The Stage is Set: Sheppard, Warner, Dippel & Varin Win Fonda 200 Friday Qualifiers
Written by Chris Moore
FONDA, NY – The stage is set.
The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco is set for the biggest day – and biggest payout – in its history.
Four drivers started their Southside Beverage ‘Fonda 200’ weekend off right, collecting $500 victories in the 15-lap qualifying races last night.
Matt Sheppard, Rocky Warner, Tyler Dippel, and Danny Varin all collected qualifying race wins to kick off Round No. 9 of the Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region.
Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard won the first qualifier, presented by Upstate Auto in Germantown, N.Y. After drivers drew for their qualifier starting positions, Sheppard had his work cut out for him, as he would start 13th (last), for the 15-lap event.
Early yellows gave Sheppard an opportunity to continuously pick up positions before the field would be restacked. A lap-three yellow came out and Sheppard had already climbed to the sixth position, while Steve Akers and Chris Curtis occupied the front row.
On the restart, Sheppard showed why they call him ‘Super’ Matt. Sheppard darted around the outside, climbing from sixth to second and locking in on new leader Chris Curtis.
Sheppard raced to the inside of Curtis, sliding by on lap seven and pulling away with the $500 payday courtesy of Upstate Auto. King Ferry, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney came home with the runner-up position and Hartford, Conn.’s Chris Curtis rounded out the top three, who qualified for the redraw for the Fonda 200.
Altamont, N.Y.’s Steve Akers finished fourth, with Bloomingdale, N.Y.’s George Foley grabbing the fifth position and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Tanner Warner and Ephratah, N.Y.’s Rich Christman rounded out the top seven, who qualified for the $1,000-to-start feature event.
2021 Fonda Speedway co-champion Rocky Warner picked up the win in the second qualifier and the $500 check from Dave Prime MAC Tools. Warner, like Sheppard, did not have a favorable draw, as Warner started from the 10th position in his qualifying race.
The Johnstown, N.Y. native didn’t race to the front as efficiently, chasing down Jeff Rockefeller and Gloversville, N.Y.’s Josh Hohenforst on lap number 13.
Warner chased the top two down for several laps in the non-stop race, before getting to the leaders just as they entered lap traffic. Warner, now a two-time Modified champion at the ‘Track of Champions,’ showed his ability around the speedway to race by the two leaders for the win.
Hohenforst would race by Rockefeller to get the runner-up spot, and Jeff Rockefeller held on for the final redraw spot. Otego, N.Y.’s J.R. Hurlburt finished in fourth and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Craig Hanson grabbed the fifth position. Mexico, N.Y.’s Addison Bowman, and Brian Pessolano were the final two qualified cars for the ‘Fonda 200.’
Unlike the first two winners, Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel started from the pole position and easily walked away with qualifier No. 3. His $500 pay came courtesy of DKM Fabrication/Cyclone Chassis as the presenting sponsor of the third qualifier.
While Dippel started up front and easily walked away, Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski started fifth before working his way to the runner-up position. By the time Yankowski had gotten to second, Dippel had already cleared the field by a straightaway, giving Yankowski no opportunity to run down the leader.
Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen raced from the 10th starting position into third, giving him the final redraw position for the 200-lap main event.
Duanesburg, N.Y.’s Ronnie Johnson put on a late race charge to pick up fourth, and Sheffield, Mass. Andy Bachetti raced home fifth. Matt DeLorenzo brought his BBL Companies car home sixth and East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV was the final qualified car.
The hometown boy, Danny Varin raced from his fourth starting position and, like Dippel, drove to an even more dominating victory in the final qualifier presented by FloRacing.
Varin would end up winning the race by over 10 seconds over second place finishing Dave Constantino, more than half the track.
Constantino, of Broadalbin, N.Y., grabbed the runner-up spot and Pep Corradi grabbed the final redraw spot.
Middletown, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego charged from the back for a fourth-place run and Pittsfield, Mass.’s Brett Haas rounded out the top five. Middlesex, N.Y.’s Alan Johnson and Middletown, N.Y.’s Roger Henion were the final qualified cars.
Fifty STSS big-block/small-block modifieds registered for the Southside Beverage ‘Fonda 200.’
The weekend rounds out tonight, as the STSS Modifieds run their 15-lap B-Mains, leading into the 200-lap, $53,000-to-win Fonda 200, the highest paying Modified race in 2021.
The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman will also be on hand for a full program in Round No. 7 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region.
The Crate 602 Sportsman will go for 25-laps in a $2,000-to-win feature event, as a prelude to the Fonda 200.
To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail email@example.com, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, FloRacing, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Hurlock Auto & Speed, Velocita-USA, Design for Vision/Sunglass Central, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Penske Racing Shocks, Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz, Algonkin Motel, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Belmont’s Garage, Superior Remodeling, Spyder High Performance Filters, Fastline Performance, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO, WELD Racing & Wilwood.
‘FONDA 200 QUALIFYING NIGHT’ RESULTS SUMMARY – FONDA SPEEDWAY SEPTEMBER 17, 2021
Upstate Auto Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Qualifying Race No. 1 Finish (15 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Mike Mahaney, Chris Curtis, Steve Akers, George Foley, Tanner Warner, Rich Christman, Darwin Greene, Matt Sobiech, Bill August, Jason Reome, Tanner Forbes, Corey Lowitt.
Dave Prime MAC Tools Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Qualifying Race No. 2 Finish (15 laps): ROCKY WARNER, Josh Hohenforst, Jeff Rockefeller, J.R. Hurlburt, Craig Hanson, Addison Bowman, Brian Pessolano, Tim Dwyer, Ray Zemken, Dan Santabarbara, Aaron Jacobs, Billy Van Pelt.
Did Not Start: Will Shields.
DKM Fabrication/Cyclone Chassis Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Qualifying Race No. 3 Finish (15 laps): TYLER DIPPEL, Alex Yankowski, Stewart Friesen, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Matt DeLorenzo, Bobby Hackel IV, Darren Smith, Brian Gleason, David Schilling, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Ancel Collins.
FloRacing Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Qualifying Race No. 4 Finish (15 laps): DANNY VARIN, Dave Constantino, Pep Corradi, Anthony Perrego, Brett Haas, Alan Johnson, Roger Henion Jr., Jessica Friesen, Adam McAuliffe, JaMike Sowle, Brian Calabrese, Ronnie Holmes.