While championship night is important, many drivers will tell you the week before is the foundation night that sets the tone for it.
A good run can help the leader to maintain or extend their points lead, while an off night can put the pressure on all the contenders.
Fonda modified points leader Matt DeLorenzo (790 points) had to go to a backup car last week and managed a sixth-place finish to open his lead to 26 points over Ronnie Johnson (764), who placed 11th, but lost 10 points to Rocky Warner (756), who notched his fourth-straight runner-up finish last Saturday.
Last year, Warner, the 2019 and 2021 modified champion, put on a late-race rush to finish third and tie Johnson, the 2011, 2016 and 2021 champion, for the modified track championship.
The only points races that have been decided are for the mini-stock division, with Ken Hollenbeck and Kerrie Hollenbeck earning the single overhead cam and dual overhead cam titles, respectively.
The only thing left to settle now is the overall champion. Heading into this week’s race program, Ken, an eight-time division track champion, holds an 18-point lead over his brother. Ken has won 14 of the 15 single-cam races this season. The one time he didn’t visit victory lane, the radiator cap came off, sending him to the pit side and giving Todd Morey his first career victory at Fonda Speedway.
Nick Stone controls his destiny in the battle for his third-straight pro stock championship. Stone needs to start the next two features, 20 points minimum each, to lock up the title. Beau Ballard is in second and with victories both weeks, 120 points, he would fall short of the pro stock track title 875-873.
Chad Edwards, who has won the 602 Sportsman track title three of the past four years (2018, 2020, 2021), is being hounded by Payton Talbot as he goes for his third-straight title.
With six wins this season, Edwards holds a 26-point advantage over Talbot, who has three wins, in the point standings heading into the final two weeks of competition.
Again, the limited sportsman title may not be decided until the final turn of the final race of the season.
Zach Dufel and Kyle Dingman have a combined seven wins between them and are separated by only 10 points heading into the foundation week. Dufel leads the way with four wins and 730 points, while Dingman has three wins and 720 points. The only other multi-race winner in the division is Connor Prokop (659 points) with three.
ESS SPRINT CARS DOUBLE UP
The Empire Super Sprints will run Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway before heading East to Fonda Speedway on Saturday.
Danny Varin will be looking for a repeat performance as he won the A-mains at both Utica-Rome and Fonda Speedway when they ran on May 13 and 14.
He returned the following week to Fonda and took home the checkers in the Magsarus No. 93 modified.
Varin has indicated that he will run just the 360 sprint car this weekend at Utica-Rome before running both the sprint car and modified Saturday at Fonda.
The Fonda Kids Club is hosting its annual Backpack Giveaway on Saturday.
The backpacks are sponsored by several race teams and sponsors at the track and filled with school supplies for the upcoming school year.
‘COUSIN’ LUKE DOUBLES UP AT THE RIDGE
Luke Horning picked up his eighth win of the season and division-leading 39th of his career in the Yurkewecz Auto Crushers pro stock division Sunday night at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.
Horning returned to the speedway at the end of the program for the second leg of the Wheels of Fury Enduro and took home the victory over Zach McSpirit and Lee Horning.
Zach Buff led a top-three finish by the Buff brothers as he claimed his third Red Chair DIRTcar Sportsman feature win of the season over Justin and Andrew. Garrett Poland finished fourth, and Cody Ochs fifth.
Lucas Duncan picked up his first career win in the limited sportsman feature, while Jason Barrett took home the street stock checkers and Billy Hillman and Jay Ingersol Jr. respectively won the DOHC and SOHC mini stock features.
AJ Albreada won the all-star slingshot feature, and Connor Crane took the trophy for the junior slingshot division.
In the added 4-cylinder Powder Puff event, Hayleigh Gates, niece of Fonda Speedway’s winningest pro stock champion Kenny Gates, took the checkers over Nancy Walters, Mckenzie Poole and Maykala Warner.
BONUS NIGHT AT THE RIDGE
Glen Ridge Motorsports Park management announced that New Deals Used Cars has come on as a sponsor for this Sunday’s race program.
Along with the rescheduled inaugural running of the Hillman Memorial, paying $500 to win to both the dual and single cam mini stock winners, the other division will also be running for bonus money.
The Red Chair DIRTcar 602 crate sportsman will compete for $2,000-to-win, $1,000 for second and $500 for third.
The Yurkewecz Auto Crushers DIRTcar Pro-Stocks will race for a $1,500-to-win, $750 for second and $500 for third.
The Northeast Paving and Sealcoat all-star slingshots feature will pay $300 to the winner, $150 and $75 for second and third, while the junior slingshots are running for a $100-to-win, $75 for second and $25 for third.
It is yet to be determined if the races will either be a draw and/or time trials. Show-up points will be awarded for all divisions except the limited sportsman and street stocks. They will be handicapped by their points.
It will also be NYSSCA-New York State Stock Car Association night and Relay for Life Night.
Before the races Garrett Poland and Butchie Irwin will have their sportsman cars behind the grandstands for a meet and greet,
Friday, Albany-Saratoga Speedway will honor the late photographer, and storyteller, John Grady, on Nostalgia Night. The modified, sportsman, limited sportsman and pro stock features will see a boost in their purses.
The modifieds will run for $3,500 to win with the runner-up getting $3,000 and $2,500 to the third-place finisher. The sportsman, limited sportsman and pro stock divisions will run for $1,000-to-win, $750 for second and $500 for third.
Appropriately, the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series will also be on the race card.