Column By: RAY ROGERS / RPW – FONDA, NY – It was a DKM kind of evening Saturday night at Fonda Speedway.
Week two at the “Track of Champions” started for me at the Speedway Museum where many fans had gathered for some pre-race activities. Among those on hand were Mark Mortensen who scored his first win of the season on opening night. He was on hand signing autographs and greeting fans.
Eric Mack, crew chief for Stewart Friesen also stopped by to drop off a Roof from the original “Cyclone,” Maynard Forrette, adding another great piece of Fonda’s history to the Museum.
As I made my way through the pit area shortly before hot laps I had a car count around 100, all set to take to the famed half-mile for a night of competition.
David Emigh set fast time in the Pro Stock division with Rich Christman fastest in Limited Sportsman, Adam McAuliffe was quickest in Sportsmen and Rocky Warner put down the fastest time in Modified hot laps.
After that, the drivers assembled on the front stretch for the annual track Meet and Greet. Many fans, young and old alike, took advantage of the opportunity to step onto the racing surface and get a photo or autograph from this season’s crop of drivers.
It’s always such a pleasure watching the fans spend time with the drivers, forming bonds only a race fan would understand.
Now on to the racing. The heats rolled right on schedule with Pro Stocks getting things started. Ivan Joslin, Nick Stone and Kenny Gates all scored wins with Limited Sportsman heats going to Christman and McAuliffe.
Sportsman heats were captured by Brian Calabrese, Adam McAuliffe and Tim Hartman Jr. while in Modifieds, it was Josh Hohenforst, Bobby Varin, and Craig Hanson victorious.
The Street Stock’s brought was the first feature of the night, and Dave Horning Sr. scored another win at the “Track of Champions.” He was followed to the finish by Michael Arnold, Jason Samrov, Stephen Young and Rob VanAernam.
The Limited Sportsman took to the well-groomed racing surface next for their 15-lap main event and EJ McAuliffe easily scored his second feature win of the season. Johnny Young took second with Dave Richer third. Tucker O’Connor and Christman completing the top five.
The Pro Stocks were next in line for what turned out to be a dandy of a feature that had fans on their feet from flag-to-flag. Luke Horning and Nick Stone, two heavyweights in the division, went toe-to-toe in this one and when all was said and done, Horning was the one standing in victory lane.
Stone came home in the runner-up spot with Josh Coonradt, fighting his way from 17th starting spot to score a well-earned third place. Emigh and Jason Morrison rounded out the top 5.
The Modifieds took to the historic half-mile next for what turned out to be a history-making race. Dave Constantino Jumped out to the early lead in this one as Bobby and Danny had a “family feud” battle, going door-to-door to see who would claim the second spot.
Reason being? Constantino had driven away from the field and ended up taking his DKM Cyclone Chassis to victory for the first of his career as a Modified driver.
The elder Varin, Bobby, outdueled his son, Danny, for second. Rookie Modified campaigner David Schilling had a solid fourth-place finish and always-strong Josh Hohenforst rounded out the top 5.
The Sportsman would close out a great night of racing with their 25-lap feature. Front row starter Adam McAuliffe took his DKM Cyclone machine right to the front early and never looked back, scoring another career win at the track.
Tony Farone mounted a charge early in the race and Tim Hartman Jr. did so late. Hartman, who suffered a flat tire in the beginning laps, charged from the rear of the field to finish second. Farone was third with defending track champion Chad Edwards fourth and Brian Pessolano fifth.
Once the racing action wrapped up, I made my way pit side to catch up with “The Black Flag Crew.”
First stop was the pit stall of the Hoyenga Racing #34 of Dave Constantino. Constantino was all smiles when I congratulated him on his win.
“This is gonna take a few days to sink in,” he said. “Without the help of that guy (car owner Laudy Hoyenga), this never would have happened.
Laudy just smiled.
“I think I chose the right driver,” Hoyenga said. “Now, let’s win some more!”
It’s really great to see the Constantino family celebrating Dave’s win, knowing how hard they’ve worked to get to this point.
My final stop of the night was to the McAuliffe Motorsports pit where things were a bit more relaxed.
“I am Just gonna ride this wave and see how many wins I can get this season,” EJ said to me.
Adam was a bit more focused.
“It’s nice to score the win, but there’s a lot of racing left this season,” he said.
Then I caught up with the crew chief.
“We could’ve been better,” Kyle said. “But, we’ll take these wins whenever we get them.”
After a Fantastic night of racing, I can’t help but look forward to next week at Fonda as the track pays tribute to all Moms. Free flowers to first 100 Mothers & other great giveaways for them will take place.
Gates open at 3:30 p.m with racing at 7 p.m.
Adult grandstand admission is $11. Seniors, ages 65 and up and Military, pay $9. Kids 11 & under FREE.
On the card will be another Pro Stock ‘Best of 8’ Series race along with Modifieds, Sportsman, Limited Sportsman, Street Stocks & the always-entertaining 4-Cylinder Cruisers.
Don’t forget to stop by The Fonda Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame before you head into the track. Constantino and the McAuliffe boys will have their DKM cars on display and be their themselves to meet the fans. Stop by and congratulate them on their wins from this past week.
Well folks, keep the rubber on the road until race day, and I hope to see you all at the races.