Wilder picks up modified win at Fonda

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Jeremy Wilder powers his way through turns three and four en route to winning his heat race Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. Wilder notched his first win of the season in the 30-lap modified feature. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

FONDA — In the 2016 racing season at Fonda Speedway Jeremy Wilder picked up three feature wins at Fonda Speedway, all coming after the first week in August. He turned in strong, consistent finishes all season but came up second to Ronnie Johnson in the final points standings.

Wilder took a big step toward moving up in the points standings picking up his ninth career feature win and first of the season on Steve Danish Tribute Night Saturday at the Track of Champions.

For the second straight week, Kenny Gates led the field for all 20-laps to win the Pro Stock feature and Rocky Warner wired the field for his second straight 602 Sportsman feature, while Dave Horning Sr. made it two-for-two in the street stocks and Dave Block won the Rookie Sportsman feature for the second week in a row.

Wilder and Jeff Rockefeller brought the field of 18 modifieds to the green but were a little anxious on the initial drop of the flag forcing the caution to be thrown on the start.

The second time they got it right and Rockefeller pulled ahead to lead he opening lap. Wilder found his way to the front off turn two on the second lap, leaving Rockefeller battling with Johnson and last week’s winner Justin Boehler for the second spot.

Johnson got past Rockefeller on lap five but was half a straightaway back from Wilder.

Johnson was able to catch up to Wilder as the leader encountered lapped traffic on lap 13, but had his momentum slowed by a pair of cautions.

With an open track in front of him, Wilder was able to hold off Johnson on the restart and build a 10 car-length advantage. Matt DeLorenzo, who started 11th, found bite in the high line and pulled up to battle Rockefeller and Boehler for the third spot with 12 laps to go.

DeLorenzo kept his momentum going forward and pulled into third with five laps to go but ran out of time as Wilder crossed under the checkers for the victory with Johnson coming home second. Rockefeller and Boehler completed the top five. Pep Corradi, Jimmy Davis, Scott Huber, Josh Hohenforst and Cody Bleau rounded out the second five.

By virtue of their heat race victories, Gates and Josh Coonradt made up the front row of the 20-lap pro stock feature and continued their battle from last week’s feature.

Gates gained control at the drop of the green with Coonradt in pursuit, while Randy Cosselman, Ivan Joslin and AJ Walters battled three-wide for the third spot.

A pair of cautions kept the field behind Gates tightly bunched as Cassidy Wilson joined in the battle with Coonradt, Walters and Cosselman.

Gates had little trouble managing to keep control of the race through a series of restarts including a final yellow with two laps to go to record his 67th career pro stock feature win. Joslin got up for second with Chuck Dumblewski third, Frank Twing fourth and Shane Playford fifth.

Dave Constantino and Warner made up the front row of the 25-lap 602 Sportsman main and Warner outdragged Constantino to the first turn and never looked back as he lead green-to-checkers in the caution-free event to record his 19th career sportsman feature win.

Constantino finished a distant second, while Cody Clark was third, Harry Shaffer fourth and Ray Zemken completed the top five.

Horning held off the early-race challenges from Johnny Young to put his 57th street stock feature win in the books.

Racing returns next Saturday night with a regular night of racing on Dick Schoonover Tribute Night.

By Paul Wager

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