FONDA, N.Y. — Danny Dietrich notched his second UNOH All-Star Circuit of Champions victory of 2013 Thursday night at Fonda Speedway.
He capitalized on leader Stewart Friesen’s skirmish with a spinning lapped car to regain the lead he’d just given up, then fought off pursuers Cap Henry and Tony Stewart, who was a fast-closing second at the stripe.
Henry settled for third ahead of Justin Barger and Dave Blaney with Lance Dewease, Danny Smith, Tim Shaffer, Caleb Helms and Denny Holtgraver rounding out the top 10.
“We were 20 minutes down the road heading for home after running Fulton last night and decided to turn around and come back,” declared the elated winner. “This was meant to be.”
After beating Friesen in the dash, Dietrich blasted off from the pole but on their second tour around the fairgrounds half-mile, the seven-time 2013 Fonda modified winner, hot off a second to Dewease the night before, blew around him on the outside of turn four.
But just two laps later, Mark Coldren, running amidst a four-car gaggle of lapped cars, spun just as Friesen and Dietrich got to them, sending all four around and forcing the leader hard into the backstretch wall.
“Cars were everyhere,” said Dietrich. “He was way out on the outside, so high that he had nowhere to go. And how I got through, I’ll never know. I don’t know if we ever would have caught him again otherwise. He’s got a lot of laps around here.”
Friesen’s girlfriend, Jessica Zemken, had been running third but she also stopped and was sent to the rear for the restart, putting Henry and fast-timer Dale Blaney on Dietrich’s tail. Blaney then tried to get around Henry, lap after lap, but to no avail and he finally dropped out amidst a cloud of smoke on lap 20.
This put Stewart into third and he began working on Henry, who in turn made a run on the leader when traffic slowed his pace with five to go. Dietrich finally got back in the open with two to go and when Henry hesitated as he tried to lap the same cars, Stewart drove around him and the lapped cars on the outside. He got close to Dietrich before the checkered flag but not close enough.
“I was making time at the end,” declared Stewart, who told the large crowd in a pre-race interview that he was still trying to decide if the track had nine turns or ten. “I finally decided I had to go somewhere different, where nobody else was, then when I got to second I had trouble telling which car was Danny. I got close but never all the way to him.”
“We’ll take it,” offered Henry. “We got to Danny in traffic but couldn’t do anything once I got there. This place is always tough, plus it took rubber tonight, which made it different yet. There’s no other place we see like this.”
Kenny Martin claimed an emotional victory in the companion Hondo Carpenter Memorial Classic for pro stocks, using the late Carpenter’s car to win the 25-lap feature convincingly. Rocky Warner and Nick Stone trailed.