Photo courtesy Bill McGaffin Stewart Friesen poses with the checkered flag after winning the Modified division feature Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
FONDA -- Fonda Speedway management began handicapping procedures to lineup the feature events Saturday evening and not even starting 16th could stop defending track champion Stewart Friesen from getting to victory lane as he took the lead in the Modified feature with only three laps remaining in the 30-lap event and went on to his 12th career win at the Track of Champions.
Winners in other divisions on Saturday evening were defending track champion Cody Bleau (602 Sportsman), Nick Stone (Pro Stock), Reuben Kennedy Jr. (Street Stock) and Danny Varin (CRSA Sprints).
In the modified feature, Alton Palmer -- whose late father-in-law, Fonda fixture Ed Keyser, passed away recently and was honored at the Track of Champions Saturday -- moved past early leaders Erik Nelson and Ken McGuire to take over the lead by lap seven. Though drivers like Craig Hanson, Mike Mahaney and Jeremy Wilder moved into the top five, it was Friesen who was picking off cars one by one from the back of the field.
By the midway point of the race, Friesen passed Mahaney for third, then got by Hanson for second on lap 16.
Palmer was out to a straightaway lead, but as the race wore on, the leader had problems getting by a lapped car and with three laps to go, Friesen scored the pass on the inside of turn three and powered home for the win over Palmer, Danny Varin, Wilder and Hanson.
"That was an intense race," Friesen said in victory lane. "Alton ran a heck of a race and I really didn't know if I could get by him or not."
In the 602 Sportsman feature, Bleau started in 12th position, but moved up quickly and took advantage of a strong restart to take second place on lap six. Bleau then moved into the lead on lap eight, passing John McAuliffe, and from that point he cruised home to the victory. Rocky Warner finished second, followed by McAuliffe, Ray Zemken and Justin Auspelmeyer to round out the top five.
Kenny Martin Jr. led the early stages of the 20-lap Pro Stock feature and quickly pulled out to a healthy margin, but a lap five caution tightened the field, with Stone moving into second. Martin maintained the lead until lap 14, when Stone used the outside groove to score the pass.
Stone then held off the field after a caution with two laps to go and maintained his lead to the checkered flag for his 25th career win in the division and his first since April 24, 2010.
Kennedy took the lead on lap seven on the 10-lap Street Stock feature and went on to his second straight win and fifth of his career in the division with Jaime Warner, Rob VanAernam, Rob Veronese and Neil Cosselman rounding out the top five.
The CRSA Sprint car feature was plagued with cautions, including a red flag before the first lap could be completed when Mike Kiser and Tyler Chartrand wrecked in turn two. Jeremy Quick led through the early part of the race, with Varin moving up quickly after starting 11th.
Varin eventually weaved through the field to take the lead on lap eight, then he pulled away despite two more cautions to beat Quick, Cory Sparks, Brett Jaycox and David Evans to the checkered flag.
Racing returns to Fonda Speedway this coming Saturday, with a regular show in all divisions set to begin at 7 p.m.