FONDA – Stewart Friesen powered his way from his third starting spot to the lead on the opening lap of the season-opening 40-lap, $4,000-to-win Ice Jam Saturday at Fonda Speedway.
Friesen dominated the opening 29 laps of the main event, however that all changed on lap 30.
The defending Fonda Speedway modified track champion fell off the pace with a flat right rear tire and came to a stop in turn four to bring out the caution.
Matt DeLorenzo was in the right spot to inherit the lead and never looked back as he led the final laps to pick up his second Ice Jam victory and 35th career modified victory.
“Last year we had a lot of bad luck,” DeLorenzo said. “I don’t want to see anybody have bad luck but that’s happened to me last year. I saw Stewart getting that flat I was thinking this is my turn. I lost this race two years in row because of a flat left rear after brushing the wall.”
Also picking up victories Saturday were Rocky Warner in the 20-lap 602 sportsman Hurricane 100 qualifier and Pete Broderson in the 15-lap pro stock dash for cash.
By virtue of their heat race wins, and a heads-up start, Josh Hohenforst and DeLorenzo brought the field of 28 modifieds to the green with Hohenforst leading into the first corner.
Friesen wasted little time getting to the front, powering past Hohenforst in turn three and pulled away leaving Hohenforst, DeLorenzo and Ronnie Johnson battling for the runner-up spot.
Johnson slipped past Hohenforst for third on lap nine but Friesen was already in the process of lapping the back markers close to a half-track ahead.
Friesen was brought back to the pack when the caution flew on lap 20.
Racing in a tight pack, Don Scarborough made contact with the back of Danny Varin’s car sending him up the track in turn one. Varin collected 2012 Ice Jam winner Mike Mahaney who flipped several times on the outside of the turn. Mahaney was shaken but walked away from the accident.
With a clear track in front of him and a pair of lapped cars between himself and DeLorenzo, Friesen re-established his lead, leaving DeLorenzo, Johnson, Hohenforst and Brett Hearn battling for second through fifth.
The front runners were soon joined by Jimmy Davis and Bobby Varin, who started 21st after qualifying through and winning the consolation race.
The second caution of the race came with 11 laps remaining when Friesen slowed and came to a stop on the outside of turn four, turning the lead over to Delorenzo.
Friesen made a quick pit stop and rejoined the race at the back of the field.
While DeLorenzo and Johnson pulled away, Hohenforst found himself in a battle for third with Varin and Hearn.
However, fans were watching Friesen as he charged from the back with a fresh right rear tire. With five laps remaining, Friesen had charged to sixth but could not catch Hohenforst as the checkers fell over DeLorenzo’s hood for the victory.
Johnson placed second followed by Varin, Hearn and Hohenforst. Friesen, Jeff Trombley, Davis, Jeremy Wilder and Mark Kislowski rounded out the top 10.
Chris Schaffer, Brian Pessolano and Warner battled for the early lead in the sportsman main event with Pessolano holding the lead for the first 10 circuits.
Warner worked his way along the bottom of the track to take the point on lap 11.
Mark Mortensen, who started fifth, pulled into contention behind Warner on lap 13 and closed to Warner’s back bumper with five laps remaining.
Mortensen tried different lines but Warner was up to the challenge, holding off Mortensen for fifth career 602 sportsman feature win.
Mortensen placed second, followed by Jeremy Pitts, Pessolano and tony Farone. Ray Zemken, John McAuliffe, Tyler Dippel, Floyd Billington and Dave Constantino complete the second five.
Modified heat race victories went to Hohenforst, DeLorenzo, Friesen and Mark Kislowski, while Varin won the consi. Chris Schaffer, Brian Pessolano, Warner and Billington picked up the victories in the 602 sportsman qualifiers.
In the special 15-lap dash for cash for pro stocks, Pete Broderson rallied to regain the lead from Kenny Gates and held on to edge Gates by for the win by .251-seconds. Nick Stone finished third followed by Ivan Joslin and Chuck Dumblewski.
The battle for the track championships begins Saturday with a full regular race card on tap. The green flag is scheduled to drop on racing at 7 p.m.
Modified (40 laps)
1. MATT DE LORENZO, 2. Ronnie Johnson, 3. Bobby Varin, 4. Brett Hearn, 5. Josh Hohenforst, 6. Stewart Friesen, 7. Jeff Trombley, 8. Jim Davis, 9. Jeremy Wilder, 10. Mark Kislowski, 11. Craig Hanson, 12. Mario Clair, 13. Brian Gleason, 14. Keith Flach, 15. JaMike Sowle, 16. Jeff Rockefeller, 17. Pep Corradi, 18. Danny Varin, 19. Mike Mahaney, 20. C.G. Morey, 21. Pat Ward, 22. Erik Nelson, 23. Alton Palmer, 24. Don Scarborough, 25. Vinny Sangenetti, 26. Darwin Greene, 27. A.J. Romano, 28. Dave Lape.
Sportsman (20 laps)
1. ROCKY WARNER, 2. Mark Mortensen, 3. Jeremy Pitts, 4. Brian Pessolano, 5. Tony Farone, 6. Ray Zemken, 7. John McAuliffe, 8. Tyler Dippel, 9. Floyd Billington, 10. Dave Constantino, 11. Ricky quick, 12. Dan Santabarbera, 13. Drew Fallis, 14. Justin Auspelmyer, 15. Cody Bleau, 16. John Scarborough, 17. Scot Straight, 18. Jake Scarborough, 19. Jon Miller, 20. Jack Bublak, 21. Chip Constantino, 22. Ivan Joslin, 23. Connor Cleveland, 25. Chris Schaffer, 26. Mike Bellinger.
Pro Stock (15 laps)
1. PETE BRODERSON, 2. Kenny Gates, 3. Nick Stone, 4. Ivan Joslin, 5. Chuck Dumblewski, 6. Jim Normoyle, 7. Dennis Joslin, 8. Dean Charboneau, 9. Randy Cosselman, 10. Gus Hollner, 11. Shane Playford, 12. Jeff McPhail, 13. Luke Horning, 14. Justin Knight, 15. Adam Warner, 16. Alicia Garner.