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 events.

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 annual events.

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 ransomillspeedway.com.





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 season. 

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 Moore. 
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 speedway.
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 deparment.  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.. 




With all of the success that Stewart Friesen has had in the past decade, Friesen has done most of it away from the family owned Ransomville Speedway.  Last year, Stewart was the NASCAR short track New York State champion, which was a nice payday for he current Sprakers, NY resident. Originally from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.

Friesen has been racing something with four wheels for better than 20 years and is one of the best at his craft with feature victories all over the northeast and even in Florida.  He learned how to race during his early years at the Thursday night  Ransomville Speedway go-kart program. Being able to move up the ranks, Stewart had a lot of success in his first season in a Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified, moving  up from the Sportsman division  mid-season and driving for car owner Mike Maroney and having success in only his second night behind the wheel.

Currently, Stewart drives for several car owners, including himself. Stewart has four career wins at Ransomville Speedway, included in that is a pair wins in the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals and a 360 Sprint feature event.

Stewart also got some experience on the pavement, driving a three Quarter Midget for car owner Hal Lawrence. Where he won several feature events and even won inside the now gone Niagara Falls Convention Center. He also had a win for famed Midget racer Lou Cicconi in Rhode Island. Stew also has three wins at Syracuse in the big block Modified 200.

Stewart made the biggest plunge last year when he married Jessica Zemkin. The pair is expecting their first child in December.

“She’s on racing leave right now,” said Stewart. “I’ll be driving her Sprint car a few times. I’ll be keeping the seat warm for her. Everything seems to be going well.”

Stewart claims that it’s been a up an down year, with several wins in his back pocket.

Stewart will be at Ransomville Speedway for the Battle at the Boarder with his newest car owner, Mike Payne, who has had several top area drivers pilot for him, Danny Johnson and Erick Rudolph.
Stewart will be one of the many outside favorites expected in looking for $5200 payday. The locals will defiantly have their hands full. The Battle at the Border has a large number of contingency awards.  Along with the big block modified/small block modified shootout, the Grid Sportsman Series will be in the half mile Ransomville Speedway along with the weekly Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock division.                 
Have a great time! The Battle at the Border is one of the premier racing events in the northeast. The Modified field is star studded. 




Alex Morris has been around the sport of short track racing for long time. He has won a lot of races and several championships in the process.  Morris, of Niagara Falls, NY, is probably one of the more recognizable drivers in the Ransomville Speedway pit area. And  was tied for the points lead in the Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock points lead coming into last week’s racing program. A nice third place finish last week keeps Alex in the running or the points chase.

Winning the Ransomville Speedway Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock title several times. The last time was in 2012. He also has titles in 1998, 2001 and 2003. He also won a pair of championships at Canandaigua Motorsports Park and has one at Humberstone International Speedway, just over the border in Port Colborne, Ontario.

The most successful Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock driver in the history of Ransomville Speedway. Up until lest week, Alex had yet to win in 2014. It doesn’t seem to worry him much.

“This is a very competitive class,” said Morris recently of winning. “I’m sure that will eventually come later.”

Alex has been a regular at Ransomville Speedway on and off since 1981. He got into racing first helping out with the ride of his brother Dave Nashwinter in the 1980’s .

“When I got old enough,” said Morris. “I got my own car.”

In a long career,  couple of nights stand out. The 2001 King of the Hill and another night, was when Alex had just last his mother, honoring her in victory lane.  

Alex has 63 career feature wins at several different tracks. His occupation away from the race track is as an Iron Worker.

Alex has plenty of help both at the track and in the garage. Driving for car owner Rick Horton.

“I’m still having fun. However, I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for Rick Horton.

Sponsoring Alex in 2015 is On the Level Race Chassis, which is Alex’s own business. In addition to that, RPM Property Management, Elp Steel, Investors Service Company, E-Man Graphics, Madskins, Brownies Auto Care, Jose Torese Racing, Mary Hill, Always Carpet Cleaning, Anthony & Howard Gautier.

Helping Alex under the hood this year,  Bob Bartlett, Bob Parkhill, Rick Horton, Mark Coutriaux, Gerald Poole, Andrew Washburn.  





As the new season is ready to receive the green flag at Ransomville Speedway tonight, Scott Kerwin has one last item on his dirt track driving career bucket list that he would be very much like to fulfill before the Niagara County dirt oval’s FinditQuick.com 358 Modified season draws to a close at summer’s end.
He very much desires to capture the FinditQuick.com 358 Modified season point championship.
Kerwin, 51 drives the Briggs Bros. Lehr Racing (BBL) 2015 Troyer 358 Modified entry at Ransomville and is looking to add to his career that has found the Newfane based driver having won championships in his racing years in each division that he has competed in at Ransomville with one notable exception.
 He has claimed six career Ransomville titles in the past including one apiece in the Bomber and Pro Stock classes as well as four in the Investors Services Sportsman division.  The one exception is thatKerwin has never been able to wear the championship crown in Ransomville’s headlining FinditQuick.com 358 Modified class.
“It would be fantastic to finally knock that item off my bucket list and get the 358 Modified title that I’ve wanted for so long,” said Kerwin. “I’ve won many races at Ransomville over the years. I have no idea how many wins I have there throughout the years but I know I’ve won most every year including usually about one or two a season in the 358 Modifieds.”
After launching his long racing career at Ransomville in the old Bomber class in 1984 Kerwin captured a season championship in this class in 1987. He remained in the class through 1988 and received much advice during those years from fellow Bomber drivers Jim Skutt and Bob Snyder.
In 1989, Kerwin ventured into his first foray into the Investors Services Sportsman and emerged with the division’s Ransomville Rookie of the Year honors. In impressive fashion he also won in the Sportsman class his very first time ever behind the wheel in this class when he captured a checkered flag at the Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge.
 Kerwin earned three straight Ransomville Investors Services Sportsman season point titles in 1990, 1991 and 1992. He would add another Investors Services Sportsman title to his resume much later in his career in 2005.
In 1993, Kerwin left the Investors Services Sportsman class to move up to the FinditQuick.com 358 Modifieds in his self-owned machine that utilized an engine provided by Pete Cocco and Ed Briggs. He remained in the class through 1996 and then took a self-imposed hiatus from his career in 1997 to build a family home with wife Kris and await the birth of the couple’s eldest daughter Jamie who is now 20. His time on the race driving sidelines extended into the 2000 season. The couple also has a second daughter, Erin, 16.
Kerwin decided to resume his racing career in 2001 at Ransomville in the Pro-Stock division at the urging of friend and fellow racer Dave Stolzenberg. In 2002 Kerwin enjoyed what arguably has been his finest year in racing overall while driving for owner Johnny Cocco. The team won Ransomville’s 2002 Pro Stock championship and enjoyed 12 victories that season spread over competition stops at Ransomville, Merrittville, Little Valley, Humberstone as well as capturing a very prestigious Pro Stock special at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Still more career moves were in store as Kerwin returned to the Investors Services Sportsman ranks in 2003 through 2006 racing for owners Roy Dean, Pete Cocco and the late Mark Cerrone. In 2007, Kerwin made the move once again to the FinditQuick.com 358 Modifieds where has been ever since.
 Since 2010, Kerwin has driven for BBL Racing comprised of owners Sam Lehr and Ed and Jimmy Briggs. The current pit crew consists of Mike and Aidan Seefeldt, Dave Wood, T.J. Mandhardt, Pete and Johnny Cocco. Sponsorship is provided by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York, Crown Benefits, Niagara Lawn and Garden Equipment, National Maintenance, Tim Horton’s of Niagara Falls and Lewis & Lewis.
Kerwin’s mom Gayle Kerwin provides much morale support.  
“We took our new car to a practice at Merrittville two weeks ago as well as the test and tune at Ransomville this past Friday and nothing fell off the car so I guess our test drive was successful,” laughed Kerwin. “The championship in the 358 Modified class is so hard to win because the competition is so strong and we are basically a once a week race team competing against a lot of race teams that compete at different tracks multiple nights each week.
“I expect to race as least a couple of more years because I’m still having fun. If it stops being fun then I will quit but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It will be nice and will complete my career if I can get the 358 Ransomville title. I couldn’t have raced all these seasons without the support of my sponsors, car owners, pit crews, friends and my family. I hope for the best this season.”



Jeff McGinnis 2014 Profile "The Family Tradition Continues"


 One name in the Pit Area that has been heard for many years is that of "McGinnis"! That name has been racing for 50 plus years! Jeff and Don have been involved in racing since way back. Don (Jeff's dad) raced in the 70's thru to the mid 1990's. Jeff started in the sportsman class in 1997. He has raced every year since except in 2000. Jeff now races for Jerry and Rochelle Skurski and is very appreciative for their support.

Jeff McGinnis started racing for Dickie Blake in 1997 for 2 years in the sportsman division. Two years
later Jeff would drive for his parents Don and Suzi McGinnis. He won the Sportsman Championship in 2006 at Ransomville Speedway. McGinnis finished top 5 in points every year he campaigned in the sportsman division. He won the Grelak Mechanical Nationals and the DIRT car sportsman Tour Event. After having much success in the sportsman class they felt they accomplished everything in that class they could.

Jeff moved up to the Elite 358 Modified class in 2007. That same year is when Jeff said his proudest moment in racing happened. Jeff stated "Winning the Lucas Oil Series 358 Modified Championship is so far his favorite moment in his racing career". The Lucas Oil Series was a regional traveling series compromised of races at local race tracks including Ransomville, Genesee, Merrittville, Humberstone and Ohsweken Speedways.  The Least favorite moment for Jeff and I would assume Many other Modified racers was the horrific wreck that happened in May 2011. That was the night that it started raining in turn one at Ransomville and all the cars went in turn one and wrecked. I have never seen anything like it in all the years I have been attending races. Thank goodness everyone walked away from that crash. A lot of damaged racecars but everyone was ok.

In 2010 Jeff drove for Pete Cosco driving the 17c at Humberstone. In 2012 Jeff started running for the
Skurski Family. This is the reason he now runs the 1r. Jeff said it doesnt matter what number you are running as long as you are having fun. He always ran the 20 because it was family tradition.

Jeff wants to thank his parents Don and Suzi for Everything. He has much support from his wife Patty, Daughter Michelle, son Cody, Granddaughter Rayne, sister Juli, and brother in law Jeff Anstett.  The sponsors for 2014 on the Skurski/McGinnis car are Sterling Lubricants, Niagara Lock and Key, Kellys
Country Store, Mike Nash's Motor Service and Destino's. Please help support the sponsors that support your favorite drivers. Sponsorship from these wonderful business could not happen without your support. Mention you saw their name on Jeff's race car when you go into his sponsored business's.

Jeff could also not do this without his Pit Crew. The crew are family and friends that help prepare the car
in the shop during the week and help out at the track. He would like to Thank his wife Patty, son Cody, sister Juli, Mike Emmons, Tim Hayes, Victor Skurski, John Salerno, Tim Jeffrey, Spark and Richie and of course the Skurski's.

I asked Jeff if he would like to see Cody race and he stated "its up to Cody, either way Im good with it"!
I then asked Cody if he was interested in following in his dad and grandpa's footsteps. Cody at age 15 stated "Im Not interested in racing but I enjoy going and supporting my dad. He said he Loves going to the shop and track to help out. He will be there to support his dad and work on the car." I asked Patty for a comment on a accomplishment on her husbands racing career and she stated "I dont have one proud moment that stands out of my husband because I'm Proud of All his accomplishments over the years"! People dont realize that support from your family to do this exciting and fun sport helps, doing this as a family sport is much more fun then doing it alone. 


Last week Jeff was running up front when the motor let loose. The crew has worked all week getting a new
engine in the car to be ready for this week. Watch for Jeff and the 1r to be a contender tonight as well as every week. It would be bitter sweet for the team to capture a win tonite after the bad luck last week. Head on over the pits after the races to say Hi and get Jeff's autograph as they are one of the most welcoming happy pit crews in the pits. Good Luck to Jeff and the entire Skurski/Mcginnis Crew in 2014.

Jennifer Jankowski Martin
Linen World Consultant

Avon Representative






Driver Profile - Rick Richner 26 Veteran Modified Driver  -  By Jenn Martin

            My First Driver Profile is Rick Richner, driver of the 26 Niagara Lazy Lakes Camping, Jet Port Lounge, Frontier Auto wrecking, Buffalo Truck, 1-800-Radiator sponsored ride. His 2 primary sponsors are this week’s Track Sponsors! They will be in the Bud tower tonight rooting on the 26 and Rick would Love to get a win for them the 2nd race of the season. He finished 8th last week in the first race of the year at Ransomville Speedway.

Rick started his racing experiences by working on the Bill Stuyvenburg 320ci Modified. He worked on his race car in the 70's and early 80's. Eventually when Bill retired from racing Rick stepped up to the plate purchasing one of his cars and running the sportsman division. His first year out he won the sportsman championship at Genesee Speedway now Raceway 5. In 1987 he won the championship at Ransomville Speedway in the sportsman class.

In 1990 Richner moved up to the elite Modified class. He has won many races thru the years on the 1/2 mile clay oval at Ransomville Speedway. He is one of the veteran racers of the pit area. Next year will mark 25 years in the modified class. He has expanded his racing adventures to include Sharon Speedway in Ohio, Canandaigua, and Charlotte NC.

I asked Ricky what his Favorite memory is of racing and he said "Winning the Big Block Russ King Memorial race in Sharon Ohio in 2013". I also asked his least favorite, and I think alot of racers will agree with this one.... Least favorite is "washing the car" especially after a muddy night like last week.

            Ricky would like to Thank his family for all the support they give to him in his racing career. His wife Marcie and three children Tina, Kyle and Aaron. Kyle is in the pits with his dad and Loves helping on his car. I asked Ricky if he would like to see his children race and he said "He would like to see Kyle in the car at some point". He has learned about the car by working on it at the shop and the tracks, so who knows maybe in the near future we will see another Richner generation in the car?

            The crew is a huge help and he would not be able to do this without them. They include his brothers Randy and Ronnie, Joe Myers, son Kyle and Dylan. Thank you also to his fans and supporters. His sponsors help put him on the track so be sure to visit those sponsors that help support our racers! If you are looking for a fun camp ground check out Niagara's Lazy Lakes. When in Niagara Falls and you need to get a bite to eat stop at the Jet Port Lounge (I personally recommend the turkey dinner). Need a Tow call Frontier Auto Wrecking, 1-800-Radiator might be what you need. Lastly Buffalo Truck is his other sponsor to support.

Much Luck to Rick and the entire 26 team the rest of the season at Ransomville Speedway and all other tracks they will be traveling to.


Cotriss Ready To Defend Ransomville Sportsman Title-By LARRY OTT

Jesse Cotriss has a bit of a dilemma this season but it is one that every driver would love to have. Cotriss is set this evening to begin his title defense of the Investor’s Services Sportsman season point championship at Ransomville Speedway.

His success at the Niagara County based dirt track oval last season however extended well beyond his championship laurels. In 2013, he also was named the Ransomville Speedway Driver of the Year, the Ransomville Speedway Most Popular Investor’s Services Sportsman Driver and the Friends of Auto Racing (FOAR Score) Fan Club Driver of The Year.

For good measure he also won two of the three race Ransomville based VP Sportsman Series events here and captured the checkered flag when the traveling Sportsman Super DIRT.car Series made it’s annual stop at Ransomville last September.

Then came a big moment in his personal life when he enjoyed the birth of his first child when his son Jax Cotriss was born December 14.

Therefore, Cotriss’s dilemma this upcoming season? “How can I possibly do anything to top what I accomplished last season at Ransomville,” asked Cotriss. “I don’t know what to expect this year but surly winning the Sportsman championship again at Ransomville would be a major deal.”

When the season open’s at Ransomville tonight, Cotriss, of Medina will again pilot his familiar Bicknell chassis No. 55C machine which he co-owns for the third straight season with Roy Fearby.

Cotriss, 35, began his Investor’s Services Sportsman career at Ransomville in 2007 after having first cut his racing teeth at age 16 racing both motorcycles and Street Stock type stock cars. In 2007 he hooked up with car owners Buzzie and Sharon Livermore to begin his Investor’s Services Sportsman career. He has won many feature races and finished second in Ransomville Investor’s Services Sportsman points in 2012.

“I enjoyed driving for Buzzie and Sharon but three years ago they retired and now spend much of the year in the winter in Florida and wanted to get away from race car ownership,” said Cotriss. “They still have their race shop and they let Roy and I keep and work on the car there. When the Livermores come back from Florida they do still come to Ransomville and help out with the team. Soon Roy and I will have our own shop.”

Last season, Cotriss was involved in an intense three way season-long joust for the Ransomville title which also involved multi-time Ransomville Investor’s Services Sportsman champion Don Spatorico and the young and talented James Michael Friesen.

Cotriss would prevail to win the Ransomville championship with 772 points. Friesen was next with 757 followed by Spatorico with 752. Friesen had four point race wins on the season while Cotriss and Spatorico enjoyed two wins each.

“It got really dicey and I remember that James Michael won four times last season and I won twice but I was able to be consistent enough that when the final point race of the season arrived I had enough of a points lead over those two that I only had to take the green flag and the title was mine,” said Cotriss.

“For the last few years, I’ve chased Don for the title and I couldn’t beat him for it so last year when I finally came out on top it meant a lot more because of the strong competition in the Sportsman division.”

Last season Cotriss received an extra thrill when he got to compete in Ransomville’s top headlining FinditQuick.com 358 Modified class for an evening of competition courtesy of the Joy family.

“When Nick Joy was out of town, his father Scott Joy ask me if I wanted to driver their Modified for that night,” said Cotriss. “I liked it and I learned that the Modified drivers are so good that if you make the slightest error they will quickly capitalize on it.

“As it was double feature night that night, I got to run two Modified and two Sportsman races that night so it was very busy.

“I want to move up to the Modifieds but it’s not possible financially right now. I can afford the Sportsman because my crate engine cost just $3,200.”

Cotriss was hoping to capture his third consecutive pole for tonight’s opening night feature race but that opportunity was lost when the April 25 time trial session was washed away by rain. Tonight’s feature line-up therefore will be based on the heat races that will be run before the feature race.

Sponsorship for the Cotriss-Fearby team is provided by Sandbox Union Advertising, Fearby Auto, Jay’s Auto, Rotten Ink Tattoos, HFI and All Metal Works. The crew is comprised of Roy Fearby, Ernie Stahl, Ken Hammond, Derek Wagner and Scott Oosterling. Team public relations and marketing specialist are Chris Cotriss and Jeremy Carr.

“We’ll do our best this season and perhaps we can get the championship again,” said Cotriss. “Either way, I have fun racing and perhaps one day down the road I can look forward to getting my son Jax into a racing Go-Kart. As long as I’m still racing and having fun that’s the main thing.”




Ransomville based driver Steve Matson just might be one of the more popular individuals in the Ransomville Speedway pit area. Despite his decision to take the 2013 season off from driving, he was still very busy in the pit area, helping out those who have asked for his assistance.

“Whenever anyone has asked me for help, I will be there” said Matson. “I’m not afraid to get in there and lend a hand.”

In fact, with Steve taking the year off, he originally felt that it would be a more “relaxing” season.

“Actually, I worked a lot harder helping everyone else than if I had to drive myself. It felt good.”

The 2014 season will see Steve Matson return to the four cylinder class during the Ransomville Speedway summer schedule.. He will also be looking for a pair of wins in the upcoming 14th annual  Hangover 150. Matson will be running the six and eight cylinder class on New Years Day, January 1st.

Matson has won a Hangover event on two occasions…both in the six cylinder class. 

“The Hangover is a lot of fun,” said Matson in a recent telephone interview. “A lot of people seem to approach the Hangover like it’s a demo derby. It really pays pretty good so if you’re going to build a race car for this event, you may as well take it seriously.”

Winning a Hangover event is not a simple procedure. It takes a lot of luck and good position at the start. The cold temperatures that haunt this event are just one of several things that can disappoint one’s day. For Matson, he’s not run all of the previous thirteen Hangovers, but feels that preparation is a key to sitting in victory lane for a third time.

Steve has also garnered many friendships.

“I like racing. I seem to get along with everyone in the pit area well. I have a lot of friends here.”

Steve is still awaiting that four cylinder championship. That would be his next goal.

“I haven’t got that yet, but I’ve came close,” says Matson. “Maybe this year.”

Steve would like to thank his family. His wife April and children Matt and Carly.

Matt has also been a competitor in the four cylinder division at Ransomville Speedway.

Sponsoring Steve this year is Rocky’s Pizza of Ransomville. Steve would also like to thank Triple T for help on the Hangover cars.

The 2014 Hangover 150 is expected to be electric when the drivers take to the track for three 50 lap events. Steve Matson will be in two of those events. Look for Steve to make a real impact near the end of both of his events as he looks to win in the six and eight cylinder events.






Currently in his second full season in Ransomville Speedway’s Kipo Chevrolet Street Stock Division, Akron, NY racer Cliff Brucker has high level goals for the 2013 season.

“We’d like to get a feature win this season and consistently finish in the top ten every night. We’d also like to get a top ten in points.”

The ultra competitive Street Stock Division will make that very difficult for Brucker, who has two heat race wins to his credit. The class has eight different winners this season. Brucker certainly has the car to get that first win of the 2013 campaign. He’s had some bad luck this year. With several nights left on the current schedule, he’s got time to get that first win and get himself in the top ten in points. He went into this week’s race program just outside the top ten.

Brucker, just 22 years old, credits one current Ransomville Speedway driver to the start in his racing career.

“Jesse Cotriss set me in the right direction. He’s a neighbor and we came out to watch him race all of the time. He’s been a good influence on me.”

It was a night at Ransomville Speedway a couple of years back when Cliff was in the grandstands. He came out onto the track for an autograph session and introduced himself to Jesse. He told him that he was interested in getting into the Street Stock class. Jesse then began to help Cliff in his racing program.

Cliff then bought a Street Stock from Andy Smith, who moved into the Sportsman class in 2012.

“I really struggled with that car,” said Cliff. “I just couldn’t figure it out.”

Over the winter after the 2012 season, Brucker and his crew began to build a new car for the current Ransomville Speedway season. Brucker admits that he’s got a better handle on what he’s driving this season.

“We built this one. I understand it better. “

Cliff seems like a lifetime member of the Ransomville Speedway Street Stocks.

“I have no plans on leaving this class. I can build these. I don’t know how to build a Sportsman.”

Sponsoring Cliff Brucker this season is Upstate Farms, Brucker Farms, Mudcreek Taxidermy and Phillips Oil.

Helping out on the race car is Steve, Sara, David, Maryellen, Dale, Matt and Lisa.

We at Ransomville Speedway would like to wish Cliff Brucker the best of luck throughout the remainder of the 2013 season.       




Ransomville Speedway Investors Service company Sportsman driver Mike Williams is hoping that tonight will change his luck.

Williams, of the the Tuscarora Nation, has seen better times in a race car, but continues to keep his hopes up as the final weeks of the 2013 season are upon us.

 “The car seems to be working well,” said Williams prior to last Friday’s attempt before the rains came in. “We just put a new motor in and we’re still trying to dial it in. I definitely don’t like the way things have been going this year, but we still have some time to get everything in order.


Williams is looking for a win or a great finish tonight when his major sponsor, 2findyourhome.com, will be in the Budweiser Towers watching the night’s activities.

“We’re going to try some new things tonight. We’re looking to make this car go faster. We’ll see how it goes. It’s time to experiment a bit.”

Williams has been around Ransomville Speedway for a long time. He started in the Bomber class when it was in it’s heyday. He’s been very competitive in everything he’s driven. He’s won a championship in the Pro Stock class at Batavia’s Raceway 5 in 2006 and even ran the BRP Late Model tour for three years before coming back to Ransomville Speedway on a full time basis a couple of seasons back.

“These Sportsman cars are the only things I’ve ever driven that have been built for racing. They stick to the ground. I loved the Pro Stocks and Street Stocks, you always had to finesse them into the corners.”

Williams has a plan for the remainder of the season.

“We’re going to go out there and do as well as we can. We’d like to get some good finishes or even a win. I’m hoping that some of the different things we have done in the garage will help us.”

In addition to the sponsorship from 2findyourhome.com, Williams gets helps from Maxwell Murphy, Atty at Law, G+J Contracting, Able Agency, Halleen Automotive, Designs by Deb, CLF Lawncare and Fencing, Rezwolf and JoeySneeks.

Helping our with Mike Williams at the track and behind the scenes is Brian, Chris, Tom, Mike and Deb.

We at Ransomville Speedway wish Mike Williams the best for the remainder of the 2013 season.







Rob Clark might be new to Ransomville Speedway race fans, but he actually has been around the sport for a long time.

The 38 year old Georgetown, Ontario based  Investors Service Company Sportsman competitor is currently in his first season in the class. Clark had been to Ransomville Speedway on several occasions but it had been behind the scenes as a crew member for Sportsman driver Tim Murdoch, who drove here in the 1980’s into the 1990’s.

Clark has been a successful pavement late model driver in Ontario for several years before hanging up the helmet in 2010. He sat it out for a couple of years but still was a regular observer at Ransomville. It was November of 2012 when he decided he needed to get back in the driver’s seat.

“I had been going to Ransomville Speedway for years. Boyd MacTavish is a friend of mind and I just liked what they had been doing there.”

Clark has been competitive. He’s won a pair of heat races in 2013 and has a sixth place best in a feature, It’s been a learning experience for him although he says that he’s getting the new program down. He’s getting help from Murdoch, who hasn’t driven at Ransomville Speedway in 20 years. MacTavish is also giving Clark tips on how to be better with setting up his Bicknell chassis, which he purchased from DIRTcar Sportsman racer Jessica Power late last year.

Clark grew up in a racing background. His grandfather Delmar Majory raced late models in Ontario at the now closed Pinecrest Speedway. Clark himself drove all over Ontario and even had major stints at Florida Speedweeks 

Rob has to travel better than two hours each week to Ransomville Speedway to compete. The fulltime Georgetown firefighter is also expecting a brand new Higbie Chassis, which will be here soon. The new car will go to Syracuse this year during Super DIRT Week with Boyd behind the wheel.

Sponsoring Rob this season is Van Raine Construction, Ashgrove Welding, Haltons Industrial Technology, Hassell Automotive and Mike Westwood Fabrication.

In addition to Boyd MacTavish and Tim Murdock helping out, Rob credits Brad and Steve as well.

The best of luck to Rob Clark for the remainder of the 2013 at Ransomville Speedway.  






While Erick Rudolph is just 21 years of age and at the start of his stock car racing life, the Ransomville, NY racing star has already had a career that most would only dream of.

Erick is now driving full time on DIRT, running Ransomville Speedway on a weekly basis and following the Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified Championship Series. He still runs a limited schedule in a modified on asphalt, but makes Ransomville Speedway his Friday night home as he attempts to become the third Rudolph to win a points title here. Erick has already won SST Modified and Modified titles at Elegant Builders Raceway Park while still in high school. His biggest conquest on DIRT to date was a dominating Syracuse win while in the Jipp Ortiz Sportsman. It was Erick’s first time at Syracuse as a racer but you would’ve thought he was a seasoned veteran just waiting his turn at the tricky New York State mile.

His grandfather Jim won Hobby Stock championships in the 1960’s. His dad Charlie was a 1982 and 1986 big block modified champion. In 1986, Charlie also won the overall DIRT Modified title.

Tonight, Snyder Industries, Erick’s major sponsor will be high above the track taking over much of the VIP Towers. If you’re thinking that they’re awaiting a third trip to victory lane in 2013 after tonight‘s festivities, it would seem of certainty. Last Friday night, Erick was a winner once again at Ransomville Speedway. It was a dominating effort.

Erick had spent several years on the road with NASCAR and it’s modified tour. The travel definitely became an issue and it was decided following the 2011 season that they would concentrate on dirt and stay closer to their hometown track, which Erick grew up at.

He was quite impressive in his rookie season in 2012. It took him till August to win a feature event, but he finished third in points behind names such as Bicknell and Brachmann. When he finally crossed that first hurdle with a feature win, he was heading in an upswing mode.

This year, Erick has led the points at Ransomville for several weeks. It was since 1986 that a Rudolph had led a points chase at Ransomville Speedway. A single victory at Ransomville earlier this season in May was a big shot in the arm but a second place finish with Pete Bicknell earlier in the season was well remembered as a message where in any race, he was going to be around at the front of the pack at the end of the race. Bicknell has won a lot of races in his long and illustrious career but Erick really made him work for that one. It was an impressive run, despite having to settle for the second place spot.

With seven nights left on the Ransomville Speedway 2013 schedule for the Mighty Taco 358 Modifieds, the title is a long way away. In fact, Erick refused to think about championships.

“I don’t think about it,” said Rudolph recently before a Friday night event. “I just go out there and try to win. I guess when you go out on the track and get the wins, the points will follow.”

Eric has also won at four different race tracks in 2013. One of those of the asphalt variety. He’s added his name to a group of competitive drivers that has helped make the Ransomville Speedway Mighty Taco 358 Modified field even stronger.

Erick Rudolph is truly one of the more talented drivers in the region. Certainly the name recognition helps, but Erick has done a lot of his success from pure talent. It does help that he’s also got Charlie in his corner but Erick still has to get into the race car and drive it.

And with that he’s done very well…In whatever he’s drove.





There’s nothing better than families spending time at the race track. Like Little League Baseball or Youth Football, auto racing provides an avenue where families can work together and support each other in the pit area and in the grandstands.

If you’re in the Ransomville speedway pit area every Friday night, one of those families sits along the southern fence line. Veteran racer Phil Vigneri Jr and his son Phil III have made Ransomville Speedway their home on Fridays. Both have been very competitive on the Niagara County high banks with Phil Jr finally getting that first win in the Mighty Taco 358 Modifieds last Tuesday night. Phil III drives the Investors Service Company Sportsman class

“It had been a long time coming,” said Vigneri as he prepared for last Friday night’s racing program. “I think it was 2002 when we last won a feature event. To be honest with you, I really didn’t think it was going to happen.”

For Phil Jr, he will turn 49 next week, He recently had his race car running better before taking home that first win. A new ERD motor has been working out well for the Elba, NY driver. Two previous motors have resulted in problems. It has helped turn around his racing program.

“I hope that those issues are gone. Getting that first win was big. It was a great feeling,” said Phil Jr.

When you look back at Phil Jr’s racing career, it has been very impressive. A 2001 Sportsman championship at Genesee Speedway (now called Raceway 5) and 2002 title at Rolling Wheels Raceway, Phil has put together a dozen win season several times and was one of the more competitive Sportsman racers in the northeast. Phil actually started his racing career on flat track AMA Grand Nationals motorcycles.

Last Tuesday night’s win was his 106th career conquest.

In between the 2002 season and his current ride, Phil had spent time in a big block modified and 360 Sprints.

“It wasn’t bad. I had a number of top fives. Then my brother Pat told me that I should start running here. He had already been in competition here. He told me of how great of a place it was to run.”

Right now, Phil Jr fits in with the Ransomville Speedway Mighty Taco 358 Modifieds. A good number of seasoned veterans mixed in with a group of young racers that are looked upon as the next racing stars. That first win was big for Phil. The next one should come easier than the eleven years it took to get this one.

As for Phil III, his racing career is just starting. The 20 year old college student actually chose hockey as an outlet instead of racing. That changed in 2012 when he decided to start racing.

“We had a Sportsman car last year and dad drove it at Batavia on opening night,” said Phil III. “He destroyed the car and it sat in the garage for half the year.”

When the car did come out. Phil III took the car to Canandaigua Motorsports Park and drove it in the New Legends Sportsman class, a division developed for new drivers. Phil got a number of second place finishes and took the car to the Ransomville Speedway King of the Hill Weekend, where he qualified the car for the 100 lap feature.   

Ransomville Speedway and it’s pit area is loaded with second and third generation drivers.. During the past off-season, it was decided that Phil III would be a regular at Ransomville Speedway. The competitive Investors Service Company Sportsman class is a great learning tool and the younger Vigneri has also fit in well.

“When he first started to race, I was worried about getting him to work in the garage,” said Phil. “Now I can’t get him out.”

From a short track racing standpoint, sounds like a good problem.

NVIRO of Oakfield, NY is sponsoring the race team in 2013. The Vigneri family business, Oak Orchard Produce of Elba, NY, is also sponsoring the program.

Phil credits Mike and Cale with help in the garage and at the race track.

Good luck to the Vigneri Race Team for the remainder of the 2013 season.






If any of you haven’t noticed, the youth moment is in at Ransomville Speedway.

The  Ransomville Speedway is just loaded with second and third generation racing talent every Friday night. Several drivers within the track’s pit area still have a high school education to deal with. 

Take Brett Senek and Austin Susice. Both have seen a lot of success in their racing careers. Brett, 17 years of age, will become a senior at Wilson High School in September. Austin, 15, who also goes to Wilson, will enter the tenth grade. Both are competitors in Ransomville Speedway’s Gippsters Collision Four Banger Division. Both have also won feature events during the 2013 season. They are also cousins.

Both drivers have also came through the successful Thursday night Ransomville Speedway go-kart program. Following the likes of Stewart Friesen, Erick Rudolph and Chuck Hossfeld, both Brett and Austin wanted to get into the Friday night stock car program as soon as they could.

It was last year when Brett felt that it was time for the change.

“It was midway through last year when we decided to get a stock car,” says Brett, who only lives around the corner from Ransomville Speedway. “When Rich Wilkinson put his car up for sale after last season, we purchased it and began to get it ready for this season.

Brett still run the Thursday night go-kart program. He’s also ran the Hangover 150 the last four years in a four cylinder.

For Austin, he’s been at it a little longer.

“This is our second year in the class. It was a training session for us last year. I seem to have a better handle on it this year.”

Brett has also adjusted well to his new program. In his first two weeks, he had the led the feature. A flat tire put him out in week one and help from another competitor was the reason in week two. In week three, Brett had the lead once again and wouldn’t have any problems in going on to his first career stock car win.

“I was glad that it finally happened,” said Brett. “I was really happy that nothing went wrong that time.”

Austin’s victory came in week two. Again, it was nice to see someone come from the go-kart ranks to win on Friday’s much bigger stage.

“I was surprised,” explained Austin. “The attention on the big track is much more noticable than on the go-kart track. I was nice to get that first one in the books.”

Brett learned a lot about racing from his cousin, Kevin Wills, who also lives around the corner from the speedway and currently runs in the track’s Sportsman class. Austin also comes from a racing background. His cousin Ryan is in the 358 Modified class while his grandfather John builds a lot of motors for the track’s competitors. His younger brother Cole also runs in the Thursday night go-kart program.

Both drivers will be looking to move up in the near future in either the Street Stock or Sportsman. Both admitted that they are currently exploring different options. They admit that they both talk and give each other advice to help out their respective programs.

Sponsoring Brett this year is Senek Farms, Able Auto, Mohawk Tree Service, Lakeview Motel and Cottage and Hanzlina Sausage.  

Helping out with the car is Tim, Jeff, Alex, Malcolm, Mark and the Wills family.

Sponsoring Austin is John Susice Race Engines, CJ’s Midnight Auto and Destino’s Pizzeria.

 Austin also credits John and Tony with help in the garage and in the pit area.

With young talent like Brett Senek and Austin Susice in the pit area, the future looks bright for Ransomville Speedway. Look for them both to hit victory lane again very soon.  




Sitting just ten points out in third place in the Ransomville Speedway Investors Service Company Sportsman class, Jesse Cotriss finds himself in a familiar position. Once again, the Akron, NY racing star is in good shape to win his first track championship.

Last season, Cotriss finished second in points. The very competitive division has at least a dozen drivers that could win a feature on any given night. The class, which draws nearly a full field every Friday night has Cotriss in awe.

“This is an extremely tough class to get a feature win,” says Jesse, who is currently in his seventh season in the open wheeled division. “The class has got a lot of former 358 Modified drivers in it…which gives me a lot of good experience to race against.”

While Jesse likes the opportunity of winning his first championship, he really likes the idea of the weekly competition at Ransomville Speedway.

“I really like starting in the back of the field and passing cars. You really don’t know how good you are unless you pass other drivers.”

It was 2007 when Jesse went into the Sportsman Division. He had spent several years in the Street Stock class. His move going into the Sportsman class was by word of mouth

Buzzie Livermore had bought a car for driver Dave Stolzenburg, who has spent several years in the Street Stock and Pro Stock Divisions. When Stolzenburg had to turn down the ride, he recommended that Cotriss be given the ride.

Livermore and Cotriss had some successful years at Ransomville Speedway, winning several race features. In 2011, Cotriss and Medina, NY based mechanic Roy Fearby bought the program from Livermore. The duo continue to run the program…successfully.

“We have a new Bicknell car and we’re trying some different things on it. The car isn’t the same when it comes to the track every week. It’s getting better.”

Jesse’s start in the Street Stocks was certainly of blind faith.

“I never put any research and development into the Street Stock. We ran the same thing all of the time. With the Sportsman, it’s all research and development.”

Jesse actually started off in racing with dirt bikes. He has no future plans to move up to the Mighty Taco 358 Modifieds.

“I’d like to go to the 358 Modifieds some day but it all comes down to money.”

Cotriss adds. “In reality, I content to stay right where I am now. I hope the Sportsman class in high esteem. It’s a tough class to compete in.”

Sponsoring the Jesse Cotriss effort in 2013 is Sigmamotors of Middleport; Roy Fearby Garage of Medina; Rotten Ink Tattoo of Lockport; Jays Auto of Wrights Corners; Wrights Corners Wine and Spirits and HFI of Middleport.

Helping out with the Jesse Cotriss driven machine is Ernie Stahl, Ken Hammonds. Derek Wagner, Roy Fearby and Heather Harrington.
While Jesse Cotriss has been unable to get into victory lane so far in 2013, the chances of him staying away from the coveted part of the Ransomville Speedway property much longer is highly unlikely. The ride he has is a good one and so is his determination. 



Having 25 plus years at Ransomville Speedway, Scott Kerwin is a veteran of the track’s very busy pit area on Friday nights. Tonight, Kerwin’s opportunity to get his second Mighty Taco 358 Modified Division win of the 2013 season at the Niagara County half mile oval.

Scott is a three time Investors Service Company Sportsman champion and a champion in the Pro Stocks and Bomber class. If Scott would be a champion in the 358 Modifieds, then he would become the first driver in the 56 year history of Ransomville Speedway to win four championships in four different divisions.

Scott Kerwin will be representing his race team when “Labor Night at the Races to Benefit the United Way” will be in the VIP Towers cheering on the Newfane, NY driver, hoping that he will be in victory lane once again. Labor Night is expected to draw in excess of 600 race fans.

Scott took his first win of the 2013 season three weeks ago when he won a rescheduled feature from the previous week. It was his first win since the 2011 season.

Scott got his first championship in 1988 when he won the last season for the Bomber class. He got help from former Bomber driver Bob Snyder. Kerwin has always been a competitive racer in anything that he has driven. While the team doesn’t really worry about championships, they know that if they can win races…the championships will follow.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is the headlining sponsor for Scott Kerwin/BCL Racing. The team is owned by two individuals. Eddie Briggs and Sam Lehr. It’s an experienced group of individuals that has their race car ready to go on Friday nights. If you see the history of this team, it’s success is well documented with several wins and top five finishes.

Other sponsors for the Scott Kerwin/BCL Racing Team include Tim Hortons of Niagara Falls, NY, Lewis and Lewis Attys, Crown Benefits, Pallaci Accounting, Gorden Racing Engines, NMCC and Scurples Bar.

Valuable team members include Pete Cocco, Dave Wood, Jim Briggs and Bob Lehr.

“Labor Night at the Races to Benefit the United Way “ is hoping that the Scott Kerwin Mighty Taco 358 Modified entry celebrates in victory lane tonight. If that should happen, expect it to be one heck of a night in the southern end of the Ransomville Speedway pit area after the program is completed..





Ransomville Speedway Mighty Taco 358 Modified ace Rich Vinson is one of the many second and third generation drivers in the track’s pit area.

Vinson, of Sanborn, NY, has been driving a stock car at Ransomville Speedway since 1986. He started in the track’s Limited Sportsman class before moving to the big block modifieds. When the speedway changed to 358 Modifieds in 1990, Vinson went along with the change in the program and has been a regular competitor within the class ever since.

Rich will be looking for his first win of the 2013 season tonight when his sponsor, Investors Service Company, will be in the Bud VIP Towers as the track’s major sponsor for the night.

Rich’s dad Ralph, who had a racing career through the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, has been a major player behind Rich’s career.

“Up until when Mike (Greenawalt of Investors Service Company) joined us a few years back, we did all of the work ourselves,” said Rich after last Friday night’s sixth place finish. “Right now, except for one night this season, it’s been a pretty good start this season.”

Along with a sixth last Friday, Rich also has a fourth place finish. If it hadn’t been for an engine going away a couple of weeks ago, Rich could definitely be entrenched in the top five in the Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified points. Right now, he is tied for eighth.

Rich has spent all of his life at Ransomville Speedway. Watching his dad Ralph race, he got into a race car when he was old enough and has been there ever since.

Racing is in his blood. The veteran racer has never won a track championship at the Niagara County oval but has come close, finishing third in points on two occasions.

Last Friday night’s effort was a good one for Vinson as he had to come from the back of the pack twice. Rich and Steve Schumacher had a late race battle for fifth with Schumacher finally enduring. With the exception of the battle for the lead between eventual winner Pete Bicknell and second place finisher Erick Rudolph, it was one of the better races of the night.

Rich has several career wins at Ransomville Speedway but really doesn’t have any one that stands out. He looks at his entire racing career as a good time.

“I’ve been here at the track for a long time. The same people have owned the track for a long time. It’s being here with family and friends that make the difference. The wins are great but this is a family thing.”

His wife Kari along with his children Stephanie, Jennifer and Tyler are his biggest fans. His parents (Ralph, Pat) also make up much of the fan club as well.

Along with Investors Service Company, Rich points out Jan-Cen Race Engines and Madskins as his sponsors for the 2013 season.

In addition to Ralph, helping out this year is Dave, Mike and Kari.

Rich Vinson and his team always puts the effort into getting the Mighty Taco 358 Modified in victory lane. Tonight, Rich will be working extra hard to get his race car there and should it happen, it will be one heck of a party.  





One of the higher profile drivers in the Ransomville Speedway pit area is Alex Morris.

The four time Ransomville Speedway Street Stock champion is looking for a fifth title.

He got off to a good start to the 2013 season when he set fast time in late April, then took his pole position to victory on opening night two weeks ago. Last week, he started 12th in the 20 lap main event and finished sixth. He is currently tied for the lead in points

“It’s going to be a tough season,” said Alex in a recent telephone interview. “They’ve got some really good competition in the class.”

Tough or not, many look at Alex as one of the top drivers in the class. Coming into the season as the defending champion, he will be the favorite until someone knocks him off the mountain. While Alex is correct on his assumption that the class will be difficult to repeat, he’s expected to be at or near the top when the 2013 season comes to an end.

The 38 year old Niagara Falls, NY resident has been in the sport of short track auto racing off and on for better than 20 years. He was originally ready to run a Pro Stock but traded that away for a 1974 Chevelle to run in the Street Stock/Amateur class in 1991.

His first championship came in 1998. He purchased a Street Stock from fellow racer Pat McCoy and had then Sportsman star Ray MacIver build him a motor. They won the first four out of five weeks.

“We came right out of the box and won races. We had a really good team behind us. It was a lot of confidence for us.”

The team consisted on 1996 Ransomville Speedway Street Stock champion Cory Sawyer. His brothers Ed and Scott both also helped him. Today, Sawyer is still with Alex.

Morris also won championships in 2001 and 2003. In 2009 and 2010, he won Pure Stock championships at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. In 2011, he took the year off and help his wife Marika win the Ransomville Speedway Gippsters Collision Four Banger championship. It was the first time in the history of the track that a female driver had won a championship. He was also involved with the Ransomville Speedway Thursday night go-kart program as a number of his children ran here.

Alex was also ready to sit on the sidelines in 2012 until an offer came up.

“Jose Torres had some money saved up and bought a new crate motor. Derrick Borkenhagen bought a new car and we drove his old one. We probably had about $4500 into the car but it ran well.”

The 2012 season resulted in several feature wins and his fourth Ransomville Speedway championship. Alex is also a very popular figure in the grandstand area as several family members and fans cheer him on every Friday night.

Jose Torres currently drivers in the FinditQuick.com Fireball class.

Sponsoring Alex Morris Racing this year is RPM of Lewiston, Elk Steel of Buffalo, Specialty Erectors of Elma, Jacos Pizza of Niagara Falls, NY and Wrate Mechanical of Wheatfield. Helping Alex this year is Cory, Mark, Rick and George.




One of the veteran drivers who has established himself in the Ransomville Speedway pit area is Boyd MacTavish.

Originally from St. Catharines, Ontario, Boyd now resides with his wife Erin in Ransomville. Boyd is also a part of the very competitive Ransomville Speedway Investors Service Company Sportsman Division. Last Friday night, Boyd put together a fifth place finish in his first run in the class in several years.

“It felt pretty good out there,” said Boyd after the night’s activities. “It’s going to take some adjustment but I will be fine.”

The “adjustment” is from the Mighty Taco 358 Modifieds, in which Boyd ran for several years, to the Investors Service Company Sportsman class. One would think that taking a step down might be an easy procedure, but that’s far from the truth.

“The horsepower is all together different. The crate motors are all the same where the 358’s are not. That’s one of my adjustments.”

Boyd has been in the Sportsman class on another occasion in the early 2000’s, but it was before the crate motor expansion. The open motor was the key factor within the class. Boyd enjoyed some success here but the cost of the class was getting out of hand.

“I figured with the cost of running the Sportsman, I might as well go up to the 358 Modifieds.”

Boyd had two 358 Modified wins - one at Ransomville in 2006 and one at Merrittville in 2006. Additionally a battle for the win a couple years ago at the Big R with DIRTcar star Danny Johnson is amongst a highlight of Boyd's career. Boyd had some good runs but the division became expensive and thoughts of going down a division following the 2012 season was considered. The decision wasn’t exactly done until into the spring time of 2013, but he hasn’t looked back.

“The step down to the Sportsman is such a learning curve. Right now, I want to grow with the division and gets some wins.”

Boyd came into the 2013 season with a brand new Jerry Higbie chassis. The next step is getting some fresher power. A new crate motor is the plan for the future.

Boyd also had some success early in his career when he teamed up with fellow St. Kitts driver Todd Gordon in the Pro Stock class.

Boyd’s 2013 schedule is set. He will run a full schedule at Ransomville Speedway. He will look to skip to different Saturday night tracks. He will also start the Super DIRTcar Sportsman Series and has scheduled Rolling Wheels Raceway on his list.

Helping out Boyd this year is former competitor Dickie Blake, Boyd’s brother Kevin, Boyd’s wife Erin and his brother in law Trevor Ganshaw.

Gauboc Concrete of St. Catharines and Jerry Higbie Chassis sponsors the Boyd MacTavish effort in 2013




For the 12th time in his illustrious career, Mighty Taco 358 Modified racing star Pete Bicknell comes into the next season as the Ransomville Speedway defending champion.

Bicknell, 58 of St. Catharines, Ontario, has been one of the more successful open wheel racers in the northeast…not just Ransomville Speedway. The twelve modified/358 modified titles he’s obtained in the past 33 years makes him the most successful racer in the history of the facility.

In 2012, Pete was involved in one of the biggest point races in the history of Ransomville Speedway. Going into the final points night of the season, both Pete and Chad Brachmann were tied for the lead. It was an eighth place finish by Bicknell that decided the championship.

“The year before that,” says Bicknell. “I came into the final night in the points lead and I was third by the time the night ended. All week long leading up to that night, I was determined to win it.”

Bicknell celebrates his 40th year of racing. His first years was in a Late Model that competed in the region. 

“I shared the ride with Dan Rizzardo. He drove it here at Ransomville. I drove it at Merrittville and we shared it at Humberstone.”

Pete’s first Ransomville Speedway championship came in 1980 and he did it with a 320ci small block motor under the hood. Against a pit full of big block motors, Pete didn’t expect to win any championships. Especially against the likes of Davey Moore, Gary Iulg and Don McGinnis. He didn’t win any feature events but stayed consistently in the top five

“With the small block motors being able to use drag tires, it really help us. I never thought we would ever win a title that year.”

In addition to his dozen championships at Ransomville, he’s done better than 20 at Merrittville. He is a three time DIRTcar 358 Modified titlist. Seven times in his career, Bicknell has won titles at Ransomville and Merrittville in the same season. The most recent being in 2012.

Following the 2012 season, Pete was considering running a limited schedule at Ransomville Speedway in 2013, but last week put those rumors to rest.

“With all of the problems I’ve had with my back, I just wasn’t sure. I’ve been feeling pretty good over the winter. I’m ready to go.”

In 2004, with business partner Randy Williamson, he bought Merrittville Speedway. In addition to a successful car builder and fabrication business, Pete spends a lot of time preparing a race track for Saturday night action.

In 40 years, Pete has missed few, if any Friday or Saturday night racing events.

“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been sick or have something wrong with me that would keep me out of the car. I’ve had a bad back and a broken ankle but I’ve always been at the track.

Tonight’s 56th season opener at Ransomville Speedway marks another start of the racing season for Pete Bicknell. He’s been at it a long time but still gets excited when he gets to the race track. The guy certainly still has the knack for slinging it in the dirt.




Steve Miller of Burt, NY has used the Ransomville Speedway program to move himself into the track’s Mighty Taco 358 Modified Division for the 2013 season.

Miller started his career in the early 2000’s in the Pro Stock class. Moved into the Sportsman class in 2008. When the opportunity to go into the 358 Modifieds this season came about, he seized the opportunity when his older brother Jon retired from racing after several years following the 2012 season. Steve will take over the same ride.

“We’re ready to run the 358 Modfieds,” said Steve in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve ran most of the other classes here and really looking forward to this chance.

Jon retired from racing. He is currently the Superintendent of the Town of Newfane.

Steve is one of the veterans of the Ransomville Speedway driver’s roster. He spent five years in the track’s Sportsman class before announcing his move up during this past winter. His first year in the Sportsman resulted in a banner year…getting third in points without a feature win. Steve credited a consistency in the top five as for the reason he did so well in his rookie season.

Since then, however, Miller has seen his share of tough times, which has resulted in a number of breakdowns and accidents. Miller has one win in the Sportsman class in 2009.

His most successful season was in the Pro Stocks in 2005. Steve won three out of the final five events…including the prestigious King of the Hill 100. It was a late season surge for Miller that saw him as one of the better racers in his class. Miller also did work on the DIRT Pro Stock Series as well.

“In 2005, it was late in the season where I finally got the car working my way. It was an exciting part of my career.”

Steve plans on running a full schedule at Ransomville and doesn’t rule out running elsewhere.

“It all depends on how things go at Ransomville,” said Miller, who works fulltime at Tonawanda based EMA Life.

Sponsoring Steve this year is Wilson IGA and Clifford D Miller Cementary Memorial.

Helping out with the race car will be Cliff, Tim, Brian, Jeff and Ty.

Best of luck to Steve Miller at Ransomville Speedway for the 2013 season





A familiar face will return to the Ransomville Speedway Investors Service Sportsman Division for the 2013 season.

Scott George of Wilson, NY will mark his return to the Niagara County oval after a five year absence. George has additionally competed in the tracks Mighty Taco Modified and Pro Stock classes. Scott's biggest success, however, came in the Sportsman class as he won the Ransomville Speedway title in 2003 and was the Mr. DIRT Sportsman champion in 2004.

With five years gone by, George had been looking for a return.

“I had been wanting to come back for a couple of years now,” says George, who came close to winning another Ransomville Speedway Sportsman title in 2002, losing out to Randy Chrysler by one point. “I don't know if I'll be running every week but I'm looking forward to coming back.”

George says that the situation from the last time he competed will be much different.

“We're not going to run for points this time. We're here to have fun.”

In addition to that, the race car isn't going to be the priority in the family.

“The go-kart program we have will be the number one priority.”

Scott's son Zachary has been a tough competitor in Ransomville Speedway's Thursday night go-kart program. In addition to that, his daughter Greenley will also race in 2013. In addition to racing a stock car, Scott will be extremely busy in the garage.

Scott remembers the hard work put into the stock car program, especially in the championship season.

“It was a lot of hard work getting the car ready. It was also a lot of money.”

Scott spent a couple of seasons in Ransomville Speedway's premier 358 Modified class. Following the 2007 season, Scott “retired” from racing.

“It just wasn't fun anymore.”

Scott has recently helped Sportsman driver Chris Burek, who just completed his rookie season, finishing tenth in points and getting a feature victory as well. In addition to working on his own stock car and go-kart teams, he will also continue to help the Burek program.

Sponsoring the Scott George Sportsman effort will be Apollo Steel of Niagara Falls, NY, which just happens to be his employer as well. Apollo Steel will also be a sponsor on the go-kart program too. Dan Zellner and his wife Jules are co-owners of the Sportsman and will be helping with the effort on race night. Look for son Zachary and former Street Stock racer Kirk Tuttle to lend a hand.

He has always been exciting on the race track. Scott George will be a great addition to the Ransomville Speedway Investors Service Sportsman field in 2013. He's an experienced driver who could hit victory lane at any point in the upcoming season.





In the six years that Derrick Borkenhagen has competed in the Ransomville Speedway Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock Division, he's placed first in the overall points on two occasions and has done no worst than sixth in five of those seasons.

He's ready for the move up.

Borkenhagen has been a fan of his hometown race track for most of his life. He's lived his dream of racing...and winning at Ransomville Speedway. In 2013, he'll move up to the very competitive Ransomville Speedway Investors Service Sportsman class, where an already impressive field of 26 cars have signed up at the recent Ransomville Speedway registration in late January.

His expectations for his rookie season are modest.

“I'd like to win at least one feature event and finish in the top three in points,” says Derrick, who finished third in Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock points in 2012. He also collected a pair of victories. “I'm a believer that you need to set high goals. There's no other way to do it.”

The choice to move up comes from one decision. He really doesn't have much to prove in the Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock class. It's been a good six seasons for the two time champion. In fact, Derrick was looking to move up for the 2012 season but decided to stay in the Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stocks one more year.

“I didn't regret that. The Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stocks is a tough class. It's really helped me. I'm really excited about driving a Sportsman. I remember that it didn't take me too long to adjust to the Street Stocks. I feel that I will handle the Sportsman car the same way.”

“I will pick it up quickly.”

We have no doubt here that Derrick Borkenhagen will quickly become a competitive fixture in the Ransomville Speedway Invevstors Sevice Sportsman Division. His adjustment to the lower weight of the car and the different size of the tires....along with the setup of the car will be his biggest challenges.

Sponsoring Derrick this season will be Ray's Tavern.

Helping out on the Derrick Borkenhangen ride will be his dad Rick, who is a recent winner of the Ransomville Speedway Mechanic of the Year. Mike Targon and Rolan Sparks .




Current Ransomville Speedway competitor Randy Chrysler has announced that he will field a DIRTcar 358 Modified ride for DIRTcar superstar Danny Johnson at Ransomville Speedway for the 2013 season.

Johnson, of Rochester, NY, is a six time modified champion at Ransomville Speedway. Johnson is electrifying to watch on the Ransomville Speedway oval and often uses the famed front stretch moat as a way to advance through the field. Johnson comes into the 2013 season as the only winner of the Battle at the Border event, which has been hosted in July for the past three years.

“I would like to thank Randy for his hospitality,” said Danny at this past weekend’s Motorsports 2013 event, which was held in Philadelphia. “Randy has always been a great friend of mine and I hope to give him a track championship.”

For the past couple of seasons, Chrysler has been giving Johnson a hand on a part time basis, allowing Johnson and car owner Mike Payne the opportunity to use his equipment when needed.

“I first met Danny Johnson at Ransomville Speedway in 1990, said Randy in a recent interview. “I went over to introduce myself and he was so polite to me. Danny still acts that same way today. When Danny sees my mother in the pit area, he always sits down and talks to her. That goes a long way with me. He’s just a nice guy” adds Randy.

Mike Payne will continue on as crew chief. The deal to officially put Danny and Randy together came this past November when both parties sat down to discuss the 2013 season.

“Technically, Mike Payne has helped us so much, “says Randy. “We won races at Mercer, Little Valley and Pittsburgh and it was their help that was responsible for that.

Randy says his faith in God also helped him make the decision as well.

Helping out with sponsorship includes LAX Press, Page’s Trucking, and Three Tusky Incorporated.

Turning wrenches includes crew chief Mike Payne, Dave Botsford, Dave Fauzy, Clyde VanEvery, and Jim Herbst.

Danny will join a stout field of competitors all looking to take home the 2013 Stanley’s Cup crown.





Like many of the competitors that have been successful at the Friday night stock car program at Ransomville Speedway, Brett Senek will look at having the same kind of success on the “big track” that he has enjoyed on the Thursday night go-kart program.

A 16 year old junior at Wilson (NY) Central School, Brett lives right around the corner from the race track. In 2013, Senek will continue his Thursday night go-kart program but will also compete on Friday night's in the Gippsters Collision 4-Banger Division.

“When Rick Wilkinson's car was put up for sale, we decision to take it,” said Senek in a recent telephone interview. “It was right near the end of last season when we had the chance to buy the car so we haven't had it too long.”

Wilkinson holds the honor of being the oldest driver to ever win a feature event at Ransomville Speedway at age 71. Senek has been driving go-karts for the past seven years, most of them successfully.

Actually, Senek was thinking of moving up but the four bangers wasn't his first choice.

“We were thinking of Street Stocks. When this opportunity came up, we felt we should take it.”

Brett has three go-kart championships at Ransomville Speedway.

Brett has also had some experience on the big track as well.  The youngster has competed in the Hangover 150 for the past three years. This year, he ran the four and six cylinder in which he complete the four cylinder class feature.

When asked if he had any goals for his rookie season, he didn't hesitate one bit.

“I would like to win a lot of races and win a championship. I'm looking to adjust well.”

While he hasn't driven in the four cylinder class he's gotten plenty of advice. Knowing his talent level, he will adapt very well to the four bangers.

Helping Brett this season will be his father Tim, uncle Malcolm, grandfather Bill and Jeff Wilkinson.

Brett has also got a good list of sponsors. Ransomville based Senek Farms, Ed's Garage, Lakeview Motel and Cottage, Little Joes Pizza and Mohawk Tree Service. Buffalo based Hanzlinas Sausage will also help out with the effort this season.

Look out for this young man. It wouldn't surprise me if he took the win on opening night. He's going to be a good one...that's for sure



It has been an unusually tough 2012 season for Todd Burley.

Winning tonight’s 28th annual Alex Friesen Summer Nationals would certainly help the cause in the right direction.

Burley, of Spencerport, NY comes into tonight’s 100 lap showcase as the event’s defending champion. He is also a four time titlist of the Ransomville Speedway Mighty Taco 358 Modified Division

“That night was good for us all around,” recalled Burley as he readied to go out on the track for Ransomville Speedway’s annual autograph session. “We drew a good number for the heat. Drew well enough to start on the outside pole and won by a couple of car lengths at the finish.”

Burley had a game plan for the 2011 effort.

“We ran the cushion for the first 40 laps then went down low for the last 60 laps. I know that Brett Hearn came up beside me on lap 92 but we were able to out run him to stay in the lead.”

Burley is also the 2008 winner of the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals, when the event was 68 laps. Burley, however, likes the 2011 event much better.

“The field was more star studded. Brewerton Speedway dropped the modifieds on that night to allow their drivers to come here. It was like a Super DIRTcar Series field. “

Tonight, Brewerton has once again graciously allowed it’s Modified field to come to Ransomville Speedway for the $10,000 to win effort.

Todd began running in the DIRTcar Sportsman division in 1991. His brother Chris was actually the first driver of the family as he drove in the Sportsman class as well. Todd was a long time driver of go-karts before going into the stock cars.

It took him exactly one year to prove himself a champion as he won the 1992 Mr. DIRT Sportsman title. He would stay in the class until his move up in the 358 Modified Division in 1996.

Todd has seen tough times. Accidents and breakdowns have been a part of Burley’s problems in 2012.

Despite that, he’s still one of the more powerful drivers in the very competitive Mighty Taco 358 Modified field. He currently sits sixth in track points with the opportunity to go higher with two points events left on the 2012 schedule.

Helping out Todd in the sponsorship department is Original Pizza Logs, Bayshore Trucking, New York Pizzeria, Bicknell Racing Products and Jancen Automotive.

In the pit area, Todd counts on Chris, Paul, Mike, John and Joel.

Look out folks. The 28th annual Alex Friesen Summer Nationals is set to go tonight and two time winner Todd Burley is one of the favorites to win his third.

It should be a good one.





When it comes to weekly short track racing, Erick Rudolph just might be the most diversified driver around.

Who could argue it? While in his teens (which was just a few years back), Rudolph, a third generation driver that seeming breeds success, had already won a Dunn Tire Raceway Park Modified and Sportsman title…both in the same season. He was also one of the youngest racing stars on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series. 

Today, Erick runs a selected number of asphalt modified events and has concentrated his efforts on a weekly schedule in Ransomville Speedway’s premier Mighty Taco 358 Modified Division, where he currently sits seventh in track points. Erick has several top ten finishes this season as the Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified class has provided a tough point for all of it’s competitors.

In other words, he’s been good on both side of the short track racing game. 

“The adjustment has been fine,” said Erick following last Friday night’s racing program. “We have no wins but we have several top five and top ten finishes.”

“We’re still learning this program but we’re looking for our first career win.”

 It was a tough night last Friday as Erick lost the motor.

Eric isn’t exactly new to Ransomville Speedway. He was a multi-time go-kart champion. He also ran a limited 358 Modified schedule in 2010, where he had a third place best. He’s currently sixth in Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified Championship points . 

The Rudolph family has won titles at Ransomville Speedway. Erick’s dad Charlie was a 1982 and 1986 big block Modified champion while his grandfather Jim was a 1963-64 Hobby Stock champion. Charlie was also the 1986 Mr. DIRTcar big block Modified champion.

Snyder Industries, located in Tonawanda, New York will be the major sponsor inside the Budweiser Towers tonight, cheering on Erick for that first ever 358 Modified win.

After several years of success on the asphalt, Erick’s decision to drive his hometown Ransomville Speedway was simple.

“It was mostly financial. It was a little lighter on the expenses. We’re also having more fun .”

Erick, along with the rest of us, has seen the lower counts of the asphalt modifieds in the past years. Erick was driving a minimum of six hours to race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series. Racing at Ransomville Speedway is just a five minute drive from the team’s home base.

Certainly…Erick Rudolph is not very far away from his first win. He’s been extremely competitive every night. He’s got the know how and the talent to make it work.

He’s just going to have to put it all together. In our opinion, it won’t take very long.

Good luck to the Rudolph Racing Team for the remainder of the 2012 season.




When asked about his late season success that led him to the 2011 Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified championship and his current success that has him in the points lead once again, Chad Brachmann really didn’t have much to say.

“We’re just plugging along,” said veteran racing star, shrugging his shoulders, after a fifth place showing last Friday night.

Brachmann his been steady in 2012, winning four feature events and handling a twelve point lead as the Ransomville Speedway 2012 schedule heads into the month of August. Brachmann has only been out of the top ten twice as Brachmann and Pete Bicknell ready for the final five weeks and what looks like a fight to the finish in the Mighty Taco 358 Modified class.

“This is a tough place to race,” said Brachmann of Ransomville Speedway. “The field is very competitive. You really don’t know what’s going to happen here when you come through the gate.”

In addition to running Ransomville Speedway on Friday nights, Chad runs a limited schedule at Grandview (PA) Speedway. Comparing both tracks is like comparing apples to oranges.

“Both tracks have their own personality,” says Brachmann. “Grandview is a high banked one third mile oval and you have to be constantly up on the wheel. Ransomville is a bigger track and you have more room.”

Brachmann’s run to the 2011 title started nearly a year ago when the schedule entered August. He went into the final points night of racing fourteen down and sitting in third place behind Todd Burley and Bicknell. Chad would win that night and have plenty of room in the points race.

This season, Chad didn’t wait until August to start his rush to another championship. He won a couple of feature events early on and has maintained the points race for much of the season.

Brachmann has been racing regularly at Ransomville Speedway since the mid-1990’s. He’s a four time Ransomville Speedway Sportsman titlist before moving into the 358 Modifieds in 2002. Chad was also the 2001 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champion.

Mighty Taco is a sponsor for Chad Brachmann Racing. Tonight’s Ransomville Speedway sponsor, Grelak Mechanical, is also on the race car. Other partners include FindItQuick.com, Brownies Auto Care and Bonnies Style Unlimited. 

Helping out with Chad Brachmann Racing is his dad Mike, brother Corey and Jason.

Chad Brachmann still has a lot of racing left in the 2012 schedule. If he should plan on keeping his chance for a second title alive, he’ll have to run as well or better as he has to this point in the 2012 season. Winning a championship at Ransomville Speedway was a dream come true for the Wheatfield, NY resident. Getting a second would be even sweeter.

Good luck to Chad Brachmann and Chad Brachmann Racing for the remainder of the season




Since the 1985 season, Rick Richner has been a regular at Ransomville Speedway.


He’s one of the veteran racers of the pit area.  He has been in the class for the better part of 22 years and has been very competitive winning his fare share of feature events on the Ransohmville Speedway half-mile clay oval.


Richner, who currently sits ninth in Ransomville Speedway 358 Modified points, ran his best of the 2012 season last Friday night when he took home a second place finish. Richner led much of the 30 lap main before eventual winner Chad Brachmann slipped by later on.


“The car ran good tonight,” said Richner following last week’s performance. “We had everything in the car except something for Chad. ”


Tonight, the Jetport Lounge, along with Niagara's Lazy Lakes Campground and A-Verdi Storage Containers will be sponsoring the evening’s activities. The Jetport Lounge is the Richner family business along with the Jetport Motors.  Both businesses are convenientely located in Niagara Falls, NY - just 20 minutes from the Speedway.  Featuring Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner - its a must stop while visiting the Niagara Falls area.


Rick was into racing long before he decided to get behind the wheel of a race car. Rick, along with his brother Ron, Ray MacIver and George Lebrun did a lot of work behind the scenes working with Bill Stuyvenburg, who drove the 320ci Modified Division in the late 1970’s into the 1980’s. Stuyvenburg was a racing troubadour, running at race tracks all over the northeast.

When Stuyvenburg got out of racing, Richner stepped in. He bought a Stuyvenburg car and slipped a Limited Sportsman motor under the hood. He was a champion in the class in his first year at Genesee Speedway, now called Raceway 5.

At Ransomville Speedway, he was a 1987 champion in the Sportsman class.


In 1990, he moved into the modified class and has been a regular there in the division ever since.

Richner admits that the car ran well last Friday due to a new shock package. Here’s hoping that they can continue a run to a victory very soon. Maybe tonight, where many of the Richner family members and friends will be in the Budweiser VIP Towers watching the night’s activities.


Sponsoring the Rick Richner effort this season is Original Pizza Logs, Jetport Lounge, Lazy Lakes Campground, National Vaccum, FindItQuick.com and Frontier Auto Wrecking


Ron, Randy, Kyle, Joe and Gene are helping on the car for the 2012 season. 

The best of luck to Rick and his team for the remainder of the 2012 season.




Mike Williams has seen a lot of history in the 55 years that Ransomville Speedway has been in existence. In fact, this is his 25th year in racing and while he has yet to score a track championship at the Niagara County oval, he recently hit victory lane in his Original Pizza Logs Sportsman. It was his first since he started racing the class four years ago.

     “I had a feeling that night,” said Williams following last Friday night’s racing program. When you’re legal and you cross that finish line first, you know that it can’t be taken away and that’s such a good feeling.”

     Williams does have a track championship, but not at Ransomville Speedway. His only seasonal conquest was at Genesee Speedway in the 2006 season when the Pro Stock class was still a fixture in the Western New York region.

     Mike Williams currently sits seventh in Ransomville Speedway Sportsman points.

     A highly competitive driver, Mike came from the BRP 360 Late Model class to the Sportsman. Williams felt that the 360’s division was like the Pro Stock class.

     “It was like an open motor. A different type of racing. Affordable and it had more power than a Pro Stock.

     Following his career in the Pro Stocks, Mike did look at the Sportsman class but felt that the costs were high. It was prior to the Sportsman crate motor phenomenon and most tracks were still using the conventional motors.

     As Mike was putting together his BRP 360 Late Model, he had forgotten one thing.


     “The travel was too much. They had a number of shows during the week and not only did I get home early in the morning from a long distance, I had problems getting a crew together to go with me.”


     Mike got his start in racing in 1985 in an enduro at Ransomville Speedway.


     “I got 63 laps in. The one thing I do remember is that there was about 125 cars on the track. The race was during the fall.”


     In 1986, Mike entered the Bomber class. He actually got his first car for free but had to travel to Kentucky to get it. When the division changed to the Pro Stock class in 1988, he went along for the ride.


     He missed a couple of years in the late 1980’s after getting married but was still building a Pro Stock in the process. In all, Williams scored 14 Pro Stock wins. Included in that was the final Ransomville Speedway points race of the 2006 season. It would be the last as the division was replaced following the season.


     “I remember that race was a 30 lapper. I’m glad that I was able to win it. I really loved that class. That’s why I kept racing it the next year at Genesee Speedway.


     Williams is one of the more popular drivers at Ransomville Speedway. His sponsor, 2findyourhome.com , will be in the Budweiser VIP Towers tonight hoping that Mike can pull together a second win on the 2012 season.


     Mike is also involved with the Ransomville Speedway Thursday night go-kart program as his grandson, AJ Woolston, is in his first season in the track’s Novice Division.

     In addition to 2findyourhome.com, Williams is sponsored by Maxwell Murphy, Attys At Law; G & J Contractors; Halleens; Designs by Deb (Mike’s wife Debbie) and Able Agency.


     Helping out Mike on the race team this year are Brian, Mike. Chris, Dave and Tom.

     The very competitive Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Division has eight different winners in ten weeks of racing in 2012. Mike Williams can say that he’s one of those drivers that have enjoyed the annals of victory lane. Don’t be surprised if he comes through once or twice again before the 2012 season is completed


While he might not be the most famous name in the racing Hossfeld family, you can bet that he's turning a lot of heads in his first full season in the Ransomville Speedway Gippsters Collision 4 Banger Division. Hossfeld, who will turn 21 years of age in October, is the cousin of famed asphalt modified racing star Chuck Hossfeld, who also is attempting a career on the dirt.
Mike leads the Gippsters Collision 4 Banger division by 16 points as the division gets ready for tonight's racing program. Hossfeld has one feature win in 2012, but in looking at the division statistics, nobody has been able to double up in feature wins so far this season. The highly competitive class is just that as Hossfeld and his fellow competitors get ready for the last two months of the 2012 Ransomville Speedway season.
"So far, it's been picture perfect," said Hossfeld during an off-week at Ransomville Speedway. ""With the one win, we've been in the top five every week instead of one and that's when we finished sixth."
Mike's one win this year came on Friday, June 8th...which turned out to be his sister Robin's birthday. The week before, he was also looking to get that first win of the season on his dad Mark's birthday. Unfortunately, it was the only rainout so far here at Ransomville for the 2012 season.
While Hossfeld has been on the Ransomville Speedway racing surface before the 2012 season, this season is the first full tour for the young North Tonawanda, NY racing star. He started racing on the pavement at Dunn Tire Raceway Park in 2010. It was easily where he got his inspiration from.
"While we didn't help Chuck with his ride too much we did follow him around. We went to all of his races. Right now, he's just way out of my league and when I decided to get a car for myself, Chuck was there to give me advice and send me in the right direction. He's the reason I started racing." Mike awaited until he was out of high school and had a fulltime job before he looked at getting into a race car.
In 2011, Hossfeld bought a 4 Banger car from Jamie Woods. He was planning on running both dirt and asphalt buthe had a bad wreck in the second week at Ransomville Speedway. While he stayed away from Ransomville for much of the remainder of the 2011 season, he continued on at Dunn Tire Raceway Park, where he finished second in points. He returned to Ransomville last August and picked a pair of wins in consecutive weeks by season's end.
"The accident was a wake up call for me but when I returned, I was able to make the necessary adjustments to the track."
Hossfeld feels that the Gippsters Collision 4 Banger Division is a good place to learn dirt track racing. "It's really nice to race against 24 cars every night. The track is well run. They have the pictures and the points up the following day on the website. The division is also very competitive. You really have to work hard here."
Hossfeld is running the full Ransomville Speedway schedule in 2012 while the asphalt ride is currently on the sidelines. If things continue to go well, Mike is looking to move up into the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball Division next season. If enough sponsorship could be obtained, a trip to the Original Pizza Logs Sportsman class would be possible. "It really depends on what happens here for the remainder of the season."
Helping out with Mike on his racing effort is his dad Mark, who also steps up as his crew chief. He also credits Chuck, Justin and Ray for putting in an effort with the race team. Mike also would like to thank current Ransomville Speedway competitor Alex Morris for helping out with the car and also putting it back together after the 2011 accident. In addition to that, Mike would like to thank his girlfriend Emily and the race fans who come to the track every week.
Sponsoring the car in 2012 is Durf's Tire in Gasport, Frontier Auto Wrecking in Tonawanda and Jerry Gradl Motors in North Tonawanda, NY.
Starting tonight, the Gippsters Collision 4 Banger class has six events left on the 2012 schedule. With the hard nosed competition the division has already provided, Mike Hossfeld will have to work twice as hard to keep the points in his favor. It should be fun to watch.




When you reach the age of 73, many don't figure those individuals to be still racing the half-mile oval at Ransomville Speedway.
Someone forgot to tell Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball competitor Dick Wilkinson.
For most of the past 50 years, Wilkinson has been a part of the Ransomville Speedway, whether it has been behind the wheel of a race car or just sitting in the grandstands, you knew where Dick Wilkinson has been during the summer on Friday nights.
Wilkinson has been an off again-on again racer since 1963, where he ran Late Models against the likes of current Ransomville Speedway co-owner Stan Friesen or against a driver with the last name Treichler. His latest thing has been with the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball Division. Wilkinson, who is currently a member of the Lewiston #1 Fire Company, has been driving the division for the past four seasons.
"I'm having a lot of fun right now," said Dick, who is currently fifth in Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball points. "We got off to a good start but this division is tough."
Wilkinson didn't take too long to get into victory lane in 2012, winning on opening night. Dick also has the distinction of being the oldest driver in the 55 year history of Ransomville Speedway to win a feature event.
"I was definitely surprised," adds Wilkinson of the season opening victory. "However, the car was really hooked up that night. It was a great memory."
While Wilkinson continues to do well, he mentions that the handicapping process forces him to start from the middle to the back of the field.
"When you have to fight from the back," laughs Wilkinson. "It's tough. The car gets nicked up. You're trying to keep it in one piece."
Despite that, Wilkinson continues to enjoy his Friday nights at Ransomville Speedway and hopes to continue to run strong right through the remainder of the 2012 season.
Dick says that his start in the Late Models in the early 1960's drew a number of feature wins. He started out in a 1953 Ford. He's also been in a Dunn Tire Raceway Park Late Model and has owned 358 Modifieds for former Ransomville Speedway competitor Mark Sylvies. Dick's sons Rick and Jeff have also ran race cars. His son-in-law Tim Phillips has driven Sprint Cars and grandson Kyle Phillips currently is a go-kart competitor at Ransomville Speedway's Thursday night program.
For several years, Dick sat in the grandstands watching the racing program. Four years ago, he got the itch to race again. "I didn't race because I couldn't afford it. I really did want to try it again. So when the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball Division was at the track, we decided to give it a try."It was a good decision for Wilkinson, who got a loud applause from the large Ransomville Speedway opening night crowd as he removed himself from his race car in victory lane on opening night.
Tonight, the Wilkinson family will be sponsoring a 358 Modified Dash for Cash. It will be in the memory of Dick's son Rick, who passed away from throat cancer this past January. It's also Rinehart Memorial Poster Night.
Sponsoring the Dick Wilkinson ride is Philpac, Kenny Young Paving, Pardee Automotive and Tim Phillips Garage. Helping out in the pits and in the garage is Jeff, Ricky and Dan.
Dick Wilkinson has had a long history with the Ransomville Speedway. Winning one or two more times this year would certainly make the legecy that much nicer.




Coming off a third place finish in last Friday's Original Pizza Logs Sportsman 25 lap feature, veteran campaigner Jipp Ortiz feels that the division is as tough as it's ever been.

"Were out here fighting for every spot we can," smiled the second generation driver who also lives in downtown Ransomville. "I have to be on my toes all the time."

Entering his sixth season in the track's Sportsman class, Ortiz has never won a championship in the open wheeled class. He has, however, been extremely competitive and has won his fair share of feature events. He is currently in fourth place in track points as he explains his effort from last week.

"I made an adjustment tonight and I thought it would help us. Unfortunately for us, the car got a little too tight."

The previous week, Ortiz felt that he had a car to win but the right rear shock broke...sending him to the pits. He would return for a ninth place finish.

Jipp is one of those drivers that many have come to when advice needs to be handed out or a pat on the shoulder is neccesary. He is one of the veterans of the Ransomville Speedway pit area that nearly everyone has respect for. Jipp isn't afraid to help out a struggling young driver who might need help in getting it's program on the move.

Jipp grew up in a racing family. His father Ed is one of the all time greats in the northeast. A race track was built behind the current Ed's Garage in the 1950's and that was the stepping stone to the current Ransomville Speedway. The facility behind Ed's Garage was built to keep the teenagers from drag racing on the Ransomville streets. What happened next is that it drew competitors from places other than Ransomville. It just got too big and the idea of the facility on the current 2315 Braley Road property allowed it to grow even further.

While Ed became one of the region's top drivers. Jipp was awaiting his time as he too began to think about racing. However, Ed quit racing in the 1970's...just when Jipp thought he might be ready.

Jipp would eventually become one of the more successful DIRTcar Pro Stock drivers in the history of the division and he did much of it away from his hometown track. In 1998, he wrenched his dad's return to racing at Ransomville in the track's Pro Stock class. Ed would get his 200th career win during this season and left the sport once again after the 1998 season. Jipp was flagging Ransomville Speedway at the time as well. In 1999, Jipp went on the road, running the Pro Stock Series while continuing to flag at Ransomville.

He would also become one of the career high Pro Stock winners at Canandaigua Speedway.

"We had a lot of Pro Stock wins. It was a really good division for us."

Jipp figures about 80 wins. In addition to that he was also a three time DIRTcar Pro Stock champion and two time Syracuse Pro Stock winner. While the Pro Stocks still exist along with a Syracuse event annually, the Western and

Central New York regions have seen the division dropped from it's tracks.

Jipp had three wins in the Sportsman class in 2011. He's still a favorable commodity when he goes onto the race track every Friday night for the feature event.

Jipp is still having fun and does like performing before the hometown crowd. He also doesn't mention the word "retirement" in his discussions.

Sponsoring the Jipp Ortiz Racing Team is longtime supporter Bob Cordova of Original Pizza Logs, Ed's Garage and Pifford Automotive.

The crew behind the team is Andrew, Ron, Randy, Bill and Stoner.

While Jipp Ortiz has yet to pick up a win in the 2012 season...don't worry about that. He'll have his fair share by the time the season is completed.

You can bet on it.



At just 17 years of age, Jesse Johnston has been impressive as he enjoys his second full season in the Ransomville Speedway Ki-Po Chevrolet Street Stock Division.

While he currently awaits his first career victory in the competitive full fendered division, he's come close on a few occasions. Our guess here is that he won't have to wait too long.

"I thought I had a win a couple of times last year," said Johnston, who will be a senior at Wilson Central School this September. "We're certainly going to keep on trying. I hope it comes soon."

Jesse has been quite competitive. He's one of several young drivers who have adapted well to the stock car program after spending time in Ransomville Speedway's Thursday night go-kart program. Many of the area's top racing stars cut their teeth in the go-kart program.

"Because of the go-kart program here, it's allowed me to learn. When I got to the Street Stocks, I had some experience to help me there."

Jesse ran go-karts for four years. He had the experience on both dirt and asphalt. In the 2010 season, he was a champion at the Batavia (NY) Kart Club. It was then that he and his dad, Randy, wanted to make a decision.

"My dad offered to buy me a race car or a car for the road."

Jesse chose the obvious. A real racer. He came into the 2011 season with the Street Stock and finished eleventh in points. Going into tonight's program he is fifth in the standings.

Jesse has had plenty of help in the pit area as he improves his racing program. Along with his family, Jesse credits Chris Burek, Billy Coleman, Jake Stefanski, Derrick Borkenhagen and Jaren and Roger Israel with his progress. It was Jaren that allowed him to test a Street Stock that also helped him make his decision on what he wanted to drive after go-karts. He also had thoughts of driving a TQ Midget and watched Erick Rudolph drive one to victory at Dunn Tire Raceway Park.

Jesse is looking to stay in a Street Stock for the next two years before making a decision to move up.

"Right now, I'm looking for that first win but I need time in this car. I would also like to compete for a championship too."

It's also easy for Jesse to compete at Ransomville Speedway as he lives just five minutes from the track. His favorite Mighty Taco 358 Modified drivers at Ransomville Speedway are Danny Johnson, Pete Bicknell, Todd Burley and Ryan Susice.

Sponsoring Jesse this season is Tim Hortons of Niagara Falls, NY; Kevin Woods Auto Collision of Sanborn and NAPA of Niagara Falls, NY. He also has a sponsor the First Baptist Church of Wilson.

Behind the scenes and working on the car is his dad Randy, his mom Lisa, brothers Eric and Jeremy along with good friend Jeff.

Look out for this young driver. He's looking to hit victory lane very soon.

It just might be sooner than you think.


By...Dave Roberts

Driving the very competitive Ransomville Speedway Sportsman class, James Henry has adjusted well.

Henry, of Niagara Falls, NY, sits fourth in points just 26 markers behind leader Don Spatorico. His fourth place finish last Friday was his best showing of the 2012 campaign. Henry is also one of the many competitors in the class that can put his car in victory lane at any time.

“Last time out, I thought we had something for them early on,” said Henry of last week’s performance. “Then I had a left rear tire going down and that didn’t help me.”

Henry has two career wins at Ransomville Speedway. Both in the Sportsman Division. He also has a win at Syracuse in the Futures Race. Henry has come close on several occasions to get that third Ransomville Speedway win. He is hoping that it comes very soon.

James got his racing start in the Central New York region at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. James ran the track’s Street Stocks then into the Pro Stock class. He became one of the top Pro Stock competitors in the region, averaging four to six wins a season. The Pro Stocks were eventually dropped from the Canandaigua schedule due to lack of competitors.

At this time, James was ready to make another move. His appending marriage would move him into the Western New York region. He started running in the Sportsman class in 2006.

“It took me about a year to get used to the division. It was totally different than the Pro Stocks. With the Pro Stocks, I had a right front fender. I can’t use that the same way with a Sportsman.”

Henry is certainly a highly competitive racer. However, he feels that he’s only going to race a couple of more years before calling it quits.

“I’ve got two boys and they are growing. Jakob is five and Tyler is almost two. I’d like to spend a little more time with them.”

James is married to Diana, who’s brother is former local racer John Panattoni.

Sponsoring the James Henry Ransomville Speedway Sportsman machine is MADSKINS, of which Henry is a co-owner with Dave Conant, who should be out in a Sportsman tonight for the first time this year. Also sponsoring Henry is Norampac, Shawnee Service, National Maintenance, Kelly’s Corner, McKensie Auto and Finditquick.com, all of Niagara Falls, NY. Canadian company Orlando Poga is also on board with Henry.

It would seem that Henry doesn’t have many problems attracting sponsors.

“We have a really good sponsorship base. Especially for a Sportsman Division competitor.”

Helping with Henry in the pit area is John, Porter, Bud, Dave and Maria.

Should James Henry have just a few years left in racing, we’re sure that he’s got a few more wins as well. Maybe tonight will be one of those times.

Best of luck to James Henry for the remainder of the 2012 season




Ransomville Speedway has a high number of talented young drivers in it’s headlining Mighty Taco 358 Modified Division.
One of them is 25 year old Anthony Rizzardo.
Tonight is Regional Haulage Night at Ransomville Speedway. Regional Haulage is the Rizzardo family business. Rizzardo is currently in his second full season in the Mighty Taco 358 Modified class. Anthony found success in the Sportsman ranks and will undoubtably do the same in the 358 Modifieds. Anthony is hoping that he can start that trend tonight with a win in front of the Regional Haulage folks in the Budweiser VIP Towers.
“We expected this to be a tough field to qualify with and we were right,” said Rizzardo following last Friday night’s program. “When you have 30 cars every night, it’s going to be difficult but it’s also going to make me a better driver.”
Anthony has a common goal. To make the top ten in points by seasons end and to make every feature event. Unfortunately for Anthony, he didn’t make last week’s show. He missed out in the Mighty Taco “B” main by just one position. Despite that, Rizzardo is upbeat about his future in racing.
“I was disappointed but when you look at the field and how many feature wins it has, it really makes you want to work harder.”
Anthony comes from a racing background. His uncle Dan was a Late Model and Modified competitor in the region. His mom, Josie, come from the famed Begolo family.
Jeno Begolo was the first ever Modified champion at Ransomville Speedway and Lancaster Speedway. His son Jimmy was an established big block modified driver in the 1980’s and his son Brent is a current competitor as well.
Along with his dad Felix and mom Josie, Anthony’s biggest fan is his grandfather, Steve Palmeri, who will turn 90 years of age in January. Steve looks absolutely great and is also one of Ransomville Speedway’s biggest fans. In the 55 years that the speedway has been open, Steve has missed few nights of racing here. When it comes to Friday nights, Steve is securely nestled in the grandstand watching another racing program.
Young and ready to learn, Anthony calls on several drivers for advice in the pit area when needed. Anthony credits Scott Kerwin, Richie Vinson and defending Mighty Taco 358 Modified champion Chad Brachmann.
Anthony went from go-karts directly to the Sportsman Division.
“We had a ride set up in a Sportsman at Merrittville in 2005, but that fell through. My dad then stepped up and bought me a Sportsman because he didn’t want to let me down. We started driving it in 2006.”
There will be several past drivers in the Budweiser VIP Towers tonight cheering for the Regional Haulage Troyer sponsored car of Anthony Rizzardo. Join then as the #99 hunts for that first checkered flag as a Modified pilot.
Best of luck to that entire race team for the remainder of the 2012 season.





During opening night festivities here at Ransomville Speedway May 4, many veteran fans may have wondered which driver was piloting the No. 1R entry in the Mighty Taco 358 Modified division and was among the very strong 31 cars that raced here on that evening.

While the car number may have been somewhat unfamiliar, the name of the man behind the wheel is certainly not. That driver was Jeff McGinnis. The McGinnis family name has been a prominent one at Ransomville Speedway for many decades. The name of McGinnis and Ransomville Speedway have been synonymous with one another and this association is as strong today as ever before.

After sporting the very familiar traditional McGinnis family No. 20 machine for so many seasons, McGinnis now drives this year for a new team owned by Jerry and Rochelle Skurski. Thus the change of number assignments to 1R.

“I guess you could say that my family has been coming to Ransomville Speedway for a long time and we’re having fun because if it’s not fun we wouldn’t be doing it,” said Jeff. “Once on the track, it doesn’t make any difference if I’m in the No. 1R or the No. 20. The goal is still to win.”

Jeff, 38, of Ransomville, has been coming to this Niagara County based dirt oval since he was very young watching and assisting his dad, the now retired Don McGinnis.

“I remember coming to see my dad race when I was real young and I started working on his car at our home even before I was old enough to get in the pits,” said Jeff. “I’ve learned a lot about racing from him.”

Don McGinnis had much success during his driving years at Ransomville. In a career that spanned from the 1970’s to the mid 1990’s, the elder McGinnis won many races and crowned his career by capturing both the 1975 Late Model and 1994, 358 Modified championships at Ransomville.

Soon it would be time for Jeff to apply his talents behind the wheel of a race car. Sporting the No. 20, long associated with his family, Jeff entered the Original Pizza Logs Sportsman class in 1997, driving the first two seasons for car owner Dick Blake. Then it was time to move on to a family financed machine provided by Jeff’s parents, Don and Suzi McGinnis.

During his time in the Sportsman class Jeff won many races including the two most prestigious races contested in this division each season at Ransomville, the Grelak Mechanical Nationals and the DIRT.car Sportsman Tour event. He capped his Sportsman racing in 2006, winning the Ransomville Speedway season points championship. He was top five in Sportsman points each year he campaigned in the division.

“We had pretty good success in the Sportsman and we felt that I had accomplished everything there was to accomplish in that class so we moved on to the 358 Modifieds,” said Jeff. “I’ve been in the 358 Modifieds since 2007 and have driven for my family every year except 2010 when I drove Pete Cosco’s car.

In 2007, right off the bat, Jeff secured his biggest moment in his 358 Modified career when he captured the Lucas Oil Series 358 Modified title that year. The Lucas Oil Series was a regional traveling series comprised of races at Ransomville, Genesee, Merrittville, Humberstone and Ohsweken Speedways.

Now in 2012, Jeff has hooked up with the Skurski camp and will compete in the team’s Morrison Performance, Teo chassis car weekly at Ransomville along with a limited slate of appearance at other tracks.

“I talked to the Skurski’s over the winter and decided to join their team for this season,” remarked Jeff. “I like the way they operate a team plus this is a much better financial situation for me and my family to handle. I think it will work out well. I also like to race one night a week to allow for more family time as well.”

Sponsorship for the Skurski teams is provided by Stirling Lubricants, Pink Carburetors, Dan’s Collision, Niagara Lock and Key, Morrison Performance, Island Prescription Center, Richard’s Motor Service, Kelly’s Country Store, Anchor Marine, Honey’s and Joe Calarco.

Much support for Jeff’s racing career not only comes from his parents but also Jeff’s wife Patty and children Cody (age 13) and Michelle (21). Jeff’s sister Juli Anstett offers support. Ransomville race director Jeff Anstett is Jeff’s brother-in-law.

Other team members include: Jerry, Spark and Victor Skurski, Tim Hayes, Mike Emmons, Tim Jeffery and John Salerno.

“I know that there is a lot of good competition here this year at Ransomville and it will be tough but we will learn and grow as a team and that’s important,” said Jeff.

The backbone of any operation that has been successful for as many years as Ransomville Speedway has been, is the loyal families that make positive contributions for the betterment of the track through many years and multiple generations. This by definition is the McGinnis family.