After finishing seventh in the first sportsman feature Saturday night at Fonda Speedway, Chad Edwards sat in his trailer shaking his head.
"It was like racing on ice," he said.
However, after the second 20-lap feature of the night, Edwards was smiling as he stood in Victory Lane at the Track of Champions with his first feature win.
"This is an awesome feeling," Edwards said in Victory Lane. "I didn't do so well in the first feature, but the track came to me in the second race. I was getting a little jittery on the last couple of laps but after four years we are finally here in victory lane."
Edwards said the track prep before the second set of features played a role in the way his car handled.
"I have to thank the track crew because I think they made a good choice to water the track," he said. "They watered it after the sun went down and I think that helped a lot. The top seemed a lot better than it was in the first one."
Edwards got to the front early in the second feature, passing early-race leader Rob Barlie on the outside of turn one. He withstood the pressure of two-time defending division champion David Towns and a late-race charge from division point's leader Luke Munroe to pick up the victory.
"I watched the video and I didn't know they were that close," Edwards said. "Once I got in the lead I felt pretty good about it. It took a couple of days to sink in, but I didn't sleep too much Saturday night."
Though Saturday's win was his first in a points event, winning is nothing new to Edwards.
"I won the Jack Lockhart race here last year," he said. "Before that, I raced go karts at Caroga Creek for three years and had two King of Dirt Championships, a points championship and won a bunch of races up there."
The 24-year-old racer purchased a 2006 Bicknell with eight races on it from Robert King and opted to move straight to the sportsman division, by passing the full fender classes.
"I always liked the open wheel cars and really didn't want to start in the other divisions," he said. "When I started coming here to watch the races my favorite driver was Alton Palmer. He won the first night I came here. I also liked watching Tim Clemons. He helped me a lot with set ups and advice on how to drive when I got started."
June will be Edwards' final full month of competition at Fonda, as he will trade in his driving suit for an Air National Guard uniform.
"I enlisted in November last year and thought I would leave earlier, but I didn't get my date until July 1," he said. "I will be training in Texas and will graduate Aug. 28. I should be back to race in the September shows."
Edwards said after he completes his schooling to work on aircraft fuel systems, he will be stationed at in Scotia.
"I will be in Scotia, so I will be able to get home and race," he said. "My brother has been in the Air National Guard for six years now. Unless I get a full time job there, I am going to do the one weekend a month deal."
Jumpin' Jack Flashback
What a great weekend for one of the legends of dirt track racing in the Northeast.
Jack Johnson, still racing at age 64, brought the house down at Fonda Speedway Saturday night as he put on a late-race charge to move from fourth to first in the final five laps of the held-over 30-lap modified feature and claim his 149th career victory at the Track of Champions.
Jumpin' Jack also came from deep in the pack to finish third in the second feature behind Bobby Varin and Jeff Trombley.
Johnson's success continued Sunday night at Utica-Rome Speedway as he put the 12A in Victory Lane again, claiming the 30-lap modified feature win over Pat Ward and Ronnie Johnson. It was Jack's 27th Utica-Rome feature win.
Also finding success at Utica-Rome Sunday was former Fonda Speedway sportsman division champion John "The Jet" Scarborough. Scarborough started sixth in the field and raced his way past Jack Miller on the third lap and beat Matt Janczuk and Steve Way to the checkers for his first career Utica-Rome Speedway feature win.
James A. Ellis is a sports reporter for The Leader-Herald. We invite your feedback on this or any other sports-related topic. E-mail your opinions or ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.