Stewart Friesen and Chad Edwards claim season-opening victories at Fonda – The Daily Gazette
By James A. Ellis
FONDA — Stewart Friesen and Chad Edwards picked up where they left off at the end of the season at Fonda Speedway.
Both riders survived multiple restarts, rolling back all challengers to pick up wins on Sunday’s opening night at The Track of Champions.
With rain postponing the race schedule from Saturday to Sunday, Friesen picked up the $12,000 winners check after claiming victory in the 40-lap Montgomery County Open Jack Johnson Memorial, while Edwards led from the green to the ladies in her 25-lap victory over 602 sportsmen.
Nick Stone (Pro Stock) and Kyle Dingman (Sporting Limited) joined Friesen and Edwards with wins on opening night, while John Napoli (DOHC) and Ken Hollenbeck (SOHC) took Division 4 wins cylinders.
By luck of the draw, Friesen and Matt DeLorenzo brought the field of 28 modified to the green, with Friesen taking the lead.
His lead didn’t last long as DeLorenzo rounded the outside of Friesen entering turn three to take the lead.
Friesen fought back and appeared to regain the lead when DeLorenzo got stuck behind a slower car, but was saved as the warning flew, keeping him ahead.
Friesen made the most of the restart, returning to the front with DeLorenzo, Rocky Warner, Michael Maresca and Jessica Friesen.
Warner worked his way up to second on lap 10 and was closing in on Friesen when the second warning of the night came out on lap 14.
Warner made a bid for the lead from outside the front row on the restart but couldn’t take the lead from Stewart Friesen. Meanwhile, Matt Sheppard made his presence known, dropping from fifth to third on the restart and passing Warner for second on lap 25.
Warner’s night ended on lap 30 when he made hard contact with the wall at the first corner, while pushing his way through traffic.
Friesen opted to restart inside and held off Sheppard for the final 10 laps to earn his 80th career modified victory at Fonda Speedway.
Sheppard finished second, followed by Maresca, Jessica Friesen and DeLorenzo. Mat Williamson, Alan Johnson, Danny Varin, Tim Fuller and Ryan Odasz complete the top 10.
“That [the restarts] was really nerve-wracking there,” Stewart Friesen told Victory Lane. “I feel like we kinda messed up the setup. After being in Orange County last night, to be able to come here to Fonda today and win in honor of a legend, it’s special. C This is Jack’s house and it feels good to win a race in his honor.
Edwards started outside the front row of the 25-lap 602 Sport Final and beat pole sitter Dan Santabarbara into the first corner to take the lead.
The race was signaled on lap three when Jeremiah Munson, who was running fourth, made contact with the wall at turn one, sending him barreling before coming to rest on all fours on the outside of turn two. Munson was uninjured in the wreckage.
Edwards maintained his lead through several restarts and pulled away from runner-up Payton Talbot in the final eight laps under green flag to earn his 14th career division win. Talbot finished second followed by Santabarbara, Tim Dwyer and Brian Calabrese.
“We ended last season that way and now we’re coming back to it,” Edwards told Victory Lane. “We built a new car two years ago, but we haven’t used it here yet because this one is so good.
Andy Graves and Stone brought the field of 16 professional actions to the green, with Stone immediately taking control of the run.
Luke Horning took the lead, slipping past Stone on a fourth lap restart before Stone regained the lead a lap later.
With Stone running strong on the high side of the fast lane, most of the competitors followed suit looking to knock the defending lane champion down, but to no avail as he crossed under the ladies for his 60th career win in professional stock.
“Luke is always better at reboots than me,” Stone told Victory Lane. “He takes advantage of me with these moves. I knew I wanted to get to the top so I wanted to get up there as soon as possible, it was too fast up there to give up.
Horning finished second, followed by Ivan Joslin, Beau Ballard and Josh Coonradt.
Tim Deffer showed the limited Sporting field the fast way around the fast lane for the first 11 laps of the 15-lap feature before Tom D’Angelo used a run-in car as his choice to fend for the lead.
Dingman, who started the event on lap eight, moved up to second on lap 13 and chased D’Angelo to take the lead out of turn four to take the white flag.
D’Angelo was unable to mount a charge on the final lap as Dingman picked up his third career split victory. Deffer placed third with Jonathan Feagles fourth and Walter Cook fifth.
Zach McSpirit led the first lap of the 12-lap four-cylinder final before John Napoli took over to lead the remaining laps to claim his third career victory at Fonda Speedway.
McSpirit finished second under the ladies with Ken Hollenback finishing third and declared the only overhead cam winner. Dale VanAllen placed fourth and Gina Voris fifth.
Racing returns Saturday with all divisions competing with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series in the “Don Gras Memorial” event that rained last Saturday.
Gates open at 3:00 p.m. with hot laps on track at 5:30 p.m. and the first qualifying races from 6:30 p.m.
Fonda Speedway Results
April 24: Andy’s Service Center Montgomery County Open Jack Johnson Memorial
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – $12,000 TO WIN – 40 RPM – STEWART FRIESEN, Matt Sheppard, Michael Maresca, Jessica Friesen, Matt DeLorenzo, Mat Williamson, Alan Johnson, Danny Varin, Tim Fuller, Ryan Odasz, Chris Curtis, Jack Lehner, Bobby Hackel IV, Demetrious Drellos, JaMike Sowle, Nick Heywood, Pep Corradi, Darren Smith, Jeff Taylor, Rocky Warner, Mike Mahaney, Ronnie Johnson, Billy Decker, Dave Constantino, Bobby Varin, Adam McAuliffe, Brian Pessolano, Craig Hanson, David Schilling (DNS)
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – CHAD EDWARDS, Payton Talbot, Dan Santabarbara, Tim Dwyer, Brian Calabrese, Troy Palmer, Mark Mortensen, Troy Zilles, Dylan Madsen, Chip Constantino, Clayton DuMond, Tanner Warner, Tony Farone , Brendan Gibbons, Michael McCallion, Justin Severance, Kevin Crave, Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Carter Gibbons, Jason Reome, Brett Mortensen, Cody Clark, Stephen Gray, Michael Ballestero, Greg Havlicek, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Jeremiah Munson
ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20 TOURS – NICK STONE, Luke Horning, Ivan Joslin, Beau Ballard, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Shane Playford, Andy Graves, Chuck Dumblewski, Jim Normoyle, Scott Towslee, Steve Cosselman, Slater Baker, Jason Morrison , Devon Camenga, Randy Cosselman
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – KYLE DINGMAN, Tom D’Angelo, Tim Deffer, Jonathan Feagles, Walter Cook, Ryan Sweet, Craig Wholley, Lance Hill, Zach Dufel, Connor Prokop, Josh Kane, Seth Martin, Wesley Sutliff, Michael Kalkbrenner, Nate Bedell, Bob Rowback, Harold Robitaille, John Anderson, Mark Lighthall (DNS), Cian DiMezza
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – JOHN NAPOLI (DOHC), Zach McSpirit, Ken Hollenback (SOHC), Dale VanAllen, Gina Voris, Kerrie Hollenback, Lee Horning, Ian Poultney, Len St. Andrews, TJ Marlitt, Heath Bosh , William Cook Jr., Christopher Jennings Sr., David Peek-Britten, Edward LaSpina, Shawn Hemstreet
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