by Dave Roberts
Like many of the young stars that run on a weekly basis at Ransomville Speedway, Billy Coleman has stepped up to the plate and seen success.
Coleman, 24 years of age and another Ransomville-based driver, turned some heads during the 2011 season and hopes that this is the start of something big. Coleman finished second in 2011 points in the very competitive Ransomville Speedway Streetstock class. He was in the hunt for the title right down to the final points night.
"I was very pleased with the way this season has turned out," said Coleman at last Friday night's 2011 Ransomville Speedway banquet. "We were right in the middle of the title up to the end of the season. It was an exciting season."
Things are about to get more interesting. Coleman has announced changes to his 2012 racing program, where he'll jump to the track's Sportsman Division. It's quite a switch from a racecar that's near 1,000 pounds smaller in weight.
"We know that we've got a challenge ahead of us. It already seems really strange. I'm hoping by mid-season next year that we are a consistent top-10 finisher. I'm actually hoping that it happens sooner."
Coleman credits his program to Pippard Automotive owner Bill Pippard, who came on board a year ago and helped Coleman with the improvements needed to help his race team. It's actually Pippard who is putting Coleman in a Sportsman.
"We've been pricing it out all last season looking to what it would cost us. Right now, the Streetstock is for sale. It's full speed ahead," said Coleman. "Pippard offered us a deal with the Sportsman and told us that if we wanted to do it, it would be a go."
Coleman got his first Streetstock near the end of the 2006 season. He competed in the King of the Hill Weekend and the new winners event. In 2008, he won his first two events of his career. In 2009 and 2010, he improved his marks and this past season was one of the best in the division.
His plan starting next season is to run multiple racetracks in order to get seat time.
Coleman grew up at the racetrack watching his cousin Steve Coleman. He was only 12 years of age at the time. He also spent several years helping out fellow Streetstock competitor Webb Nashwinter before getting into a racecar at age 19. "I actually thought about it for three years before beginning to race. I guess it was a good decision."
We at Ransomville Speedway believe so as well.
Helping out with the Billy Coleman effort is dad Tom and mom Maryann. Bill Pippard is also in the pits on Friday night. Other Coleman backers include Scott Sidell, Derek Reid, Jerry Zeanes, Jill O'Hara, Kelly Jordan and Sarah Mercer.