FONDA - There was a sea of orange in Victory Lane on Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
Defending modified track champion Ronnie Johnson broke through for his first win of the season and was mobbed by fans as he won on the night sponsored by his business, Jumpin' Jack's Pro Speed.
"It was good to finally win here on Jumpin' Jack Pro Speed night," Johnson said. "There are a lot of friends and family here tonight, so it is very special for me."
Elmo Reckner (17) leads Josh Flint (41) through the fourth turn during a modified qualifier Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis
Joining Johnson with victories Saturday night were Cody Bleau (602 Sportsman), Chip Smith (Pro Stock), Greg Havlicek (Street Stock), Ben Righi (4 cyl. dual cam) and Ken Hollenbeck (4 cyl. single cam).
The modified feature got off to a slow start as the caution flag flew three times in the first five laps.
During that time, Ryan Odasz held the point over Mark Kislowski, Bobby Varin, Johnson and Alton Palmer.
Johnson found his way into second behind Odasz on a lap six restart as Stewart Friesen, a five-time winner this year and points leader, moved into the fourth spot behind Kislowski and ahead of Varin.
Johnson pressured Odasz and got a strong run off turn two to take the lead midway down the backstretch on lap 12.
The yellow flew again on lap 15 when Danny Varin, who was running fifth, stopped in turn four.
Johnson made the most of the open track on the restart to distance himself from the hotly contested battle between Odasz and Friesen for the runner-up spot. Kislowski and Varin had a new contender as Josh Hohenforst joined the battle for the top five.
Hohenforst had picked his way into the top five, passing Varin and pulled up to Kislowski's back bumper when the caution flew for the final time with 20 laps in the books when Josh Flint spun in turn two.
The complexion of the race changed under the caution as Friesen went pitside with a flat right rear tire, setting up a 10-lap shootout with the top five of Johnson, Odasz, Kislowski, Hohenforst and Varin.
"The caution actually hurt until Stewart Friesen got a flat," Johnson said. "Not to wish him bad luck because he has been awesome here all year, but it didn't hurt my feelings a bit."
Hohenforst made a strong move on the restart, powering his way past Kislowski and Odasz to take over second, but did not have enough to run down Johnson before the checkers dropped over his hood for his 22nd career modified win at Fonda Speedway.
Odasz was third, followed by Kislowski and Varin. Jimmy Davis, who started 27th on the grid, finished sixth, followed by Danny Varin, Elmo Reckner, Friesen and Craig Hanson.
Justin Auspelmyer held the point in the 20-lap 602 sportsman feature for the opening two circuits before a caution flag brought John McAuliffe and Ray Zemken to within striking distance.
Auspelmyer held the veterans at bay until McAuliffe went high and Zemken low, making it three-wide through the short chute between turns three and four.
McAuliffe came away with the lead over Zemken and Bleau drew in on Auspelmyer, making the pass for third on lap seven.
The top three were evenly spaced until the caution flew on lap 13, when Rocky Warner slowed with a flat tire while running fifth.
Bleau made a big move on the restart, swinging past both Zemken and McAuliffe, taking the lead on lap 13, and never looked back as he snapped a three-year winless streak.
McAuliffe finished second, followed by Zemken, Jeff Rockefeller and Mark Mortensen.
The 20-lap pro stock main event featured tight battles for the lead from the drop of the green until the checkers.
Rob Noviczski showed the field of 16 the fast way around the speedway for the first three laps, but could never pull away from Justin Knight and Kenny Martin.
Martin took the lead on lap four, pulling Smith with him past Noviczski. The race went under the yellow on lap eight, allowing Rob Yetman to close on the frontrunners. He moved into second on the restart and put pressure on Smith, but was forced to drive defensively as Pete Broderson stayed on his back bumper, often pulling alongside.
Smith was in command as Yetman, Broderson and Martin were engaged in a battle for third. The caution flew on lap 15 when Kenny Gates and Ivan Joslin came together after Gates got a flat tire.
After getting around Yetman on the restart, Broderson mounted a challenge on Smith, but he was up to the challenge and held on for his sixth career win at Fonda.
Broderson was second, followed by Yetman, Martin and Knight.
Havlicek grabbed the lead at the drop of the green in the 12-lap street stock feature and was never overtaken.
The Gloversville driver was challenged with two laps remaining by Dave Horning Sr., but he blocked the move and contact with third-place running Brian Cosselman sent Horning spinning. Horning was able to maintain control enough to keep the race green but faded to fifth.
Havlicek celebrated his 47th birthday with his first career street-stock victory, followed by Cosselman, Reuben Kennedy, Neil Cosselman and Horning.