By JAMES A. ELLIS
FONDA — Early-season engine trouble in the Magsarus modified has plagued Danny Varin at Fonda Speedway this season.
However, his 360 ESS sprint car season has been going really well as last Saturday, after a last-to-first run, Varin parked his 360 ESS sprint car in victory lane at Fonda Speedway for his third win of the season.
Varin kept his momentum going this week by leading every lap of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature to collect his first modified feature win at the Track of Champions since August 2019.
“We had to blow up every motor we had in the shop to get here but this is old reliable from the Fonda 200 last year,” Varin said in victory lane. “We put it back in and, I’ll tell you, the thing ran poorly in the heat race, spitting and sputtering. Ed Munger changed the carburetor and got us dialed in. I am speechless to be here. A couple of weeks ago I didn’t think we would make it back.”
Other winners on CDL Associates Insurance Agency night at Fonda were Chad Edwards (Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman), Harold Robitaille (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.
In the added Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) features, Jimmy Feugel won the Antique division, Carl Cram won the Mystique feature, Joe Rando the Sportsman feature, John Roese the Late Model feature and John Flach the Modified division.
Ryan Odasz and Varin brought the field of 22 modifieds to the green flag with Varin immediately putting the Magsarus No. 93 out front, while Pep Corradi, Odasz, Jack Lehner and Jessica Friesen locked in a battle for the runner-up spot.
By the fifth lap, Varin had checked out to a full straightaway advantage over Corradi as Friesen pulled into third ahead of Lehner and Dave Constantino.
With Varin a half-track ahead on lap 20, Rocky Warner, Stewart Friesen, Matt DeLorenzo, Bobby Varin and Ronnie Johnson had picked their way into the top 10 and hoping for a caution to bring Varin back to the pack.
The caution never came as Danny Varin locked up his 11th career modified victory at Fonda Speedway in dominating fashion. Jessica Friesen finished second with Lehner third, Stewart Friesen, who won the Camping World NASCAR Truck Series race in Texas Friday night and started 17th, fourth and Corradi fifth. Constantino, Warner, Bobby Varin, Johnson and Demetrios Drellos complete the top 10.
Jeremy Tyrrell shook off a streak of back luck to lead the opening laps of the 25 lap 602 Sportsman feature before relinquishing the lead to Chip Constantino on lap five.
Constantino was unable to break away from Tyrrell as the caution flew on lap eight, when Mark Mortensen came to a stop with a flat left rear tire. Mortensen and Payton Talbot made their way onto the hot pit to make repairs and rejoined the field at the back of the pack.
Edwards, who started 12th, restarted in eighth and was second behind Constantino when a second caution flew a lap later.
Constantino chose to restart on the outside and held off Edwards on the restart.
The front-running duo distanced themselves from third-place running Troy Palmer as they battled side-by-side before Edwards got the lead coming off turn four on lap 18.
Edwards picked his way through the back markers to pick up his third win of the season, while Constantino turned in his best finish of the young season with a second-place finish. Talbot recovered from his early-race pit stop to finish third, with Palmer fourth and Tanner Warner fifth. Cody Clark, Troy Zilles, Mortensen, Tyrrell and Tim Dwyer complete the second five.
“It was a great run and a great racetrack with two lanes,” Edwards said in Victory Lane on the eve of his birthday. “We were side-by-side there for most of the race once I got up to second. I just kept over driving in turn one trying to get him. I was able to calm myself down and kept hitting my marks and was able to get by him before sliding up to take his line away.”
For Edwards it was his third win of the season to go with a pair of seconds.
Nick Stone kept his season perfect, driving from his 10th starting spot to record his fifth-straight victory in the 20 lap Pro Stock feature.
Chuck Dumblewski set the early pace over Steve Cosselman before Jason Morrison took over the point on lap eight.
Stone moved to the front a lap later and was starting to break away as the caution flew on lap 15, putting Morrison alongside on the front row and Luke Horning on his bumper for the restart.
Horning dove under Stone heading into turn one to take the lead, but Stone countered the move with a crossover move in turn two to retake the front spot. Horning had his momentum broken by contact as he stayed on the outside of Stone. Horning’s night ended a lap later after making hard contact with the second-turn wall while battling for position with Jason Morrison.
Beau Ballard took over the fight to end Stone’s win streak on the restart and briefly held the lead before the caution flew again, setting up a three-lap shootout for the victory.
Stone turned back Ballard’s challenges to record his 67th career pro stock feature win. Ballard placed second, followed by Kenny Gates, Devon Camenga and Shane Playford.
“Without a good set of tires under here it would be nothing,” Stone said in victory lane. “You could have the best chassis there is and the best suspension there is, but if you don’t have good tire prep and maintenance it does no good. We are on race four with these tires. I think a lot of guys are doing the same thing trying to get through the season, so we are probably going to be due for a couple at least, but we are going to run them as long as we can. Other guys are probably doing the same. So, we are all on an even playing field for sure.”
Harold Robitaille led the 15-lap Limited Sportsman from green to checkers to record his first career feature win in the division. Ryan Sweet came home in second, followed by Tony D’Angelo, Josh Kane and Lance Hill.
Zach McSpirit led the opening lap of the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder feature before John Napoli took over on the second circuit.
Kerrie Hollenback moved to the front from his 11th starting spot on lap four and held off his brother Ken for his second-straight overall victory.
Kerrie went to victory lane for the DOHC trophy, while Ken took home the SOHC trophy.
Next Saturday, on Memorial Day Weekend the Fonda Speedway will be back in action with the big block modifieds running for $4,000-to-win in the first leg of the FX Caprara Thunder on the Thruway Series, while the Crate 602 Sportsman division will battle for $1,500 to win and the Pro Stocks will vie for the $1,000 winner’s paycheck. Gates will open at 4 p.m. next Saturday with Hot Laps at 6 p.m. and Racing at 7 p.m.
With late-afternoon thunderstorms predicted in the area, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park postponed its Sunday night race program.
Just 17 years of age, Alex Yankowski ended Matt Sheppard’s win streak at Utica-Rome Speedway Friday night, claiming the modified feature win. Dave Richer got the 602 Sportsman win and Jay Corbin held off Jason Morrison and Beau Ballard to get the Pro Stock win.
Mike Mahaney scored his first win of the season Friday in the modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
FONDA SPEEDWAY RESULTS
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – DANNY VARIN, Jessica Friesen, Jack Lehner, Stewart Friesen, Pep Corradi, Dave Constantino, Rocky Warner, Bobby Varin, Ronnie Johnson, Demetrios Drellos, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Gleason, Craig Hanson, Darwin Greene, Rich Christman, Brian Pessolano, Chris Curtis, JaMike Sowle, Steve Akers, Ryan Odasz, Nick Heywood, Tucker O’Connor, Adam McAuliffe (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Corradi, Danny Varin, Heywood
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – CHAD EDWARDS, Chip Constantino, Payton Talbot, Troy Palmer, Tanner Warner, Cody Clark, Troy Zilles, Mark Mortensen, Jeremy Tyrrell, Tim Dwyer, Stephen Gray, Brett Mortensen, Michael McCallion, Anthony Cardamone, Greg Havlicek, Clayton DuMond, Cory White, Griffen Mansmith, Nikki Ouellette, Brendan Gibbons, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Jason Reome, Carter Gibbons, Harry Shaffer (DNS), Dan Santabarbara (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – $50 to each winner from Online Performance Parts/Nick Stone – Zilles, McCallion, Constantino
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Edwards from 12th to 1st
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-laps – NICK STONE, Beau Ballard, Jason Morrison, Kenny Gates, Devon Camenga, Shane Playford, Chuck Dumblewski, Steve Cosselman, Josh Coonradt, Gary Silkey, Randy Cosselman, Slater Baker, Don Collins, Luke Horning, Caden Dumblewski
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Ballard, Dumblewski
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – HAROLD ROBITAILLE, Ryan Sweet, Tom D’Angelo, Josh Kane, Lance Hill, Kyle Dingman, Walter Cook, Michael Kalkbrenner, Gus Kamburelis, Wesley Sutliff, Timmy Wilmot, Zach Dufel, Tim Deffer, Connor Prokop, Bob Rowback, John Anderson, Mark Lighthall
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Sweet, D’Angelo
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-laps – KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), John Napoli, Corey Valade, Zach McSpirit, Todd Morey, Len St. Andrews, Lee Horning, Christopher Jennings Sr., David Peek-Britten, Dale VanAllen, Jack Minery, Heath Bush (DNS), Wayne Russell Jr. (DNS)
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) ANTIQUE FEATURE – JIMMY FUGEL, Speedy Niedeheimer, Don Briggs, John Wood, Jimmy Hyde, Rick Leveque, Mike Wheeler
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) LATE MODEL FEATURE – JOHN ROESE, Will Reed, Ed Docskalik, Curtis Condon
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MYSTIQUE FEATURE – CARL CRAM, Harry Baldwin, Mike Brown, Mark Anatriello, George Berbench, George Palmer
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) MODIFIED FEATURE – JOHN FLACH, Jack Miller, Darrall Hulbert, Randy Delaney, Dan Wood
MOHAWK VALLEY VINTAGE DIRT MODIFIED SERIES (MVVDMS) SPORTSMAN FEATURE – JOE RANDO, Bryan Seyfried, Dan Colvin, Brian Gray, Mike Francisco, John Constantino, Merv Blackwell, Malach Mathews, John Trudean, Larry Stokes