FONDA, N.Y. — One champion steps away. Another champion steps up.
After defending Fonda Speedway big-block modified titlist Stewart Friesen was forced to abandon his plan to enter the inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at his home track tonight (June 19) due to a schedule conflict, the driver he unseated as the half-mile oval’s champ, Ronnie Johnson agreed to replace Friesen as the Fonda regular in the full-fender field.
Johnson, 39, will make his dirt Late Model debut in tonight’s 50-lap WoO LMS A-Main at Fonda behind the wheel of a second Rocket Chassis car fielded by tour veteran Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa. – the same machine Friesen had been set to drive.
The 29-year-old Friesen consummated a deal with Frank last week that would allow him to run a dirt Late Model for the first time in his career when the WoO LMS visited Fonda, but the sizzling Big-Blocker (three consecutive feature wins at Fonda) had to withdraw from tonight’s action following the postponement of Tuesday night’s Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified event at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway. Friesen is co-promoting (and competing) in New Egypt’s ‘Dirty Jersey 60,’ which was rescheduled for tonight (June 19).
Johnson figures to be a worthy fill-in for Friesen, who sits atop Fonda’s current Big-Block Modified standings. The son of DIRTcar Northeast and Fonda Speedway Big-Block Modified legend Jumpin’ Jack Johnson, Ronnie won the track’s 2011 points crown and is tied for 16th on Fonda’s alltime Big-Block Modified win list with 22 career victories. He is ranked third in the speedway’s 2013 points battle.
Johnson will pull double-duty tonight, competing not only in the headline WoO LMS show but also the supporting 30-lap, $3,000-to-win Big-Block Modified event.