FONDA, N.Y. — Stewart Friesen ran down Ronnie Johnson and won Sunday’s 100-lap big-block modified feature at Fonda Speedway.
Johnson, who is sponsored by the race’s title sponsor, Palmer Services, moved from third to the lead in just two tours of the half-mile fairgrounds oval, with track champion Friesen blasting from seventh to second on lap 15. From that point, he tried Johnson inside and out as they dueled through constant lapped traffic. Their only respite came with a lap 41 yellow but they soon caught the tail again, often splitting lapped cars running in the middle of the speedway.
While the leaders battled, Hearn was on the move from 12th and took fourth from Mark Kislowski in the late 70-lap range.
With just 11 laps remaining, Friesen finally got the chance he was waiting for, as Johnson followed Jeff Rockefeller low into turn one to lap him again. But Friesen shot to the outside and pinned him in, taking the lead as they went down the backstretch, then scooting away to nearly a straight lead by the time the checkered flag waved.
“Unbelievable,” said Friesen as he exited the Jeff Daley No. 1. “That was intense. That lapped car was just enough to break his rhythm. We had almost identical cars but I got enough of a roll there to box him in, then in the clean air I got away.”
“I faded at the end and he kept trucking,” offered the son of ‘Jumpin’Jack’ Johnson, the speedway’s all-time leading winner and himself a former track champion. “But he’s really good at this place and it was no surprise that he was right there.”
Kislowski, who won his first ever feature this season, was thrilled with third, saying “We needed those long runs to get going. The lapped cars were tough but we made it through all of them.”
Hearn was fourth ahead of Bobby Vain, Elmo Reckner, Mike Mahaney, Jimmy Davis, Pat Ward and Larry Wight.
Ivan Joslyn claimed the $1,000 to win Pro-Stock 30, edging Kenny Gates by mere inches after a 20-lap war.