RANSOMVILLE SPEEDWAY DRIVER PROFILE
Another second generation driver who sits in the Ransomville
Speedway pits on Friday nights is Justin McKay, he moved up
to the Van Raine Construction Novice Sportsman class for the
2016 season after spending the last couple of years in the
Gippsters Collision Four Banger class. The four-cylinder
class is in McKay’s blood, his father Keith, was a
competitor in the 1960’s at the Humberstone Speedway in the
McKay is an armed services veteran, serving several tours
overseas. Justin claims the change in divisions has been
very challenging, learning the open wheel division. He
credits Investors Service Company Sportsman competitor Chris
Burek for his training.
“Chris has really taken me in,” said Justin, who purchased a
Bicknell chassis from Chris. “He’s helping us to learn the
Justin got some early season work in before Ransomville
Speedway opened at Merrittville Speedway and Canandaigua
Motorsports Park. His first two weeks at Ransomville
Speedway has produced a third and a fifth place finish and a
third in division points going into this week’s action.
Justin doesn’t plan on making any changes this
year…including moving up to the Sportsman class.
“We’re going to stay where we are right now as long as
things stay positive like it is right now.”
The one goal that Justin has on his mind is to attempt to
qualify for the King of the Hill Sportsman event at the end
of this season. The event will be 100 laps and should draw
several outside drivers.
Away from the race car, Justin is employed at General Motors
in Lockport. Helping out on the race car this season is
Keith, Chris, Mike and Jimmy. The sponsorship list is
Christopher Allen Construction, Ace Collision and his Aunt
Marianne. The North Tonawanda, NY native is just 26 years of
age with a long racing career ahead of him.
Like many of the Ransomville Speedway competitors, Justin
reports his racing progress on his facebook page.
Justin seems determined to be successful in the Van Raine
Construction Novice Sportsman class, Justin joins a division
that has several young drivers who are starting out in stock
car racing. Justin could be considered one of them. He’s
only been in stock car racing for three years.
The Van Raine Construction Novice Sportsman has already
moved several drivers into the Investors Service Company
Sportsman class from last season.
Take a walk though the Ransomville Speedway pit area on a
Friday night after the racing program. You won’t find too
many drivers making a comeback at the age of 62.
Roger Israel of Wilson, NY is back at home behind the wheel
of a Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock. Starting up again last
Friday night, when he finished fifth. Israel was the 2006
Ransomville Speedway Street Stock champion and has had a
four year rest from racing, before last Friday.
Before finally winning the championship, he had finished
second in points four times.
In fact, it was only a few weeks ago when Roger decided to
give it a shot again. He missed practice from last Wednesday
night and wasn’t quite sure he was going to make it last
“ We were working on the car right up until 5pm,” said
Roger, “ I was surprised that I did as well I did because
the car wasn’t even set up right. We just threw this car
together when I decided to go racing again.”
He is waiting to see what happens this year, Roger looks at
possibly moving up next season.
Roger started racing in 2000. He then shared a ride with his
son Justin. The following year, Roger would have his own
ride. Roger’s other son Jaren has also been very successful
at Ransomville Speedway winning several feature events.
The famous #37 Street Stock that won so much during the
2000’s is back. It just goes to show you that you never lose
that will to race. It was Ed Ortiz who also made a comeback
at the Ransomville Speedway in the 1980’s. I guess you never
get to old to drive.
“I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything in the last four
years. It felt pretty good being out there again,” said
Roger about his comeback last Friday night.
Sponsoring Roger this year is Eugene Burke, Attorney; Empro
Metals and Pogo Machine and Mike Pahl Graphics. Helping out
with the 1981Camero behind the scenes is Jaren, Joe and Mike
Pahl and Noreen. Roger admits that with the late decision to
race this season, he hasn’t had a lot of time to look for
Roger adds experience to the Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stocks,
which is made up mostly of veterans and youth. The division
has been a stepping stone for drivers who want to get into
short track racing.
RANSOMVILLE SPEEDWAY DRIVER PROFILE
season saw history made with Ryan Susice winning the 358
Modified championship. Susice was the youngest driver to
ever win a Ransomville Speedway Modified championship, at 24
years of age. Ryan is the one of two drivers to win a
championship at Ransomville Speedway in three different
divisions. Along with the 358 Modifieds, he’s won titles in
the Sportsman and the Street Stocks. Ryan won the
championship last year in a tough late season battle with
Danny Johnson and Pete Bicknell, Ryan took one feature
victory and was consistent in his finishes which helped in
his path to the championship.
A second generation driver, his dad, Roy competed at
Ransomville Speedway in the 1980’s. Like many of the young
drivers at Ransomville Speedway, Ryan got his start in
the Thursday night go-kart program.
Ryan already has two nights in the books this season with
starts at Merrittville Speedway in Rob Clark’s new Bicknell
“This year we’re going to concentrate on the wins and let
the points take care of themselves,” says Ryan.
Ryan will have to take on a great Ransomville Speedway
Krown Undercoating 358 Modified field, once again. Ryan
will also drive a 360 Sprint car when the Patriot Sprints
come into Ransomville Speedway twice in 2016. Ryan will also
drive several Southern Ontario Sprint events in Canada. He
may see more work with the Rob Clark 358 Modified at
Merrittville Speedway when his schedule allows.
Ryan admits to having the pressure off.
“The last three weeks in 2015 were stressful, I was glad
when it was finally over,” said Susice, as he recollected
his championship season.
Last season, Ryan also won in a big block Modified race at
Sharon (OH) Speedway last season and at Rolling Wheels
Raceway Park two years ago.
Ryan had a busy off-season driving a Three-Quarter Midget a
the three race series which was promoted by Lenny Sammons of
AARN. Those took place in Atlantic City, NJ, Trenton, NJ
and Allentown, PA.
Sponsoring The Ryan Susice Race Team is Asset Consulting
Experts, Subway, Tim Phillips Garage, RPM Property
Management, Investors Service Company and Philpac.
The crew is Roy, Ricky, Mike, John, and Scott. Ryan sends
out a special thanks to his mom Judy and his fiancé Becky.
RANSOMVILLE SPEEDWAY TRACK PROFILE
For those of you who have never heard of Jonathan Reid. The
Lockport, NY racing star has been one of the top open wheel
Three Quarter Midget racing stars in the Western New York
Reid will be at Ransomville Speedway in 2016 with the
Investors Service Company Sportsman class, driving for car
owner Ken Banker and the Hy-Bank Racing Team. Reid was one
of the better Ransomville Speedway go-kart competitors in
the history of the Thursday night program. Reid was a
multi-time champion and was a huge feature winner. When he
left go-karts, Reid teamed up with TQ Midget car owner Harry
Macy, who has since passed away. Reid is a multi-time winner
of the US Open at Lancaster International Speedway. Reid has
also won multiple go-kart championships at Ransomville
Reid is only part of the proof that the Ransomville Speedway
Thursday night go-kart program works,
working his way through the program for several years during
his teenage years. Already an established racer, Reid adds
his name to an already talented group of Ransomville
Speedway weekly competitors. It will be his first time on
dirt with a stock car. Reid will have good equipment
available to him.
It was always dream for Jonathan to return to Ransomville
Speedway in a stock car . Reid had always been regular
visitor to Ransomville Speedway on Friday night.
Johnathan is also driving a Lafler Three Quarter Midget on
the three race indoor series, keeping himself busy at
Allentown, PA, Atlantic City, NJ and Trenton, NJ. He got a
ninth at Allentown with Atlantic City ready to go this
Like he did on the inner go-kart track, John is expected to
have a lot of success on the half mile as well. Ransomville
Speedway would like to welcome back Jonathan Reid. He’s
coming back home. Reid will be a top driver in all of those
weekly 25 lap features. Central New York racing stars Nick
Cooper and Justin Henderson will be teammates of Jonathan’s
in the Central New York region. Right now, Jonathan’s TQ
Midget outdoor life is on hold due to to the fact he doesn’t
have a a legal motor on the local tracks after a rule
His first start is certainly something a lot of race fans at
Ransomville Speedway have been waiting for. Like many of the
young drivers who have gotten their starts in the go-kart,
now in the stock car program. He belongs here. He should be
a lot of fun to watch.
HANGOVER 150 HELPS CURE THE WINTER RACING BLUES
AUSTIN SUSICE AND BRETT SENEK TO COMPETE IN ALL THREE
RANSOMVILLE, NEW YORK_When the Hangover 150 was first
thought of some fifteen years ago, it allowed those who only
had dreams of weekly racing, once a year…the opportunity.
Today, it also draws those who compete in the Ransomville
Speedway summer schedule.
Several of the regulars from the summer schedule will be on
the race track for this years event. Two of the young
competitors in the field will be extremely busy as they will
compete in all three 50 lap features. Some have tried the
trick. Defending Van Raine Construction Novice Sportsman
champion Austin Suscie and Investors Service Company
Sportsman driver Brett Senek, both have cars for the six
cylinder, four cylinder and the eight cylinder divisions.
Senek drove all three classes in last year’s version of the
Hangover 150, which didn’t go so well for him. Susice hasn’t
been able finish a Hangover event in the two previous years
he’s been doing it.
Both had excellent seasons in 2015. Senek didn’t win a
feature at his hometown track of Ransomville Speedway, but
collected an impressive fifth place finish at Weedsport (NY)
Speedway against an all-star field in a Super DIRTcar Series
event during Super DIRT Week and was the Rookie of the Year
at the Big R.
Both drivers are a part of the future of Ransomville
Speedway. They both got much of their racing experience in
the Ransomville Speedway Thursday night go-kart program.
Last season, in addition to winning the Van Raine
Construction Novice Sportsman title, Susice won four feature
Looking to brake the shutout on New Years Day, Susice has
dreams of sweeping the 50 lap events. The competitive field
of drivers will make that almost impossible. The pre-race
registration has already put over 130 drivers in the pit
area with several more expected to register on race day.
Austin and Brett are also cousins. Both drivers are nineteen
years of age.
“This has always been a lot of fun,” said Susice, of the
Hangover 150. With 3,000 race fans expected for the
sixteenth annual Winter Classic event, race time is set for
noon this Friday.
Several racers from other race facilities will be competing
at Ransomville Speedway on Friday. The Hangover is also a
great starting point for aspiring racers. It’s an
inexpensive way of getting into racing.
Austin and Brett are both graduates of nearby Wilson Central
School. In addition to getting three race cars ready for
this Friday afternoon they are also preparing their
Investors Service Company Sportsman for the summer schedule.
With original idea of the Hangover run in January 2000. It
wasn’t sure that the even would go past that first year,
which was only one racing event that went 100 laps, that was
run under cloudy skies and with a few inches of snow on the
ground. The event has taken off since that first year and
continues to be one of Ransomville Speedway’s most popular
Pre-registrations will continue through Thursday. Please
call Ransomville Speedway at 716-791-3602 for more
information or go to the track’s website at
RANSOMVILLE SPEEDWAY PROFILE
THE ROBINSON FAMILY
Ransomville Speedway has many dedicated
hard working employees that make race night
go much easier. The Robinson family that
fits into that mold. Tana Robinson has been
part of the Ransomville Speedway for sixteen
years as a full time employee each race
Tana heads up the office and is responsible
for the many sponsorship partners that come
into the speedway every year. The VIP tower
suites are often sold out - this year would
be no exception as suites are sold out until
September. Tana also writes up the track’s
pre and post race releases and is the editor
of the Ransomville Laps program.
Tana got her first taste of working in short
track racing when she wrote a column for the
now-defunct DIRT Trackin’ Magazine.
Following the death of race promoter Alex
Friesen, Tana was hired on to work in the
track’s office, which also included
Lancaster Speedway. When Lancaster was sold
by the Friesen family, Tana would then move
to the Ransomville Speedway office.
Tana makes herself available to those on
race night. In fact, she might be one of the
first of the track personal you might see
once you walk though the front gate. Tana
understands the short racing business. She
first started coming to Ransomville Speedway
in her early years with her grandparents.
Her favorite drivers was Gary Iulg and Davey
Working at Ransomville Speedway has been a
generational thing for Tana. Her three
children all got their first jobs at the
speedway. "Working at the speedway doesn't
feel like work at all," commented Tana. "I
have been extremely blessed to be given this
opportunity to work with the Friesen family
in an industry I love. I have learned so
much. Having my kids all there on race
night is a bonus."
All three sold programs and racing papers.
Today, they’ve moved up the ladder. Her
oldest, Dan, his now the track’s head
flagger. Dan got his experience by being he
assistant starter to his dad, Matt.
A few years back when Matt
had decided that he didn’t want to do it,
Dan was placed in the position. Dan had also
been the starter for the Thursday night
go-kart program. Dan is 28 years old. Dan
and his wife Stephanie, recently had their
first child, Lucas, who is five months old.
Currently employed at Try-It Distributing
in Lancaster, NY as a manager, Dan even had
his time behind the microphone for he
go-karts. Stephanie also helps out at the
Mike is a school teacher away from the race
track. He sits up in the officials tower
as the lead scorer and concentrates on the
electronic scoring system the speedway added
in 2014. Mike also scores for the go-kart
program. Mike is also a former go-kart
points champion. Mike is 25 years old.
Jeff, is also employed by Try-It
Distributing in it’s sales department.
Jeff’s race day responsibility is setting up
the lineups for the heats and the features.
Jeff is handicapper and also prepares the
nights pay-off for the drivers. Jeff calls
over all feature line-ups and finishes to
the pit area. He is also youngest of the
trio at 22 years of age. Jeff’s girlfriend
is Taylor Manchester, who works in the
office on race nights..