Yankowski, Sowle, Friesen & Bernier Earn Friday Night Fonda 200 Qualifying Victories

Written by Chris Moore

FONDA, NY – One step closer.

The first twenty-eight cars are locked into Saturday’s ‘Fonda 200’ with the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco.

Four qualifying races were contested at Fonda Speedway, with Alex Yankowski, JaMike Sowle, Stewart Friesen, and Steve Bernier taking the $500 victories.

The top seven finishers in each of the four qualifiers are locked into the $53,000-to-win ‘Fonda 200’ with the remaining starters to be determined by consolation races prior to the 200-lap event.

In Fastline Performance Qualifier No. 1, Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski fired from the pole starting position and led every lap of the 15-lap event for the win.

Following a yellow near the halfway point of the qualifier, Demetrios Drellos got to second but was unable to offer a challenge to Yankowski for the win.

“We’re just gonna keep plugging away at it,” Yankowski said, still in search of his first win of 2023. “What’s meant to be is meant to be.”

2023 Modified Champion at Fonda Speedway Demetrios Drellos raced from the fifth starting position to claim the runner-up spot and St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada’s Mat Williamson rounded out the top three after starting in ninth.

Finishing fourth through seventh, respectively, were Guilderland, N.Y.’s Marc Johnson; Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner after starting last; Altamont, N.Y.’s Pep Corradi; and Lake Pleasant, N.Y.’s Tucker O’Connor are all locked into the ‘Fonda 200.’

The top three in each of the 15-lap qualifiers advance to the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw.

In DKM Fabrication Qualifier No. 2, Fultonville, N.Y.’s JaMike Sowle captured the win holding of Jessica Friesen and Matt Sheppard in the late stages for the victory.

Sowle appeared on cruise control for the $500 victory until smoke began to appear from the Carol and Alton Palmer owned No. 76 in the late stages of the race.

Friesen showed a nose to the inside of Sowle for the lead coming off the fourth turn to complete the 13th lap, but Sowle negotiated the bit of lap traffic ahead to hold onto the victory.

“We have a valve cover gasket leaking,” Sowle said of the smoke. “Thankfully it’s just that and we’re set up for success.”

Friesen, of Sprakers, N.Y.’s, settled for second and Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard rounded out the podium, hot on the heels of the lead duo.

Finishing fourth through seventh, respectively, were Fonda, N.Y.’s Bobby Varin; East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV; Granby, Quebec’s Michael Parent; and Corning, N.Y.’s Cory Costa rounded out the qualified cars.

Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen put on a dominant drive in the Upstate Auto Qualifier No. 3, going wire-to-wire in the nonstop 15-lapper.

Friesen won by over a straightaway over Sheffield, Mass. native Andy Bachetti and Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc, who is making his first ever start at Fonda Speedway.

“It was good to get a good draw for the heat,” smiled Friesen. “Fonda’s home and it’s awesome to be here.”

Finishing fourth through seventh, respectively, were Wallkill, N.Y.’s Tyler Dippel; East Greenbush, N.Y.’s David Schilling; Mooresville, N.C.’s Max McLaughlin; and King Ferry, N.Y.’s Mike Mahaney were the final qualified cars.

The fourth and final Qualifier, presented by Scott Hamlin Racing, was another impressive drive, this time from St. Hyacinthe, Quebec’s Steve Bernier.

Bernier outgunned Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker on the initial green flag and paced the field for the remainder of the race.

Despite a late race caution flag, Bernier held firm with Decker coming home second and Cropseyville, N.Y.’s Matt DeLorenzo rounded out the top three.

“I think I have a good car for this weekend,” Bernier proclaimed. “Thanks to Brandon Planck and Randy Williamson for helping get a good setup for Fonda.”

Finishing fourth through seventh, respectively, were Perth, N.Y.’s Dave Constantino; Duanesburg, N.Y.’s Ronnie Johnson; Canajoharie, N.Y.’s Brian Pessolano; and East Canaan, Conn. native Chris Curtis rounded out the top seven.

The ‘Fonda 200’ concludes on Saturday night, with consolation races set to determine the final eight cars to qualify for the historic event.

The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman join the program as well, running a full program culminating in a 25-lap feature to round out there night.

The night concludes with the 200-lap, $53,000-to-win ‘Fonda 200.’

Catch every lap of the Short Track Super Series on FloRacing. (www.floracing.com

Since 1953, the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. Under the management of BD Motorsports Media LLC, the speedway will operate weekly on Saturday nights from April through August plus several special events. Fonda Speedway is located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds off New York State Thruway Exit No. 28 at 21 S. Bridge Street Fonda, NY 12068.

Fonda Speedway is on the web at www.thefondaspeedway.com. To learn more, call the office at 518.915.4395, like Fonda Speedway on Facebook or follow the speedway on Twitter: @thefondaspdwy or Instagram: @fondaspeedway.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail bdmotorsportsmedia@gmail.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, 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.


FONDA 200 STSS QUALIFYING HEAT 1 $500 TO WIN FROM FASTLINE PERFORMANCE 15-LAPS 7 QUALIFY 3 REDRAW – ALEX YANKOWSKI, Demetrios Drellos, Mat Willaimson, Marc Johnson, Rocky Warner, Pep Corradi, Tucker O’Connor, Michael Trautschold, Brian Calabrese, Neil Stratton, Dave Camara, Ancel Collins

FONDA 200 STSS QUALIFYING HEAT 2 $500 TO WIN FROM DKM FABRICATION 15-LAPS 7 QUALIFY 3 REDRAW – JAMIKE SOWLE, Jessica Friesen, Matt Sheppard, Bobby Varin, Bobby Hackel IV, Michael Parent, Cory Costa, Dillon Steuer, Darren Smith, George Foley, Derek Bornt, Ajay Potrzebowski Jr.

FONDA 200 STSS QUALIFYING HEAT 3 $500 TO WIN FROM UPSTATE AUTO 15-LAPS 7 QUALIFY 3 REDRAW – STEWART FRIESEN, Andy Bachetti, Danny Bouc, Tyler Dippel, David Schilling, Max McLaughlin, Mike Mahaney, Anthony Perrego, Ryan Odasz, JR Hurlburt, Dan Santabarbara, Stephen Gray

FONDA 200 STSS QUALIFYING HEAT 4 $500 TO WIN FROM SCOTT HAMLIN RACING 15-LAPS 7 QUALIFY 3 REDRAW – STEVE BERNIER, Billy Decker, Matt DeLorenzo, Dave Constantino, Ronnie Johnson, Brian Pessolano, Chris Curtis, Cody Clark, Tim Fuller, Danny Varin, Jason Reome, Matt Sobiech