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Racing Around: Fonda set to close out season

September 23, 2010
By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

In 2008, Ronnie Johnson outdueled Brett Hearn to capture both modified features on McDonald's weekend at Fonda Speedway.

I can only imagine that after last Saturday's feature win, he is ready for history to repeat itself.

After raining out Sunday's race card last season, the Track of Champions will again welcome race teams for the annual two-day season ending gala and so-far the weather forecast is favorable for both days of racing.

Saturday, the Empire Super Sprints join the race program with their 2010 series championship on the line. Steve Poirier leads the ESS touring series with five wins and 2,072 points. Justin Barger is in second with three wins and 2,001 points. Jessica Zemken has five wins on the circuit this year and is 13th with 963 points.

Also on the card are feature events for the modifieds, UMPs, 602 limited sportsman, street stocks and four-cylinders.

The modifieds will run a 40-lap, $4,000-to-win main event, while the 602s will race for $1,000-to-win. The modified and street stock races are open events.

Fonda Speedway will live up to its motto, "Feel the Thunder" on Sunday as the finales for the Thunder on the Thruway Series roll onto the track.

Stewart Friesen leads the modified series with 274 points, while Fonda Speedway track champion Bobby Varin is second with 249 and Ronnie Johnson is third with 246.

The modified Thunder Series pays $8,000 to the series champion, $5,000 for second, $3,000 for third, $2,000 for fourth, $1,500 for fifth and $1,000 for sixth.

Sunday's modified feature will be a $9,500-to-win, 100-lap showdown.

A.J. Filbeck, who turned in a solid second-place finish in the sportsman feature Saturday, leads the Best-of-Four sportsman series points with 118 points with fellow Utica-Rome regulars Bill Trexler Jr. second with 112 and Matt Janczuk is third with 108. Four-time Fonda Speedway sportsman champion David Towns is fourth with 102 points, while Mark Mortensen is fifth with 88.

Two points separate Brett Belden and Tommy Denton at the top of the Best-of-Four pro stock series standings. Belden enters Sunday's race with 182 points, while Denton has 180. Rocky Warner, who is a regular at both Fonda and Utica-Rome, is third with 172 and last Saturday night's feature winner Pete Broderson is fourth with 166.

Both the Best of Four sportsman and pro stock Thunder Series champions will receive $1,000 with the runner-up in the points receiving $600 and third place pays $400.

Starting time on both days will be 2 p.m. Pit gates open at 11 a.m. and the main gate at noon.

GRMP finale

The Glen Ridge Motorsports Park closed out its season on a high note Sunday.

After having the 60-lap, $1,500-to-win 602 Nationals rained out on its original race date, the Ridge drew 40 602s to the track Sunday. Chad Edwards picked up the victory over the field of 28 cars in the main event.

Notorious for cautions, the field completed the 60 lap event with just two cautions and during a 40-lap run under the green, featured side-by-side and sometimes three-wide racing throughout the pack.

Fonda Speedway street stock champion Rob VanAernam also was crowned the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park street stock champion Sunday, while Kerrie and Ken Hollenbeck won the 6- and 4-cylinder Cruiser Division titles.

JaMike Sowle won the 2010 Glen Ridge modified title. Bodie Bellinger and Rocky Warner captured the sportsman and pro stock titles, respectively.


The local racing community was saddened this week by the passing of Deborah Grisel, the wife of Capital Region Sprint Agency president and CEO Brian Grisel.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Grisel family at this time.

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



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