Barnes, Short and O'Keefe also collect wins
Despite Mother Nature's best efforts - Ransomville Speedway pulled off its races Tuesday night for the third annual "Battle at the Border." Presented by Waste Management and Gater Racing News, the event proved to be action packed for the 2,200 in attendance. As has been the norm on Fridays this season, close to 100 cars filled the pit area for this mid-week special.
Danny Johnson of Rochester took top honors aboard the Mighty Taco/DIRTcar 358 Modified 75-lap main. Johnson threaded the needle on lap 18 splitting the likes of leader Ryan Susice and Chad Brachmann. The trio brought the fans to their feet as they came off turn two dicing for the point position. Johnson would solidify his claim to the top spot and quickly pull away from the field. Piloting his Waste Management / Page Transportation sponsored No. 27j, Johnson defended his two prior Battle at the Border wins with a third - the only driver to win to date in the highly coveted affair. Johnson also made the nights sponsor - Waste Management very happy as some 75 VIP's celebrated via the Bud Towers.
"Mr. Smallblock," Pete Bicknell, enjoyed his best finish of the season coming home in second. A recent induction to the DIRTcar Hall of Fame, Bicknell gave chase on Johnson in the middle stages getting a wheel underneath on a few occasions. A late race caution bunched up the field giving Bicknell one last shot. Bicknell was able to take a look to the inside but would have to settle for second though as time ran out for the 42b. Stewart Friesen made a rare appearance at his family-owned oval and enjoyed a great third place finish aboard the second BCL Racing-owned 7f. Brachmann continued his great 2012 season with a fourth place. Todd Burley's difficult season continued as motor woes during qualifying side-lined his 89b. Burley would borrow the No. 22 entry of Chuck Hossfeld and bring it home to a top five finish.
Rookie contender Don Barnes of Alabama, N.Y., was victorious for the first time aboard a Sportsman entry last Friday night aboard the 25-lap Original Pizza Logs Sportsman main. Barnes took the lead away from Dave Conant on lap six and held the remaining distance aboard his Ken Banker owned Hydro Fabrication Inc.-sponsored machine. James Henry finished in the runner up position aboard his Norampac/NMCC sponsored No. 21 entry. Current points leader Don Spatorico enjoyed a third place finish followed by Jesse Cotriss and Tyler McPherson.
Mike Short of North Tonawanda captured his first feature of the season aboard the Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstock main event. Short took the lead away from Jaren Israel on lap 10 and then held off persistent challenges from Webb Nashwinter and Alex Morris for the victory in the 20-lap stint. Piloting his No. 19s machine, Short turned around a difficult season to date and is looking forward to the remainder of the 2012 effort with a returned confidence. Nashwinter held on for second followed by Morris, Jake Stefanski, and Tim Hall. Morris extended his points lead over fellow competitor Jaren Israel with his third place finish. Israel had his night go south as his rear axle broke while leading resulting in the loss of both tires. Great driving by Israel as he managed to keep it off the retaining wall minimizing the damage.
Pat O'Keefe of Youngstown took top honors for the second time in as many efforts aboard the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball feature main. O'Keefe took the lead away from good friend Steve Matson on a lap five restart and never looked back. Driving his No. 77 machine, O'Keefe thanked Matson for the borrowed motor which aided him to victory. Matson came home in second followed by Marika Morris, Jim Stone and Jim Harbison. Stone continues to lead the way aboard the points battle followed by defending Gippster's Collision 4 Banger champion Marika Morris. Harbison came from a last row starting position to finish in the top five.
Waste Management/Gater Racing News Summary:
Mighty Taco/DIRTcar 358 Modified Series Feature Finish - Danny Johnson, Pete Bicknell, Stewart Friesen, Chad Brachmann, Todd Burley, Ryan Susice, Pat Ward, Robbie Krull, Rich Vinson, Mat Williamson, Alan Johnson, Dale Planck, Tommy Flannigan, Jeff McGinnis, Ricky Richner, Justin Wright, Matt Billings, Randy Chrysler, Brian Sage, Shane Pecore, Carey Terrance, Travis Braun, Phil Vigneri, Erick Rudolph, Mark D'ilario, Anthony Rizzardo, Sam Crogan, Scott Kerwin, Scott Just, and Dave Just. Heat Winners - Travis Braun, Ryan Susice, Mat Williamson and Pete Bicknell. B-Mains - Dale Planck and Ricky Richner.
Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature Finish - Don Barnes, James Henry, Don Spatorico, Jesse Cotriss, Tyler McPherson, Brandon Easey, Dave Conant, Cody McPherson, Scott Krull, Kevin Wills, Adam Hilton, Billy Coleman, Mike Williams, Sandy Pembleton, Greg Martin, Brett Martin, Andy Smith, Mark Potter, Matt Farnham, Jim Zimmerman, Justin Sharp, Nate Reynolds, Jipp Ortiz and Chris Burek. Heat Winners - Jipp Ortiz, Billy Coleman and Jesse Cotriss.
Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstock Feature Finish - Mike Short, Webb Nashwinter, Alex Morris, Jake Stefanski, Tim Hall, Jesse Johnston, Charles Harvey, Neil Pafk, Randy Zimmerman, Cliff Brucker, Ryan Stephenson, Mike Greenawalt, Jason Meyer, Donald Hermanson, Jaren Israel, Chad Livermore, Pat Dell, Derrick Borkenhagen and Brandon Sherwoo. Heat Winners - Jesse Johnston and Jason Meyer.
Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball Feature Finish - Patrick O'Keefe, Steve Matson, Marika Morris, Jim Stone, Jim Harbison, Dick Wilkinson, Chris Leone, Ashley Harbison, Anthony Hermanson, Jamie Woods, Zack Sam, Chris Lederhouse, Dave Dussault and Gary Watier.Heat Winners - Steve Matson and Zack Sam.