RPW Column: “Jack Was A Bad Ass!” Tim Fuller Powers To 12K Jumpin’ Jack Memorial At Fonda
Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – FONDA, NY – There were a few drivers in the Fonda Speedway Modified field Saturday afternoon that were the perfect fit to grace checkered board square when the 40-lap Montgomery Co. Open in memory of Jumpin’ Jack was completed.
Luckily for the fans in attendance, one of them did just that, and his name was Tim Fuller.
Fuller, who grew up learning from the track’s all-time Modified wins leader and soaking up the wisdom he offered, led nearly every lap of the season-opening feature at the Track of Champions, taking home the big $12,000 payday.
“Anytime you win on Jumpin’ Jack’s night, it’s BIG,” Fuller said. “To win on this night is really special.”
Fuller started on the outside pole for the main event. However, he fell back to second on the open lap, being passed by third place starter David Schilling.
That didn’t last long, however, as the Edwards, NY driver powered his way back to the top spot as the lap counter struck two and began to set sail after the big check.
There was only one thing that might stand in his way, and that was the driver they call SuperMatt, Matt Sheppard. Sheppard started in the 14th position and began cutting through the field like a hot knife through butter, passing cars at will.
There were several laps through the course of the feature where Sheppard picked off not one, not two but three cars in a single corner. The 9s was on the charge and it looked as if it was only a matter of time before he was out front.
However, when he finally got to the runner-up spot, that’s where things began to stall. Even with some late-race restarts, Fuller was able to hold Sheppard at bay.
“As soon as I saw Matt, I thought I was screwed,” he said. “You have the baddest guy on the planet in Modifieds lining up outside of you. I was debating if the outside or the inside was the best because there was a little bit of crumbs on the top for traction.”
Ultimately, Fuller made all the right decisions.
“Thankfully there was always enough grip there on the bottom,” he said. “It was the shortest way around but I can tell you it was sure uncomfortable when I saw him line up beside me. However, I knew this car was good.”
As stated earlier, this win was extremely special to Fuller because of the relationship he had with Jack Johnson.
“Jack was a bad ass, no doubt about it,” he said. “He was a legend and those legends only come around once in a lifetime.”
When Fuller remembered the times he shared with Jack, a huge smile came across his face.
“I started with Jack,” he said. “He took me in under his wing and taught me a few things. I’ll never forget him. He was just a class act. There’ll never be another Jumpin’ Jack and to win on this night and see one of his orange cars again is very special.”
Sheppard ended up bringing his #9s home in the runner-up spot after making a serious charge through the field but just couldn’t get around Fuller’s #19.
Third and fourth place finishers on the night had a connection to Jumpin’ Jack as well. Third was Jack’s son, Ronnie, while fourth was Jack’s son-in-law, Andy Bachetti.
Mike Mahaney completed the top five.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OPEN JACK JOHNSON MEMORIAL MODIFIED FEATURE $12,000 TO WIN – 40-LAPS – TIM FULLER, Matt Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Mike Mahaney, David Schilling, Alex Yankowski, Josh Hohenforst, Stewart Friesen, Brian Gleason, Matt DeLorenzo, Chris Curtis, Bobby Varin, Michael Maresa, Demetrious Drellos, Danny Varin, Jessica Friesen, JaMike Sowle, Cody Clark, Brian Calabrese, Tucker O’Connor, Dylan Scribner, Dave Camara, Brian Pessolano, Rocky Warner, Marc Johnson, Dave Constantino
Fourth career win in the division for Fuller at Fonda his last win coming on 9/22/2018.
LAP LEADERS – 1 Schilling, 2-40 Fuller
HEAT RACE WINNERS – O’Connor, Danny Varin, Hohenforst, Drellos
CONSOLATION RACE WINNER – Maresca
DID NOT QUALIFY – Kurtis Hohensheldt, Shawn McPhee, Dale Gray, Jason Reome, Craig Hanson, Ron Holmes, Bobby Hackel IV, Josh Masterson, Ryan Walther