Johnson records win at Fonda
FONDA – As warm-ups took place on the track, Ronnie Johnson sat in his modified on the infield at Fonda Speedway, waiting for track time for the modifieds.
His car straddled a black-topped area clearly outlined in yellow and marked with 12A – the area used by his father, Jumpin’ Jack Johnson, when the pits occupied the infield on Saturday nights.
There must have been a little magic left in the area as Ronnie went out, grabbed the lead on lap six and set a blistering pace to claim his first modified feature win of the season Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
Another long-time competitor at the Track of Champions, Floyd Billington Jr., took the 602 sportsman field green-to-checkers to pick up his first career feature win in 35 years of competition at the Track of Champions.
Joining Johnson and Billington with feature wins Saturday were Kenny Gates (pro stock), Jason Samrov (street stock) and Ken Hollenbeck (4-cylinders)
Darwin Greene and Bodie Bellinger brought the field of 24 modifieds to the green with Greene leading the opening circuit and Bellinger the next two.
The race was red flagged on lap four when a multi-car wreck in turn four brought out the caution before contact between Jeff Rockefeller and Matt DeLorenzo sent DeLorenzo flipping hard into turn three.
DeLorenzo was shaken up in the accident and was transported to the hospital later in the night for observation.
When action resumed, the field put two more laps in the book before the caution flew again.
The frequent caution allowed Johnson, who started ninth, to find his way into the fourth spot. He made full use of the outside on the restart to power past Greene, Bellinger and Jeff Trombley to grab the lead on lap six before the race went under caution for the third time.
A fourth caution flew two laps later with Johnson in front, Trombley second and Bobby Varin and Greene battling for third.
The caution flew on the restart as contact between Varin and Greene sent Varin sliding up the track, collecting Alton Palmer and Craig Hanson as he hit the first turn wall.
Varin and Hanson continued but Palmer’s car was cradled back to the pit area.
With an open track in front of him, Johnson clicked off his fastest laps of the night, including an 18.945 on lap 10.
The race went the rest of the way caution-free, and Johnson stood in Fonda’s Victory Lane for the 25th time in his career, tying him with Jeep Herbert and Brett Hearn on Fonda’s all-time win list.
Trombley held on for second, followed by Greene, Bellinger and Stewart Friesen. Varin came back through the field to finish sixth, with Pep Corradi seventh, Korey Wilder eighth, Justin Boehler ninth and Mark Kislowski 10th.
Billington started on the pole of the 20-lap sportsman main event and took command over Greg Havlicek heading into the first turn.
The lone caution of the race came on lap three when Blake Schwarting came to a stop on the outside of turn two.
Billington remained in control of the restart and pulled away for his first career win.
John McAuliffe made a last-lap pass on Havlicek to take second, while Connor Cleveland finished fourth and Cody Clark fifth.
David Constantino, Ricky Quick, Rocky Warner, Luke Munroe and Brian Pessolano rounded out the top 10.
Randy Cosselman set the early pace in the 20-lap pro stock feature before giving way to Mark Sullivan on lap four. Nick Stone found his way to the front a lap later, but Gates was steadily making his way forward from his eighth starting spot.
By the eighth lap, Gates pulled into second and set his sights on Stone, chasing the leader down and passing him on the bottom exiting turn two to lead lap 14.
The caution flew on lap 15, but Gates was not to be denied as he remained in control and recorded his 53rd career pro stock win at Fonda Speedway.
Stone was second, followed by Pete Broderson, Chuck Dumblewski and Sullivan. Cosselman, Gus Hollner, Jeff McPhail, Jason Casey and Luke Horning completed the top 10.
Samrov rallied late in the 15-lap street stock feature to beat John Young to the checkers. Jule Cook was third under the checkers but was later disqualified in post-race tech, moving Dave Horning Sr. to third, Neil Cosselman to fourth and John Bradt to fifth.
Hollenbeck led the 4-cylinder feature from start to finish for his sixth win of the season. Kerrie Hollenbeck finished second, Keith Tesiero Sr. third, Shawn Morrison fourth and Keith Tesiero Jr. fifth.