Racing Around: It was a rough night for points leaders at Fonda

Shawn Donath (53), Jeff Trombley (3A) and Danny Varin run three-wide through turns one and two during heat race action for the 360 Empire Super Sprints Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. (James A. Ellis)

Shawn Donath (53), Jeff Trombley (3A) and Danny Varin run three-wide through turns one and two during heat race action for the 360 Empire Super Sprints Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. (James A. Ellis)

FONDA — It was a rough night Saturday for the division point leaders at Fonda Speedway, but a good night for Stewart Friesen, Ivan Joslin, Danny Varin and Brett Mortensen.

Friesen claimed his second straight modified feature win, Joslin got his second straight pro stock feature win and Varin drove to his sixth-straight Empire Super Sprints victory at Fonda Speedway. For Mortensen, Saturday ended a year of frustration as he recorded his first career 602 crate sportsman feature win at the Track of Champions.

“I am kind of speechless. That was probably the easiest I drove the car,” Mortensen said in victory lane. “It pretty much drove itself. I was getting a little nervous. It [the track] was so fast, and I was just full rip all the way around. It has been a very difficult season with crashes and bad luck. I am just glad it all came together.”

Zach Dufel maintained his limited sportsman points lead with his fifth win of the season, while Kerrie Hollenbeck was the overall winner in the mini-stock feature to claim his 12th dual overhead cam victory and Ken Hollenbeck took home his 15th SOHC victory of the year.

However, for Matt DeLorenzo, Chad Edwards and Nick Stone, who all entered the night leading the modified, 602 sportsman and pro stock standings, respectively, all recorded DNFs to tighten the battle for the track championships with one more week remaining in the regular season.

After the initial start of the 30-lap modified feature was waved off, Chris Curtis took command over Demetrios Drellos at the drop of the green.

The second start was not good for DeLorenzo as he slid up the track exiting turn two and clipped the backstretch wall, bending his front axle. DeLorenzo limped to the hot pit and returned to the speedway, only to retire from the event on lap seven.

Curtis maintained his lead over Drellos as they were joined by Friesen, who started 12th, on a lap seven restart.

Lapped traffic came into play near the midway point, allowing Friesen to slip under Drellos and into second when the caution flew on lap 16.

With a clear track in front of him, Curtis held off Friesen until lap 18 when he was able to slide up in front of Curtis to take the lead and pull away for his 85th career modified feature win at Fonda Speedway.

“There were two grooves, and the track was really wide tonight,” Friesen said in victory lane. “It was definitely a challenging track for us tonight with the stutter bumps. I got to thank Integra Shocks, the best shocks in the business. They got us across the studders probably better than anyone else tonight.”

Drellos used the late-race lapped traffic to get past Curtis with three laps to go and finish second, while JaMike Sowle finished fourth and Ryan Odasz was fifth. Dave Constantino, David Schilling, Rocky Warner, Ronnie Johnson and Danny Varin complete the top 10.

With DeLorenzo’s 21st-place finish and eighth- and ninth-place finishes by Warner and Johnson, DeLorenzo’s points lead unofficially shrank from 26 to eight over Johnson and 14 over Warner heading into championship night next Saturday.

Mortensen, the 2020 limited sportsman track champion, moved quickly from his sixth starting position to third behind Steven Gray and Dylan Eldred on the opening lap. Eldred brought out the first caution of the race when he slowed with suspension issues, moving Mortensen alongside Gray on the restart.

Gray and Mortensen ran side-by-side on the restart before Mortensen took the lead on the outside of turn four on lap four.

After a restart for a lap five caution, Mark Mortensen moved into second behind his brother.

The Mortensen brothers ran one-two, while Gray and Zilles with Edward breaking into the top five before the caution flew again on lap 11.

Zilles took over second on the restart and Edwards moved into third with Payton Talbot moving from ninth to fifth.

Edwards slowed with mechanical issues with 11 laps remaining, ending his run for the night.

Zilles put a nose in front on the restart before Brett Mortensen came back to go back in front in turns three and four.

Talbot and Mark Mortensen battled for third spot well behind Brett and Zilles.

Brett Mortensen survived a late-race restart that Talbot used to his advantage to move from fourth to second.

Talbot could not close the gap in the final five circuits as Mortensen closed out his first career 602 sportsman feature win.

Mark Mortensen placed third followed by Zilles, Cody Clark, Troy Palmer, Chip Constantino, Gray, Clayton DuMond and Greg Havlicek.

With his runner-up finish, Talbot unofficially took over the 602 crate sportsman points lead from Edwards, 893-886, with one race to go.

Jason Morrison showed the field the fast way around the speedway for the opening laps of the pro stock feature that was red-flagged on lap four when Randy Cosselman, who was running fifth, made hard contact with the fourth-turn wall and barrel-rolled onto the front stretch. Cosselman was uninjured in the hard wreck.

Morrison held his lead on the restart, but now had Stone on his back bumper with Chucky Dumblewski, Kenny Gates and Joslin locked in a tight battle for the third spot.

Four laps later, Stone came to a stop on the backstretch to bring out the caution. He was able to make quick repairs in the hot pit and rejoined the race at the back of the pack.

Dumblewski settled in behind Morrison in second, with Joslin and Gates third and fourth, respectively. and Luke Horning in fifth.

Dumblewski took over the lead at the midway point as Gates challenged Morrison for second.

The caution flew again on Lap 11 for debris on the speedway, setting up a restart that helped Josling move forward to second behind Dumblewski. It also helped Stone to move back into the top five.

Stone’s night came to an end with three laps remaining as his car came to a halt on the speedway, ending his run back to the front.

With Joslin now in front with a clear racetrack, he was able to hold off Dumblewski and Beau Ballard for his second win of the season and 12th of his career at Fonda. Morrison crossed the line in fourth, with AJ Walters fifth.

“I have never won two in a row,” Joslin said in victory lane. “This thing is on rails. My uncle Dennis did something to it, and has it on rails. I can’t thank him enough for what he does.”

Tim Wilmot led the opening lap of the limited sportsman feature, but went pit side during a red flag for a multi-car accident in turn two that finished the night for Bob Rowback, Connor Prokop and Nate Bedell.

Lance Hill inherited the lead and held off Dufel until lap eight before the points leader took over the point and pulled away for his fifth win of the season.

Josh Kane rallied to finish second with Hill third, Phil Arnold fourth and AL Greco fifth. Kyle Dingman avoided the second-turn wreck and finished second, and now unofficially trails Dufel by 24 points in the standings.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it [the points battle],” Dufel said in victory lane. “I just want to finish the race and see where the chips fall. It is one of my dreams to win a championship and be out on the wall out there. We have one more week left, and we need to finish strong.”

Last week’s limited sportsman feature winner Wesley Sutliff had issues in the front end of his car during his heat race before hitting the end of the fourth-turn wall, becoming airborne. Sutliff was extricated from his ride, but remained at the speedway after refusing treatment and exiting the ambulance.

Varin backed up his win Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway with his win Saturday at Fonda to complete a sweep of the weekend ESS events.

Josh Pieniazek grabbed the lead at the drop of the green before Varin, who started third, made his way into the lead exiting turn two on lap nine.

Dylan Swiernik challenged Varin for the lead, but could not get to the front as Varin stayed steady on the front end to record the victory.

“We were lacking a little bit there in the feature, I think it was the hard tire playing us a little bit,” Varin said after the win. “It was brand new going on with no laps on it and it took a little while to go but the car just kept getting better and better. The longer the feature the better the car was going to get.”

Shawn Donath was third, followed by Matt Tanner and Paulie Colagiovanni.

PIT NOTES

After having mechanical trouble with his primary car Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Matt DeLorenzo borrowed Brian Gleason’s car, changed the “G” to a “D” and drove to the modified feature win. Chuck Dumblewski picked up his fourth pro stock feature win of the season on Friday.

Matt Sheppard continued his dominance in the modified division at Utica-Rome Speedway as he drove from 12th to his ninth feature win of the season over Billy Decker and Rocky Warner. Josh Coonradt picked up his second-straight pro stock victory, while Gloversville’s E.J. Gallup claimed his second-straight limited sportsman feature win of the season, and T.J. Marlitt took home the SOHC feature win.

Fonda Speedway Results

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps) — STEWART FRIESEN, Demetrious Drellos, Chris Curtis, JaMike Sowle, Ryan Odasz, Dave Constantino, David Schilling, Rocky Warner, Ronnie Johnson, Danny Varin, Bobby Varin, Nick Heywood, Tucker O’Connor, Craig Hanson, Pep Corradi, Darwin Greene, John Lutes, Dylan Scribner, Jessica Friesen, Bobby Hackel IV, Matt DeLorenzo, Steve Akers, Aaron Jacobs, Rich Christman, Brian Gleason (DNS). HEAT RACE WINNERS — Curtis, Drellos, Sowle

SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE (25 laps) — BRETT MORTENSEN, Payton Talbot, Mark Mortensen, Troy Zilles, Cody Clark, Troy Palmer, Chip Constantino, Stephen Gray, Clayton DuMond, Greg Havlicek, Jason Reome, Harry Shaffer, Anthony Cardamone, Matthew Perry, Nikki Ouellette, Tanner Warner, Cory White, Kathy Bellen, Brendan Gibbons, Chad Edwards, Tim Dwyer, Jeremy Tyrrell, Carter Gibbons, Griffen Mansmith, Dylan Eldred, Kurtis Hohensheldt. HEAT RACE WINNERS — Warner, Havlicek, Gray.

GRECO’S NAPA HARD CHARGER AWARD — Troy Palmer plus 14 spots from 20th to sixth.

ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) — IVAN JOSLIN, Chuck Dumblewski, Beau Ballard, Jason Morrison, AJ Walters, Kenny Gates, Jim Normoyle, Josh Coonradt, Dennis Joslin, John Holmes, Caden Dumblewski, Gary Silkey, Don Collins, Nick Stone, Luke Horning, Randy Cosselman. HEAT RACE WINNERS — Horning, Chuck Dumblewski

MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE (15 laps) — ZACH DUFEL, Josh Kane, Lance Hill, Phil Arnold, AJ Greco, Kyle Dingman, Bobby Rhinehardt, Jonathan Feagles, Collin Williams, Steve Wagoner, Harold Robitaille, Walter Cook, Cian DiMezza, Chris Kugler, Timmy Wilmot, Bob Rowback, Michael Kalkbrenner, Connor Prokop, Nate Bedell, Mark Lighthall, Ryan Sweet (DNS), Wesley Sutliff (DNS), Corky Warner (DNS). HEAT RACE WINNERS — Wilmot, Hill, Kane.

FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE — KERRIE HOLLENBACK (DOHC), Chris Hall, KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), Wayne Russell Jr., Josh Ramsey, Bruce Liddle, Jim Blue, John Napoli, David Peek-Britten, Len St. Andrews, Justin Ramsey, TJ Marlitt. $50 bonus to both Kerrie and Ken Hollenback, compliments of Marty from Upstate Auto.

LUCAS OIL EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT (ESS) FEATURE (25 laps) — DANNY VARIN, Dylan Swiernik, Shawn Donath, Matt Tanner, Paulie Colagiovanni, Davie Franek, Jordan Poirier, Josh Pieniazek, Jason Barney, Mike Kiser, Chad Miller, Joe Trenka, Scott Kreutter, Jeff Cook, Kelly Hebing, Jeff Trombley, Lacey Hanson, Chris Jones, Logan Crisafulli, Tyler Cartier, Scott Holcomb, Floyd Billington (DNS), Travis Billington (DNS), Jeremiah Munson (DNS). HEAT RACE WINNERS — Cook, Barney, Varin.

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