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Racing Around: Friesen locks up Fonda crown

August 16, 2012
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

The BBL Night of Features has become one of the most thrilling and unpredictable nights of racing at Fonda Speedway.

However, for Stewart Friesen, there will be no pressure as he prepares to partake in his first Night of Features.

With last Saturday's rainout, Friesen locked up the prestigious modified track championship in his first full season of racing at The Track of Champions. Heading into the final night of racing before the annual break for the Montgomery County Fair, "Mr. Freeze" has an insurmountable 144-point lead over 2011 track champion Ronnie Johnson.

"It is pretty cool. It beats having to go in there and being all stressed out about it," Friesen said about having the points battle locked up. "We can just go in for two features, race our butt off, and let it fall where it may."

Friesen has seven feature wins at Fonda so far this season, including an early-season romp of four in a row. But racing and winning at Fonda did not come easy for him.

"I always felt good about the place. We were 15th; then we were top 10 and then we started getting top fives," he said about his early trips to the speedway. "This year we kind of knew what we needed to do and everything clicked all season long. We wanted to win every race we were at. To win four in a row was awesome. It just made us want to work harder the rest of the year."

But the big difference was "learning the cars and growing up. I got with some good owners. We have been growing that team for a couple of years now and have all the right equipment in place finally to come in to race at a place that is pretty demanding on stuff. That is pretty much what allowed us to do it."

Friesen said the team might take some Saturday nights off during the break as they prepare to defend his championship at Super DIRT Week the first week of October at the New York State Fairgrounds.

However, this Saturday night, if there is no rain; Friesen will pop the cork on a bottle of champagne in Victory Lane along with the other 2012 track champions.

"It is quite and honor to be a Fonda champion," he said.

Night of Features

While the modified track championship already has been decided, there are still plenty of down-to-the-wire races for Fonda Speedway championships.

The modified division will compete in two feature events with the top 12 in points being handicapped into the first main event. The top 10 in points will be handicapped into the first 602 sportsman feature event, while the top eight in points will be handicapped into the first pro stock feature.

Regular handicapping will set the starting lineup for the first of two street stock features, while the 4-cylinders will run one feature with regular handicapping.

The remainder of the starting lineup after the cars that are handicapped will be set by B-Main events.

When the first feature events are completed in the modified, 602 sportsman, pro stock, and street stock divisions, the winner will draw for the number of positions from one to 10 that will be inverted for the starting lineup for the second feature.

Cody Bleau enters the night with a 32-point lead, 692-660, over Rocky Warner for the 602 Sportsman division, while defending division champion Mark Mortensen is third with 654 and John Scarborough is fourth with 652.

Seeking his first track championship, Pete Broderson starts the night 10 points, 730-720, ahead of four-time track champion Kenny Gates. Kenny Martin is third with 690 followed by Luke Horning (612) and Ivan Joslin (586).

In the street stock division, Chuck McSpirit starts the night 18 points ahead of Dave Horning Sr. and Rob VanAernam. McSpirit, the 2008 champion, has 728 points, while Horning, the 2006 champ, and VanAernam, who won the title in 1998, 99 and 2010, are tied for second with 710. Randy Cosselman is fourth with 688 and Neil Cosselman is fifth with 668.

Ben Righi holds a 20-point lead over Ken Hollenbeck in the 4-cylinder division and needs to finish ninth or better to secure his second-straight track championship.

Sitterly, Heroth chase titles

Canajoharie's Otto Sitterly and Ephratah's Kreig Heroth will be chasing track championships Saturday at Oswego Speedway.

Sitterly is a four-time track champion at Oswego and leads the point standings by 11 points heading into Saturday's supermodified finale.

Sitterly won the track title at Oswego in 2006, 2008, 09, and 2010. He joins only track legends Jim Shampine, Doug Didero, and Mike Muldoon as the only drivers to ever win three consecutive track championships.

Sitterly has two wins, six total top fives, and eight total top-10 finishes this season.

Heroth is just 10 points behind defending small-block supermodified champion Mike Bond heading into Saturday's final point race.

Heroth, who won last Saturday's SBS feature, was the 2008 Small Block Supermodified Rookie of the Year at Oswego and was fourth in last year's point standings.

Both drivers have seven top fives on the year, and both have 10 top-10 finishes on the season.

Memorabilia Raffle

Saturday night, the annual Driver's Memorabilia Raffle will take place at Fonda Speedway.

Drivers donate autographed used helmet shields, driving gloves, crashed car body panels, trophies, T-shirts, hats to be raffled off to benefit the Fonda Speedway Driver's Point Fund.

Race teams interested in donating items should contact Jackie Lape.

RoCing at The Ridge

A solid turnout of top-shelf drivers turned out Tuesday night for the Race of Champions modified series event at The Ridge.

Twenty-seven modifieds made the trip, many for the first time, to The Ridge and put on a spectacular show.

The traveling series gave local race fans an opportunity to watch some Southern Tier drivers like Ryan Godown on a short track. Normally they do not get a chance to see some of these drivers until the fall races on the big tracks, unless they make the long haul to special events.

While the show itself stood on its own merits for quality on-track action, the threat of rain helped move the show along, which kept the fans (which I thought the turnout was good, but smaller than expected) pumped up and involved.

Racing returns to The Ridge for the final Sunday show of the season before switching to Saturday nights Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 for the final two races under promoters Mike Romano and Jake Spraker

Varin update

While racing at Canandaigua Speedway last Saturday, Bobby Varin was involved in a hard crash, flipping several times, while driving the Demitraszek No. 00 360 sprint car during the ESS event.

Varin walked away from the crash and jumped into the No. 00 modified and finished ninth. Varin also raced at Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday, bring home a 16th-place finish.

Monday he found out he had a cracked rib and an injury to his left knee.

It did not stop him from racing Tuesday night at The Ridge as he used crutches to get to Victory Lane for photos after finishing a close second to Godown in the 60-lap RoC feature.

Varin will not be at Fonda on Saturday night for the Night of Features, but said, "We are not sure what the plans are for Fonda. I love Fonda Speedway, but I am just not getting along with the management right now."

Car show Saturday

The Northeast Parent and Child Society will host its second annual car show at its facility at 338 N. Comrie Ave. in Johnstown (next to Udderly Delicious), Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cars from The Ridge and Fonda Speedway are scheduled to be on hand along with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department hosting a free safe child registration.



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