Ransomville Speedway: Comfort wins first-ever King of the Hillby jmaloni
by Tana Robinson
Ransomville Speedway Marketing & PR Director
A total of 126 cars jammed the pit area last Saturday night, Sept. 15, for the annual King of the Hill event. While Mother Nature played the spoiler for the Friday night portion, bright blue skies greeted fans, drivers, and crew on Saturday as Investor's Services presented the King of the Hill twin 100s for the Original Pizza Logs Sportsman and Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstocks, plus a full program of Parts Plus Stock Cars, Bobcat of Buffalo Fireballs, Gippster's Collision 4 Bangers, and a 4/6 cylinder enduro.
Karl Comfort of Dundee, NY captured his first-ever Ransomville Speedway victory last Saturday aboard the 100 lap Investor's Services/Original Pizza Logs Sportsman King of the Hill event. Comfort certainly made it exciting as he moved in to challenge the leader Greg Panunte in the final five laps. As the pair came off turn one looking at the white flag, Panunte ended up with the right side tires in the front stretch moat. Comfort would secure the top spot and go on for the win.
Comfort and crew were certainly all smiles as they enjoyed their first-ever victory lane. Panunte came home in second followed by Panunte, Jesse Cotriss, Justin Sharp and Brad Rouse.
Panunte led the field to the green and would hold the No. 1 spot through lap 14 before giving up the ghost to Greg Martin. Martin would then set the pace with Panunte, giving chase through lap 34 prior to Panunte securing the top spot again on a restart.
Don Spatorico would pull alongside of Panunte on lap 43, giving the fans a great race as the pair ran door handle to door handle through lap 46. Spatorico and Panunte would swap the lead a few times before Spatorico secured the top spot and pulled away from the field.
Just when it appeared that Spatorico had the race well in hand, disaster struck for Spatorico as he came to a stop going into turn three on lap 90. Panunte regained the top spot and maintained it through lap 99 prior to Comfort taking command. Comfort led the final circuit. A few red and yellow flag periods would slow the pace as some 31 entries vied for position.
Mike Short of Tonawanda came into the final weekend of the season looking to end his year on a positive note. Short enjoyed his personal best finish in the point's battle, coming home second to five-time feature winner Alex Morris.
Short would take the lead on lap 13 and hold off persistent challenges by 2012 Merrittville Speedway Hoosier Stock champion Rob Murray for the win. Murray made several bids on the inside, but the top groove would prove to be the better lane as Short maintained the top spot. It was Short's second win of the season that was viewed a success by the entire team as Short enjoyed several top five finishes.
Jesse Johnston would lead the 30-plus starters through the first 11 circuits prior to losing the handle in turn one. Jerry Gradl Jr. led one lap before 2012 second place point finisher Short took over the top spot.
Derrick Borkenhagen, 2011 defending champion, would apply heavy pressure on Short through the middle stages prior to making contact with the turn one wall and thus ending his night. Short would continue to set a fast pace up front with second place runner Murray staying glued to the back bumper. The pair would put on a great show for the fans through the final stages while positions third through fifth were equally entertaining as Pat Dell, Jim Lampman, and Jaren Israel battled for position. At the line it was Short in for the win followed by Murray, Jim Lampman and Israe.
Russ Marsden of Mexico, N.Y., won his second Parts Plus Stock Car event at Ransomville Speedway. The class made its inaugural visit a year ago during the King of the Hill weekend and based on the success of the race, they decided to come back again in 2012. Marsden was the victor in 2011 and backed that up with another win in 2012.
By virtue of the heads up start, Marsden took the lead at the drop of the green and held it the entire twenty-five circuits. Butch Zimmerman applied pressure on a few occasions but had to settle for second followed by Mike Welch, Adam Depuy, and Blaine Smith.
Chris Leone of Niagara Falls, NY captured his second win of the season aboard the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball class. Leone inherited the lead on lap eight after current leader Dick Wilkinson suffered mechanical issues. Leone would keep Marika Morris at bay and collect the win.
Morris came home in second followed by Jim Stone, Steve Matson, and Gary Watier. Stone of Ransomville, enjoyed his second Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball championship. Stone came into the night leading the way in the chase and needed a 12th place finish or better to secure the crown. Stone did just that as he came home in fourth.
Brian Monahan Jr. took top honors for the first time in his career aboard the Gippster's Collision 4 Banger division. A graduate of the Go-Kart ranks, Monahan put an exclamation point on his rookie season by taking the win aboard the 12 lap affair. Monahan crossed the line ahead of Korey O'Keefe, Jeff York, Mike Hossfeld, and Dave Sheehan.
Sheehan was crowned the 2012 champion. Sheehan came into the night leading the point's battle and simply needed to keep second place point man Hossfeld in sight. Sheehan finished one spot behind Hossfeld, giving him his first title of his career.
Brad Shepard of Leroy captured the win in the 4/6 Cylinder 20 lap event.
Investor's Services Summary
Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature Finish
Karl Comfort, Greg Panunte, Jesse Cotriss, Justin Sharp, Brad Rouse, Greg Martin, Mike Williams, Brett Martin, Jim Spano, James Henry, Darrell Farraway, BJ Willard, Sandy Pembeton, Andy Smith, Gordon Hermanson, Ken Washburn, Don Spatorico, AJ Lloyd, Dave Conant, Rob Knapp, Nate Reynolds, Matt Farnham, Tom Keyes, Chris Burek, Allan Wills, James Michael Friesen, Kevin Wills, Tyler MacPherson, Phil Vigneri III, Jim Zimmerman and Sean Letts. Heat winners - Rob Knapp (11 cars), Greg Panunte (10 cars) and Chris Cotriss (10 cars).
Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstock Feature Finish
Mike Short, Rob Murray, Pat Dell, Jim Lampman, Jaren Israel, Kevin Knapp, Mike Greenawalt, Pete Reid, Ryan Stephenson, Jason Smith, Andrew Neiderhoffer, Alex Morris, Webb Nashwinter, Jesse Johnston, Bill Bleich, Gerald Poole, Mike Toovey, Charles Harvey, Sean Letts, Bryce Richardson, Derrick Borkenhagen, Ken Camidge, Jerry Gradl Jr., Rick Washburn, Scott George, Randy Zimmerman, Kyle Wendt, Neil Pafk, Don Hermanson and Brandon Sherwood. Heat winners - Alex Morris (nine cars), Mike Short (10 cars), and Derrick Borkenhagen (10 cars).
Parts Plus Stock Car Feature Finish
Russ Marsden, Butch Zimmerman, Mike Welch, Adam Depuy, Blaine Smith, Scott Smith, Byron DeWitt, Tom Brinser, Steve Austin, Jason Rumsey, Ken Cook Jr., Rick Crago, Steve Pesarek, Stu Barton, Keith Keuer and Mike Childrose. Heat winners - Butch Zimmerman (seven cars) and Russ Marsden (eight cars).
Bobcat Of Buffalo Fireball Feature Finish
Chris Leone, Marika Morris, Jim Stone, Steve Matson, Gary Watier, Dick Wilkinson, Gerry Gipp, Patrick O'Keefe, Jamie Woods, Jim Harrison, Ashley Harbison, Dave Dussault and Brett Rowles. Heat winners - Steve Matson (eight cars) and Chris Leone (seven cars).
Gippster's Collision 4 Banger Feature Finish
Brian Monahan Jr., Korey O'Keefe, Jeff York, Mike Hossfeld, David Sheehan, Mike Pahl, Camille Fuller, Todd Edsall, Austin Susice, Jeff Sonnenburg, Fred Baldwin, Ryan Plante, Wayne Johnson, Matt Foster, Lisa Marie Dussaul and Ed Martin. Heat winners - Jeff York (eight cars) and Mike Pahl (nine cars).