» Racing Around: Warner avoids accident, holds off DeLorenzo for … – The Daily Gazette

Modified feature winner Rocky Warner and Layne Parks celebrate in Victory Lane at Fonda Speedway on Parks’ 12th birthday Saturday. (James A. Ellis)
RACING AROUND – After a winless 2022 season and struggling on opening night, the Rocky Warner-Tadd Parks team broke through for its first victory Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
Warner managed to avoid a multi-car accident in the first turn that claimed race leader Alex Yankowski and second-place running Danny Varin and held off defending track champion Matt DeLorenzo over the final four laps to pick up the win on the 12th birthday for Layne Parks, Tadd Parks’ son.
“I’m a little emotional,” Warner said in Victory Lane. “You know, driving for Tadd Parks, he had Stewy [Stewart Friesen] in his car and they won everything under the sun. There is a lot of pressure, and I finally got it done. Special thanks goes out to Tadd Parks, that goes without saying, but also to Jason Simmons, who gave us this motor to use. Happy Birthday to Layne, what better way to spend it than here in Victory Lane.”
With the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) celebrating its 40th Anniversary Tour, Shawn Donath snapped Danny Varin’s six-race tour win streak at Fonda Speedway with a late-race pass to claim his first career victory at the Track of Champions.
Also picking up feature wins on the Supply Wagon Rentals-sponsored night were Payton Talbot (602 Crate Sportsman), Kenny Gates (Pro Stock), and Zach Welch (Limited Sportsman), while Ken Hollenback and Brandon Ely took home the single cam and dual cam 4-cylinder victories, respectively. Brent Cross took home the checkers in the 602 Sportsman B-Main.
Varin and Yankowski brought the field of 26 modifieds to the green with Varin setting the early pace over Yankowski, Dave Constantino, Brian Gleason and Josh Hohenforst.
Yankowski briefly took the lead through turns one and two on lap nine but Varin reclaimed the top spot on the backstretch.
By lap 10, DeLorenzo and Warner had picked their way into the top five and pressured Constantino for the third spot while Varin and Yankowski battled for the lead.
Yankowski slipped past Varin for the lead with 11 to go as DeLorenzo and Warner settled into third and fourth, respectively.
The complexion of the race changed with four laps to go, when Josh Masterson hit a wet spot and slid up the racetrack in turn one, collecting Brian Calabrese. Dave Camara and David Schilling slid into the cars of Masterson and Calabrese, while Yankowski and Varin slid into the pileup that also ended the night for Ronnie Johnson and Bobby Varin, as they tried to avoid the situation.
Warner and DeLorenzo were able to get slowed down enough and were able to drop low on the speedway to get through.
When the race restarted, Warner was in front with DeLorenzo, Gleason, Demetrios Drellos and Bobby Hackel IV sitting in the top five with Cody Clark, Hohenforst, Tucker O’Connor and Yankowski, who was able to rejoin the field as the last car on the lead lap.
Warner held the advantage on the restart as DeLorenzo went to work looking for a fast lane past Warner. He was able to get alongside the leader but could not complete the pass before the checkers dropped over Warner’s hood for his first win of the season and ninth of his modified career at Fonda.
DeLorenzo placed second followed by Gleason, Drellos and Hackel in the top five. Clark, Yankowski, Hohenforst, Chris Curtis and O’Connor rounded out the top 10.
“Matty showed me his nose on the outside with one to go and I said, oh no you got to be kidding me,” Warner said. “No way, no way, I kept saying to myself. So, then I tried to use the whole racetrack, RJ [Ronnie Johnson] taught me that a long time ago. I had to do what I had to do.”
Brett Mortensen and Chad Edwards made up the front row for the 25-lap 602 Crate Sportsman feature ahead of Derrick McGrew and Stephen Gray.
Edwards grabbed the early lead over Mortensen and McGrew as Talbot and Mark Mortensen moved into the top five when the first caution of the race flew on lap five. Talbot took the lead on the restart with Mark Mortensen slipping into second ahead of Edwards before the race was red flagged for an eight-car accident after a car brushed the wall on the front stretch.
The resulting melee sent Kadon Hohensheldt rolling over and landing on his roof along with the front of Josh Kane’s sportsman coming to rest on the hood of Jason Greco. The rides of Matt Perry, Dan Santabarbara, Bubba McPhee, Blaine Klinger and Don Bellen also received heavy damage in the incident.
Mark Mortensen pressured Talbot after the restart but had his run cut short with a flat right-rear tire.
Talbot continued to hold his lead and collected his second win in as many starts this season at Fonda Speedway. Edwards came back to place second followed by Clayton DuMond, Butchie Irwin and Troy Zilles.
“This car was pretty good,” Talbot said in Victory Lane. “I was hoping that the car wasn’t going to break going into turn one, it was a little choppy there on the bottom of turn one. I saw Mark [Mortensen] under me a couple of times and then I saw his on the outside of me, so I just kept trying to switch lanes and keep him behind me.”
It didn’t take long for Kenny Gates to get a handle on his new coil-spring Pro Stock.
Gates started ninth in the 20-lap feature and with the race being slowed once for a caution, drove his way into the lead with eight laps to go to claim his first win of the season and 87th of his career at Fonda Speedway.
“I love this coil car,” Gates said in Victory Lane. “I just wanted it to be even for everybody, but last year [with leaf springs] you could see how hard we were driving and how much better they [coil cars] were, so it’s like get one or get out, so we got one.”
Josh Coonradt led the opening six laps over AJ Walters and Andy Graves with Walters taking the point on lap seven. Graves took over the lead at the halfway point with Gates moving into second before taking command on lap 12 and pulling away for the win.
Graves finished second followed by opening-night winner Ivan Joslin, Walter and Shane Playford.
His first trip to compete at Fonda Speedway was a memorable one for 13-year-old Zach Welch.
Starting alongside Chris Kugler on the front row, Welch took the lead and never looked back, holding off Tim Wilmot, Connor Prokop, Bobby Rhinehardt and Kyle Dingman for his first feature win.
The 12-lap 4-cylinder feature had fans on their feet and emotions carried over from an opening-night incident between Brandon Ely and Kerrie and Ken Hollenback.
Ely started on the outside of the front row with Kerrie Hollenbeck on the inside of row two and Ken Hollenbeck going scratch on the field.
By the third lap, Ely was in front with Kerrie Hollenback second and Ken Hollenback up to third.
On a lap nine restart, Kerrie Hollenback turned Ely and both drivers slid off turn two coming to rest against a dirt pile. A brief confrontation took place with Ely getting back in his car and continuing the race and Hollenback being towed to the pit area.
With Ken Hollenback in the lead, the all-time leader in wins in the division was able to cross the line first for the overall and single-cam victory, with Ely charging to get the runner-up spot and claim the dual-cam trophy.
Danny Varin drew the outside pole to start alongside Matt Tanner for the 25-lap ESS A-Main and immediately took command.
Donath, who started fifth, moved past Tanner into second on lap six and closed the gap on Varin.
Donath stayed close to Varin as they negotiated their way through lapped traffic.
Varin was able to turn back Donath’s challenges on a series of restarts but hit a hole on the inside of turn two that broke his momentum and allowed Donath to get alongside and pass Varin to lead the final four laps for his 10th career ESS victory and first at Fonda Speedway.
“We just got lucky where we started,” Varin said. “We just weren’t that good all night. I’ve got some homework to do because it just didn’t feel right all night, didn’t feel good enough to hold anybody off. He [Donath] earned it, he drove right around us, so hats off to him.”
Tanner completed the podium drivers with his third-place finish with Jordan Poirier and Davie Franek completing the top five.
Next Saturday, Holmes & Kugler Towing presents $1 Night with a $1 grandstand admission. All divisions will be in action with racing starting at 7 p.m.
AMSTERDAM TRUCK CENTER MODIFIED FEATURE – 30-LAPS – ROCKY WARNER, Matt DeLorenzo, Brian Gleason, Demetrious Drellos, Bobby Hackel IV, Cody Clark, Alex Yankowski, Josh Hohenforst, Chris Curtis, Tucker O’Connor, David Schilling, Jack Lehner, JaMike Sowle, Shawn McPhee, Ron Holmes, Danny Varin, Dave Constantino, Brian Calabrese, Ronnie Johnson, Bobby Varin, Dave Camara, Josh Masterson, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Dylan Scribner, Pep Corradi, Dale Gray, Brian Pessolano
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Gleason, Yankowski, DeLorenzo
SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25-LAPS – PAYTON TALBOT, Chad Edwards, Clayton DuMond, Butchie Irwin, Troy Zilles, Chip Constantino, Brendan Gibbons, Michael McCallion, Brett Mortensen, Stephen Gray, Jeremy Tyrrell, Jason Greco, Harry Shaffer, Blaine Klinger, Mark Mortensen, Don Bellen, Tanner Warner, Matt Perry, Dan Santabarbara, Bubba McPhee, Kadon Hohensheldt, Josh Kane, Derrick McGrew Jr., Aaron Burton, Jason Reome
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Constantino, McGrew Jr., Kane
BELOW ZERO ICE CREAM PRO STOCK FEATURE – 20-LAPS – KENNY GATES, Andy Graves, Ivan Joslin, AJ Walters, Shane Playford, Josh Coonradt, Caden Dumblewski, Beau Ballard, Jason Morrison, Gary Silkey, Kyle Weiler, Joe Wilson, Michael Achzet, Luke Horning, Randy Cosselman, Jim Normoyle, Slater Baker, Chucky Dumblewski, Jim Duncan DNS
HEAT RACE WINNERS – Morrison, Horning
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 15-LAPS – $500 TO WIN THANKS TO A $400 BONUS FROM COBLESKILL COLLISION – ZACH WELCH, Timmy Wilmot, Connor Prokop, Bobby Rhinehardt, Kyle Dingman, Johnny DuMond, AJ Greco, Lance Hill, Mike Hill, Gus Kamberelis, Michael Kalkbrenner, Lucas Duncan, John Anderson, Jonathan Feagles, Steve Wagoner, Dylan Huston, Tyler Bobar, Chris Kugler, Jeff Bobilin, Cian DiMezza DNS, Jim Malia DNS, Dale Van Allen DNS
FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER FEATURE – 12-LAPS – KEN HOLLENBACK (SOHC), BRANDON ELY (DOHC), John Napoli, Jon Mason, Justin Ramsey, David Peek-Britten, Tim Warner, John Ray, Len St. Andrews, Dustin Cameron, Kerrie Hollenback, Wayne Russell Jr., TJ Marlitt, Jack Minery, Zach McSpirit
EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT (ESS) 25-LAPS – SHAWN DONATH, Danny Varin, Matt Tanner, Jordan Poirier, Davie Franek, Josh Pieniazek, Dylan Swiernik, Joe Trenca, Kyle Smith, Jordan Thomas, Chase Moran, Robbi Stillwaggon, Dalton Rombaugh, Kelly Hebing, Jeff Trombley, Jonathan Preston, Brett Wright, Jason Barney, Jake Dykstra, Chris Jones, Jeff Cook, Jesse Pruchnik, Zack Burd, Cory Sparks
ESS DASH – Smith; ESS B-MAIN – Wright
JR Heffner picked up the $4,000-to-win Big Block modified victory over Andy Bachetti on opening night Saturday at Lebanon Valley Speedway. Kyle Sheldon finished third followed by Mark Johnson and Olden Dwyer.
Tim Hartman Jr. took home the 602 Sportsman win, while Frank Twing Jr. captured the Limited Sportsman victory, Chad Jeseo won the Pro Stock feature and Chris Stalker won the Street Stock main event.
Johnny Bruno picked up the Sportsman Modified feature win Saturday night on the 57th Season Opener for Devil’s Bowl Speedway.
Also picking up opening-night victories were Randy Ryan (Limited Modified), Robert Gauthier (Novice Modified), Logan Dennis (Mini Sprints), Levi Cram (Mini Stock) and Rob Steele (Crown Vics).
Devil’s Bowl results
May 6, 2023
Sunoco Race Fuels Sportsman Modified: 1. Johnny Bruno, 2. Tim LaDuc, 3. Justin Comes, 4. Tanner Siemons, 5. Billy Lussier.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Modified: 1. Randy Ryan, 2. Anthony Ryan, 3. Jason Quenneville, 4. Alex Layn, 5. Justin Lilly.
Hoosier Daddy Racing Novice Modified: 1. Robert Gauthier, 2. Tyler Travis, 3. Don Williams, 4. Randy Edson, 5. Adam LaFountain.
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprints: 1. Logan Dennis, 2. John Smith, 3. Ray Hanson, 4. Gage Provencher, 5. Roger LaDuc.
Devil’ Bowl Speedway Mini Stock: 1. Levi Cram, 2. Mark Mahoney, 3. Cody Dion, 4. Jakobee Alger, 5. Austin McKirryher.
9th State Crown Vics: 1. Rob Steele, 2. Norm Morrill, 3. Jackson Ducharme.
With cars in the pits and line-ups posted, both Albany-Saratoga and Utica-Rome Speedways were hit by early evening rainstorms passing over already saturated grounds, forcing postponement of their Friday night race programs.
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