Photo courtesy Bill McGaffin Chip Constantino is pictured in victory lane after winning his first career sportsman feature race Saturday at Fonda Speedway.
FONDA -- A late-race caution with five races to go changed the complexion of the modified feature Saturday night at Fonda Speedway, swinging the momentum from a possible first-time winner to a defending track champion.
Pep Corradi was running the race of his career and was on his way to a possible first modified win at the Track of Champions until the late caution came out. On the restart, Stewart Friesen made the best of the situation, got by Corradi and went on to his sixth win of the season and 26th of his career at Fonda.
Other winners at Fonda on Saturday evening were Chip Constantino (sportsman), Chuck Dumblewski (pro stock), John Bradt (street stock) and Kerrie Hollenback (4-cylinder).
Corradi started the modified feature on the front row alongside early leader Darwin Greene, with Corradi coming away with the lead after a handful of laps. Jeremy Wilder, Bobby Varin and Friesen made progress toward the front of the field and were all within striking distance by the time the race hit the halfway mark.
At that point, Greene was pressuring Corradi, but on lap 16 Corradi got by a lapped car quicker than his rival, gaining some breathing room. After a lap 20 caution, Friesen shot up to third on a restart and was right on Greene's tail when Greene spun in turn two on lap 24 to bring out another caution.
Greene's spin ended the night for both himself and Wilder, and with both of them out of the race, Friesen took over the second spot. On the restart, Friesen got by Corradi on the outside to take the lead and quickly pulled away to a straightaway victory over Mark Kislowski, Varin, Corradi and Ronnie Johnson.
In the sportsman feature, Constantino jumped the start from the front row and was moved back two spots as a penalty, but quickly slotted into second behind Dan Santabarbara on the second attempt at a start. Multiple cautions slowed the event in the early stages, with Constantino taking the lead from Santabarbara on a lap seven restart.
That restart also saw Connor Cleveland move to third, and Cleveland got by Santabarbara for second on lap 12 just before a final caution came out on lap 14. On the restart, Constantino held onto the lead and stayed ahead of Cleveland to the checkered flag to win his first ever win in the division at Fonda Speedway. Cleveland was second, followed by Pessolano, Rocky Warner and Santabarbara.
"I'm excited," Constantino said in victory lane. "The track was a little rough in turns one and two but after being penalized we were able to come back and get it done."
In the 20-lap pro stock feature, Dumblewski started 18th but charged through the field, eventually taking second behind Kenny Gates on a lap six restart. Six laps later, Dumblewski got by Gates for the lead and immediately pulled away, hanging on despite two late caution flags to win his second consecutive Fonda feature over Nick Stone, Pete Broderson, Gates and Luke Horning.
Jerry Cohn led the early portion of the 15-lap street stock feature, but he was penalized for making contact with Dave Horning Sr. and putting him into the front stretch wall and moved to the rear of the field. Bradt inherited the lead and held on for his fourth win of the season.
Just four cars started the 4-cylinder feature, and it was again a duel between brothers Ken and Kerrie Hollenbeck. Kerrie was the first to lead, but Ken took over the lead on lap six and looked well on his way to victory -- but he slowed in turn two on the final lap with a flat tire as Kerrie got by for his first win of 2014.
-- Staff report