Story By: RON SCZCERBA / FONDA SPEEDWAY – FONDA, NY – After opening day 2022 at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway was cancelled two Saturdays in a row due to weeklong rains, BD Motorsports Media LLC management decided to try something a little different and hold opening day on a Sunday.
They were successful in doing so with the official opening day for the 2022 racing season coming on Sunday, April 24.
From that day on, every racing program that was scheduled for the 2022 season was run rain free every Saturday through the Fonda 200 weekend in September with a four week break mid-August through mid-September for the annual Fonda Fair. When the final checkered flag flew in August to complete the regular season there were two first time Track Champions at Fonda and four repeat champions in their respective divisions.
THE 2022 CHAMPIONS
The 2022 Fonda Speedway Track Champion in the Sunoco Modified division was Matt DeLorenzo who was crowned a Fonda Speedway Track Champion for the fourth time in his career after championships back in 2004 and 2006 (358-Modified) and 2007 in the Modified division.
Payton Talbot was crowned the 2022 Fonda Speedway Track Champion in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman division for the first time in his career
Nick Stone was crowned the 2022 Fonda Speedway Track Champion in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock division for the fourth time in his career with the other championships coming back in 2014, 2020, and 2021.
Zach Dufel was crowned the 2022 Fonda Speedway Track Champion in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman division for the first time in his career.
Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Division Track Champions for the 2022 season were Kerrie Hollenback in the DOHC class who was crowned a Track Champion once before in the division at Fonda back in 2013 and his brother Ken Hollenback who was the Track Champion in the SOHC class for the ninth time after also winning the title back in 2012 (SOHC), 2013 (SOHC), 2014 (Overall), 2015 (Overall), 2017 (Overall), 2019 (Overall), 2020 (SOHC), and 2021 (SOHC).
Matt DeLorenzo competed in a total of 20 events in the Sunoco Modified division during the 2022 season at Fonda, finishing the season with five wins, nine top five finishes, and 15 top ten finishes. His five wins moved him up to the 10th position on the Fonda Speedway Modified All-Time win list with a total of 42 wins in 11 winning seasons, his first career win coming on 4/17/2004 and his last on 7/9/2022. In two separate categories, DeLorenzo also has two wins in the 358-Modified division at Fonda and one win in the Open Sportsman division back on 8/7/1999.
Payton Talbot competed in a total of 19 events in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman division in 2022 with two sixth place finishes being his worse finishes of the season! Talbot had a total of three wins in 2022 to go along with 17 top five and 19 top ten finishes. His three victories places him in a tie for ninth on the All-Time Win List in the division with a total of four, his first career win coming on 8/14/2021 and his last on 7/23/2022.
Zach Dufel competed in a total of 18 races at Fonda in 2022 with five wins, 13 top five and 15 top ten finishes. His five wins placed him in a tie for fourth on the All-Time Win List in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman division with his first career win coming on 5/14/2022 and his last on 8/6/2022.
Ten wins in a total of 17 events propelled Nick Stone to the Track Championship in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock division along with 16 top five and 16 top ten finishes. Stone now sits second on the All-Time Win List in the division with 69, his first career win in the division coming on 6/8/2002 and his last win coming on 8/13/2022.
Ken Hollenback won 17 out of 18 races during the 2022 racing season in the Fonda Fair SOHC Four Cylinder division raising his win total to 85 (First on the All-Time Win List in the division) with his first career win in the division coming on 5/5/2007 and his last on 9/16/2022.
Kerrie Hollenback won 13 out of 18 races during the 2022 racing season in the Fonda Fair DOHC Four Cylinder division raising his win total in the division to 33 which is second on the All-Time Win List behind his brother Ken. Kerrie’s first career win in the division came back on 6/16/2007 and his last on 8/13/2022.
2022 TRACK CHAMPIONS THOUGHTS IN THEIR OWN WORDS ON CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT
2022 SUNOCO MODIFIED TRACK CHAMPION MATT DELORENZO
“It wasn’t our plan to be here at Fonda every week, but we started running real well at the beginning of the year so we kind of worked things out that I could race here every Saturday,” DeLorenzo told Mimi Lazzaro during the championship celebration. “The track kind of threw me a curve ball the last month being choppy and stuff, and the car just really wasn’t comfortable. We also had motor problems, but it all worked out. This is the first time we’ve run a big block here all year, I always had a small block here, but everybody went to a small block back then.”
“Back then Bobby Varin I know ran a big block and we always battled back in the day, so it’s been a while hasn’t it. Now everybody has the open small block with Brett’s rules, but it shows that the big block can be competitive. I’ve been sleeping at the shop a lot, I have to thank my wife for letting me do that and my kids they are pretty busy in their lives too so I’m glad they are all here tonight, my mother is here too so it’s pretty cool.”
“The kids were putting the pressure on me saying dad you better win tonight, so I said to them it is just like you being up at home plate with a full count on you and the bases are loaded and the score is tied. A lot of pressure tonight for sure and I just wanted to do good for everybody and finish. My brother Mike is the brains behind the operation and Brian (teammate Brian Gleason) both of them really work hard every week to try and figure out these coil cars.”
“My dad Tom runs around to get parts for us, and we have a great bunch of people along with a lot of extra people tonight to help out which is cool so hats off to my brother Mike he does a phenomenal job. I have to thank BBL Companies who have been with me since I started racing, REO Welding, Collette Mechanical, Recovery Sports Grill, Carey Electric, MCD Metals, Kevin Enders, Dan Bedell whose motor was in the car tonight, Bicknell Racing Products, and Dennis from Integra Shocks. We have been running the same car at both Albany Saratoga and Fonda all season long and tonight this is actually my teammate Brian’s car.”
2022 SWAGGER FACTORY APPAREL CRATE 602 SPORTSMAN TRACK CHAMPION PAYTON TALBOT
“Yeah, this is awesome,” Talbot said during the championship celebration. “I didn’t really expect it coming into tonight, I knew that Chad (Edwards) was going to be tough. I didn’t know if the top or bottom was gonna be better, but we got lucky there when Chad pulled the slide job on us, we had enough momentum to get back by him on the bottom. I ran the top for a while, Troy (Palmer) and Chad were checking out, so I was just following them. You know the car didn’t feel bad and I think the tires got a little more heat in them on exit.”
“At the end there I was just trying to run the bottom and keep the 10% behind me. We’ve had a wicked year here, I can’t ask for anymore, I’ve got an awesome crew behind me and trying keep up on maintenance on this thing week in and week out, it paid off. You’ve gotta check everything you can’t have mistakes. We’ve just had a fantastic year; I don’t think that we’ve broken down yet knock-on wood.”
“I have to thank Travis at Ted’s Body Shop, Mike Walton at Fastline Performance, Joe from Precision Hydraulic Oil, Parker at Parker Excavating, Hig Fab Chassis, Jeff at JK Signworks, Brian at Donath Motorworks, Brandon at DIG Race Products, MIR, CC, Northeast Forestry, and Tom Moore at Training Tails.”
2022 ALGONKIN MOTEL PRO STOCK TRACK CHAMPION NICK STONE
“Preparation is everything,” Stone said. “I guarantee we have the most prepped out race car. The body looks a little rough, but you take this body off and the car looks brand new underneath it. We got the tires that we needed and didn’t have to be conservative, everything was always prepped out perfect.”
“On Tuesday we all go up to the garage to work on the car and luckily, we never wrecked, all of our stuff was very minor. We noticed things before something happened and that’s how you do it. Every time I go out there, I’m focused, and it’s been both ways for me during my racing career, I’ve had very little help at times, to doing it all yourself, so you come to the track and have some good nights, and you have some rough nights because you’re always working on the car.”
“Some of the guys that I see struggling I know exactly what they are going through because I know how it is, I’ve been there. I finally caught a nice ride with Todd, and I know he enjoys it, so it is kind of a perfect combination. I have to thank Todd, Melissa, Gus, Matt, Scott, Jamie, and my dad. Todd had these sponsors over the years, and some have followed me over, so our teams merged together real well.”
2022 MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE FOR AGING INC. LIMITED SPORTSMAN TRACK CHAMPION ZACH DUFEL
“I honestly have no words, I’ve dreamt of being here just as a crew member and being here as a driver is so special to me,” Dufel said. “Obviously with Mike (car owner Michael Jackson) and his long road to recovery I can’t thank him enough, Harry Shaffer, the whole Shaffer family, Harry has been there for me since day one. He’s been there all season telling me what to do, I’m taking his and Mikey’s tips and it worked out. It’s insane, I literally have no words, it’s awesome.”
“If my dad was here (the late Jay Dufel who was a long time crew member for Jack Johnson) he would have been telling me to move up mid-season but Chad (Edwards) is a friend of mine and he will be a good mentor when I move up next year so hopefully we’ll run well, we’ll see what we have for them at the end of the season and how we match up with them so I’m excited.”
2022 FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER SOHC TRACK CHAMPION KEN HOLLENBACK
“This is a new car for us this year,” Ken Hollenback said. “Everybody else has my old junk cars now.”
2022 FONDA FAIR FOUR CYLINDER DOHC TRACK CHAMPION KERRIE HOLLENBACK
“I thought they were gonna give us championship belts,” Kerrie Hollenback said. “I was gonna do a back flip off the top of the car. But anyways I am a champion and God bless my brother Kenny who is the overall champion.”
DIFFERENT WINNERS IN DIFFERENT DIVISIONS
There were 11 different winning drivers in 2022 in the Sunoco Modified division led by Stewart Friesen with six including the $12,000 to win Jack Johnson Memorial event in April and the $10,000 to win Firecracker 50 in July. Track Champion Matt DeLorenzo was next with five feature wins followed by Craig Hanson with two.
Eight drivers took one win apiece including Danny Varin, Dave Constantino, Brian Gleason, Nick Heywood, David Schilling, Demetrious Drellos, Jack Lehner, and Matt Sheppard who won the prestigious $53,000 to win “Fonda 200” in September. For Gleason, Heywood, and Schilling it was their first career Modified wins at Fonda.
Chad Edwards led the way with six wins in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman division in 2022. In all there were nine different winning drivers in the division with Cody Clark winning four times and Payton Talbot three times to fall next in line behind Edwards. There were six drivers who won single events including Brian Calabrese, Mark Mortensen, Rocky Warner, Clayton DuMond, Brett Mortensen, and Troy Zilles. For DuMond, Brett Mortensen, and Zilles it was their first career wins in the division.
Zach Dufel led the way with five feature wins in the Montgomery County Office for Aging Inc. Limited Sportsman division followed by Kyle Dingman with four wins, Connor Prokop with three wins, and Josh Kane with two wins. Completing the list of eight different drivers who won features in the division were Lance Hill, Harold Robitaille, Bob Rowback, and Wesley Sutliff who were all single event winners. For Hill, Kane, Dufel, Robitaille, Prokop, Rowback, and Sutliff it was their first career wins in the division.
There were seven different winners in the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock division led by Nick Stone with ten. Beau Ballard and Ivan Joslin were next in line with two wins apiece, one of the wins for Ballard was the prestigious Hondo Classic held in Memory of the late Hondo Carpenter. Single event winners in the division were Luke Horning, Jason Morrison, Josh Coonradt, and Kenny Gates with the win for Morrison being a career first.
There were six different winners in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder division led by Ken Hollenback with 17 wins in the SOHC class. The only other SOHC feature held was won by Todd Morey who celebrated his first career win in the division. Kerrie Hollenback led the way in the DOHC class with a total of 13 wins followed by John Napoli with three, Dale VanAllen and Brandon Ely with one win apiece. For VanAllen and Ely it was the first career wins in the division.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE 2022 REGULAR SEASON FROM FONDA SPEEDWAY PROMOTER BRETT DEYO
“Pretty amazing season really,” Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo said. “We survived through a lot of factors, tire shortages, inflation, and no rain outs. Who would have thought that when we moved the first race to a Sunday to get it in that we would get every other race in. We were struggling with a wet spring, but everybody stuck with us. It was an awesome season, great car counts, fan counts, tonight was off the charts.”
“The 50/50’s were great, I think we survived a wild season and now we can regroup and get ready for the Fonda 200,” Deyo continued to say. “I am excited going into the 200, I think we have a lot of momentum and no conflicts this year on the schedule, so it should be pretty wild.”