By: Ron Szczerba

Fonda, NY – On Saturday evening the final event of the 2017 racing season was run at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway with a racing program presented by St. Lawrence Radiology, Dr. Maresca. On the program was the Super DIRTcar Series modifieds and pro stocks along with the Kramer Williamson Memorial for the 360 sprint cars, and the street stocks.

A beautiful day weather wise resulted in a full to capacity pit area and a full grandstand of race fans as they came out for the last race of the 2017 season. When the Super DIRTcar Series comes to town it is a pretty big event, with sort of a big time NASCAR feeling, as the series inspectors go through the pit area and inspect all of the race cars for roll bar thicknesses in the frame along with all of the safety equipment a driver wears among other things.

At the conclusion of the grueling, drama filled, 100-lap grind, Bobby Varin conserved his tires which many other drivers couldn’t do, and took the lead on the final lap when Tim Fuller suffered a flat right rear tire. For Varin it was his fifth win of the 2017 season at Fonda and his 60th career win at the “Track of Champions” in the Palmer’s Service Center #76. It was also Varin’s third consecutive late season win at Fonda this year.

“I could see the tires going bald,” Varin said regarding his competitors tires he reviewed under cautions. “I got lucky.”

It was Varin’s second career Super DIRTcar Series victory at Fonda during his illustrious career, the first win coming back in 1995 on August 16th in a 95-lap event. Back then Varin was in a plain white #18 race car owned by himself and longtime supporter Max Phillips, but Varin stood tall in victory lane after getting the win in what was back then an underfunded racing team in comparison to his competitors at that time.

The DIRTcar pro stock series event was won by 2017 Fonda Speedway track champion Kenny Gates for his seventh win of the season and the 72nd of his career at Fonda which is top on the all-time win list.

“It just couldn’t get any better than this,” Gates said in victory lane. “Chuck (Dumblewski) had a fantastic year, Nick (Stone) is always tough, and they are two of the best. The longer the race went the better the car got.”

Other winners on St. Lawrence Radiology Night at Fonda included Danny Varin who won the Kramer Williamson Memorial for 360 sprints and Zach Sorrentino who won the first street stock feature of his career at Fonda.

Following time trials, heat races, and a redraw, Peter Britten and Alan Barker started the 100-lap event on the front row with Britten taking the lead. By lap four Britten was already out to a straightaway advantage over Pat Ward and 2017 Fonda Speedway track champion Tim Fuller. The first of many cautions was out on lap eight for Rocky Warner who slowed in turn two. Warner pitted and restarted at the rear of the field.

On the restart, Stewart Friesen took over the second position after starting sixth with Fuller third after he also got by Ward for position. When Britten got into lap traffic on lap 20, Friesen was able to close in and when Britten was slowed while getting by a lap car, Friesen took advantage and took the lead on the outside of turns one and two while Fuller also got by Britten for second.

The first driver to suffer a flat right rear tire was Mike Maresca who had his tire go flat on lap 35. Maresca pitted and continued on at the rear of the field. On the restart, Britten retook the second spot from Fuller while 25th place starter Larry Wight was sitting in the seventh position by lap 47. At the halfway point Friesen was the leader followed by Britten, Fuller, Ward, and Keith Flach.

Wight was the new fourth place car on lap 56 with Friesen holding a straightaway advantage over Britten and Fuller who had trouble getting through lap traffic. Once Britten and Fuller were able to get by the lap cars they closed in on Friesen with Britten making a pass on Friesen for the lead on the inside of the backstretch on lap 65.

Danny Varin suffered a right rear flat to bring out the caution again on lap 68 but was able to pit and continue on at the rear of the field. On the restart, Bobby Varin became a factor after starting seventh as he moved in to the fourth position with Britten out to another straightaway lead by lap 79. Friesen suffered a right rear flat with just under 20 laps to go but he like most others pitted and continued on at the rear of the field.

Fuller was the new second place car at this point with Bobby Varin in third and those two waged a battle for the second position allowing Britten to pull away yet again. Unfortunately for Britten he suffered a flat right rear tire with only 10 laps to go in the event with Fuller inheriting the lead. Fuller pulled away with five laps to go with Danny Varin coming back from his bout with a flat tire earlier in the event to take the third position away from Ward with four laps to go.

One final yellow flag slowed the event with three laps to go with Fuller pulling away on the restart. Going in to turn two on the final lap, Fuller suffered a flat right rear tire with Bobby Varin inheriting the lead and going on for the win over his son Danny Varin, Ward, Billy Decker, and Matt Sheppard. Brian Gleason was actually the fifth place finisher but was disqualified in post-race inspection for not making weight moving Sheppard into the top five.

“I was the only car out there with certain tires on tonight,” Varin said in victory lane. “We thought about what tires to run tonight and went with that. I’m proud of my son Danny, there isn’t a prouder dad in New York State.”

“I was just rolling the top and I thought that I had something for them,” Danny Varin said following the race. “The car was good and I just started picking them off.”

“I was just hanging on,” Ward said after finishing third. I had a 300 compound soft tire on the right rear so I knew I was in trouble about 20 laps in. “I got lucky,”

Front row starters Gus Hollner and Mark Sullivan ran side by side for the entire first lap and even made some contact with each other on the front stretch with Sullivan leading lap one. Hollner took the lead on the outside of the backstretch on lap three and by lap seven was a straightaway ahead of Sullivan. Sixth and eighth place starters Nick Stone and Chuck Dumblewski battled Sullivan for the second on lap 10 racing three wide at times for the position.

On a lap 10 restart, Sullivan took the lead away from Hollner but it didn’t last long as two laps later Dumblewski took the point with a pass on the inside of turns three and four. Stone and 12th place starter Kenny Gates followed Dumblewski past Sullivan for the second and third positions with Dumblewski out to a straightway lead at the halfway point over Stone, Gates, Shane Henderson, and Sullivan.

One final caution came out with 15 laps to go closing up the field and allowing the now second place car of Gates a shot at the win. On the restart, Gates took the lead and led the rest of the way for the win over Dumblewski, Stone, Jocelyn Roy, and Ivan Joslin.

“It was a fun race,” Dumblewski said in victory lane after his second place finish. “Finishing second never feels good, my car was good on short runs, but my tires were run down pretty bad.”

“Kenny (Gates) and Chuck (Dumblewski) were a little better than me tonight,” Stone said. “It’s always fun when you can race close like that with them.”

The 25-lap, $2573 to win Kramer Williamson Memorial began with a four wide parade lap paced by Williamson’s daughter Felecia in his #73 sprint car. At the drop of the green flag Bobby Varin led from the outside pole with Danny Varin second after starting fifth. Danny took the lead on lap seven coming down the front stretch to complete the lap when Bobby slowed suddenly going into turn one.

“My steering wheel came off coming out of turn four so I had to let off in order to put it back on,” Bobby Varin said at the conclusion of the event. “Then I had to hold the steering wheel on for the rest of the race.”

Once Danny took the lead he pulled away to a huge advantage over Stewart Friesen who took over the second position on lap 12. One more yellow flag slowed the field on lap 19 but not even that or lap traffic with two laps to go was going to stop Danny Varin on this night as he went on to the win over Friesen, Bobby Varin, Mike Mahaney, and Coleman Gulick.

“We worked real hard this week getting ready for this two day event at Fonda,” Danny Varin said after the win. “We loosened the car up and I knew not to get out of the rubber tonight after taking the lead from dad.”

“The track was tricky tonight but it was still a great day,” Friesen said after finishing second at Fonda and fifth in New Hampshire in the Camping World Truck Series event.” The rubber made it a very tough track tonight here at Fonda.”

Zach Sorrentino led all 15 laps in the street stock feature to capture his first career win at Fonda despite heavy pressure from second place finisher Ed Hatch. John Devine, David Cook, and Joey Wilson completed the top five in the event.

For off season information about the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway please go to their website

SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES MODIFIED FEATURE PRESENTED BY ST. LAWRENCE RADIOLOGY – 100-LAPS – BOBBY VARIN, Danny Varin, Pat Ward, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Mike Mahaney, Brett Hearn, Jessey Mueller, Jimmy Phelps, Max McLaughlin, Keith Flach, Gary Edwards, Larry Wight, Billy Wittaker, Tim Fuller, Jimmy Davis, Jack Lehner, Cody Bleau, Josh Hohenforst, Peter Britten, Mike Maresca, Rich Scagliotta, Stewart Friesen, Brandon Walters, Justin Boehler, Alan Barker, Shaun Pangman, Pep Corradi, Rocky Warner, Brian Gleason DQ weight

SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES PRO STOCK FEATURE PRESENTED BY ST. LAWRENCE RADIOLOGY – 50-LAPS – KENNY GATES, Chuck Dumblewski, Nick Stone, Jocelyn Roy, Ivan Joslin, Mark Sullivan, Dave Bissonnette, Bruno Cyr, Cassidy Wilson, Jason Meltz, Jay Corbin, Shane Henderson, Steve Chaput, Marc Lalonde, Jay Casey, Don Kennedy, Pascal Payeur, George Mills, Roch Aubin, Nick Arnold, Guy Viens, Dan Older, Randy Cosselman, Gus Hollner, Jim Normoyle, Justin Knight, AJ Walters, Jason Casey, Rob Yetman, Frank Twing

KRAMER WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL – DANNY VARIN, Stewart Friesen, Bobby Varin, Mike Mahaney, Coleman Gulick, Josh Pieniazek, Shawn Donath, Dave Franek, Derek Locke, Adam Carberry, Jason Schultz, Brett Wright, Jeff Cook, Matt Billings, Chad Miller, Paul Kinney, Tommy Wickham, Kory Gurney, Dave Axton, Josh Flint, Dalton Herrick, Chris Jones, Cory Sparks, Sammy Reakes IV, Darryl Bragman, Jeff Trombley, John Smith III DNS

STREET STOCK FEATURE – 15-LAPS – ZACH SORRENTINO, Ed Hatch, John Devine, David Cook, Joey Wilson, Johnny Young, Chase Aussicker, Chris Murphy, Michael Arnold, Bubby Shaffer, Jason Samrov, Brian Cosselman, Lou Gancarz, Jef