Fonda Speedway Logo

Maresca Rises To The Top In Fonda Victory

FONDA, N.Y. — Fonda Speedway’s $4,400-to-win Lou Lazzaro Memorial, won by Mike Maresca, will go in the “Track of Champions” record book as one of the strangest events ever at the egg-shaped half-mile.  

After losing the opening night features to rain and a rough racing surface a week ago, promoter Brett Deyo’s track crew worked tirelessly through the week to get the new clay applied to the fairgrounds oval during the off-season dry and smooth. 

While the racing surface was much improved, it still became unusually rough and dusty, making for a less than stellar event to honor the late Utica, N.Y.-based racer who stands second on the all-time Fonda win list to another legend, Jack Johnson.

Saturday’s program began well enough, but by the end of hot laps, the surface was starting to develop holes and ruts, problems that only got worse as the night went on.  

By the conclusion of qualifying, it was obvious the track needed a major manicure, prompting a lengthy intermission with the track crew regrading the entire speedway, running the sheepsfoot, lightly watering and then running in the surface prior to the pro stock feature.

Feature Action

Luke Horning then claimed the $1,000 win with Kenny Gates and Ivan Joslin trailing in a 20-lap feature that saw only a handful of finishers as the surface again deteriorated.

The 24-car big block modified feature was then called to the speedway, with a handful of cars electing not to take the green due to track conditions. Outside front row starter Alex Yankowski seemed oblivious to the poor surface, however, and immediately left the field in his dust, running out to a full turn lead in just two laps.  


By his fourth tour of the big half-mile, Yankowski was lapping cars by the handful as many slowed and headed to the pits to save their cars.  Even Craig Hanson, who doubles as the track grader operator, withdrew before lap five.

By lap 10, Yankowski had a half-track lead over Chris Curtis and Jack Lerner only to lose his advantage when Darwin Greene’s mount went up in smoke to draw a lap 14 caution.  At this point, the field was down to eight cars, with Yankowski again driving off into the night as soon as the green reappeared.

With the feature extended to 34 laps instead of 30 in honor of Lazzaro’s famed No. 4, Yankowski appeared to have the win firmly in hand until lap 27, when he blew a tire and went right to the backstretch wall before limping to the pits.

Behind him, second-running Lehrer suffered a similar fate, leaving only new leader Maresca, Curtis, Brian Calabrese and Ryan Odasz on the speedway until Yankowski and Lehner returned after changing tires to boost the field to six.

Maresca got a good jump on the green, setting up a mad dash from the rear for Yankowski, who stood second after one lap but with a sizable gap between him and the leader.  By lap 32 Yankowski had cut Maresca’s advantage to six car lengths but that was as close as he got.  Curtis hung on for third ahead of Lehner, Odasz and Calabrese.  Non-finishers Roger Henion Jr., Daniel Morgiewicz Jr., Tucker O’Connor and Greene rounded out the top 10.

With the High Limit Racing series set for appearances at the Utica-Rome Speedway on May 17 and Fonda the following night, an all-out effort will be made to restore the racing surface to normal conditions.