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Friesen picks up third win of season at Fonda

Jason Reome celebrates in Victory Lane after picking up his first career 602 Sportsman feature win Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

FONDA – The early season races at Fonda Speedway have been rough on Adam McAuliffe. He was uncomfortable with a new set up under his No. 234 and had his primary big block engine suffer major mechanical problems in the season-opening warmups.

Saturday night, he took a step back, brought a car with a suspension program he was comfortable with and, as he put it, a little underpowered small block under the hood.

For two-thirds of Saturday’s modified feature the Broadalbin modified pilot looked on his way to his first career modified feature win, however, Stewart Friesen had other thoughts.

Friesen, who started 12th, broke out of the pack, chased down McAuliffe, and found a little extra bite exiting turn two with 10 laps to go to take the lead and pull away for his third win of the season and 71st of his career at Fonda Speedway.

“The track was different tonight, slick, but the groove was very wide,” Friesen said in Victory Lane. “Adam [McAuliffe] drove a great race, he works hard at it, and is on his way to winning here at Fonda. He is a clean racer and a great friend.”

Chip Constantino (63), Tim Hartman Jr. (22) and Cody Clark (4) run three-wide through turns one and two as they battle for a qualifying spot in their 602 sportsman qualifier Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

For McAuliffe, the second place finish was welcomed.

“We have been struggling this year,” he said. “I was not used to how the 4-link handled or how you have to drive that set up. We went back to the coils tonight and with the track black and slick, it hooked up.”

Joining Friesen with victories Saturday night were Jason Reome (602 crate portsman), Josh Coonradt (pro stocks), Taylor LaPlante (limited sportsman), Ken Hollenbeck (SOHC) and Slappy White (DOHC) in the four-cylinder cruisers.

For Reome and LaPlante the victories were the first of their careers at the Track of Champions.

McAuliffe and George Foley brought the field of 23 modified to the green with McAuliffe jumping into the lead.

Jason Morrison (715), Ivan Joslin (8J) and Josh Coonradt (00X) battle for position in their pro stock qualifier Saturday night at Fonda Speedway. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

Defending track champion Michael Maresca charge to the front from his eight starting spot and settled in behind McAuliffe and Foley.

McAuliffe had his early-race lead erased by the caution for Bobby Varin who came to a stop in turns three and four. The yellow came out again on the restart when Jessica Friesen came to a stop on the front stretch.

The second caution led to a single-file restart for the field with Ansel Collins, Foley, Maresca and David Constantino making up the top five behind McAuliffe.

Stewart Friesen, who was eighth on the restart, made the most of the restart to move into third behind McAuliffe and Maresca, bringing Rocky Warner with him to the front.

Friesen was the new second-place car after getting by Maresca with McAuliffe now out to a 3.2-second advantage. With Friesen running lap times a half second faster than McAuliffe it didn’t take long for Friesen to close in and with the help of lap traffic he was up to the leader’s rear bumper by lap 18, moved past Maresca into the runner-up spot and went to work on cutting into McAuliffe’s straightaway advantage.

Lapped traffic helped a bit, allowing Friesen to close the gap as McAuliffe picked his way through the back markers.

Friesen found the break he was looking for as McAuliffe slid up enough exiting turn two to open a lane on the bottom of the speedway, that Friesen quickly filled with a pass for the lead with 10 laps to go.

With the leaders well ahead of the field, Warner and Maresca locked in a battle for third.

Friesen picked up the victory, his 12th overall this season, with McAuliffe second, Warner third, Maresca fourth and Constantino fifth. Jack Lehner, David Schilling, Mike Mahaney, Craig Hanson and Ronnie Johnson completed the top 10.

“My guys work so hard on this race car and we have it rolling now,” Friesen said. “We have some good notes and packages for different racetracks, and we got it rolling now.”

After a caution on the opening lap of the Crate 602 Sportsman feature, Reome took control of early pace over Michael McCallion.

Mark Mortensen started the event in the 10th position and found the outside groove to his liking, moving into the top five by lap two. With Reome out to a big lead all eyes were on Mortensen who continued to pick off cars one by one as he took over the second position from McCallion on lap eight. With the race running under an extended green flag run, Mortensen was able to keep his momentum and closed to within three car lengths with eight laps to go. A lap later, Mortensen found a way past Reome on the inside of turn two and appeared headed for his first win of the season when the caution flew with two laps remaining.

As the green flag flew on the restart, Mortensen pulled to the top side of the speedway and stopped with a flat right-rear tire, the result of a broken shock mount. Reome reassumed the lead and held off a late-race charge from Kurtis Hohensheldt to notch his first career victory at Fonda Speedway. Hohensheldt followed Reome under the checkers followed by Payton Talbot third, Michael McCallion, Troy Zilles, Ricky Quick, Addison Bowman, Chad Edwards, Cody Clark and Tucker O’Connor.

Gary Silkey set the early pace in the 20-lap pro stock feature and survived a pair of early-race restarts to hold the lead until relinquishing it to Coonradt on lap 10.

A lap 12 caution brought defending track champion Nick Stone into contention. He used the restart to get past Silkey and set his sights on Coonradt.

Stone got alongside Coonradt but could not complete the pass as the duo ran side-by-side until Coonradt was able to inch ahead to hold the lead and pick up his first win of the season and sixth of his career at Fonda.

Stone was second followed by Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle and Steve Cosselman.

John Young and LaPlante brought the limited sportsman field to the green with Young leading the opening lap before the caution flew and LaPlante got the lead away from Young on the restart and, despite a restart with three laps remaining, held the lead to record his first career win at Fonda.

Stephen Gray finished second followed by Young, Jonathan Feagles, and Kyle Dingman.

Ken Hollenbeck (SOHC) was the overall winner in the 12-lap cruiser event with Slappy White (DOHC) finishing second followed by Brandon Tyler, PJ Bleau, and Justin Pope.

Saturday, Yurkewecz Auto Crushers presents the second $1,000-to-win race in the American Racer/Lias Tire Super Six Series event for the Algonkin Pro Stocks along with all other regular divisions in action with a starting time of 7 p.m.

Fonda Speedway

Saturday’s Results

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-laps – STEWART FRIESEN, Adam McAuliffe, Rocky Warner, Michael Maresca, Dave Constantino, Jack Lehner, David Schilling, Mike Mahaney, Craig Hanson, Ronnie Johnson, Tyler Dippel, Josh Hohenforst, Ancel Collins, JaMike Sowle, Rich Christman, Brian Pessolano, Pep Corradi, Derrick McGrew Jr., Keith Flach, George Foley, Jessica Friesen, Steve Akers, Bobby Varin

3rd win of 2021 – 71st career win at Fonda.

Lap leaders – 1-19 McAuliffe, 20-30 Stewart Friesen

Heat race winners – McAuliffe, Foley, Schilling

SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-laps – JASON REOME, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Payton Talbot, Michael McCallion, Troy Zilles, Ricky Quick, Addison Bowman, Chad Edwards, Cody Clark, Tucker O’Connor, Brian Borst, Tony Farone, Tim Hartman Jr., Tanner Warner, Dan Santabarbara, Chip Constantino, Aaron Burton, Bill August, Brendan Gibbons, Joe Orlando Brett Mortensen, Mark Mortensen, Jason Greco, Ray Zemken, Mike Ketchum, Tim Dwyer

1st career win at Fonda

Lap leaders – 1-17 Reome, 18-23 Mark Mortensen, 24-25 Reome

Heat race winners – Reome, Zilles, Hartman Jr., Hohensheldt

Consolation race winner – Gibbons

Did not qualify – Griffen Mansmith, Anthony Cardamone, Greg Havlichek, Dylan Eldred, Kathy Bellen, Nick Scavia, Dana Camenga, EJ McAuliffe, Shane Larman

Greco’s NAPA Hard Charger – Edwards gained eight positions from 16th to 8th.

ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-laps – JOSH COONRADT, Nick Stone, Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle, Steve Cosselman, Gary Silkey, Beau Ballard, Chuck Dumblewski, Kenny Gates, Kyle Hoard, Jason Morrison, Frank Hoard Jr., Cliff Haslun, AJ Walters, Andy Graves, Devon Camenga, Chuck McSpirit, Ivan Joslin, Randy Cosselman DNS

6th career win at Fonda, 1st of 2021

Lap leaders – 1-9 Silkey, 10-20 Coonradt

Heat race winners – Silkey, Ballard

MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-laps – TAYLOR LAPLANTE, Stephen Gray, John Young, Jonathan Feagles, Kyle Dingman, John Anderson, Bill Port, Clayton DuMond, Ryan Sweet, Bob Rowback, Lance Hill, Jeremy Tyrrell, Carter Gibbons

1st career win at Fonda

Lap leaders – 1-Young, 2-15 LaPlante

Heat race winners – LaPlante, Young

FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-Laps – KEN HOLLENBECK (SOHC), SLAPPY WHITE (DOHC), Brandon Tyler, PJ Bleau, Justin Pope, John Napoli, Kerrie Hollenbeck, Jamie Warner, David Peek, Britten, Wayne Russel Jr., Gina Voris, Jim Daniels DNS

3rd win of 2021 and 58th career win for Hollenbeck.

3rd win of 2021 and 3rd career win for White.

Lap leaders – 1-2 Tyler, 3-12 Ken Hollenbeck

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