Friesen wins ESS feature at Fonda

2015 ESS Empire Super Sprints Top Story

By Dean Reynolds

FONDA, NY – It doesn’t matter if it’s a Sprint Car or a Modified, Stewart Friesen has the Fonda Speedway figured out.  The 2015 Modified track champion dominated the 25-lap Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint main-event on Friday night en route to his fourth win of the season.


“I just love this race track,” said the Sprakers, N.Y., driver in Victory Lane.  “Jessica (Zemken) has this tuned right in for me.  She made a couple last minute calls for the feature, she said, ‘it’s Fonda, it always going to do that’ and she made a couple changes and they were spot on.”


Friesen’s run to the win wasn’t an easy one, he was involved in “three close calls” during the feature and he held off former champions Steve Poirier and Chuck Hebing.  At the end of the day it was Friesen holding the big check for winning the NAPA Auto Parts Tour of the US main-event and Poirier earning his sixth career overall tour championship.


“High speed tracks like this it is an advantage to start of front,” stated Friesen.  “I have to thank my mother-in-law for pulling it for me.  It was good.  We had Poirier and Cobra (Hebing) right there, but were able to hold them off.  I was pretty nervous toward the end.”


Friesen wrestled the lead away from Hebing on the opening circuit.  Friesen was the leader when Cory Sparks became the first caution of the race on lap three after he slowed with a flat tire.  Like the initial start, Friesen was flawless on the restart and again held off Hebing.


Friesen began opening the edge on the field as he raced in clean air.  Hebing began dealing with the challenges of Poirier who had started in the fifth spot.  Friesen got into slower traffic for the first time on lap eight.  He attempted to put Jeff Cook down a lap when something in the front end of Cook’s car broke and shot him up the track.  Friesen had been on the outside and missed Cook by inches.  Cook slammed the first turn one and flipped several times.  He walked away unscathed.


Hebing again attempted to challenge Friesen at the green but like his first two attempts, it failed as Friesen pulled away.  At the halfway point of the feature Friesen’s lead was nearly a straightaway as Hebing and Poirer continued their hard fought battle for the runner up position.


Friesen’s second scare came on lap 18 as he was racing in traffic.  Friesen looked to the high-side as he attempted to drive around Tommy Wickham.  Wickham looked to the top groove as well at the entrance to turn three causing contact between the two.  Friesen checked up but remained the lead and worked by Wickham one lap later.


Friesen final heart stopping moment came with just four laps to go.  Paulie Colagiovanni got a flat tire and shot up the track right in front of Friesen.  Friesen again avoided what could have been the end to his night.


The green lights came back on with Friesen picking up right where he left off, at the front.  Poirier got a great jump at the green and took the second spot away from Hebing in the first turn.  Hebing tried to rally on the top of turn two to no avail.


Friesen went on to score the $1,600 victory while Poirier’s runner-up finish was enough for him to claim the title over Jason Barney.  Poirier, St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., was conservative, but not too conservative closing laps as he went for the win and while racing for the championship.


“It was not easy with Stewie (Friesen) and Cobra (Hebing) start in front of you on a fast track like that,” stated Poirier.  “I was making sure not to do any crazy things tonight, I had to make sure I finished the race.  As the racer I knew my car was good and on that restart I got by Hebing and it looked at first that I had something for Stewie.  I think we were as good or just a little slower and I was hoping to have a chance in lapped traffic.”


Coming into the event Poirier held a 44 point over Barney and he made that hold up.  He went out and won his heat before securing a second place finish in the feature for the title.  He also secured the NAPA US Title as well.


“I was telling myself to be careful but these cars don’t like to be driven careful,” said Poirier.  “I wanted to stay under control but not do anything like spinning the car or getting out of the groove.  It worked out good for us tonight.”


Hebing, of Ontario, N.Y., ended up third at the checkered giving him a pair of podiums at Fonda Speedway in 2015.  Hebing admitted that he wasn’t good on restarts and that cost him a chance at the win and second.


“The best thing about tonight was that I didn’t hit the wall,” joked Hebing.  “The track was tough.  I needed to run on the fence in turn one but there was a little bump there that was screwing me up.  I took about 20 points of gear out of the car and that was too much.  That messed me up on the restarts.  At times I thought we could run with Stew, but this is his house right now.”


Mark Smith drove Patrick Vigneault’s No. 55 to fourth place finish and Paul Kinney moved up a couple of places during the event to finish in fifth.


ESS/Fonda NotesA stout field of 28 sprints made the trek to the Track of Champions…Josh Flint made his first ever ESS start aboard the Mike VanDusne owned #56…Engine woes claimed Parker Evans and Danny Varin during heat events…Ageless veteran Dave Wickham came out with a new car and promptly put it in the A-Main, he was all smiles afterwards.

Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints
Fonda Speedway
Fonda, NY
Friday September 25, 2015

Heat Race #1:
1. 28fm – Steve Poirier
2. 1hd – Cory Sparks
3. 48jr – Daryl Ruggles
4. 10 – Jeff Cook
5. 5 – Justin Barger
6. 7c – Dylan Swiernik
7. 98 – Joe Trenca
8. 33 – Mike Mahaney
9. c88 – Chad Miller
10. 69k – Kory Gurney

Heat Race #2:
1. 90 – Matt Tanner
2. 45 – Chuck Hebing
3. 56 – Josh Flint
4. 00L – Dane Lorenc
5. 10c – Paulie Colagiovanni
6. 75 – Tommy Wickham
7. 2 – Dave Axton
8. 48a – Alysha Ruggles
9. 61 – Parker Evans

Heat Race #3:
1. 1z – Stewart Friesen
2. 55 – Mark Smith
3. 87 – Jason Barney
4. 19k – Paul Kinney
5. 00v – Bobby Varin
6. 53 – Shawn Donath
7. 80 – Dave Wickham
8. 0 – Danny Varin
9. 6k – Mike Stelter

1. 10c – Paulie Colagiovanni
2. 5 – Justin Barger
3. 7c – Dylan Swiernik
4. 53 – Shawn Donath
5. 00v – Bobby Varin
6. 75 – Tommy Wickham

1. 98 – Joe Trenca
2. 33 – Mike Mahaney
3. 2 – Dave Axton
4. 80 – Dave Wickham
5. 69k – Kory Gurney
6. c88 – Chad Miller
7. 48a – Alysha Ruggles
8. 6k – Mike Stelter
9. 0 – Danny Varin
10. 61 – Parker Evans

1. 1z – Stewart Friesen
2. 28fm – Steve Poirier
3. 45 – Chuck Hebing
4. 55 – Mark Smith
5. 19k – Paul Kinney
6. 5 – Justin Barger
7. 7c – Dylan Swiernik
8. 87 – Jason Barney
9. 00L – Dane Lorenc
10. 33 – Mike Mahaney
11. 90 – Matt Tanner
12. 10c – Paulie Colagiovanni
13. 75 – Tommy Wickham
14. 98 – Joe Trenca
15. 48jr – Daryl Ruggles
16. 80 – Dave Wickham
17. 2 – Dave Axton
18. 6k – Mike Stelter
19. 56 – Josh Flint
20. 53 – Shawn Donath
21. 00v – Bobby Varin
22. 10 – Jeff Cook
23. 1hd – Cory Sparks