FONDA - On a night when the temperature dipped into the low 30s, Mr. Freeze had the hot set up.
Stewart Friesen opened defense of his Fonda Speedway modified track championship the same way he started last year's drive to his first track championship, with an opening night feature win.
Friesen chased down Ice Jam 2013 winner Matt DeLorenzo made the pass for the lead on lap 14 and survived a pair of late-race restarts for his 11th career victory at the Track of Champions.
Stewart Friesen poses in?Victory Lane after winning the modified feature at Fonda Speedway on?Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Ronnie Johnson?(76A) races with JaMike Sowle (711) during modified action?Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Brett Graham (228) races with?Stewart Friesen during modified action?Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Joining Friesen with opening night victories were Mark Mortensen (602 sportsman), Pete Broderson (pro stock), Reuben Kennedy Jr. (street stock) and Ken and Kerrie Hollenbeck (single and duel cam 4 cylinders).
DeLorenzo and A.J. Romano brought the field of 28 modifieds to the green with DeLorenzo gaining the early advantage.
Romano battled Friesen and Craig Hanson for the runner-up spot with Friesen breaking through on lap four.
DeLorenzo caught the back of the field on lap seven and used lapped traffic to build his lead over Friesen.
The advantage disappeared on lap 13 when the Pep Corradi slowed on the speedway, bring out the caution.
Friesen made a strong big for the lead and put a nose in front of DeLorenzo on the outside of turn three, but the 2007 track champion fought back, retaking the point exiting turn four.
Friesen crossed over exiting turn two and outraced DeLorenzo into turn three for the lead.
While Friesen and DeLorenzo pulled away from the field, Jimmy Davis, Romano, Josh Hohenforst and Jeff Trombley were locked in a tight battle for the third spot when the second caution of the event flew on lap 19.
Friesen remained in control on the restart, while Trombley made a strong bid on the low side of the speedway to challenge Davis and Hohenforst, while the team cars of Ronnie and Alton Palmer made their presence known as they pulled into seventh and eighth respectively.
Palmer continued to move forward, and was challenging for fifth when contact with the tires on the outside of turn three brought an end to his night.
Trombley again made a strong run on the restart and got up to third before the caution flew again before a full lap was in the books, sending him back to fifth.
DeLorenzo made a strong bid to regain the top spot on the en suing restart but Friesen fought off the challenge but could not shake DeLorenzo.
However, the caution flew again with three laps remaining when Elmo Reckner ended up backwards, on top of the turn three tires.
This time Friesen had no problems on the restart and pulled away for the victory.
DeLorenzo was second followed by Hohenforst, Trombley and Johnson. Davis, Jeremy Wilder, Danny Varin, Romano and JaMike Sowle complete the top 10.
In the companion 20-lap Mortensen made the most of his front row starting position to take charge early with John Scarborough close behind.
A series of four cautions on restarts kept the field tight and thwarted Scarborough's bid as he would get ahead and the caution reverted the field back to the previous lap before the caution, keeping Mortensen at the point.
When the field completed lap six. Scarborough had the lead when the caution flew again, only this time it held as the sixth lap went in the book.
With a clear track in front of him, Scarborough pulled away, only to have Mortensen run him down and swing to the outside of turn three to challenge for the lead with seven laps remaining.
Scarborough countered the move to hold the lead before Mortensen made a quick move to the bottom of turn two the take the lead on the backstretch. and pull off his eighth career 602 sportsman feature win. Scarborough was second, followed by Ricky Quick, Floyd Billington and Ray Zemken, Cody Bleau, Tim Hartman Jr., Dave Constantino, Rocky Warner and Brian Pessolano rounded out the top 10.
In the 20-lap pro stock feature, Kenny Gates made his way past Nick Stone for the lead on the second circuit and distanced himself from the field only to see his large lead disappeared when he slowed with mechanical problems on lap nine, giving Brodersen the lead.
Gates got a break as back-to-back cautions gave his crew enough time to correct the problem and he rejoined the race at the rear on the lead lap.
Broderson had his hands full on the front end as he turned back the challenges of Jim Normoyle, Ivan Joslin and Stone.
Meanwhile Gates was charging from the back and was fifth when the white flag flew. He made it up to third when the checkers dropped over Broderson's hood. Joslin placed second with Gates third, Stone fourth and Normoyle fifth.
Kennedy took the 12-lap street stock event from green-to-checkers for his fourth career feature win. Rob VanAernam was second, with Neil Cosselman third.
Ken Hollenbeck took the lead at the drop of the green and was never challenged in the 10-lap 4-cylinder main event to claim the single-cam checkers. Kerrie Hollenbeck finished second and took home the dual cam trophy.
The 4-cylinder division will have next Saturday off as the CRSA 305 sprint cars join the regular race card.