Wilder picks up modified win at Fonda

Clark, Stone, Shaffer also register victories during Saturday night action

Nick Stone (27), Dennis Joslin, center, and Jason Casey (324) race through turns one and two during pro stock action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

FONDA — After struggling the last few races with the Bill Schoons-owned No. 24, Jeremy Wilder and the team opted to bring Wilder’s No. 22J to Fonda Speedway Saturday night.

It was a good choice as Wilder led all but three laps of the 30-lap modified feature to score his second win of the season.

“We had a really good car tonight,” Wilder said in Victory Lane. “We got to the lead early and the top really came in for us tonight. When we get to the lead early like that it is hard to see where the track is fastest. We have been having difficulties with the other car and tonight decided to try something different and here we are.”

Cody Clark picked up his second win of the season in the 602 sportsman main event, while Nick Stone picked up his second win second pro stock win in four days. Ellis “Bubby” Shaffer held off Steve Cosselman to record his first career victory in 14 years of competition in the street stock division, while Bill August won his second limited sportsman feature of the season and Ben Riggi returned to racing in the 4-cylinder division and notched his first win of the season and 13th of his career.

Wilder started fifth in the 19-car modified field that was brought to the green by Bob Vedder and Troy Palmer.

Nick Ryan spins into the infield during pro stock action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Palmer grabbed the lead heading into the first turn, bringing Wilder and Ryan Odasz with him.

Wilder immediately jumped to the high side of the speedway and powered his way around the outside and into the lead on the fourth lap.

With a clear track in front of him, Wilder opened a seven-second lead over Palmer as he battled with Odasz, Justin Boehler, Ronnie Johnson and Josh Hohenforst for the runner-up spot.

Wilder’s big lead was erased by a lap-13 caution that brought Bobby Varin, Stewart Friesen and Tim Fuller to within striking distance of the leader.

Johnson made a strong move on the restart and moved into second, while Boehler, Hohenforst, Varina and Friesen ran in a four-car, two-wide pack behind Odasz.

Jim Groncki (34) leads the pack during street stock action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Varin broke out of the pack and got around Johnson into second on lap 21 and began chipping away at Wilder’s lead but could not run down the modified pilot out of Fort Plain before the checkers dropped over his hood for his eighth modified feature win of his career.

Friesen held off a late charge by Fuller to get third and Johnson finished fifth.

Boehler, Mike Maresca, Hohenforst, Palmer and Cody Bleau completed the top 10.

A.J. Walters showed the pro stock field the fast way around the speedway through the first 18 laps of the 20-lap feature before Stone was able to chase him down on lap 15 and complete the pass for the lead on the outside of turn two with two laps to go.

Walters came back to challenge Stone but could not get back around Stone as he backed up his win in the Hondo Classic on Wednesday with his second win of the season.

Cody Clark (4) races with Mark Mortensen (1M) during sportsman action Saturday at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Jim Normoyle, who challenged Walters early in the race, crossed the line in third with Kenny Gates fourth and Frank Twing fifth.

David Manchester and Harry Shaffer brought the field of 19 602 sportsmen to the green with Shaffer getting to the front heading into the first turn.

Shaffer had opened a comfortable lead until the caution flew on lap 12 when the handling went away on Ray Zemken’s ride and he spun, collecting Ricky Quick and Josh DeMagistris. While the field was under caution, rain began to fall over the speedway, one lap shy of the halfway point in the race.

The cars remained on the speedway as the brief light shower passed.

Clark, who was running second when the caution flew, wasted no time jumping to the high side of the speedway on the restart and overtook Shaffer with 10 laps to go.

Rocky Warner made the most of a pair of restarts to move from sixth to second by lap 18 but could not catch Clark as he crossed the finish line for his second win of the season. Chad Edwards came on to get third, while Tony Farone was fourth and Shaffer was fifth.

Racing returns to the speedway next Saturday with the ESS sprint cars joining the regular weekly race program sponsored by A Verdi Storage Containers night.