Johnson posts modified win at Fonda
FONDA – Although Ronnie Johnson has a feature win this season, he has been struggling with motor and set-up problems.
Johnson was asked to try a new shock set up under his No. 2RJ. It worked out.
Johnson dove under early-race leader Darwin Greene on lap 20 and survived a lap 24 restart to collect his second 30-lap modified feature checkered flag of the season Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
“We switched to Fox Racing Shocks this week,” Johnson said. “They just came out with a whole new line of circle track shocks. This is the first time ran them here tonight and they worked really well.”
Tim Hartman Jr. picked up his first career 602 sportsman feature win Saturday, while Kenny Martin recorded his 50th career pro stock feature win. Rob VanAernam notched his sixth street stock win of the year, while Ken Hollenbeck remained undefeated in the 4-cylinder division with 12 single cam wins this year and Pete Vila won his second dual cam feature of the year.
Greene and Craig Hanson brought the field of 25 modifieds to the green flag with Greene grabbing the early lead.
The Pennsylvania modified pilot opened a 10 car lead on the field while Jeremy Wilder, Hanson and Justin Boehler battled for the second spot.
Johnson, who started fifth, quickly joined the battle and worked his way into the runner-up spot behind Greene on lap 12.
The frontrunners ran nose-to-tail as they negotiated the lapped traffic. Meanwhile, a second pack of cars including Mike Mahaney, Matt DeLorenzo, Danny Varin and Stewart Friesen were engaged in a tight battle behind fifth-place runner Elmo Reckner.
When the leaders broke free from traffic, Johnson began pressuring Greene before diving to the low side of turn one to get under Greene and take the point.
Two laps later Greene, who made contact with the first-turn wall on lap 23, spun on the back stretch with a flat tire. He went pitside and rejoined the field at the rear.
DeLorenzo’s night ended when his No. 3D failed to fire on the ensuing restart and came to a stop on the backstretch.
Hanson made a strong move on the restart to get past Wilder for second but could not reel in the leader before the checkers fell over Johnson’s hood for his 24th career win.
Hanson came home second followed by Reckner and Friesen got past Mahaney on the final turn to claim fourth.
Wilder, Varin, Mark Kislowski, Jeff Trombley and A.J. Romano completed the top 10.
Hartman made Fonda Speedway his home track this season and has struggled with wrecks and ill-handling cars.
Saturday it all came together for the second-generation driver who leaves for college in Florida today.
Hartman wasted little time getting to the front. Starting third in the 28-car field, he took the lead from Chip Constantino on the third circuit and never looked back.
Cody Bleau made a strong run from his eighth starting spot and got a nose under Hartman in turn one on the white flag lap.
Hartman had the momentum in the high line and powered back to the front and timed his run onto a lapped car to block Bleau and get the victory.
Connor Cleveland was third followed by Dave Constantino and Rick Quick. Chip Constantino finished sixth with Rocky Warner seventh, Dana Palombo eighth, Tony Farone ninth and Brian Pessolano 10th.
Chuck McSpirit grabbed the early lead in the 20-lap pro stock main event by splitting the front row of John Bradt and Cassidy Wilson on the opening lap.
While McSpirit and Ivan Joslin battled on the front end. Martin, who started 10th, quickly made his way to the front and took the lead on the seventh lap.
Martin pulled away from the pack under green flag conditions and recorded his fourth win of the season, tying him with Kenny Gates for second on the all-time pro stock win list with 50. Both trail only Todd Hoffman’s division leading record of 51.
Jamie Warner and Cliff Haslun set the early pace in the street stock feature before the leaders brought out the caution, opening the door for VanAernam to record his 36th career street stock victory.
The regular season concludes next Saturday as Fonda Speedway will crown its 2013 track champions on the Night of Features presented by the BBL Family of Companies. Double features are scheduled for the modified, sportsman, pro stock and street stock divisions and a single feature for the 4-cylinders.