Friesen rolls to Ice Jam victory at Fonda

Stewart Friesen celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the season-opening 50-lap Ice Jam Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

FONDA — In the 2017 Ice Jam Stewart Friesen appeared to be on his way to victory when the right-rear tire went flat and Justin Boehler inherited the lead and picked up his lone modified feature win at Fonda Speedway.

Saturday Friesen again was in front of the season-opening Ice Jam, only this time his luck held out as Friesen led all 50 laps of the $5,500-to-win season-opener Saturday at Fonda Speedway.

Kenny Gates picked up the win in the 20-lap pro stock main event, while Nick Scavia made a late-race pass on Ray Zemken to win the 25-lap 602 sportsman main and Cliff Haslun took the field from green-to-checkers in the street stock feature. Derrick McGrew Jr. picked up the victory in the rookie sportsman feature.

By virtue of their heat-race victories, Friesen and Josh Hohenforst brought the field of 26 modifieds to the green with Friesen taking the early lead over Hohenforst and Bobby Varin.

Danny Varin, who started ninth, was on the move and made the most of a pair of early restarts to move toward the front.

On a lap 12 restart, Varin pulled off a three-wide move around the outside of Danny Johnson and Mike Mahaney to move into fourth behind Friesen, Hohenforst and his father Bobby.

The field again went under the caution on lap 17 and this time Hohenforst got the jump on Friesen and led the field through the first and second turn. Friesen held his line on the bottom, while Danny Varin again went to the high side. Hohenforst hit a soft spot in the track and got crossed up allowing Friesen and Varin to get past.

Varin was able to stay close to Friesen but could not get to the front before Friesen crossed under the checkers for his 48th career modified feature win at the Track of Champions.

Danny Varin was second followed by Bobby Varin, Johnson and Hohenforst. Mahaney, Rocky Warner, Jimmy Davis, Willy Decker and defending modified track champion Tim Fuller completed the top 10.

An opening-lap accident put pro stock main event pole sitter Luke Horning in the pits and opened the door for Gates to slip from third on the restart into the lead exiting turn four on the first lap and held off Jim Normoyle for his second-straight opening night feature win. Cassidy Wilson was third followed by A.J. Walters, Reuben Kennedy Jr., Ivan Joslin, Devon Camanga, Randy Cosselman, Chuck Dumblewski and Tim McCarthy.

Zemken showed the 30-car sportsman field the fast way around the speedway, holding off Brian Borst until lap 16 when Scavia got past Borst on the restart and pressured Zemken for the lead.

With two laps to go, Scavia dove under Zemken enter turn three, took the lead on the short chute and held on to record his second career sportsman feature win.

Zemken was second with Robert Bublak third, Chad Edwards fourth and Borst, who returned to racing for the first time in over a decade, was fifth. Cody Clark, David manchester, Scott Duell, Mark Mortensen and Aaron Burton complete the top 10.

Haslun grabbed the lead at the drop of the green in the street stock feature and held off Jason Samrov, defending track champion John Young and Scott Gauthier for the victory.

Racing returns to the Track of Champions next Saturday when the CRSA sprint cars join the regular race program along with an on-track driver meet-and-greet. Racing is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m.

By Paul Wager

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