Chasin’ Racin’ – Varin dominates Fonda

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Second-generation driver Danny Varin put on a show dominating the Sunoco Modified feature at the Fonda Speedway going green to checker. (Photo courtesy of Chasin’ Racin’ Photos)

By Mark Kane

It was a couple weeks back that Danny Varin put on a driving clinic in his ESS Winged Sprint Car after having to go to the pit for repair to his wing after an early race tangle.

Once back to green, Varin started to work his way forward and into the top 10 and then into the top five, and this was against some of the best 360 winged warriors in the Northeast.

Varin was not happy with a top five and the talented second-generation driver put the crowd on its feet in the old covered grandstand. I have seen many drives around that old girl, but there was something very special about this one.

I have witnessed the talented young driver work his way up through the ranks, taking his bumps and bruises but coming right back. Racing was in Danny’s blood early as his father Bobby Varin is a past multi-time champion who is still in the thick of the battle weekly at the Track of Champions.

Each week I make my way to Danny’s pit to wish this very likable racer good luck, and this week it was my first stop.

Watching a young driver work his way to the top of the sport he loves is something special, to watch him grow into a man is even more special, and that is what Danny Varin has become: a hard-working family man who has come into his own.

Working his way to the front through lap traffic, Varin raced his way to the lead and then checked out from the field, hitting his mark lap after lap and continuing on for the popular win.

The family-owned 01 team is on a roll, going undefeated on the tough ESS tour to start out the season on the road, and the run at his home track Fonda Speedway shows the talent behind the wheel and the support he has behind him and his sprint car team.

For Danny and his regular Saturday night ride, the Ed Munger MAGSARUS #93, it has been a tough year. The car has been fast, but motor troubles have sidelined the team, and Varin has been sitting pitside come feature time.

However, this week would be different. Once again the #93 car was fast in warm-ups and the heat. A little carb work and a pre-race warm up lap, and Danny Varin had a great starting spot for the feature. On this night there would be no yellow flag for Danny Varin with a flat or Danny Varin slowing out of turn 2 and heading to the pits early, or Danny being caught in a wreck by no fault of his own.

On this night it would be Danny Varin and the Ed Munger #93 coming together as one out on the town for a Saturday night drive around the Fonda Speedway.

I could make this simple, at the drop of the green Danny Varin grabbed the lead and at the checkers it was Danny Varin in for the win, but it is racing and nothing is simple.

Still racing and still talented, former Fonda Champion Bobby Varin is still a fierce competitor and looking to win. (Photo courtesy of Chasin’ Racin’ Photos)

Yes, Danny did drive away but how he did it is the story of a true driver coming into his own.

Once out front Varin found his groove and, as in the Sprint Car the week before, lap after lap he hit his marks. Working through lap traffic and, yes, with his foot to the motor plate he found lap traffic before lap traffic early and had a huge lead.

Once in lap traffic, Varin worked it with perfection. As much fun as it was watching Varin dominating, up front the race behind the leader found great racing action in the Sunoco Modified feature.

The heavy hitters were all coming from mid pack.

Out front early were Pep Corradi, Ryan Odasz in his own 14R ride, Jack Lehner in the Nelson #85 and Jessica Friesen’s 1Z.

Lap 3 found Lehner working his way to third with Friesen right on his rear deck, and they would now be third and fourth and starting a great battle that found the two racing Nerf bar to Nerf bar.

Just outside the top five, Bobby Varin, Rocky Warner, Ronnie Johnson and Demetrios Drellos were racing hard running two and three wide.

Out front Varin continued with his Saturday night drive with Pep Corradi having a great run still holding down second as David Constantino moved into the top five on lap 11.

Once again the battle in the top five heated up as the 1Z of Friesen and Lehner had found their way to the back bumper of Corradi, both getting past the 21P.

The race mid-pack now had two more players as point leader Matt DeLorenzo and 17th-starting Stewart Friesen were on the move. Friesen had found the top side to his liking and was deep in the battle with Johnson, Warner and Varin.

DeLorenzo and Drellos were also looking for racing room in a great six-car battle that you could throw a blanket over. This is Fonda Speedway Sunoco Modified racing in 2022 with great two- and three-wide racing to keep the fans on the edge of their seats or on their feet.

As the laps clicked away, Varin was showing no signs of slowing down as it was Friesen in the 44 still working his way to the top five.

Pep Corradi had an impressive run with a fine fifth-place Sunoco Modified finish at Fonda Speedway Saturday night against a strong field. (Photo courtesy of Chasin’ Racin’ Photos)
Jessica Friesen battled hard during the green to checker feature for a popular second-place run at the “Track of Champions.” (Photo courtesy of Chasin’ Racin’ Photos)

At the checker it was Danny Varin in for his 11th Modified feature win at the “Track of Champions” Fonda Speedway with Jessica Friesen, Jack Lehner, Stewart Friesen and Pep Corradi rounding out the top five.

For Stewart Friesen it had been a long couple of days picking up the NASCAR Truck win Friday night in Texas and then coming back to run Saturday night in a Modified. Seems like the old way of racing: asphalt one day, dirt the next.

In other action – and there was plenty of it – the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series made a very strong car count and some very competitive racing action to provide the fans a look back at on track racing history.

These teams take pride in keeping the history alive for both new fans and the veteran fans. Many of these drivers are past winners and champions keeping their dreams alive as well doing what they enjoy doing and having fun doing it.

MVVDMS winners were Jimmy Fugal for Antique, John Roese for Late Model, John Flach for the Modified win, Carl Cram for Mystique Feature and Joe Rondo picked up the Sportsman Feature.

Regular weekly action found Nick Stone pick up his fifth win in a row in what turned out to be a great race right to the end with Stone grabbing the lead on lap 9 from Jason Morrison as the field was looking at the bumper of Stone once again.

The field would come back to Stone when the caution flew on lap 15. Back to green Luke Horning, who was running third, made the move to be the new leader only to have Stone fire right back in turn 2.

As the leaders made contact, Stone would lead down the back chute as now Horning had Morrison to contend with. Again, contact was made this time between Horning and Morrison with Horning making hard contact with the wall and coming out with a damaged racer.

Back to green, Beau Ballard grabbed the lead, but Stone was not going to let that happen and again showed his power grabbing the lead.

Behind the leaders, Kenny Gates was working his low line to the front racing Devon Camenga and Shane Playford. Once Stone secured the lead he drove on to the win with Ballard, Gates, Camenga and Playford to round out the top five.

The Sportsman found the John Kollar 10% with Chad Edwards as the pilot of a very fast race car quickly working his way to the front after starting 12th on the field. Using two yellows he came out of no place and was second with a great drive.

While Edwards was making his drive to the front, Jeremy Tyrell led early before Chip Constantino would be the new leader as the yellow was out.

Back to green and it was Constantino with the lead with Edwards in his tracks. On the move was Payton Talbot who had made an early pit stop as the battle mid-pack was wheel-to-wheel.

The battle for the lead would heat up with Constantino and Edwards racing side-by-side in a good clean battle for the lead with Edwards powering his way out of turn 4 as the new leader at the flag stand on lap 18, and from that point on the 10% was on rails and cruised to the win with Constantino, Talbot from the back, Troy Palmer, and third-generation Tanner Warner rounding out the top five.

The Limited Sportsman found Harold Robitaille pick up his first win and Kerrie and Ken Hollenbeck picked up the 4 Cyl. wins.

Other local racing found Mike Mahaney picking up the NAPA Modified feature win at the “Great Race Place” Albany-Saratoga with Jack Speshock, Jessey Mueller, Kenny Tremont Jr. and Demetrios Drellos rounding out the top five.

Pro Stocks found Chad Jeseo with the win as Darryl Nutting picked up the Sportsman win with Scott Bennett in the limited Victory circle. Other winners were PJ Cram in Street Stocks and Jon Sheppard in 4 Cyl.

The High Banks of Lebanon Valley Speedway had Andy Bachetti pick up both the Modified and Small Block Modified wins.

In the Mods Brian Berger, Kyle Armstrong, Brett Haas and Eddie Marshall rounded out the top five. In the Small Blocks L.J. Lombardo, Alan Houghteling, Peter Carlotto and Ryan Charland rounded out the top five.

Utica Rome Speedway had young Alex Yankowski over Matt Sheppard, Willy Decker, Jessica Friesen and Darren Smith was fifth. The Sportsman feature went to Dave Richer, and Jay Corbin won the Pro Stocks.

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