Story By: RON SZCZERBA / FONDA SPEEDWAY – FONDA, NY – A special mid-week show was held at the Fonda Speedway on Wednesday evening called the “Grand Daddy” 602 World Championship. When the checkered flag flew to complete the event, Adam McAuliffe in his DKM “Cyclone” chassis was the winner of the special event, which was named in memory of a great friend to Fonda Speedway Mr. Brian Hanaburgh and presented by Tom & Sharon Spencer and McDonalds.
It was the second time this season that McAuliffe came into the Fonda Speedway as an “invader” of sorts as he doesn’t compete at Fonda on a weekly basis, and took home the sportsman feature win. Make no mistake about it though, to call McAuliffe an invader to Fonda Speedway is a mistake as he has turned many laps at the “Track of Champions” and knows the track pretty well because of it.
Also on the racing card on Wednesday evening were the 358-modifieds with Bobby Varin taking home the victory. In a special moment on victory lane after the feature event was completed, car owners Carole and Alton Palmer along with Varin donated their winnings from the evening to Allison Ricci who also competed in the evenings feature event, for the charity that she races to bring awareness to, which is the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. A great act of kindness by the Palmer’s and Varin that won’t soon be forgotten.
Hanaburgh’s nephew Garrett was the honorary starter for the 50-lap “Grand Daddy” sportsman event with Brian Calabrese the early leader from his pole position start. Adam McAuliffe started the event in the third positon and was right on Calabrese’s rear bumper for the entire first lap before taking the lead on lap two on the outside of turns three and four.
Ray Zemken was the third place car early on after starting on the outside of the front row with seventh place starter Chad Edwards the new fourth place car on lap five. By lap 10, McAuliffe was out to a straightaway advantage and in lap traffic but his big lead was taken away on lap 14 when the caution flag flew.
On the restart, McAuliffe continued to lead with Calabrese second and Edwards the new third place car after getting by Zemken for the spot. Cody Clark brought out the next caution after suffering a flat tire on his car but was able to pit and restart at the rear of the field. On this restart both fifth place starter David Schilling and 16th place starter Brian Borst were able to get by Edwards for the third and fourth positions but that didn’t last for long as Edwards was able to get back by Borst for the fourth position on lap 22.
One lap later Schilling slowed with a flat tire bringing out the caution yet again, but was able to pit for a new tire and restart at the rear of the field. At the halfway point in the event the top five consisted of McAuliffe, Calabrese, Edwards, Borst and ninth place starter Nick Scavia. On lap 29 Edwards was able to get by Calabrese for the second position with the red flag out on lap 31 for a five-car pileup in turn one. Nobody was injured in the wreck but all but one car had to be towed to the pit area.
On the restart, McAuliffe and Edwards raced side by side for two laps before Edwards was able to take over the number one spot with the final caution of the event coming out on lap 34. On this restart, McAuliffe was able to retake the lead and pulled away from that point on for his second victory of the 2018 season at Fonda and the eighth of his career in the division in the Ed McAuliffe Trucking #234 over Edwards, Calabrese, Scavia, and Borst.
“I was just worried about running out of fuel,” McAuliffe told victory lane announcer Dan Haslun when asked about all of the caution flags during the event. “Chad (Edwards) had a strong car but I just never gave up. Thanks to the DKM crew who makes this a stellar car everywhere I go.”
“The 234 car (McAuliffe) was faster than us tonight and he was able to get back by me for the win,” Edwards said in victory lane.
”I thought that if we had some restarts I could have possibly gotten back by Adam but it ended up that I had nothing for him,” Calabrese said after the race. “This is an old 2008 car and I still have a lot of learning to do. Thanks to Rocky Warner for all of his help.”
The 25-lap 358-modified feature began with pole position starter Demetrious Drellos taking the lead in his family owned #111 with Anthony Cardamone in tow. Fifth place starter Bobby Varin was the new third place car on lap two and before the lap was completed, he had also gotten by Cardamone for the second position.
Drellos was out to a straightaway advantage by lap three with the top five at the halfway point consisting of Drellos, Varin, Jeremy Wilder, Rocky Warner, and Matt Janiak. With 10 laps to go in the event Drellos was in lap traffic allowing Varin to close in and on lap 18 Varin used the inside groove on the back stretch to get by Drellos for the lead.
Varin pulled away from that point on to his fifth win of the season at Fonda and was followed at the checkered flag by Drellos, Warner, Wilder, Janiak, Cardamone, Dillon Steuer, Vinnie Sanganetti, and Allison Ricci.
“Once I got to the second spot I started searching around,” Varin said in victory lane. “Drellos had a quick sled tonight but when he got to the lap traffic he wasn’t sure where to go in order to get by so I was able to catch him and then shot the gap to get past him for the lead. I have to thank everyone on this Palmer Team; we are more like a family than a race team.”
Coming up this Saturday, August 18 will be the annual “Night of Features” with track champions being decided in all divisions. There will also be a backpack giveaway by the Fonda Speedway Kid’s Club with the green flag set to fly at 7:00 p.m.
THE GRAND DADDY 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY TOM & SHARON SPENCER AND MCDONALD’S – 50-LAPS – ADAM MCAULIFFE, Chad Edwards, Brian Calabrese, Nick Scavia, Brian Borst, David Schilling, Cody Clark, Josh DeMagistris, Aaron Burton, Mike Jackson, Tony Farone, Ricky Quick, Joe Williams, Jeremiah Munson, William August, Josh Neal, Ray Zemken, David Manchester, Jeremy Pitts, Griffen Mansmith, Brian Pessolano, Mark Mortensen, Michael Sabia, Tanner Warner, Charlie Tibbitts, Corey Cornier, AJ Filbeck (DNS)