Stewart Friesen (44) races inside of Ronnie Johnson (1RJ) during modified racing action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. Friesen won the 30-lap modified feature, his fourth feature win of the year at Fonda. (Photo courtesy Jeff Karabin)

Staff Report

FONDA — Stewart Friesen made his fourth win of the season look easy, coming from the 11th starting position to the lead on lap 10 of the 30-lap modified feature event Saturday at Fonda Speedway. He led the remaining laps for his fourth win of the season in the Halmar No. 44 Cyclone Chassis DKM car and the 45th of his career at the “Track of Champions,” putting him only three wins behind Mike Romano for seventh on the all-time wins list.

“What a great race team this Halmar team is,” Friesen said in victory lane. “The track was nice and smooth up on the top and my crew chief Eric (Mack) has been working on this Cyclone car, trying different shocks, and we have got it pretty close now.”

Other winners on School House Pools Night at Fonda included Tony Farone (sportsman), William August (limited sportsman), Kenny Gates (pro stock), Joey Wilson (street stock), Ken Hollenback (cruisers) and Cory Sparks (URC sprints).

Pep Corradi led at the start of the 30-lap modified feature event from his pole position start with Jeremy Wilder in second place after starting fourth. After starting the event 11th, Friesen was already up to the sixth spot after getting by Ronnie Johnson and two laps later was the new third-place car after getting by Mike Maresca for the spot.

Corradi and Wilder had a half straightaway advantage on Friesen at that point but Friesen, like he has so many times befor,e took little time to close in on the top two. On lap 10, Friesen went to the outside of both Wilder and Corradi to take the lead and quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Wilder got by Corradi for the second position on lap 13 and at the halfway point of the event the top five consisted of Friesen, Wilder, Corradi, Maresca andlast week’s winner Bobby Varin.

Varin continued his march to the front over the next few laps, taking the third position away from Corradi on lap 21 with points leader Tim Fuller following Varin through the field after starting back in the 13th spot to move into fourth. Varin and Fuller each passed one more car for the second and third positions, respectively, but that would be as far as they would go as Friesen won the event by close to a half-track.

Friesen was the winner followed in the top five at the checkered flag by Varin, Fuller, eighth place starter Josh Hohenforst and Wilder.

Fourteen-year-old Griffen Mansmith and Tony Farone started the 25-lap sportsman feature on the front row with Farone taking the early lead. By lap eight, the top three cars for Farone, Cody Clark and Tim Hartman Jr. had a good lead on the fourth and fifth place cars of Mansmith and Mark Mortensen.

Farone was in lapped traffic in the closing laps, but it didn’t slow his progress to the checkered flag as he went on to his fifth career win in the division over Clark, Hartman Jr., Aaron Burton and Kurtis Hohensheldt. Mansmith’s great run came to an end on the final lap as his motor gave way while he was running in the top five.

“I couldn’t tell if we were going to get here to victory lane again the way we’ve been running,” Farone said. “The track came up good and it was our night tonight.”

Gates passed Josh Coonradt on the inside of the backstretch on lap 17 to take the lead and went on to his sixth win of 2017 and the 71st of his career in the 20-lap pro stock feature. Coonradt held on for second with Nick Stone, Jason Casey and Luke Horning completing the top five.

“That was one heck of a race,” Gates said in victory lane. “I missed a couple of shifts during the event but other than that it’s been a great night. Josh (Coonradt) and Nick (Stone) ran a great clean race and I appreciate that.”

August led all 12 laps of the limited sportsman feature as he went on to his second win of the season over Cory White, Mike Jackson, Kathy Bellen and Bill Port.

Wilson claimed  his first win of the season and second of his career in the 15-lap street stock feature, making a move past Steven Young on the inside of the backstretch on lap 12. Rob VanAernam, Cliff Haslun, Bubby Shaffer and Jim Groncki followed Wilson across the line.

Ken Hollenback led all 10-laps of the cruiser feature to take his third win of the season and the 40th of his career at Fonda over Wayne Russel, Pat McSpirit, Kerrie Hollenback, and Zach McSpirit. In victory lane an emotional Hollenback dedicated the win to his mother. who passed away earlier in the week,

Local favorite Sparks started the URC 360-sprint feature in third, fell back early and quickly moved into better position, taking back third on lap eight. Sparks got by Matt Tanner for second on lap 11, then began trimming into Curt Michael’s lead before going outside of Michael for the front spot on lap 14. Sparks led the remainder of the 25-lap feature in the Adirondack Harley Davidson No. 1HD for his first URC win at Fonda ahead of Michael, Danny Varin, Tanner and Bobby Varin.

Sparks is also a two time winner at Fonda in the CRSA 305 sprint car.

“The first sprint car race of my career was a URC event here at Fonda in 2005,” Sparks said in victory lane. “But this is my first win of my career with URC.”

Saturday, July 22 will be a busy night at the “Track of Champions” with a regular racing card sponsored by West End Towing and Benjamin Moore Paints starting at  p.m. It will also be Irv Taylor tribute night at Fonda as the former great competitor will be honored by the track and the Fonda Museum.