FONDA - Stewart Friesen and Bobby Varin are locked in a tight battle for the modified points championship at Fonda Speedway.
And Saturday night, they kept the race fans on the edge of their seats as they went head-to-head on the front end of the 30-lap modified feature.
Varin and Friesen battled side-by-side, swapping leads four times in the final 15 laps before lapped traffic gave Friesen the break he needed to break free from Varin and record his ninth feature win of the season at the Track of Champions.
Mike Peek (W6) races with Jeremiah Munson (10%) during sportsman action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Chuck Dumblewski (7) races with Pete Broderson (97) and Nate Furman (26) during pro stock action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Mark Mortensen (1M) leads Rocky Warner (97) during sportsman action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Connor Cleveland picked up his first career feature win at Fonda Speedway in the 602 sportsman division, while Kenny Gates won the pro stock main event. Jason Samrov picked up the win in the street stock class and Ken Hollenbeck recorded his 30th career victory in the 4-cylinder division.
Ed Harris and Scott Huber brought the field of 25 modifieds to the green with Harris leading the opening lap. It did not take long for A.J. Romano to break through from his fourth starting spot and lead the second lap.
Romano survived a pair of cautions to lead until lap eight, when Jeff Trombley slipped past to take the lead.
Meanwhile, Varin was charging from his 13th starting spot, with Friesen coming from 15th.
By the time Trombley took the lead, Varin had made his way into third, with Friesen fourth and Darwin Greene fifth.
Varin moved into second on lap 12 and grabbed to lead away from Trombley on a lap-13 restart. Friesen moved into second behind Varin on a lap-15 restart, and one of the best races for the lead so far this season took off.
Varin led lap 15 and Friesen led lap 16 before Varin again got the point back on lap 17. There was no more than a car-length lead established, and the two swapped leads often two or three times in a lap.
Friesen got the lead heading into turn one on lap 21 and beat Varin to the backmarkers. Varin got momentarily pinned behind a slower car with four laps to go, and it was enough for Friesen to get some distance and post his ninth win of the season and 29th of his career at Fonda. The win also padded Friesen's point lead to 16 over Varin with two points races remaining in the season.
Varin was second, followed by Romano, Jeremy Wilder and Greene. Bodie Bellinger, Trombley, Alton Palmer, Mark Kislowski and Ronnie Johnson rounded out the top 10.
Walt Brownell set the early pace in the 20-lap pro stock feature with Stone taking the lead on lap four.
Gates moved into second from his ninth starting spot with Chuck Dumblewski, who started 12th, taking third on lap nine, well behind Stone.
Before the caution flew on lap 16, Gates had trimmed the lead to about four car lengths.
On the restart, Gates dove the the bottom between turns one and two and Dumblewski went to the high side as the trio exited turn two three wide.
Gates won the drag race to turn three and survived a lap-18 restart to post his second win of the season and 54th of his career at Fonda.
Stone was second, followed by Dumblewski, Brownell and Pete Broderson.
Chris Schaffer got the lead over Ray Zemken at the start of the 20-lap 602 sportsman feature and the 24-car field the fast way around the speedway for the opening nine laps.
Cleveland chased Schaffer the majority of those laps before taking over the top spot on lap 10.
With the remainder of the race running caution-free, Cleveland distanced himself from the field and finished more than three seconds ahead of Schaffer. Zemken finished third, with Chip Constantino fourth and Ricky Quick fifth. Luke Munroe was sixth, with points leader Rocky Warner seventh, Dave Constantino eighth, Robert Bublak ninth and Jeremiah Munson 10th.
The regular season wraps up next Saturday with the BBL Night of Features.
Double features will be run with no heat races and the 2014 track champions will be crowned at the end of the night.