Cook & Sheppard Grab Fonda Accolades
FONDA, N.Y. — Jeff Cook parleyed a little luck and a whole lot of patience into a $2,000 victory Saturday in the Fonda Speedway’s Earl Halaquist Memorial.
The win in the Empire Super Sprints crash-marred season finale came over Shawn Donath, veteran Lance Yonge, local heroine Jessica Zemken and Fonda modified regular Danny Varin.
Fonda modified champion Stewart Friesen, who has also had a great season in the sprinters, shot from the pole to a huge lead and was lapping the backmarkers by lap five, though a yellow the next time around for debris brought him back to the pack.
The fleet Canadian blasted away again on the restart, which saw 2013 champion Steve Poirier immediately shoot down the second running Donath, but two laps later Friesen’s engine expired.
Poirier then built up a lead while Donath and the sixth starting Cook wrestled for second. The fastest car on the track appeared to be the #5 of Justin Barger, who’d moved from 15th to fourth, but on lap 15 he went around with a flat right rear. Poirier was the next to fall, tagging an errant lapped car and hitting the first turn wall on lap 19, but the worst was yet to come.
The restart saw two cars tangle in mid-pack, leaving a half-dozen mangled sprinters on the frontstretch, but the scariest part was that two cars barely missed ESS official Dean Reynolds, who pulls in the restart cone on the frontstretch. When the billowing dust settled, Reynolds was standing there as if nothing had happened, with everyone else breathing a collective sigh of relief.