Racing Around: Fonda’s championship night could be historic

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Rocky Warner puts his modified through the paces during warm-ups earlier this season at Fonda Speedway. Warner, who is third in points heading into Championship Night at Fonda Speedway is seeking his second-straight modified track championship. (James A. Ellis)

By James A. Ellis

For The Leader-Herald

It’s possible that history could repeat itself Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.

Last year, Rocky Warner put together a late-race charge to tie Ronnie Johnson for the modified track championship, making them the first modified co-champions in track history.

Heading into this Saturday’s Benjamin Moore Paints-sponsored championship night, Johnson and Warner are separated by six points.

However, after points leader Matt DeLorenzo, the 2007 track champion, placed 21st after retiring from last Saturday’s modified feature with a bent front axle, coupled with strong runs from Johnson and Warner, the race for the track championship got tighter.

With DeLorenzo’s DNF, he now holds a slim, eight-point advantage over Johnson and 14-point edge over Warner with 812 points, while Johnson has 804 and Warner, who is coming off a $10,000 victory at Devil’s Bowl on Sunday, has 798.

DeLorenzo is the only driver in the top five — DeLorenzo, Johnson, Warner, Demetrios Drellos and Bobby Varin — to record a feature win this season, a feat he has accomplished five time this season.

In case you were wondering, Stewart Friesen has six modified feature wins this season and is 18th in points.

A DNF last Saturday by two-time defending champion Chad Edwards and a runner-up finish by Payton Talbot shook up the standings in the 602 crate sportsman division.

The duo has been consistent all season, with Edwards on top of the standings from opening night. Talbot took over the top spot by seven points, 893-886, after last Saturday’s race program.

Edwards has notched six feature wins at Fonda this season, while Talbot and Cody Clark, who is third with 754 points, have three victories each.

Nick Stone has been the dominant driver this season in the pro stock division behind the wheel of the Todd Hoffman-owned, Manimal coil chassis No. 8N.

Last Saturday’s DNF for the defending division champion did not hurt his chances of another track championship. Powered by nine feature wins, Stone has a 60-point lead over Beau Ballard, who also pilots a Manimal chassis, and only needs to take a green flag Saturday night to lock up the championship. Kenny Gates is third in points and is the lone driver in the top five driving a non-coil suspension car.

Two weeks ago, Zach Dufel had suspension trouble, and his crew made quick repairs and he rode around at the back of the pack to collect all the points he could. That move may be the deciding factor in the fight for the limited sportsman track championship.

Dufel tacked on his fifth win of the season last Saturday to build a 24-point lead over Kyle Dingman, 790-766, heading into Saturday’s regular season-ending race program.

Ken and Kerrie Hollenbeck have combined to take home 27 trophies in the 4-cylinder mini stock division. Ken has won 15 of 16 single overhead cam features and Kerry has taken home 12 of the 16 dual overhead cam checkers. Their battle will be for the overall division championship in which Ken holds an 18-point lead over his brother.

For fans keeping track of the race within the race Saturday, the Fonda Speedway points breakdown goes 60 points for the win, 56 for second, 52 for third and 50 for fourth before dropping two points a position to 15th, which is 28 points, then drops a single point to 22nd before 20 points for 23rd on back. A did not start gets 15 points, while a did not qualify is 10 points and a disqualification gets no points.

Joining the race card on championship night will be the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Racing Series.

BUFF, BAKER SCORE BIG WINS AT THE RIDGE

Earlier this season, Zach Buff recorded his first career Red Chair 602 sportsman feature win at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. Last Sunday, the youngest of the Buff racing brothers wrestled the lead away from early-race leader Darryl Nutting and beat Tony Farone to the checkers to cash in on a $2,000 payday put up by New Deals Used Cars at The Ridge.

It was also a big night for Slater Baker as he was in the right place at the right time to inherit the lead from ‘Cousin’ Luke Horning (who actually is his cousin), who broke on the final lap of the 20-lap Yurkewecz Auto Crushers pro stock feature to record his first career feature win over Johnny Rivers, Andy Graves, Jay Fitzgerald and Chuck McSpirit.

Jay Ingersoll and Justin Pope picked up the victories in the inaugural running of the $500-to-win Daryl Hillman Memorial features.

Ingersoll took home the victory in the single overhead cam feature, while Pope took home the dual overhead cam checkers.

Also picking up feature wins last Sunday at The Ridge were Lucas Duncan in the 15-lap limited sportsman main event, while Tucker Jones won the all-star slingshot feature and Connor Crane won the junior slingshot feature and Adam Tranka won the street stock feature event.

The third leg of the Wheels of Fury Enduro Series will take to the track Sunday as part of the regular race card at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

GRMP HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED

The Class of 2022 Hall of Fame inductees were announced to the fans Sunday night at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

Longtime photographer, among other duties at the speedway, Bob Lansing leads the class that includes track champions Danny Ballard and Frank Blanchard, former team owners, competitors and speedway promoters Pete, Matt and Cindy Demitraszek and the Constantino Family, including “The Dancing Bear” John Constantino and his wife Georgie, as well as sons Dave and Chip who have been involved in many different facets over the years at The Ridge.

FONDA 200 ADVANCED SALES

Advance three-day tickets, pit passes and golf cart/ATV permits are now available for the Sept. 15-17 racing extravaganza, featuring the $53,000-to-win Fonda 200 on Sept. 17.

Camper staging is set to begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, with parking coordinated by Fonda Speedway staff.

Advanced weekend tickets are on sale at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/advanced-weekend-ticket-sales-covered-grandstand-2022-fonda-200-tickets-396482879967

Advanced pit sales for Fonda Speedway members and non-members are available at: fonda-speedway.ticketleap.com/advanced-weekend-pit-pass-sales—2022-fonda-200/

All golf cart and ATV permits can be purchased at: fonda-speedway.ticketleap.com/fonda-200-golf-cartatv-permit-2022/. All golf carts and ATVs to be used for the weekend must have a permit. Campsite holders from 2021 have first right of refusal to renew their spots.

By LH Staff

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