STSS Race Day at Fonda: Firecracker 50 Storylines, Stars & Sleepers

Written by Chris Moore

FONDA, NY – Firecracker Race Day!

Fonda Speedway hosts the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco for the first of two appearances for the 2023 season tonight.

The historic half-mile oval on the Fonda Fairgrounds holds the fifth annual ‘Firecracker 50’ after a postponement from its typical Independence Day Weekend slot. The event is presented by Scenic View Campground and Picture Perfect Pools & Spas.

Tonight’s 50-lap main event rewards the winner with a $10,000 top prize in Round No. 5 of the River Valley Builders North Region $15,000 championship chase.


The STSS ‘Firecracker 50’ serves as a prequel to Fonda’s second STSS event in September – the ‘Fonda 200.’ The September crown jewel pays a massive $53,000 to the winner, the largest winner’s share in Northeast Modified racing.

The North Region holds four races over the next 10 days on the docket, with the ‘Firecracker 50’ serving as the opener to the busy stretch.

Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard leads the pack of North Region followers into the critical stretch, holding a 31-point advantage heading into the site of his ‘Fonda 200’ win in 2022.


How do you unseat Matt Sheppard at the top of the ‘stars’ list on race day? Win all four previous renditions of the race. Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen – Fonda’s greatest active driver – has been increasingly dominant in ‘Firecracker 50’ events, winning every event since the original back in 2019.

Sheppard still holds a seat at the ‘stars’ table heading into Fonda. As previously mentioned, Sheppard took home the ‘Fonda 200,’ in ’22 and was the runner-up in the ‘Jumpin’ Jack Johnson’ Memorial’ Season Opener at Fonda this season.

Queensbury, N.Y.’s Demetrios Drellos makes his second consecutive STSS start, after a sixth-place finish at Vt.’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Drellos currently sits atop the Modified standings at Fonda on Saturday nights.


Sheffield, Mass. star Andy Bachetti has been quiet on the STSS so far in ’23. While Fonda has previously been a house of horrors for Bachetti, the ‘Wild Child’ finished fourth in his only Fonda appearance of ’23 in the season opener.

Guilderland, N.Y.’s Marc Johnson is another driver who has been relatively quiet thus far on the STSS North Region tour. Johnson however was strong in the ’22 ‘Fonda 200,’ leading several laps in the second half of the race. That success could parlay into a $10,000 Fourth of July victory.

Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski has called Fonda home on Saturday nights in ’23. ‘Kid Rocket’ has watched three near wins slip away in Saturday night competition at the ‘Track of Champions.’ Yankowski will look to turn those near misses into his first career STSS and Fonda victory in a big way.


The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman join the Sunday night affair, going for 25-laps and a $2,000 top prize. The event is Round No. 4 of the Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region for the STSS Crate 602 Sportsman.

Upper Makefield, Pa.’s Joe Toth holds a 15-point advantage over Spencertown, N.Y.’s Dylan Madsen at the top of the standings. Ballston Spa, N.Y.’s Derrick McGrew Jr. rounds out the top three.


The STSS continues this Thursday, July 20, when Fonda’s sister track, Utica-Rome (N.Y.) Speedway, hosts the ‘Richie Evans Remembered 61.’ The 61-lap feature pays the winner a $6,1000 grand prize. In addition to the stars of the STSS, NASCAR Cup Star Ross Chastain will be on hand to compete in the Thursday night affair.

The following Tuesday and Wednesday (July 25 & 26), the STSS visits Canada for the first time ever at Autodrome Granby and Le RPM Speedway for a pair of $10,000to-win main events.


Don’t forget to set your Dirt Draft lineups before the night’s first heat race begins.

Visit or download the app to join Dirt Draft and compete against thousands of others for the entire 2023 STSS season. A subscription is just $5.99 a month with plenty of prizes up for grabs in the Dirt Draft Speed Shop.

Following along with the STSS on Dirt Draft throughout the ‘23 season will pay one lucky fan dividends at year-end.

The STSS Dirt Draft Champion receives two tickets to the STSS year-end banquet and will be honored with a custom trophy presented by Dirt Draft.


Gates open at 4 p.m., with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:15 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $28. Seniors (ages 65 and over) pay $26. Kids 11 and under are FREE.

Infield Drive-in pricing is $135 (up to four people) and can be reserved at the following link:

Pit admission is $45 (ages 13 and up), $40 (NASCAR or Fonda Members), $10 Kids (ages 6-12) and $2 Children (ages 5 and under).


The entire night of racing, along with every STSS race in 2023, will be broadcast LIVE on FloRacing ( 

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit, e-mail, 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, FloSports, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Rent Equip/Party Central, BDR Speed, Bicknell Racing Products, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Wegner Automotive, River Valley Builders, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, DIG Race Products, Velocita-USA, Franklin Products, Design for Vision & Sunglass Central, Belmont’s Garage, Quality Drywall, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Prime MAC Tools, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel, Beyea Custom Headers, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH, Electric Neon Custom Signs, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Spyder Filters, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO & Wilwood.


July 3, 2022 – STEWART FRIESEN – Matt Sheppard – Mat Williamson – Danny Creeden – Rocky Warner

July 4, 2021 – STEWART FRIESEN – Billy Decker – Matt Sheppard – Mat Williamson – Mike Gular

July 5, 2020 – STEWART FRIESEN – Larry Wight – Mike Maresca – Adam McAuliffe – Jessica Friesen

July 3, 2019 – STEWART FRIESEN – Matt Sheppard – Erick Rudolph – Anthony Perrego – Rocky Warner