LAP HEROICS GET JOHNSON A WIN AT FONDA
By: Ron Szczerba
NY Saturday evening at the Fonda Speedway, Ronnie
Johnson started the modified feature in the eighth position
and worked his way steadily to the front by the halfway
point. He pressured Tony Pepicelli for the final 10
laps of the 30-lap event and coming out of turn four
to the checkered flag he ducked under Pepicelli for
a very exciting win.
For Johnson it was his first win of the 2007 season
and the eighth of his career at the Track of Champions.
Tony got loose going into turn four and I saw
Matty D. under me so it was time to go, Johnson
said in victory lane. Tony ran a great race and
gave me a real run for the money. I really have to thank
my crew for this as they work real hard on the car.
Other winners at Fonda on Saturday night were David
Towns (sportsman), Chip Smith (pro stock), Jeremy Cramer
(IMCA), John Babcock (street stock), and Ricky Quick
(Jack Lockhart Memorial Dash for Cash).
Donnie Corellis led at the start of the modified feature
event with Ryan Odasz getting by Alton Palmer, Stewart
Friesen and Elmo Reckner for the fifth spot by the time
lap one was competed after starting ninth. Jack Johnson
was in the third position by lap three after starting
fifth but that would be as high as he would be able
to get in the event as he was involved in an accident
later on in the race.
Ronnie Johnson was the new fifth place car at the lap
six point in the event while Pepicelli was pressuring
Corellis for the lead. On lap 11, Corellis and Pepicelli
were side by side for the lead with Corellis able to
hold on to the position at that point while Ronnie Johnson
got by Odasz for the fourth spot.
On the outside of turn four on lap 13, Pepicelli was
the new leader after getting by Corellis as Ronnie Johnson
continued his march to the front getting by both his
father Jack and Corellis for the second spot. Corellis
continued to slide back in the field as Odasz and DeLorenzo
also both got by for the third and fourth positions.
On lap 19, Ronnie Johnson took the lead in the event
on the low side of turn four but on the backstretch
going into turn three on the next lap Pepicelli wasnt
going to let the race get away from him as he retook
the spot after going in between Ronnie Johnson and a
lap car for the lead.
The yellow flag came out on lap 21 for Erik Nelson who
was in the turn four wall and on the restart there was
one lap car between Pepicelli and Ronnie Johnson. When
the race was restarted the yellow came right back out
as Corellis made contact with the rear of Jack Johnsons
#12A in turn four causing Jack to get out of shape and
the cars around him to scatter. Palmer made contact
with another car and got up in the air as a result causing
severe damage to the rear end of his modified. He was
done for the night but wasnt injured.
Invading drivers Pat Ward and Billy Decker were making
their way into the top 10 together by lap 21 after starting
20th and 22nd respectively with the final caution of
the event coming out on lap 22 when Elmo Reckner slowed
in turn one. After the green flag flew to start the
race again, Ronnie Johnson tried lap after lap to get
under Pepicelli in the turns to no avail.
That was a sign of things to come however as in the
final turn of the final lap, Ronnie Johnson made his
way by to take the checkered flag ahead of Pepicelli
by 0.073 sec. for the win. DeLorenzo finished third
ahead of Odasz, and Dave Camara.
QUALIFYING 36 total cars 5 qualify
HEAT 1 Alton Palmer, Bobby Varin, Ryan Odasz,
Dustin Purdy, Paul Cirincione
HEAT 2 Jack Johnson, John Marsh Sr., Stewart
Friesen, Todd Morey, Craig Hanson
HEAT 3 Tony Pepicelli, Dave Camara, Matt DeLorenzo,
Steve Akers, Butchie Irwin
HEAT 4 Donnie Corellis, Elmo Reckner, Ronnie
Johnson, Ray Zemken, Pat Ward
MODIFIED CONSOLATIONS 3 qualify
CONSI 1 Erik Nelson, Mike Fusco, Ed Pieniazek
CONSI 2 Billy Decker, Dave Lape, Mike Ricci
MODIFIED FEATURE 30-LAPS RONNIE JOHNSON,
Tony Pepicelli, Matt DeLorenzo, Ryan Odasz, Dave Camara,
Bobby Varin, Billy Decker, Pat Ward, Donnie Corellis,
Stewart Friesen, Craig Hanson, Mike Fusco, John Marsh
Sr., Mike Ricci, Jim Davis, Elmo Reckner, Butchie Irwin,
Steve Akers, Todd Morey, Paul Cirincione, Kory Gurney,
Ray Zemken, Jack Johnson, Alton Palmer, Dustin Purdy,
Dave Lape, Erik Nelson, Ed Pieniazek, Sayles Casey,
Ronnie Johnson wins first 100-lapper at the Bowl
HAVEN, VT - Ronnie Johnson returned to his old stomping
grounds Tuesday night and put on a whale of a show for
the packed house celebrating the 4th of July holiday
at Devil's Bowl Speedway.
Johnson, who won the sportsman division championship
at the Champlain Valley Racing Association's Vermont
track in 1997, parlayed a good starting position into
an impressive victory, walking off with the win in the
100-lap Let Freedom Ring feature.
The win was R.J.'s first career 358 modified victory
at the Bowl, and marked the first time he's been back
to victory lane at the Vermont track since Aug. 3, 1997,
which was his rookie season in the sportsman division
on the CVRA. It was also his first victory in a 100-lap
Todd Stone started on the pole and set the pace for
the first 32 laps, with Johnson, who started in the
second row in the potent JRP-sponsored small block,
hanging right with him. Johnson used a caution on lap
32 to get the lead, but two laps later, Stone was back
in front. But that lead was short-lived, as Johnson
moved back out on the point on lap 39.
While Ronnie Johnson was setting the pace, there was
some incredible action going on behind him, involving
his father, Jack, who was also making a rare appearance
at the Bowl, and defending track champion Ken Tremont
Jr. Jack Johnson had borrowed a ride for the night in
one of the Don Ackner team cars, and had been forced
to start 26th in the huge 31-car field after a poor
heat race finish, using the qualifying run to get a
handle on the different ride.
Tremont had started 16th, but midway through the feature,
both were making a charge.
Tremont moved into second on lap 42, with Jumpin' Jack
not far behind. Jack Johnson then took the No. 2 spot
away from Tremont on lap 62, creating a son vs. father
duel for the lead.
Vince Quenneville also put on a good show for the fans,
coming back from an early flat tire to charge back through
the field. Tremont started to fade in the final 20 laps,
possibly with handling problems, while another Albany-Saratoga
regular, Matt DeLorenzo, began to make a late charge.
DeLorenzo, who started 15th, began to put some pressure
on Jumpin' Jack in the closing laps, and moved into
second with five to go. But he was just a little too
far back to make a run at R.J., allowing Ronnie Johnson
to hit the finish line with a 0.888-second margin of
DeLorenzo, who recorded his first career win at the
Bowl in last year's July 4th 100-lapper, hit the finish
line second, with Jack Johnson third. Stone held off
Vince Quenneville Jr. for the fourth spot.
Completing the top 10 were Gene Munger, Tim Laduc, Don
Scarborough, Ray Hoard and Ron Proctor.
FREEDOM RING 100: RONNIE JOHNSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack
Johnson, Todd Stone, Vince Quenneville Jr., Gene Munger,
Tim Laduc, Don Scarborough, Ray Hoard, Ron Proctor,
Dustin Delaney, Gardner Stone, Frank Hoard Sr., Robert
King, Ken Tremont Jr., Stan Lemiesz, Cass Bannett, Jim
Ryan, Don Ackner, Brent Lacoste, Keith Flach, Rich Salisbury,
Tyler Curtis, John Proctor, Neal Stratton, John Sowle,
Matt Depew, Tony Kawalchuk, Brian Whittemore, Rob Langevin,
Johnson Wins 2007 Opener at Albany Saratoga
Winning on opening day: Well, it isn't exactly priceless,
but it sure let Ronnie Johnson start his 2007 campaign
at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on the right foot.
Johnson drew the pole for the Spring Green and led all
35 laps to record his 10th career 358 modified victory
Sunday at the historic Malta track.
Although rain on Friday kicked the opener over until Sunday,
it was worth the wait for Johnson, who recorded his first
opening-day 358 win in the modified division. Coupled
with the Head Hunter Bonus, Johnson walked
off with $2,000. The Head Hunter Bonus, instituted
by Salisbury Chevrolet, is a $500 payoff for anyone who
beats defending track champion Brett Hearn, as long as
Hearn finishes on the lead lap. With Hearn third Sunday,
Johnson picked up the extra cash. This feels awesome,
said Johnson in victory lane after the win. We have
a great car for this year, and it was exceptional tonight.
Although Johnson was the class of the field, Sunday's
opener still saw typical, side-by-side Albany-Saratoga
racing. Matt DeLorenzo, who started fifth, used a restart
on lap six to begin to challenge Ken Tremont Jr., who
started in the front row with Johnson, for second. DeLorenzo
got that spot on lap 10, and set out after the leader.
Johnson was in lapped traffic by lap 14, but that never
proved to be a factor. But the yellow flew again on lap
23, setting up a wild finish for second.
Hearn, who had started 13th, sat right on DeLorenzo's
rear bumper on the restart and kept hounding the young
driver of the BBL Construction small block. But Hearn
wasn't going anywhere, as Johnson pulled away to an impressive
win, and DeLorenzo held off Hearn for the No. 2 spot.
Matt Sheppard, who will be a Friday night regular in the
Randy Ross-owned small block this season, came out of
the box with a fourth-place finish while Jack Johnson
grabbed the No. 5 spot.
Completing the top 10 were Tony Kawalchuk, Vince Quenneville
Jr., Keith Flach, Don Mattison and Don Scarborough. Twenty-seven
cars started the feature.
RONNIE JOHNSON, Matt DeLorenzo, Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard,
Jack Johnson, Tony Kawalchuk, Vince Quenneville Jr.,
Keith Flach, Don Mattison, Don Scarborough, Mike Ronca,
Gene Munger, Elmo Reckner, Marc Johnson, Tim Hartman,
Jimmy Davis, Jim Becker, Chris Vernold, George Foley,
Ken Tremont Jr., Jeff Trombley, Jimmy Cottrell, Don
Ronca, Frank Hoard Sr., Don Ackner, John Proctor, Todd