Fonda & Utica-Rome Close Curtain On 2022 Racing Season With Awards Banquet Friday Night
Story By: CHRIS MOORE / FONDA & UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY – VERONA, NY – Fonda and Utica-Rome speedways officially put the lid on the 2022 season with the season ending Awards Banquet.
The event took place at the luxurious Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona, N.Y.
More than $114,000 in point fund money was distributed by BD Motorsports Media LLC.
Competitors at both speedways who finished in the top-10 in their respective divisions were awarded trophies and photographed as a group.
The Utica-Rome Speedway Slingshot competitors were honored first as Blake Banek ($250) was the champion of the D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshots and Brett Putnam ($500) was the champion of the Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots.
The Fonda Fair Four Cylinder divisions at each track were honored next. Matt Bukovan (Dual Cam) and Hunter Tarbania (Single Cam) represented Utica-Rome Speedway while the brothers Ken Hollenbeck (Single Cam) and Kerrie Hollenbeck (Dual Cam) were the champions of Fonda Speedway. All four champions received $400.
Following presentations to the Slingshot and Four Cylinder competitors the promoter of both speedways, Brett Deyo, stepped to the podium for his annual speech.
“We’re here for the long haul, we’re in this together for an extended period of time,” Deyo said. “I appreciate you guys working with us through some of the shortages we had this year, it sucked but we made it work.”
Deyo also announced a target date of this summer to officially purchase Utica-Rome Speedway from the Cole family.
Following Deyo’s speech, the award ceremony resumed.
Seth Martin took home $500 as the champion of the Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman at Utica-Rome Speedway. Zach Dufel followed as the champion of the Montgomery County Office of the Aging Limited Sportsman at Fonda Speedway and received a $500 payout.
The Pro Stocks were up next and Grand Gorge, N.Y.’s Beau Ballard received his second consecutive Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock championship at Utica-Rome Speedway and a $1,000 top prize.
Nick Stone, of Schenectady, N.Y., was honored for another impressive Fonda Speedway season with a $1,500 payout as the champion of the Algonkin Motel Pro Stock division.
Durhamville, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk added another Utica-Rome Speedway championship to his name, claiming $1,500 as he topped the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman division.
Janczuk was also touted as the American Racer Cup Sportsman champion for the second consecutive season, claiming another $2,000 title.
“We’ve got a good field at Utica, everybody stepped their game up to get better,” Janczuk proclaimed. “It just motivates me to keep getting better.”
South New Berlin, N.Y. native Payton Talbot nabbed his first career track championship in the Swagger Factory Apparel Crate 602 Sportsman division at Fonda Speedway. Talbot’s efforts awarded him with a $2,000 payday of his own.
“We had some luck on our side, I remember early in the season being crashed into the wall thinking we were done. We made it back out and got sixth that night,” Talbot said of his incredible consistency. “The goal is to come back next year and be even better.”
Following the Crate 602 Sportsman awards presentation, attention turned to honor the top 10 in the F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway standings for the Modifieds, Crate 602 Sportsman, and Pro Stocks.
Nick Stone grabbed another payday, taking home $1,000 as the Thunder on the Thruway Pro Stock champion.
Payton Talbot joined Stone in being honored twice, claiming the Thunder on the Thruway Crate 602 Sportsman title and the $1,000 to boot.
Alex Yankowski of Covington Township, Pa., claimed a $4,000 paycheck for his first career Thunder on the Thruway Sunoco Modified championship.
“Utica is awesome. I love Fonda too, but I just don’t think it loves me that much,” Yankowski said of his Thunder on the Thruway title. “Fortunately, it was kind enough for us to win this championship.”
Following the F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway presentations, Jackie Lape and the rest of the Lape Family presented a special Dave Lape Memorial award to Bobby Varin.
“This is an honor. I never feel like I belong with the names on the win list, and now to receive this award is very special to me,” Varin said of receiving the first-ever Dave Lape Memorial Award.
The Sunoco Modified champions at each track were crowned following the Dave Lape Memorial award presentation.
Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard garnered $6,000 for his second consecutive and sixth overall Utica-Rome Speedway track championship on the strength of his 11-win campaign.
“We hit on something pretty good early in the year and that carried us to a lot of wins. My team just worked really hard, and it was truly a dream season,” Sheppard said of his season.
Sheppard also thanked Brett and Heather Deyo for their contributions at Utica-Rome Speedway.
“Thanks to Brett and Heather and the whole Utica staff. It’s awesome to see a track that was almost closed opened back up and thriving like it is.”
On the Fonda side, Cropseyville, N.Y.’s Matt DeLorenzo received $10,000 for his first track championship at Fonda since 2007.
“I wasn’t planning on racing every week, but that went down the drain after I ran so well early in the season,” DeLorenzo explained. “Thanks to my wife and kids for putting up with me racing so much, but it worked out for the best. It means a lot to be back here as a champion.”
Fonda and Utica-Rome Speedways open the 2023 racing season with open practices on April 14 (Utica-Rome) and April 15 (Fonda) before racing begins the following weekend.