Column By: LAURIE FALLIS / RPW – FONDA, NY – With excitement in the air to get their 2021 season rolling, the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) brought memories of the past back to life at Fonda Speedway a few weeks back…all the while, doing it in front of fans in the stands.
When the night was over, the crowd at the Track of Champions left the speedway entertained after the great action they witnessed.
The series’ first event of the year was finally upon us, the “Spring Fling Opener.” On a beautiful day, as always, the MVVDMS entertained fans with the memories of yesteryear. Four divisions were in action competing in three exciting feature events.
First feature to go out on the famed half-mile was the Vintage Antique class (cars 1969 and older). Outside pole sitter Chuck Scofield in his Chuck Ely tribute #115 would took the early lead with veteran Frank Blanchard in tow. The duo swapped the lead several times during the 12-lap feature, seeing Blanchard low and Scofield high.
Blanchard made the final pass on lap 10 and went on to take the exciting win. Bryan Scofield was starting to real in the leaders as the laps clicked off, but ran out of time and had to settle for a solid third place finish. Stew Padisso and Ed Docskalik rounded out the top five.
Sixth through 10 were Mike Cole, Mark Reardon, Don Briggs, Harley Shepard and rookie driver Taylor Wheeler. Wheeler had her car get out from under her during the event and she spun into the backstretch wall, but was uninjured.
The Vintage Sportsman feature followed. This is for cars 1989 and below. Bryon Seyfried in his Jack Johnson 12A tribute car fired from the pole and grabbed the early lead. Third place started Jon Kuleszo in his #M1 Donnie Wetmore tribute machine followed.
Kuleszo wanted the lead and got it from Seyfried, moving to the outside in turn one and two in the early stages of the race.
Three drivers were weeding their way through the field headed towards the front after starting deep in the field. They were Dan Wood, Brian Gray and Stephen Denton. The battle heated up for position in the top five as Wood moved quickly to the runner-up spot and began licking his chops.
That opportunity almost came as a lap car slowed Kuleszo’s progress but not enough to lose the lead. The Romulus, NY driver held on to see the double checkers, taking the 15-lap feature. Wood had to settle for second with Denton third. Seyfried came home fourth in his first event back after a year and a half hiatus due to injury. Gray came home fifth.
John Constantino, Mike Francisco, Mike Brown, Dan Karl, George Palmer, Jimmy Fugel, Mike Wheeler and Carl Cram completed the finishing order.
The Vintage Modifieds and Vintage Late would take the green together in a fifteen lap feature. The Late Models line up according to the draw of there class behind the Vintage Modifieds.
The Vintage Modified Replicas completed the evening (chassis that are 1990 and above with any style body on them). Merv Blackwell brought the field to green but it was Oak Hill, NY’s driver Darral Hulbert grabbing the top spot on the opening circuit.
Soon, however, Randy Delaney got by Hulbert and brought Jack Miller along. A few laps later, Delaney was slowed by a lap car and that allowed Miller to grab the top spot.
Delaney shadowed Miller, waiting for his opportunity. Hurbert faded back to fourth, losing a spot to Blackwell.
On lap 11, Delaney saw an opening on the inside of Miller in turn 1, going side by side. Contact was made as they excited turn two with Delaney spinning and Miller being forced pitside to change a tire. Both would return.
Blackwell was now back in the lead with four laps to go. However, his lead was short lived as Hulbert got back by and went on to win the main event. Blackwell was second with 77-year-old Stanley Wetmore finishing a strong third. Delaney and Miller came back and rounded out the top out the top five.
Rookie driver Joe Firstiun in the Flach #77J machine finished sixth and Mark Anatriello rounded out the field.
The five-car field of Vintage Late Model division saw two winners. They were Curtis Condon and John Roese. Rounding out the field was Kirk Lawson, Will Reed, Brent Tardy. Adam Warner was unable to take the green.
The next big event for the Series will be back at the “Track Of Champions” this Saturday. Be a part of keeping the memories and drivers of the past ALIVE!