By JAMES A. ELLIS
FONDA — After a disappointing night Friday at Utica-Rome Speedway, Tim Fuller turned his luck around to win the season-opening 40-lap Jack Johnson Memorial Montgomery County Open Saturday at Fonda Speedway.
For Fuller, the 2017 Fonda Speedway modified track champion, it was his second victory in a race honoring the 11-time Fonda Speedway champion.
“After last night’s fiasco, and it got rained out anyway, we were going to start last in the consi,” Fuller said. “To be able to come into our second event here and be able to win it on Jumpin’ Jack night is big. I did this on Hoosier tires back in 2018 [The Jack 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series race]. Anytime you win on Jumpin’ Jack night, it is big.”
Also picking up victories on the 72nd season opener at the Track of Champions were Payton Talbot (602 Crate Sportsman), Ivan Joslyn (Pro Stock) and Connor Prokop (Limited Sportsman), while Kerrie Hollenbeck was first under the checkers to win the 4-cylinder and Dual Overhead Cam features and Wayne Russell Jr. took home the SOHC trophy.
Tucker O’Connor and Fuller brought the field of 27 modifieds to the green with third-place starter David Schilling getting to the front to lead the opening lap. Fuller swept past Schilling on the second lap to take over the point.
As Fuller found his rhythm at the front, Schilling found himself in a battle for the runner-up spot with Josh Hohenforst, Ronnie Johnson and Demetrios Drellos.
Johnson grabbed the second spot away from Schilling on a lap 10 restart as Schilling now faced challenges from Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen.
The caution flew again on lap 13 when Friesen stopped on the speedway but was able to return to the action after a quick stop in the hot pit area for repairs.
Sheppard took over second on the restart and began pressuring Fuller but could not find a clear path around the veteran modified pilot.
Sheppard got another shot at Fuller on a restart with 12 laps to go.
Said Fuller about seeing Sheppard pull alongside for the restart, “You have the baddest guy on the planet in a modified lining up outside of you. I was debating whether the inside or outside would be the best for the restart because there were some crumbs out there and a little bit of traction. But there was just enough bite on the bottom. It was uncomfortable when I saw him lining up beside me but the car was good and I am fortunate to be driving it and get the first win of the year.”
Fuller pulled away for the victory over Sheppard with Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti and Mike Mahaney rounding out the top five. Schilling, Alex Yankowski, Hohenforst and Friesen complete the top 10.
“We had some times. Jack was a bad ass no doubt about it,” Fuller said in Victory Lane. “He was a legend and those legends only come along once in a lifetime. I started with him and he kind of took me under his wing and taught me a few things, I’ll never forget them or some things that can’t be announced. He was a class act, I don’t care, there will never be another Jumpin’ Jack. To be able to win on this night and see that orange car again is something special.”
Fuller is scheduled to join Johnson this year when he is inducted in the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Joslin made the most of his front row starting spot to lead from green to checkers for his 13th career Pro Stock feature win.
Joslin withstood race-long pressure from Josh Coonradt, Beau Ballard, Luke Horning and Kenny Gates.
While Joslin, Coonradt, Ballard and Horning found the top side of the speedway to be to their liking, Gates dove to the bottom midway through the feature and was able to make a late-race charge to get up for third behind Joslin and Coonradt. Ballard placed fourth with Horning coming home in fifth.
Stephen Gray and Talbot brought the field of 25 602 Sportsmen to the green with Talbot taking command on the opening lap over Gray and Tanner Warner.
The race was halted with 10 laps to go when a brief shower passed over the speedway. When the race resumed Talbot found Warner lined up next to him but was able to pull away for his first win of the season. Warner finished second with Chip Constantino third, Brett Mortensen fourth and Chad Edwards finished fifth after starting 19th.
Prokop used a last-lap restart to get past Lance Hill to pick up the 15-lap Limited Sportsman victory. Kyle Dingman placed third with Timmy Wilmot fourth and Bobby Rhinehardt fifth.
Brandon Ely started on the pole and led the opening 11 laps of the 12-lap 4-cylinder feature despite having a broken left rear wheel after hard contact with Kenny Hollenbeck that forced the multi-time champion out of the race.
John Napoli and Kerrie Hollenback pressured Ely over the final laps with Hollenback slipping through on the inside for the win as Ely got out of shape exiting turn four for the final time. Napoli came home second followed by Ely, David Frame, Corey Valade and Single Overhead Cam winner Russell.
During the third modified qualifier, Craig Hanson made hard contact with the first turn wall, flipping end over end before landing hard on all four wheels. Track officials reported that Hanson was taken by ambulance to Albany Medical Center and diagnosed with a T-12 vertebrae fracture.
Fonda Speedway results, April 22
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MONTGOMERY COUNTY OPEN JACK JOHNSON MEMORIAL MODIFIED FEATURE $12,000 TO WIN – 40-LAPS – TIM FULLER, Matt Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Mike Mahaney, David Schilling, Alex Yankowski, Josh Hohenforst, Stewart Friesen, Brian Gleason, Matt DeLorenzo, Chris Curtis, Bobby Varin, Michael Maresca, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, JaMike Sowle, Cody Clark, Brian Calabrese, Tucker O’Connor, Dylan Scribner, Dave Camara, Brian Pessolano, Rocky Warner, Marc Johnson, Dave Constantino
LAP LEADERS – 1 Schilling, 2-40 Fuller
HEAT RACE WINNERS – O’Connor, Danny Varin, Hohenforst, Drellos
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Maresca
DID NOT QUALIFY – Kurtis Hohensheldt, Shawn McPhee, Dale Gray, Jason Reome, Craig Hanson, Ron Holmes, Bobby Hackel IV, Josh Masterson, Ryan Walther
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – PAYTON TALBOT, Tanner Warner, Chip Constantino, Brett Mortensen, Chad Edwards, Clayton DuMond, Michael McCallion, Stephen Gray, Donovan Lussier, Brendan Gibbons, Cedric Gauvreau, Dan Santabarbara, Derrick McGrew Jr., Aaron Burton, Butchie Irwin, Joe Toth, Jeremy Tyrrell, Jason Greco, Josh Kane, Harry Shaffer, Blaine Klinger, Jim Nagle, Kadon Hohensheldt, Don Bellen, Troy Zilles
LAP LEADERS – 1-25 Talbot
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Constantino, Kane, Irwin
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Edwards
DID NOT QUALIFY – Matt Perry, Bubba McPhee, Jean-Francois Tessier, Bob Rowback, Zach Dufel, Clyde Peek, Mark Mortensen
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Edwards 19th to 5th
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – IVAN JOSLIN, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Beau Ballard, Luke Horning, Andy Graves, Caden Dumblewski, Shane Playford, Jim Normoyle, Chad Jeseo, AJ Walters, Jason Morrison, Kyle Weller, Gary Silkey, Slater Baker, Steve LaRochelle, Michael Achzet
LAP LEADERS – 1-20 Joslin
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Gates, Graves
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – CONNOR PROKOP, Lance Hill, Kyle Dingman, Timmy Wilmot, Bobby Rhinehardt, Phil Arnold, Johnny DuMond, Michael Kalkbrenner, Tim Deffer, Steve Wagoner, Ryan Sweet, Chris Kugler, Gus Kamburelis, John Anderson, Lucas Duncan, Jonathan Feagles, Dylan Huston, Maddy Broedel, AJ Greco, Jeff Boblin, Bella Pickard, Cian DiMezza, Kirsten Swartz
LAP LEADERS – 1-14 Hill, 15 Prokop
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Hill, Rhinehardt, Wilmot
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), John Napoli, Brandon Ely, David Frame, Corey Valade, Wayne Russell Jr. (SOHC), John Ray, Jamie warner, Ken Hollenback, Dan Valade, Blaze Post, TJ Marlitt, Todd Morey
LAP LEADERS – 1-11 Ely, 12 Kerrie Hollenback
CAPTAIN CARL’S LUXURY CRUISES/DONE BETTER POOLS NON-QUALIFIERS RACE FOR SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN CARS – 15-LAPS – Rain Shortened to 2 laps — MATT PERRY.
MAHANEY CAPTURES MALTA MODIFIED WIN
After struggling on opening night, Mike Mahaney turned things around to take home the 35-lap modified victory Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Mahaney started fifth on the grid and used a lap 27 restart to power past early-race leaders Demetrios Drellos and Matt DeLorenzo for the win. Jack Lehner finished fourth with Jessey Mueller fifth. Jeremy Pitts, Matt Depew, Steve Bernard, Jack Speshock and opening-night winner Peter Britten completed the top 10.
Joey Scarborough and Zach Buff claimed the 20-lap sportsman division victories, while Chad Jeseo won the Pro Stock main event. Dylan Grogan won the Limited Sportsman feature, while Jeff Meltz Sr. won the Street Stock main event and Adam Montville took home the checkers from the first 4-cylinder event of the season at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
In the Limited Sportsman feature, opening night winner Mike Arnold was involved in a hard collision and was reportedly transported by ambulance to the hospital complaining of neck and back pain.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway results, April 21
NAPA MODIFIEDS: MIKE MAHANEY, Demetrios Drellos, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack Lehner, Jessey Mueller, Jeremy Pitts, Matt Depew, Steve Bernard, Jack Speshock, Peter Britten, Ken Tremont Jr., Dan Creeden, Adam Pierson, LJ Lombardo, Darren Smith, Keith Flach, Brian Calabrese, Ryan McCartney, Anthony Perrego, Alissa Cody, Marc Johnson, Justin Stone, Neil Stratton, CG Morey, Brandon Daley, Felix Roy, Don Ronca, Ed Kitchell, Robert Bublak Jr., Scott Huber, Ronnie Johnson, Derek Bornt, James Meehan, Elmo Reckner (subbing for Rich Ronca).
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN (first feature, 20 laps): JOEY SCARBOROUGH, Dylan Madsen, Tim Hartman Jr., Derrick McGrew Jr., Travis Billington, Bryce Breault, David Boisclair, Gabriel Cyr, Jon Miller, Troy Audet, Nick Lussier, Cody Ochs, Michael Fitzgerald Wagner, Mike Ballestero, Ron Proctor, Floyd Billington, David Baranowski Jr., Brady Cordova, Mike Coffey Jr., Marty Kelly III, Brendan Gibbons, Drew Cormie, Brandon Darragh, Tommy D’Angelo, Justin Barber, Tony Farone.
NORTHEAST PAVING & SEALCOSTING SPORTSMAN (second feature, 20 laps): ZACH BUFF, Cedric Gauvreau, Pat Jones, Daryl Nutting, Andrew Buff, Chris Jakubiak, Mike Benson, Taylor Wason, Craig Wholey, Taylor LaPlante, Jeff Washburn, Elliot Lussier, Eric Mack, Brent Warren, Chad Edwards, Rob Maxon, Justin Cyr, Tyler Rapp, Mike Jeske, Travis Witbeck, Chris Crane Jr., Dan Grignon, Jim Osgood, Scott Bennett, Ricky Thompson.
SARATOGA MASONRY PRO STOCKS: CHAD JESEO, Kim Duell, Chucky Dumblewski, Luke Horning, Rich Crane, Jay Corbin, Jason Casey, Shane Henderson, Kyle Hoard, Jay Casey, Steven Hankle, Dan Older, Freddie Lee, Pete Vila, Randy Miller, Jordan Modiano.
HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: DYLAN GROGAN, John Santolin, Gary English, Chase Zimmer, Alex Layn, Kyle Swart, Tanner Coon, Nick Arnold, Craig Coons, Connor Crane Jr., Mike Parodi, Nick Auspelmyer, Alex Palmer-Sawyer, Anthony Maxon, David Zelker, Chad Gregory, Steve Burch, Damian Anderson, Ron Delease, Frank Twing Jr., Scott Towslee, James Galarneau, Walter Cook, Brent Bouplon, Shaedon Mosso, Mike Arnold, Aaron Clark, Phil Arnold, Mike Baker, Dan Seguin, Dakota Green, Steve Miller.
LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: JEFF MELTZ SR., PJ Cram, Josh Bussino, Jimmy Duncan, Kaleb Shepard, Mark Burch, Nick Napoli, Josh Hemming, Joey Wilson, Jason Samrov, Dana Van Veghten, Fred Shippee, Al Relyea, Chris Stalker, Josh Samrov, Maclan Campbell, Ray Pierre Jr., Steve Young, Adam Tranka, Tim McFarland, Jason Barrett, Cordell Younder.
GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: ADAM MONTVILLE, Elmer Montville, David Frame, Damian Ward, Robert Garney (first single-cam finisher), Daniel Joubert, John Mason, Micah Grant, Josh Rheome, Chris Duffney Jr., Kyle Lanfear, Matt Tedrow, Brittany Ladd, Tom Hill, Jeff DeGroat, Chayanne Garney, Olivia Swinton, Andrew Palmer, James Guertin.
‘ALEX FRIESEN REMEMBERED’ RACE RESCHEDULED TO FRIDAY
VERNON — Track officials postponed the opening night race program featuring the “Alex Friesen Remembered” main event at Utica-Rome Speedway last Friday due to persistent showers in the area.
It was announced Sunday the race program will resume this Friday, picking up at the point of the cancellation with the three Limited Sportsman heat races, followed by the modified and sportsman consis and the five scheduled main events along with the addition of the All-Start and Junior Slingshots.
Before the storms hit the speedway for the first time, Larry Wight, Bobby Hackel IV, JaMike Sowle and Matt Sheppard raced their way into the 30-lap, $6,800-to-win “Alex Friesen Remembered” main event for the big block modifieds.
Wristbands for both the grandstand and the pit area will be honored this Friday.