RPW Exclusive: Friesen, Hohenforst, Warner Stake Claim They’re The Ones To Beat For Fonda 200 Crown

Column By: DYLAN FRIEBEL / RPW – FONDA, NY – Friday night of the Fonda 200 weekend has come and gone and boy was it a good one.

A field of 43 Modifieds graced the pit area as of 5:15pm, all attempting to qualify for the first Fonda 200 run in 17 years.  You could feel the electricity in the pit area from the start of the drivers meeting.  Everyone knows what this race means and they were ready to get after it on Friday evening.

With three qualifiers split evenly among the field, those events went off fairly uneventful with Stewart Friesen, Josh Hohenforst, and 2019 Track Champion Rocky Warner taking the wins.   Friesen’s run to the win was the most enjoyable to watch as he drove from 13th starting spot in the 15-car field to take the win.  Hohenforst started in the third position while Warner took the victory from fourth.

By virtue of his win, former track champ Friesen will now start on the pole for the 200 and is one of the odds-on favorites to take the $53,000-to-win event.

“This is first 200 I’ve run here since the last one 17 years ago,” Friesen said.  “It’s cool to be able to start first for this one.  We’ve struggled here at the end of year lately but hope we can put this one together.  However there are so many strategies you can go with come Saturday.  We’ll have to figure it out.”

After his last race at Fonda where he was involved in a very serious incident where David Schilling destroyed a race car, second qualifier winner Hohenforst is very happy to be in the position he is heading into the 200.

“I’m just happy to be here and be part of this whole deal,” Hohenforst said.  “We had a fast car here tonight.  We tried some different stuff and it felt good in practice.  Seems like it worked pretty well in the heat but we’ve still got some tweaking to do, but this is a complete 180 from the way we left the track after our last race.”

Hohenforst, who had a guaranteed spot for the 200 based on his win at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park a few weeks ago, is excited to be starting the 200 on Saturday from the front row.

“It’s definitely cool to start up front for this,” he said.  “This will be my first 200 as I was pretty young when the last one ran here, but it’s also not good at the same time as you don’t know how to set the pace.  You’re not sure what everyone else is doing but I think the big thing is going to be track conditions and what we do for tires.  If anyone tells you right now they have a game plan on what they’re going to do tomorrow they’re lying.”

Third qualifier winner and third-place starter in the 200, Rocky Warner, is thinking a little different than Friesen, though.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we will have come in for tires,” Warner said.  “We ran 15 laps tonight and pretty much smoked our right rear tire. If we run top 5 and have a good night tomorrow we will be happy.”

30 drivers are now set for the 40-car field with the last 10 positions being filled in the B-Main events on Saturday before the feature. However, based on the track record for big money shows at Fonda Speedway this year, the first Fonda 200 since 2002 is one you won’t want to miss.

SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #1 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – STEWART FRIESEN, Brett Hearn, David Schilling, Matt Sheppard, Dave Constantino, Alex Yankowski, Danny Johnson, Brian Pessolano, Brian Gleason, Allison Ricci

SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #2 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – JOSH HOHENFORST, Andy Bachetti, Jessica Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Billy Decker, Elmo Reckner, Danny Varin, Mike Gular, Matt DeLorenzo, Craig Hanson

SUNOCO MODIFIED QUALIFYING HEAT RACE #3 – 15-LAPS – TOP 10 TRANSFER TO THE FONDA 200 – ROCKY WARNER, Bobby Varin, Demetrious Drellos, Tim Fuller, Anthony Perrego, Roger Henion Jr., Darwin Greene, Scott Huber, Tim Clemons, Steve Akers

Fonda 200 Starting Lineup:

  1. Stewart Friesen
  2. Josh Hohenforst
  3. Rocky Warner
  4. Brett Hearn
  5. Andy Bachetti
  6. Bobby Varin
  7. David Schilling
  8. Jessica Friesen
  9. Demetrious Drellos
  10. Matt Sheppard
  11. Mike Mahaney
  12. Tim Fuller
  13. Dave Constantino
  14. Billy Decker
  15. Anthony Perrego
  16. Alex Yankowski
  17. Elmo Reckner
  18. Roger Henion JR
  19. Danny Johnson
  20. Danny Varin
  21. Darwin Greene
  22. Brian Pessonlano
  23. Mike Gular
  24. Scott Huber
  25. Brian Gleason
  26. Matt Delorenzo
  27. Tim Clements
  28. Allison Ricci
  29. Craig Hanson
  30. Steve Akers
  31. B
  32. B
  33. B
  34. B
  35. B
  36. B
  37. B
  38. B
  39. B
  40. B