2018 FONDA SPEEDWAY YEAR IN REVIEW
By: Ron Szczerba
Fonda, NY – The “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway celebrated its 67th consecutive year of competition in 2018 under the promotional team of Demitraszek Enterprises. Weekly racing programs in 2018 consisted of the modified, sportsman, limited sportsman, pro stock, and street stock divisions with many different winners in all divisions including a long list of first career winners.
2018 SUMMARY OF WINNERS
The modified division saw a total of 18 events run with a total of six different wining drivers led by Stewart Friesen with eight wins. Friesen was limited in his appearances at Fonda in 2018 because of his commitments in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series but his eight victories came in a total of 11 feature starts at Fonda in 2018.
Next in line with a total of five victories in the modified division was 2018 track champion Bobby Varin who was followed by 2017 track champion Tim Fuller who had a total of two feature wins including the Super DIRTcar Series event in September, which this year was the prestigious “The Jack” event honoring Fonda Speedway legend “Jumpin’ Jack Johnson.
First career winners in the modified division at Fonda in 2018 included Demetrious Drellos and Rocky Warner with Pat Ward also collecting one feature win, the 23rd of his career at Fonda.
Ten different drivers were victorious in the sportsman division at Fonda in 2018 led by 2018 track champion Chad Edwards, Nick Scavia, and 2011 track champion Mark Mortensen with all three drivers taking three wins apiece. Dave Constantino and Adam McAuliffe were both two time winners in the division while Tim Hartman Jr., Brian Borst, Dan Santabarbara, Cody Clark, and Charlie Tibbitts were all single feature event winners.
For Borst, Santabarbara, and Tibbitts it was their first career wins in the division at Fonda. Borst was also a 15 time winner at Fonda in the former “open” sportsman division.
2018 track champion Derrick McGrew Jr. led the way in the limited sportsman division with a total of six wins and was followed by Travis Billington with three wins; Dylan Eldred, 2017 track champion Cory White, Bill Port, Michael McCallion, and Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald all with one win apiece.
2018 track champion Kenny Gates led the way in the pro stock division with eight wins including the prestigious Hondo Classic and the Super DIRTcar Pro Stock Series event, which increased his all-time win total at Fonda to 80.
Josh Coonradt was a three time winner in the division while Luke Horning took home two wins in 2018. Single event winners in the pro stock division for 2018 included Cassidy Wilson, Randy Cosselman, and Chuck Dumblewski. For Wilson, Cosselman, and Coonradt it was their first career wins in the pro stock division at the “Track of Champions.”
Jason Samrov led the way in the street stock division with a total of five victories followed by 2018 track champion Johnny Young with four wins, Rob VanAernam and Michael Arnold who both had two wins apiece. Cliff Haslun, Dave Horning Sr., Randy Miller, and Zach Sorrentino were all single event winners. Arnold was the only first career winner in the division in 2018.
2018 TRACK CHAMPIONS
Bobby Varin (modified) and Kenny Gates (pro stock) each won their seventh career title in their respective divisions at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway in 2018. Johnny Young is now a two time champion at Fonda after winning his second title in a row in 2018 in the street stock division. Chad Edwards, in the Tom & Sharon Spencer owned #37, was a first time champion in the sportsman division as was Derrick McGrew Jr. in the limited sportsman division in the Parillo Services car #26.
For Varin, his seventh modified title came in the Carole and Alton Palmer owned, Palmer’s Service Center sponsored #76, and it tied him with Dave Lape who also has seven career titles in the modified division at Fonda. Varin’s titles came in 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2018 while Lape’s came in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 2003, and 2004.
Gates won his third title in a row in 2018 in the pro stock division with the other titles coming in 2004, co-champion in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016, and 2017. His eight wins in 2018 raised his career total to 80 in the pro stock division at Fonda, first on the all-time win list.
Stewart Friesen won a total of eight times in the modified division at Fonda in 2018, tying him with Kenny Shoemaker for fifth on the all-time sportsman-modified win list which originated under that title in the Fonda book and has been updated under that title ever since.
Fonda legend Shoemaker’s 54 wins came in a total of 14 winning seasons, his first win coming on 10/8/1955 and his last on 8/9/1975. In comparison Friesen’s 54 wins came in a total of eight winning seasons, his first win back on 7/27/2010 and his last on 8/4/2018.
Friesen also had a victory back on 9/21/2018 but that was classified as a 358-modified victory which is kept under a separate win list (the 358-modified win list) which was also started in the Fonda book and has been kept up to date under that title ever since.
On 6/30/2018 the Classics on Dirt Vintage Modifieds competed at Fonda with the winner being Jay Lais. Lais has competed at Fonda in the past in the crate sportsman division but his win in the vintage car was his first ever at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway. Making it even more special was the fact that Jay’s father Tom was able to celebrate with his son in victory lane for the first time.
On 8/18/18 there were four first time winners in a five division racing program with Josh Coonradt the only winner that evening that had won at Fonda in the past. First time winners that evening included Rocky Warner (modified), Charlie Tibbitts (sportsman), Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald (limited sportsman), and Michael Arnold (street stock).