Friesen scores seventh victory of the season

Jack Lehner (85) and Stewart Friesen (44) run wheel-to-wheel during the 30-lap modified feature Saturdaynight at Fonda Speedway.

FONDA — A long day of racing for Stewart Friesen started in the Pocono Mountain of Pennsylvania and ended in the Mohawk Valley.

After competing in the NASCAR Truck Series race at Pocono International Speedway, Friesen made it back to Fonda Speedway for a night of dirt track racing.

Starting 12th in the modified feature, Friesen patiently worked his way to the front and made a three-wide move to take the lead with eight laps to go and pull away for his seventh win of the season and 75th of his career at Fonda Speedway.

“I just tried to move around a bit on a slick and technical track, but with the unique situation with tires I tried to keep the tires under me,” Friesen said in Victory Lane. “I snuck by Adam [McAuliffe] and a lap car to get the lead but tonight I really wanted to come to Fonda and get the job done.”

Joining Friesen with victories Saturday on A-Verdi Storage Container Night were Brian Calabrese (Crate 602 Sportsman), Nick Stone (Pro Stocks), Kyle Dingman (Limited Sportsman), and Ken Hollenback and Slappy White (4-cylinder cruiser)

In the added Earl Halaquist Memorial race for the Patriot 360 Sprint Cars, Paulie Colagiovanni picked up the victory over Danny Varin and Dave Franek.

Adam McAuliffe and Pep Corradi brought the field of 25 modifieds to the green, with McAuliffe taking command.

Bobby Varin moved into second well behind McAuliffe as he began to distance himself from the pack.

Last week’s winner, Rocky Warner pulled into the second spot a full straightaway behind McAuliffe on lap seven with Varin now battling for third with Jack Lehner and Friesen.

McAuliffe caught up to the back of the field by lap 11 and started picking his way through the lapped traffic, allowing Warner, Friesen and Lehner to close the gap.

Friesen got around warner into second place with 12 laps to go and began searching for a fast line as he held off the challenges from Warner to get the spot back.

With McAuliffe mired in traffic, Friesen found an opening between the leader and the lapped car of Corey Lowitt between turns one and two to make the pass for the lead.

Warner got past McAuliffe with three laps to go but could not run down the leader before the checkers dropped on his seventh win of the season.

McAuliffe crossed the line third with Lehner fourth and Varin fifth. Ronnie Johnson, Craig Hanson, Dave Constantino, Jessica Friesen and Corradi round out the top 10.

After a caution on the opening lap of the 25-lap 602 Sportsman feature, Dan Santabarbara took the early lead over Griffen Mansmith.

Brian Borst quickly made his way to the front from his fourth starting spot into the lead on lap nine only to spin a lap later bringing out the caution and putting Santabarbara back in front with Calabrese, Tim Hartman Jr., Aaron Burton and Mansmith making up the top five.

Calabrese got the lead on the restart only to have the race go back under caution a lap later for a multi-car pile-up between turns one and two that involved Jason Greco, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Tanner Warner, Troy Zilles and points-leader Cody Clark,

Calabrese held the lead on the restart and held off the challenges from Hartman over the second half of the race to take home his first win of the season. Hartman was second with Hartman, Burton, Chad Edwards and Tim Dwyer completing the top five with Addison Bowman, Tucker O’Connor, Payton Talbot, Mark Mortensen and Tony Farone making up the second five.

The 20-lap Pro Stock feature again provided the fans with another tight, side-by-side battle for the victory.

Frank Hoard Jr. grabbed the early lead in the main event and was quickly joined by Bill Knapp, Josh Coonradt and Kenny Gates.

Coonradt took over the lead on lap eight with Stone charging into second on lap nine.

The caution flew on lap 10 and Luke Horning joined the frontrunners on the restart, making it a three-way shootout for the lead.

The caution came out again a lap later and this time Stone and Horning got past Coonradt on the restart with Gates watching the action unfold in the fourth spot.

Horning put his car in front on lap 16 but could not shake Stone as he battled back to regain the top spot on lap 18 and held on for his 57th career win and fourth of the season at Fonda Speedway in the Todd Hoffman-owned 8N.

Horning was second followed by Coonradt, Gates, Shane Playford, Chuck Dumblewski, Knapp, Hoard, AJ Walters and Jason Morrison.

Dingman led all 15-laps of Limited Sportsman feature to record his second win of the season. Jeremy Tyrrell was second followed by Stephen Gray, Clayton DuMond, and Carter Gibbons.

Ken Hollenbeck squeezed between the wall and Slappy White to take the lead in the final feet of a 4-wide photo finish with John Napoli and Kerrie Hollenbeck in the 4-cylider cruiser feature to grab the overall victory Saturday night.

Hollenbeck was declared the SOHC winner and White was the winner for the DOHC division. Napoli was third and Kerrie Hollenbeck fourth and Jeff Tubbs completing the top five.

Danny Varin led the first two laps of the 30-lap Earl Halaquist Memorial Sprint Car event until Colagiovanni took over the lead and led the final 27 laps to get the win. Varin, Davie Franek, who flipped out of the speedway the last time he raced at Fonda, finished third, followed by Jordan Thomas, and Chad Miller to complete the top five.

Fonda Speedway will return to action Saturday for the first day of a two-day Fourth of July race program.

Saturday the Recovery Sports Grill will sponsor Hall of Fame Night featuring the Thunder on the Thruway Series “Red, White & Blue” $4,000-to-win Sunoco Modified feature, $1,500 to win Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman feature, a $1,000 to win Algonkin Motel Pro Stock feature along with all other regular divisions plus the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series.

Sunday the Fuccillo Automotive Group will present the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled by Sunoco Modified “Firecracker 50” $10,000 to win plus the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman $2,000 to win event along with a fireworks extravaganza.

By Jim Ellis