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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ricketson a double winner at Lancaster Dragway

Double-winner Clay Ricketson
credit: Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway

Clay Ricketson scored two class victories on Friday night at Lancaster National Dragway, grabbing wins in McGard Mod ET and the special Heads-Up 7.50 Index class presented by Slim Stang Racing.
It was the next-to-last night of the season for the Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing Program and drivers were looking to go as many rounds as possible to score the maximum amount of points. Ricketson started the night second in McGard Mod ET points with teammate Dale Eckert as they trailed Jeff Kerl & Keith Banas by 50 points.

Ricketson’s final round matchup in Mod was almost a heads-up race as he and his opponent Ben Haight had nearly identical dial-ins. He got a break when Haight broke out by one ten-thousandth (.0001) of a second to pick up his first win of the night.

The Heads-Up 7.50 Index class typically runs on Tuesday night, but was added to the Friday night program following the cancellation of the last Tuesday night program of the season. Ricketson met Keith Kraemer in the final, and once good fortune was on his side as Kraemer tripped the red light to hand the win to Ricketson.

Keith Cleveland became the 12th different winner of the year in Top ET. Cleveland held off Ken Babiak Jr. in the finals to score the win. There has been only one repeat winner in Top this season with just one week remaining. Mike Swinarski scored his third win of the year in Top 8 Eliminator after his opponent, Bill Bigham, broke out in the final round.

The TNT Super Series made their final visit of the season to Lancaster. Pat Boniferro met veteran Mark Herbold in the finals of the 7.00 index class. Both drivers left the starting line with nearly identical reaction times, but at top end Herbold broke out by .007 seconds as Boniferro ran a 7.003 to get the win.

Mike Peters padded his Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds points lead with his second win in a row and fourth overall in 2018, defeating Lucas Salemi for his fourth triumph of the season. Mason Fix clinched his third-straight track title in Tread City Tire Street with his fifth win of the season. Fix cemented his championship run with a four-race win streak that will continue into the final night of the season after beating Daniel Knab in the final round.

The Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing program is off next week as our team of 45 racers is headed to Keystone Raceway Park near Pittsburgh, PA for the IHRA Team Finals. Best of luck to Team Lancaster and Program Director Sharon Hughes as they show Division 3 no mercy.  Keep up with the action at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.

Press release provided by Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway

DiPietro, Stefanski win King of the Hill events at Ransomville


Dave DiPietro lead all 40 laps on his way to victory in the Bellinger Electric Inc. (BEI) Lightning Series event for the Investor’s Service Sportsman as Investor’s Service, Bailey Brothers Landscaping, and Firth Jewelers presented the Sean Letts Memorial King of the Hill at the Ransomville Speedway on Friday night.  Pete Stefanski won his seventh KiPo Chevrolet Street Stock feature of the season in the King of the Hill 100. Chad Desso won his sixth Gippsters Collision 4 Bangers feature of the season and clinched the track championship.

Sportsman winner Dave DiPietro
credit: Tom Stevens
The #SL40 for the Sportsman came to green led by 2018 Ransomville Speedway track champion Brett Senek and DiPietro, with DiPietro taking the lead and Chad Chevalier working into second place. Canadian driver Ryan Ferri barrel-rolled several times in Turns 1 and 2 to bring out the red flag on Lap 14; Ferri was alert and climbed out of the car under his own power. Once the field was back under the green flag, Chris Burek moved into second and went after DiPietro for the lead. At the halfway point, DiPietro and Burek pulled away from Chevalier, Brad Rouse and polesitter Senek. DiPietro and Burek battled all over the track, and in the end it was DiPietro scoring the victory, his second Ransomville checkered flag of the season. Burek settled for second with Andrew Smith, Rouse and Chevalier completing the top five. Burek and Smith were given the guaranteed starting spots for the 602 Winter Nationals at North Florida Speedway in February 2019. 

Street Stock winner Pete Stefanski
credit: Tom Stevens
Pete and Jake Stefanski were on the front row for the Street Stock King of the Hill 100 as the Stefanski family swapped the lead several times early on, with Jake taking the lead off Turn 2 on Lap 8. Pete regained the lead off a Lap 14 restart as Pat Dell, Dave Small and Pat O’Keefe raced in the top five. The race’s first half was dominated by the Stefanski family as Pete was pulling away from the field. At the competition caution at the halfway break, it was Pete Stefanski leading Jake Stefanski, Dell, Small and O’Keefe in the top five. After the half-way caution, Small took third away from Dell with Jason Fontaine coming on strong. As Pete Stefanski dominated the event, Fontaine caught Jake Stefanski and battled for second place. Pete Stefanski dominated the event and went on to score the win, his seventh of the season, and go back-to-back in the Street Stock portion of the King of the Hill.

Chuck Cala and Desso brought the 4 Bangers to the green flag for their 2018 season finale with Cala showing the way early on as Ashley Blech battled with Desso for second. The top four of Cala, Desso, Blech and Ryan Plante started to pull away from the field, and Plante got around Blech to take over third on Lap 8. Desso reeled in Cala for the lead and Plante reeled in the lead duo on Lap 12, setting up a three-car battle for the lead. Desso took the lead away on Lap 15 and led the final five circuits to score his sixth win of the season and clinch the track title.

The Ransomville Speedway Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Lewiston #2 Fire Company. Jonsie will be the musical entertainment and the banquet will be catered by Donna Eick. Tickets are now on sale for the banquet by calling the Speedway Office at 716-791-3602. Keep up with the action at www.ransomvillespeedway.com.

Press release provided by Ransomville Speedway

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Lancaster crowns three divisional champions


Lancaster National Speedway’s X-Press Signs Stock Car Series put a bow on the 2018 regular season on Saturday night during Season Championship Night. Owen Bednasz locked up the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman championship, Andy Cryan celebrated his first career Advanced Auto Parts Street Stock track title, and Dan Dressel took top honors in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders for 2018.

On top of the battles for points positions there were also plenty of teams dialing in their cars for the 30th annual U.S. Open weekend, which is coming up in less than two weeks (September 21-23).

Sportsman champ Owen Bednasz
 The final points race of the season for the Sportsman featured 16 cars with Jake Vernon and Scott Wylie leading the field to the final green flag of the regular season. Vernon jumped out to the lead at the start of the race. He led a four-car breakaway at the front of the field that included Wylie, Shawn Nye and George Skora III. 

There were just two caution periods in the first half of the 35-lap race. The first happened on Lap 9 when Jason Bowden plowed into the Thermal Foam blocks in Turn 3. The OSCAAR Modified driver from Canada was making his first-ever start at Lancaster. Then on Lap 17, there was contact between Tony Carbone and Bednasz in Turn 2, and Carbone spun to bring out the yellow flag for the second time.

Wylie and Nye traded the runner-up position back-and-forth as the second half of the race got under way; Wylie eventually regained the spot from Nye. Two late-race cautions set up some drama for the final laps of the feature. Dave Kozlowski spun out in Turn 2 on Lap 32 for the first yellow flag. Then Jayme Thompson slammed the outside wall coming off of Turn 4 to set up a green-white-checkered finish.

Vernon held off Skora and Wylie for the final two laps to secure his first-ever VP Racing Fuels Sportsman win at Lancaster. The victory was an emotional one for Vernon as he had arrived to the track late and missed practice because he was attending a celebration of life for his grandmother who had passed away three weeks earlier. Skora, Wylie and Nye followed Vernon across the finish line. John Barber rounded out the top five after starting 14th.

Following the race Owen Bednasz was crowned the 2018 track champion. The final leg of his championship season was an eventful one. It started with a crash in his heat race after getting tangled up with two other cars at the start. The car was repaired in time to make the feature, but the right-side nerf bar came loose early in the race and he had to pit to get it reattached. Luckily for Bednasz he had a mathematical lock on the championship coming into the final race.

Street Stock champ Andy Cryan
Rich Sharpe dominated the Advance Auto Parts Street Stock feature for his fourth win of the season. Sharpe led all 25 laps from the pole position. Cryan overcame a straightaway-sized deficit to catch Sharpe in the closing laps. Cryan got within a car-length of Sharpe but the right rear tire started to go away in the final circuits. Cryan finished second to round out his championship winning season that included nine feature wins. Mark Hoch finished third behind Sharpe and Cryan. Tim Welshans came home fourth. Max Northem rounded out the top five in a brand new car.

In the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders, Dave Brunka led 19 of 25 laps for his second win of the season. Brunka quickly moved from the fifth starting position to pass Chris Pennell for the lead on Lap 6, and then drove away to a sizable lead.

It was a Brunka family 1-2 finish as his brother, Joe, placed second. Dressel finished third to sew up his first career Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder track championship. Jason Anasiewicz and Spencer Speedway regular Jacob Gustafson rounded out the top five.

4-Cylinder champ Dan Dressel and team
The NYPA TQ Midgets also had their final tune up before the U.S. Open. AJ Hessler and Mark Schulz dominated for most of the race, pulling out to a large lead until a couple of late-race cautions bunched the field up again. Hessler held off Schulz and Kyle Hutchinson in the final three laps to secure the win.

Lancaster National Speedway closes out the 2018 season with 30th annual U.S. Open on September 21-23. The weekend starts on Friday night with practice and the U.S. Open Kickoff Party with live music from 1980 Something. Saturday’s program is headlined by the 75-lap event for the Race of Champions Sportsman Series and the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman. The Race of Champions Modified Series closes out the show on Sunday with the 30th annual U.S. Open 125. Full details are available at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.

Press release provided by Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway

All photos: Paula Thompson

Susice wins Sid Jeffery Memorial at Ransomville

Sid Jeffery Memorial winner Ryan Susice
credit: Tom Stevens

Ryan Susice was victorious in the second annual Sid Jeffery Memorial as Jeffery Machine, Performance Mfg., Allstate Insurance, Niagara Frontier Publications, and Painters Plus presented the night’s racing action at Ransomville Speedway on Friday night. Former Mr. DIRT Sportsman titlist Brad Rouse won the 40-lap Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series Western Region event, while Pete Stefanski won his sixth KiPo Chevrolet Street Stock feature of the season. Chad Desso scored his fifth win of the season in the Gippsters Collision 4 Bangers, and Cody Wolfe won his fourth Stevenson’s Hardware Novice Sportsman feature and clinched the 2018 divisional title.

Gary Lindberg and Todd Gordon brought the Krown Undercoating Modifieds to the green flag for the Sid Jeffery Memorial with Lindberg in the lead and Susice moving into second. Lindberg, Susice and Rick Richner quickly pulled away from the battle for fourth between outside pole sitter Gordon and Chad Brachmann. Richner caught Susice as Billy Decker started to move into the front half of the field. While the leaders hit lap traffic on Lap 15, Susice closed the gap and caught the bumper of race leader Lindberg. Susice took the lead on Lap 16, but got held up in lap traffic, giving the lead back to Lindberg on Lap 20, as Lindberg collected the halfway bonus award. With 12 laps remaining, Decker passed Richner to enter the top five. Lindberg jumped the cushion on Lap 29, allowing Susice to close in the gap. Over the final 10 laps, Susice and Lindberg continued their battle, but in the end Susice collected the checkered flag and the $2,000 payday. 

Ryan Ferri and Rouse shared the front row for race No. 1 for the Western Region of the Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series with Rouse in the lead at the start as Ransomville track champion Brett Senek moved into second on Lap 2. Cameron Tuttle battled with Ferri for third on Lap 6 as Rouse and Senek pulled away. Following a few caution periods, Derek Wagner took the lead from Rouse on Lap 18 as he went to the outside to pass both Senek and Rouse. Rouse regained the lead on Lap 23 and Senek took over the runner-up position. Rouse pulled away from Senek to score his second straight Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series event victory at the Big R.

Bryce Richardson and Chris Dziomba were on the front row in the 20-lap feature for the Street Stocks with Dziomba showing the way. Sophomore driver Jordan Moden spun in Turn 4 as Randy Zimmerman and Dan Korpanty were also involved. On the restart, Dziomba, Cory Sawyer and Pete Stefanski battled for the lead. Sawyer cleared Dziomba for the lead on Lap 7 and Stefanski moved into second place. Stefanski took the lead away just two laps later, as the 2018 divisional champion opened-up his lead. Stefanski would go on to score the win, his sixth of the season.  

Cole Susice and Steve Matson brought the 4 Bangers to the green flag for their main event with Susice showing the way. Susice opened up his lead over the rest of the field as Desso raced in second place. Susice pulled off the track on the white flag lap while leading, giving the lead and win to Desso. For Desso, it was his fifth divisional win of the season, setting up an interesting point battle heading into Season Championship Night next Friday night.  

The final Friday night of the 2018 season will take place on Friday, Sept. 14 as Investors Service, Bailey Brothers Landscaping and Firth Jewelers presents the annual King of the Hill. The 2018 edition of the King of the Hill will feature the Sean Letts Memorial for the Bellinger Electric Inc. (BEI) Lightning Series for Sportsman as well as the King of the Hill 100 for the Street Stocks, plus the championship finale for the Gippsters Collision 4 Bangers. Pit gates will open at 5 p.m. with grandstand gates opening at 6 p.m. and the first green flag of the night flying at 7:15 p.m. Find out more at www.ransomvillespeedway.com.

Press release provided by Ransomville Speedway

The Track @ Hillside crowns track champions


The Track @ Hillside closed its 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season Friday night with the return of the Bud 100 for the Race of Champions Late Model Series, as well as the crowning of track champions in the regular weekly divisions.

RoC Late Model winner Eldon King III
credit: Howard Boundy
Eldon King jumped to the lead from the pole position in the Bud 100, with Sam Fullone quickly moving up from his third starting spot to slot in behind King as Dave Russell held third. Something broke in Fullone's car, sending him hard into the fronstretch wall on Lap 12, ending his night. King jumped out to a big lead as Bob Weber and Terry Weldy closed in on Russell to battle with him at the halfway point. Russell's car began to fade as Weber and Weldy made their way by him and settled into second and third, respectively. King's lead was erased when Joe Berretta spun on Lap 71. King drove away from Weber again when the green flag flew and cruised home for the win, followed by Weber, Weldy, Russell and Dave Heitzhaus.

In the SST Modified main event, Jeremy Haudricourt battled Shawn Nye over the majority of the distance and earned his first win of the season by a car length over Nye. Neal Dietz Jr.'s third-place finish netted him the 2018 track championship, while Joe Evans and Sherri Hogan took fourth and fifth.

The NYPA TQ Midget feature started with a 9-car pileup in Turn3 that sent Kevin Wilson and Jamie Pew into the outside wall on top of each other. Both drivers were OK and the others involved were able to make the restart. Kyle Hutchinson and Dave Wollaber were tied for the points lead coming into the feature event, and the duo battled for the win once the race restarted. Hutchinson was able to hold off Wollaber to take the feature win and the track championship. Vinnie Christiano III, Ronnie Flaim and Erik Musto filled in the rest of the top five.

The Street Stock 8 feature saw Chris Handley lead the opening laps till contact with Josh Hathaway brought out a yellow on Lap 6. Bob Palmer and Max Northem battled for the lead on the restart, with Palmer taking the top spot. Jim Loffredo drove through the pack to challenge Palmer for the lead, but with 3 laps left, the two tangled and went into the wall in Turn 1. Northem took over the lead and held off Josh Hathaway for the win, with John Carlson, Chris Handley and Jeff Szafraniec rounding out the top five. Ken Maltby finished sixth, but had clinched the 2018 track title just by taking the green.

Point leader Michelle Maltby-Russo started on the pole of the Street Stock 4 feature, but Kenny Hejna took the lead from the outside of the front row at the start and cruised to his sixth win of the year. Matlby-Russo's second-place finish locked down the 2018 track championship for the division. Jeff Szafraniec, Jason Anasiewicz and Briar Dils completed the top five.

Keep up with off-season news at hillsidebuffalo.com.

Press release provided by Hillside Buffalo

Monday, September 3, 2018

Lancaster Speedway releases 30th annual U.S. Open schedule

credit: Lancaster National Speedway &Dragway

Lancaster National Speedway’s signature stock car event, the U.S. Open, is turning the “Big 3-0” this year and it is almost time to celebrate. The 30th annual three-day event is set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 21-23 and will feature seven divisions of X-Press Signs Stock Car Racing, including the U.S. Open 125 for the Race of Champions Modified Series.

The U.S. Open was created in 1989 by former speedway promoter Alex Friesen to give Lancaster a big end-of-year event to close out the stock car season, and to draw competitors and fans from across the region. Jan Leaty won the inaugural U.S. Open Modified feature, making it a “must win” for Modified drivers at the famed 5/8-mile asphalt oval of Lancaster.

Western New York’s Racing Finale kicks off on Friday, Sept. 21, with the traditional practice session and U.S. Open Kickoff Party. Pit gates open and inspection begins at 4 p.m. with practice for all divisions starting at 6 p.m. The grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with fans allowed in for FREE to watch practice. Immediately after practice, the main concourse comes to life with the U.S. Open Kickoff Party. This year WNY and fan favorite "1980 Something" returns to play their hits live in the concourse right by the 12 Gates Brewing Beer Stand starting at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday’s racing action headlines with the 75-lap main event for the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman as part of the Race of Champions Sportsman Series. Chuck Hossfeld has won this race two years in a row. There will be plenty of competition from Lancaster’s weekly Sportsman racers as well as challengers from across the region looking to deny him a third-straight win.

The RoC Super Stocks, RoC 4-Cylinder Dash Series and NYPA TQ Midgets will also run their heats and features on Saturday. Pit gates open at 1 p.m. with practice starting at 2 p.m. Front gates will also open at 2 p.m. with qualifying beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The RoC Modified Series takes center stage on Sunday with the running of the 30th annual U.S. Open 125. This is the biggest race of the year for Modified racing in Western New York and is the penultimate event of the RoC Series season. Last season, Andy Jankowiak dominated the 125-lap feature for his first U.S. Open Modified win. Jankowiak is coming off a huge victory in the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 that ran on Aug. 18.  He is locking horns with Hossfeld for the RoC Modified Series championship this season.

The Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and Race of Champions Late Models fill out the program on Sunday afternoon. Both highly competitive divisions will have stacked fields going for the chance to add their name to the U.S. Open trophy.

Pit gates open on Sunday at 11 a.m. with practice beginning and front gates opening at noon. Heat racing starts at 2 p.m. Find a complete schedule at www.lancasternationalspeedway.com.

Press release provided by Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway

Sid Jeffery Memorial taking place Friday, Sept. 7 at Ransomville Speedway

credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Supertrooper

Ransomville Speedway and the Jeffery Family are pleased to announce that the 2018 Sid Jeffery Memorial will take place on Friday, Sept. 7. The 2018 edition of the Sid Jeffery Memorial will be held for the Krown Undercoating Modifieds, paying at least $2,000 to win, with close to $3,000 being handed out in lap money and contingencies, making it one of the more lucrative races in the region. The night will also be highlighted by the annual visit by the Super DIRTcar Sportsman Series.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the Atwal Family for allowing us to have this annual race in honor of our father Sid Jeffery,” said Mike Jeffery. “The Atwals have gone above and beyond all expectations to put this race on.”

Jeffery also expressed his appreciation to the staff and management of Ransomville Speedway. “Without the hard work and dedication of Ransomville Speedway and all the staff members, this race wouldn’t be as big as it has become.”

Among the contingencies: a set of doors and quarter panels from Mad Skins Bodies for the Hard Luck recipient; the Halfway Leader award of $200 from Doug and Becky Thompson State Farm Insurance; the Fast Time Award of $100 from Tyler Foster Racing and The Slack Family; the Hard Charger award of $200 from Scott Jeffery Performance; and each heat race winner will receive $100 from Performance Manufacturing and The Slack Family. Lap money for the 40-lap Modified special is over $2,500 and growing.   

Sid Jeffery was well known in the Ransomville community for many years as he helped out quite a few racers over the years including Jim Borget, Mike Jeffery and most recently Greg Martin. Jeffery owned cars in the mid-1980s through the 1990s that won feature races at Genesee Speedway, Tri-County, Perry Raceway, and all three tracks in the Niagara Region with triumphs at Humberstone, Merrittville and Ransomville with Mike Jeffery behind the wheel. While Mike drove for Sid, he earned the 1988 DIRT Rookie of the Year. Current crew chief for Big Block Modified superstar Larry Wight and former crew chief for Billy Decker, Scott Jeffery got his start by turning wrenches on the Mike Jeffery racers. Jeffery came back in 2010 to help Greg Martin with his Sportsman career. The duo won the 2014 Ransomville Speedway Sportsman track championship as well as the RUSH Touring Series Sportsman Championships in 2014 and 2015. Jeffery was always willing to lend a hand to anyone, whether it was a close friend/competitor or someone that he barely knew.

“We are in discussion with a few big-name drivers. Sid's nephew Scott Jeffery has committed to being here. He is an integral part of central New York racing but I'm not sure who exactly he is bringing along to race,” Mike Jeffery said. The Sid Jeffery Memorial will be highly contested by the top 358 Modified drivers in the region and by the Ransomville regulars who look to defend home turf. Find out more at www.ransomvillespeedway.com.

Press release provided by Ransomville Speedway