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Racing Around: Friesen rolling at Fonda

May 17, 2012
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

After returning from Fonda-Speedway on Saturday night, Erich Neuhaus, who covered the track for The Leader-Herald while I was on desk, asked "When was the last time someone won four straight features?"

Of course he was referring to Stewart Friesen's fourth consecutive modified feature win Saturday at the Track of Champions.

Right off, I did not know the answer and said "It's been a while."

So I broke open the books, programs and notepads and did a little old school research.

It didn't take long to find the last 'someone' who won four or more straight.

It came in the open sportsman and the UMP/IMCA divisions in 2010. David Towns ran off streaks of four and six straight sportsman feature wins en route to a 10 win season.

George Catanzano raced to a 10 feature win season that included winning the final eight races.

In the modifieds, though, it has been a while.

The last one I could find was in 1990 when Mike Romano won a 50-lapper on June 30 and backed it up with three-straight 35-lap victories on July 7, 14 and 21.

One of the hottest starts to a season came in 1955 when Pete Corey won the first five features of the season.

The record for wins in a season is shared by two greats - Steve Danish (1953) and Jack Johnson (1985).

Danish is officially credited with seven straight wins in 1954. It could have been nine but he was disqualified for passing under the caution after winning on July 24, 1954. In 1963, Danish had three three-win streaks with one loss between each of them.

Johnson picked up seven straight wins twice. The fist streak ran from June 13 to Aug. 1, 1981. C.D. Coville broke the streak by winning back-to-back features before Johnson returned to Victory Lane.

Johnson's second seven-race win streak came between May 4 and June 8, 1985. Actually his streak was eight straight Saturday night features, including one set of twin-20s. The streak was broke on a midweek 100-lapper that was won by, you guessed it. C.D. Coville.

One streak that intrigues me came in 1969 (yes, I was there that year). Lou Lazzaro won the first three races of the season, all 50-lappers, before an up-and-coming modified star named Dave Lape picked up his first career feature win in a 39-lap rain-shortened modified feature with Lazzaro second. The win streak resumed a week later when Lazzaro collected the next five 50-lap features and closed out his 11-win season capturing the season-ending 200 lapper.

The Monk also won the last three races in 1976 and carried the streak over the the first wo week in 1977. In 1978, there were only four feature winners, Lazzaro, Lape, Coville and Jack Farquhar. Lazzaro won four in a row twice and Coville won four out of the last five races.

I also have to include Steve Burega's street stock record of eight wins in eight races in the 1997 season. There were nine races that year. However, Burega, the current pit steward at Fonda Speedway, did not compete in the race on McDonald's Weekend that was won by the late Bob VanAernam.

Jet hits 100

Brett Hearn hit another milestone Friday.

Hearn claimed his third straight and 100th career modified win at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Hearn, who picked up career victories 799 and 800 at Fonda Speedway last year, now has 810 career victories.



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