Mike Mahaney made people stand up and take notice last year when he burst to the front of the pack winning the season opening Ice Jam and the season-ending 112-lap, $12,000-to-win Tribute to Champions race honoring Jumpin' Jack Johnson.
So far this season, the 23-year-old modified pilot out of King Ferry, Cayuga County, has been a regular Saturday night competitor at the Track of Champions.
"We plan to catch the races here [on Saturdays] when we can right now," Mahaney said. "If we end up coming to every race, it would be great."
Mahaney's season did not get off to a great start as he was caught up in a first-turn wreck, flipping the Woodside Farms No. 21, while running just outside the top five during the 2013 Ice Jam.
"That put a big damper on it," Mahaney said. "We had one week here where we did not have this car [No. 21] and we got it back last week. It was awesome in the heat race and then we got a bit too tight in the feature. Hopefully we can get the balance right and get a win."
Mahaney appears to be a very hands-on person when it comes to getting the car ready for a night of racing. There is rarely a time when you walk past his pit without seeing him working either under the hood or prepping tires.
After his 2012 success, who can blame the young driver for wanting to try Fonda on a regular basis.
"It is tough here. The weekly races are a lot different than those specials [races] are," he said. "We have to get a handle on it to pick up a lot. We had a lot of success here last year and we would like to start running a little better here like we did."
So far his Saturday night finishes have shown steady improvement, starting with a 13th place run on April 20, followed by a ninth-place finish April 27 and a fourth-place finish last Saturday. He is currently tied with Josh Hohenforst for ninth in the modified points chase.
After posting six feature wins in the open sportsman division at Fonda Speedway, Mark Kislowski made the move to the modifieds.
Since then Kislowski has knocked on the door to Victory Lane in the modified division several times, but could not get in.
Saturday night, he kicked the door in and parked the Morris Group modified on checkerboard square.
Kislowski and his sponsors have done many things for local tracks, not just Fonda, including, and not limited to, pace cars and sponsoring nights of racing.
Fonda Speedway will host Kiddie Rides on Saturday night.
All kids who would like a trip around the Track of Champions in a race car driven by their favorite drivers are asked to be at the track early - around 6 p.m. - as the rides will take place before the night's race program.
Varin doubles up
Bobby Varin picked up a pair of wins last weekend.
The six-time Fonda Speedway modified track champion picked up the victory Friday night at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park then traveled to Middletown and came home with his first win of the season at Orange County Speedway.