Racing Around: Big night for Friesen family, autism awareness at Fonda

Jessica, Parker and Stewart Friesen celebrate in Victory Lane Saturday after Stewart Friesen won the Thunder on the Thruway modified feature on Autism Awareness Night at Fonda Speedway. Jessica placed fourth. (James A. Ellis)

Jessica, Parker and Stewart Friesen celebrate in Victory Lane Saturday after Stewart Friesen won the Thunder on the Thruway modified feature on Autism Awareness Night at Fonda Speedway. Jessica placed fourth. (James A. Ellis)


FONDA — After hosting a Tailgate for a Cause chicken barbecue and festivities at the Fonda Fairgrounds for Aim Autism and Crossroads Center for Children, the Friesen family capped off the special night with a solid on-track performance.

Jessica Friesen turned in a strong fourth-place finish and after an early-race setback, Stewart Friesen fought his way from the back of the pack to pick up the 30-lap, $4,000-to-win F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series modified victory on Aim Autism and One Zee Tees Autism Awareness Night Saturday at Fonda Speedway.

“I can’t thank the Halmar Team enough, the whole Aim Autism Group, the Fonda Fairgrounds, the Fonda Speedway crew and everybody who came out for the Tailgating for a Cause today,” Stewart Friesen said in Victory Lane.

“I think the number is right around $30,000 that we raised for Crossroads. Super proud of that. That is why I love this community and this racetrack. Whether you cheer or boo, that is why I love racing here. Being able to do that today, have a lot of fun and raise a lot of money for such a great cause and a great facility there in Schenectady.”

For the second straight week, Beau Ballard found his way to checkerboard square in the 20-lap Pro Stock feature, while Chad Edwards padded his points lead over Payton Talbot with his sixth 602 Crate Sportsman feature win of the season and Zach Dufel posted his second straight and fourth win of the season in the Limited Sportsman main event. In the 4-cylinder mini stock feature, Ken Hollenbeck led all 12 laps to record his 12th Single Cam division victory of the season and 80th of his career, while his brother Kerrie was second under the checkers to claim his 29th career victory and ninth Dual Cam victory of the season.

Rocky Warner and Jessica Friesen brought the 26-car field of modifieds to the green with Demetrios Drellos and Stewart Friesen in the second row.
Warner grabbed the early lead over Jessica Friesen, while Drellos and Stewart Friesen raced for third.

Stewart Friesen brought out the first caution of the race when he clipped the first turn wall and spun, coming to rest off the second turn. He made a pit stop and returned to competition at the back of the pack.

“It was faster on the top and I stepped on it there, wiped half the rear clip off of it then and got the rest of it down in three and four coming through traffic,” Friesen said.

Warner maintained his lead over Jessica Friesen and was able pull away as she held off Ronnie Johnson, Drellos and Alex Yankowski for the second spot.

A lap six caution brought Warner back to the field and allowed Drellos to get past Johnson on the restart.

By lap 10 Drellos took over second as Stewart Friesen moved into the top 10 and was running eighth when the caution came out again on lap 17.

Another restart two laps later found Stewart Friesen behind Warner and challenging for the top spot.

The defending division co-champion held off Friesen until lap 25 when Friesen found a little extra on the bottom of turn four to take the lead and post his fourth win of the season and 83rd of his career at the Track of Champions.

“Rocky was up on the top and it started to go away and we just kind of found something on the bottom,” Friesen said.

Warner crossed the line in second, followed by Drellos, Jessica Friesen and Johnson to round out the top five. Yankowski, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Gleason, Bobby Varin and Chris Curtis completed the second five.

Brett Mortensen set the early pace in the 25-lap Thunder on the Thruway 602 Crate Sportsman feature before Tanner Warner took over the point on a lap seven restart, bringing Edwards with him, dropping Mortensen to third.

Warner turned back Edwards’ low groove challenge before the defending champion managed to get to the high side and get the lead leaving Warner battling with Talbot for the runner-up spot.

The red flag flew on a lap 19 restart when contact between Mortensen and Talbot triggered a multi-car accident heading into the first turn.

Edwards maintained his lead when the race resumed, with Talbot getting up for second ahead of Warner with Cody Clark finishing fourth after starting 25th and Chip Constantino completed the top five.

Coming off his win Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway, Ballard pressured early-race leader Chucky Dumblewski before taking the point on the third circuit of the 20-lap Thunder on the Thruway Series Pro Stock feature with Josh Coonradt, Jason Morrison and Kenny Gates battling for third.

Dumblewski kept the pressure on Ballard as Ivan Joslin, Nick Stone and Luke Horning joined the battle for third.

With the race staying under green-flag conditions, Ballard was able to pull away from Dumblewski and the field spread out.

Ballard finished a straightaway ahead of Dumblewski who beat Stone for the runner-up spot, with Gates fourth and Joslin fifth.

Gus Kamburelis took the lead at the drop of the green for the 15-lap Limited Sportsman feature before bringing out the caution while battling with John Anderson, Dufel and Kyle Dingman on lap nine.

Dufel took the lead over Anderson on the restart and pulled away for his fourth win of the season over Dingman, Connor Prokop, Anderson and Ryan Sweet.


Two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion and on-air personality Todd Bodine was a special guest Saturday at Fonda Speedway. He participated in the dunk tank at the Tailgate for a Cause for Aim Autism and One Zee Tees Autism Awareness Night. Bodine also made the trip to the announcer’s tower during the modified heat race action.

Matt DeLorenzo picked up the victory Friday night in the modified feature at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Stewart Friesen won the 30-lap modified feature Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway.

Kenny Tremont scored his 141st modified feature win at Lebanon Valley Speedway Saturday night.

Utica-Rome Speedway will host the Short Track Super Series Richie Evans Remembered 61. Stewart Friesen is the defending race champion.

Fonda Speedway results

Aim Autism and One Zee Tees Autism Awareness Night

F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – $4,000 to win – STEWART FRIESEN, Rocky Warner, Demetrious Drellos, Jessica Friesen, Ronnie Johnson, Alex Yankowski, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Gleason, Bobby Varin, Chris Curtis, Tucker O’Connor, Nick Heywood, Rich Christman, Ryan Odasz, JaMike Sowle, Ray Zemken, Darwin Greene, Danny Varin, Dave Constantino, George Foley, Pep Corradi, Don Bellen, Jim Introne Jr., Bobby Hackel IV, David Schilling, Aaron Jacobs, Craig Hanson (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Schilling, Warner, Stewart Friesen
F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – $1,500 to win – CHAD EDWARDS, Payton Talbot, Tanner Warner, Cody Clark, Chip Constantino, Troy Zilles, Brendan Gibbons, Kevin Chaffee, Tommy D’Angelo, Mark Mortensen, Greg Havlicek, Clayton DuMond, Carter Gibbons, Cory White, Jason Greco, Tim Dwyer, Anthony Cardamone, Brett Mortensen, Troy Palmer, Stephen Gray, Jeremy Tyrrell, Kaden Hohensheldt, Matthew Perry, Jason Reome, Tony Farone, Griffen Mansmith, Dan Santabarbara, Dylan Eldred (DNS), Harry Shaffer (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Chaffee, Palmer, Brendan Gibbons
GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD – Clark 21 positions from 25th to 4th
F.X. CAPRARA CAR COMPANIES THUNDER ON THE THRUWAY SERIES ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-Laps – $1,000 to win – BEAU BALLARD, Chucky Dumblewski, Nick Stone, Kenny Gates, Ivan Joslin, Luke Horning, Jason Morrison, Jim Normoyle, Josh Coonradt, Gary Silkey, AJ Walters, Caden Dumblewski, Randy Cosselman, John Holmes, Ken Griffen, Buck Gasner, Don Collins
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Stone, Morrison
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – ZACH DUFEL, Kyle Dingman, Connor Prokop, John Anderson, Ryan Sweet, Lance Hill, Harold Robitaille, Wesley Sutliff, Tim Deffer, AJ Greco, Walter Cook, EJ Gallup, Gus Kamburelis, Bob Rowback, Mark Lighthall, Michael Kalkbrenner, Josh Kane, Timmy Wilmot (DNS)
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Kamburelis, Cook
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-laps – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), John Napoli, Dale VanAllen, TJ Marlitt, Todd Morey, Wayne Russell Jr., Len St. Andrews, Christopher Jennings Sr., David Peek-Britten
LAP LEADERS – 1-12 Ken Hollenback

Categories: Sports

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