 4th driver eliminated Jack Lehner
Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modifieds - 5th driver eliminated Alex Yankowski
Fastest Elimination Race lap
Larry Wrobel - $100 Jack Lehner
6 thru 10 in points timed hot laps
Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour - Fastest time - $100 Bobby Hackel - 18.425
In Memory of Timmy Coughlin - 2nd fastest time - $50 Jessica Friesen - 18.427
Ed Lamberton/ Wheel People - 3rd fastest time - $50 Dave Constantino - 18.432
Melissa Rava - 4th fastest time - $50 Roger Henion, Jr. - 18.946
Melissa Rava - 5th fastest time - $50 Brian Calabrese - 19.014
Bill Ag Award is given in Bill’s memory to recognize a driver who races every Saturday night, loves racing, works hard, has a great attitude, and doesn’t have a lot of sponsors.
Chrissy & Megan Ag - $200 Brian Calabrese
Hot Lap Hero (Fastest Modified in Hot laps)
Greco Racing - $100 Mat Williamson
Heat Race Winners
Macek’s Garage - $100 - 1st heat race Anthony Perrego
Macek’s Garage - $100 - 2nd heat race Rocky Warner
MTB Sealcoating - $100 - 3rd heat race Marc Johnson
BDR Feed - $100 - 4th heat race Matt Sheppard
Feature
1st Modified Driver on the Hook - $100 Holmes and Kugler Towing Rocky Warner
Leader Lap 1 - $100 - One Zee Tees Ronnie Johnson
Leader Lap 2 - $100 - Koozie Korner - In Memory of Don Davies *Mat Williamson
17th place on lap 2 - $100 - Out of the Fast Lane Podcast Chris Raabe
3rd place on lap 3 - $100 - 33 Race Products LLC Stewart Friesen
Halfway Leader - $100 - Out of the Fast Lane Podcast Stewart Friesen
2nd place finish - $100 - Todd & Faye Winsman - In Memory of Jay Dufel Mat Williamson
3rd place finish - $100 - Louise & Tom Carville Anthony Perrego
4th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag- In Memory of Bill Ag Alex Yankowski
5th place finish - $100 - Kelley Keefe -In Memory of Bob James Tyler Dippel
6th place finish - $100 - Carole & Alton Palmer- In Memory of Ed Keyser Stewart Friesen
7th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag- In Memory of Bill Ag Chris Raabe
8th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Marc Johnson
9th place finish - $100 - The Furnare Family Jessica Friesen
10th place finish - $100 - The Romano Family Michael Maresca
11th place finish - $111 - Chrissy & Holly Ag- In Memory of Steve Bidwell Jack Lehner
12th place finish - $100 - Hazard Family- In Memory of Wayne Hazzard Mike Mahaney
13th place finish - $100 - Driven Design & Embroidery Dave Constantino
14th place finish - $100 - M2 Metals Cody Clark
15th place finish - $100 - Greg Clute Gary Edwards III
16th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Roger Henion Jr.
17th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Ronnie Johnson
18th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Demetrios Drellos
19th place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Tucker O’Connor
20th place finish - $100 - Eric & Sherry Gifford Brian Pessolano
21sth place finish - $100 - Chrissy & Holly Ag - In Memory of Bill Ag Darryl Mitchell
22nd place finish - $100 - Ken Hanson Paving Inc. Brandon Walters
23rd place finish - $100 - Lisa & Tim VanAernam Francois Bellemare
24th place finish - $100 - Swank & Son Property Maintenance Michael Trautschold
25th place finish - $100 - Scott & Kim Chirichio Alex Payne
26th place finish - $100 - Corbett Family Bobby Hackel
27th place finish - $100 - Mark & Gina Hadcock - In Memory of Garrett Hadcock Rocky Warner
Last Driver on the lead lap - $100 - Koozie Korner Dave Constantino
1st driver one lap down - $100 - One Zee Tees $$ to 2025 event - no driver 1 lap down
Hard Charger - $100 - B & B Dumpster Rentals Chris Raabe +15 spots, 22nd to 7th

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