Hanson rebounds, leads all 35 laps in Fonda modified feature victory

Empire Super Sprint driver Blake Warner goes airborne and end-over-end after hitting a utility tire protecting the end of a wall during timed warm-ups Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. Warner, of Waterloo, N.Y., was shaken but walked away from the crash. It was his first time at Fonda Speedway and only the second time behind the wheel of the car. He drove it Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway. (James A. Ellis photos)

By James A. Ellis

FONDA — After a hard wreck last week, Craig Hanson was ready to call it quits, but his friends and crew convinced him to keep going.

Hanson made the most of an advantageous front row starting spot to lead all 35 laps of the modified feature and record his first modified feature win since July 2016 Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.

As an added bonus, the victory served as a special birthday present for his father and former modified feature winner Kenny.

“I really wanted to win one for dad on his birthday,” Hanson said in Victory Lane. “After the wreck last week, I was ready to quit but all the guys worked and we got it back together and here we are, so I have to thank them for that.”

Nick Stone recorded his fourth pro stock feature win in as many weeks Saturday, while Cody Clark notched his first win of the season in the 602 crate sportsman main and Zach Dufel picked up his first career feature win in the limited sportsman class. Kerrie and Ken Hollenback continued their early-season success in the 4-cylinder division with Kerrie being first under the checkers for the DOHC victory followed by Ken for his fourth SOHC win this season.

Danny Varin celebrated in Victory Lane after completing a last-to-first run to pick up the victory in the 25-lap A-Main in the Empire Super Sprint’s (ESS) first appearance at Fonda Speedway since 2018.

Jim Introne Jr. and Hanson brought the field of 24 modifieds to the green with Hanson getting out to the early lead with Pep Corradi a close second.

The race was red-flagged on the second lap after Introne, who was running third, clapped an infield tire, collapsing the front end of his modified and coming to a stop on the backstretch, sending the field scattering. Tucker O’Connor was not able to avoid Introne’s car and made hard contact with it.

Brian Pessolano and Rocky Warner were also caught up in the wreck. No injuries were reported from the accident.

Bobby Varin made a big move on the restart and immediately put pressure on Hanson before he was able to distance himself from the field, leaving Varin, Ronnie Johnson and Demetrious Drellos fighting for the runner up spot.

Hanson’s big lead was erased when Steve Akers slowed with a flat tire on lap 15 to bring out the caution, bringing Johnson, Drellos, Varin and a hard-charging Matt DeLorenzo within striking distance.

Johnson and Hanson put on a two-car battle for the lead with Johnson getting in front on the inside of turn one, only to have the lead taken away by a caution, reverting scoring back to the previous completed lap, putting Johnson behind Hanson on the restart.

Drellos took over second on the restart before DeLorenzo powered through to take over the chase for Hanson.

Looking for his second late-race pass for his third straight victory, DeLorenzo was able to get alongside but could not get past Hanson before the checkers fell over the hood of his No. 20C for his eighth career modified feature win.

“We’ve got something going on with the carburetor or the fuel pickup; I would come off the corner and it would skip so I was not going in real hard because I didn’t want to hit the wall,” Hanson said in victory lane. “When Ronnie got by me, I thought I gave it away, but the last six laps I just held it to the floor.”

DeLorenzo finished second followed by Drellos, Johnson and Varin. Corradi, Jessica Friesen, Dave Constantino, Chris Curtis and JaMike Sowle completed the top 10.

Michael Ballestero and Harry Shaffer brought the 602 Crate Sportsman field to the green with Ballestero taking the early lead before the yellow flew for Tanner Warner, who slowed with suspension problems.

Clark was quickly making his way to the front from his 10th starting spot, taking the lead from Ballestero on lap 12 with Michael McCallion, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Brian Calabrese and Chad Edwards making their way to the front.

Defending track champion Edwards, who started 12th, pulled into the second with three laps to go.

As it did in the second week of competition, Clark and Edwards encountered lapped traffic in the closing laps, with Clark getting pinned behind a slower car and Edwards getting by for a last-lap, last-turn pass for the win.

This time Clark successfully made his way through the back markers to pick up the victory. Edwards placed second, followed by Payton Talbot, Ballestero and McCallion.

“This year has been a roller coaster ride for us,” Clark said in victory lane. “We have been consistent this year but not able to get to victory lane until tonight, so we hope to be able to keep things going for the rest of the year.”

Danny Varin’s 360 Empire Super Sprint car suffered damage to its top wing in a multi-car accident that brought out the red flag for a blocked racing surface. Varin’s crew was able to repair the wing and get him back in the race at the back of the field.

When the race finally got rolling, Steve Glover grabbed the lead before Jason Barney took the point on lap six with Chuck “The Cobra” Hebing second.
Paulie Colagiovanni moved into second on lap 13 and two laps later was the new race leader with Varin second.

Varin completed his charge to the front on lap 18 and held on for his third win (Fulton and Utica-Rome) in as many races with the ESS this season. The victory also came on the night sponsored by Supply Wagon Rentals, a major sponsor on his car.

Jordan Poirier, Colagiovanni, Josh Pieniazek and Barney completed the top five.

Scott Towslee set the early pace in the 20-lap Pro Stock feature before Jason Morrison took the point on a lap three restart.

Stone, who started eighth, took the lead on lap six, while Kenny Gates, Luke Horning and Shane Playford kept fans on their feet with their battle for the third spot.

Horning settled into second on a lap 10 restart and immediately pressured Stone, taking the lead on the backstretch on lap 13, only to have Stone make a strong cross-over move to dive under Horning to retake the lead exiting turn four.

Stone maintained his advantage over the final six laps to collect his fourth-straight and 63rd feature win of his career at Fonda Speedway. Horning, Beau Ballard, Playford and Josh Coonradt complete the top five.

Bob Rowback led at the drop of the green flag in the 15-lap Limited Sportsman feature with Ryan Sweet close behind.

Rowback survived an early-race restart, with Dufel moving into second on lap four and made a strong move to the outside on the short chute between turns three and four to set up his pass for the lead exiting turn four.

Dufel pulled away for his first career win in the division with last week’s winner Josh Kane second, Tom D’Angelo third, Rowback fourth and Sweet fifth.

Other winners on Supply Wagon Rentals Night at Fonda were Cody Clark (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Zach Dufel (Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman), Nick Stone (Algonkin Motel Pro Stocks), Kerrie Hollenback (DOHC) and Ken Hollenback (SOHC) in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders

Dale VanAllen led the first four laps of the 4-cylinder feature before John Napoli took over the top spot-on lap five. Napoli led two laps before 11th place starter Kerrie Hollenback pulled into the lead and held off his brother Ken for the overall victory. Napoli finished in third position but was disqualified in post-race tech for a ball joint infraction, moving Zach McSpirit, Christopher Jennings Sr., and Len St. Andrews into the top five spots.


Matt DeLorenzo added to his early-season success with a feature win Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway over Kenny Tremont, Peter Britten, Mike Mahaney and Demetrious Drellos

Matt Sheppard and Beau Ballard remain undefeated at Utica-Rome Speedway, going three-for-three in the modified and pro stock features respectively.

Sheppard backed up his win at Utica-Rome taking home the modified feature win at Land of Legends Speedway.

Eddie Marshall picked up the big block modified feature win at Lebanon Valley Speedway Saturday night, while Andy Bachetti grabbed the small block modified feature checkers.

The Short Track Super Series will head to Outlaw Speedway in Dundee Tuesday for the 50-lap, $5,000-to-win “Outlaw Showdown.”


SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – CRAIG HANSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Demetrious Drellos, Ronnie Johnson, Bobby Varin, Pep Corradi, Jessica Friesen, Dave Constantino, Chris Curtis, JaMike Sowle, Jack Lehner, Rich Christman, Steve Akers, Nick Heywood, Brian Calabrese, Darwin Greene, Ray Zemken, David Schilling, Dylan Scribner, Brian Pessolano, Adam McAuliffe, Jim Introne Jr., Tucker O’Connor, Rocky Warner, Danny Varin (DNS), Ryan Odasz (DNS), Ronnie Holmes (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – O’Connor, Calabrese, Hanson
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – CODY CLARK, Chad Edwards, Payton Talbot, Michael Ballestero, Michael McCallion, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Brian Calabrese, Chip Constantino, Brett Mortensen, Brendan Gibbons, Tony Farone, Harry Shaffer, Troy Palmer, Clayton DuMond, Mark Mortensen, Troy Zilles, Greg Havlichek, Carter Gibbons, Tanner Warner, Jason Reome, Jeremy Tyrrell, Dan Santabarbara, Tim Dwyer, Cory White, Griffen Mansmith
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballestero, Brett Mortensen, McCallion
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Edwards from 12th to 2nd
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-laps – NICK STONE, Luke Horning, Beau Ballard, Shane Playford, Josh Coonradt, Jason Morrison, Devon Camenga, Kenny Gates, Randy Cosselman, Steve Cosselman, Caden Dumblewski, Slater Baker, Chuck Dumblewski, Gary Silkey, John Holmes, Scott Towslee, Ivan Joslin, Don Collins
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Towslee
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – ZACH DUFEL, Josh Kane, Tom D’Angelo, Bob Rowback, Ryan Sweet, Mark Lighthall, Kyle Dingman, Michael Kalkbrenner, Walter Cook, Wesley Sutliff, Craig Wholley, Lance Hill, Timmy Wilmot, Nate Bedell, Harol Robitaille (DNS), Connor Prokop (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Wholley, Sweet
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-laps – KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), Zach McSpirit, Christopher Jennings Sr., Len St. Andrews, Heath Bush, Dale VanAllen, Chad Hoffman, David Peek-Britten, Gina Voris, TJ Marlitt, Shawn Hemstreet, John Napoli (DQ)
LAP LEADERS – 1-4 VanAllen, 5-6 Napoli, 7-12 Kerrie Hollenback
LUCAS OIL EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT FEATURE – 25-laps – DANNY VARIN, Jordan Poirier, Paulie Colagiovanni, Josh Pieniazek, Jason Barney, Chuck Hebing, Jeff Trombley, Steve Glover, Joe Trenca, Mike Kiser, Davie Franek, Cory Sparks, Jordan Thomas, Jeff Cook, Joe Kata, Dylan Swiernik, Matt Tanner, Tyler Cartier, Chad Miller, Mikey Kruchka, Lacey Hanson, Keith Granholm, Brett Wright, Kelly Hebing
LAP LEADERS – 1-2 Glover, 3-14 Barney, 15-17 Colagiovanni, 18-25 Varin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Kata, Wright, Poirier


Leave a Reply