by Tana Robinson
Marketing and PR director
A total of 222 guests and staff gathered last Friday night to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2012 stock car season at Ransomville Speedway. The top 15 in the Mighty Taco Modifieds, Original Pizza Logs Sportsman and Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstocks were honored in addition to the top five in Bobcat of Buffalo Fireballs and top three in Gippster's Collision 4 Bangers.
Pete Bicknell of St. Catharines, Ontario, collected his 12th Modified title this season at the Big R. For his astounding record at Ransomville Speedway, Bicknell was awarded the highly coveted Driver of the Year for 2012. Bicknell and fellow competitor and defending champion Chad Brachmann came into the final event tied. The speedway could not have scripted the final Modified event any better. A race within a race kept fans on the edges of their seats as Bicknell and Brachmann battled tooth and nail through the entire 50 laps - usually within one position of the other. When the checkered flew, it would be Bicknell taking the crown and Brachmann backing up his title run of 2011 with a second place finish. Asphalt standout Erick Rudolph made a name for himself in the dirt ranks as he earned a third place points finish in his first full season of competition at the Big R.
Don Spatorico earned back-to-back championships aboard the Original Pizza Logs Sportsman ranks. Spatorico may have only won one feature event in 2012, but it was his consistent top five finishes that earned him the title. The 2012 crown is Spatorico's third in the division with the other two coming in 2011 and 2008. Jesse Cotriss claimed a total of three wins in 2012 earning him the runner-up position in the points chase. James Henry's very consistent season kept him in the points chase much of the year, earning him the third place finish.
Domination would be the only word to describe Alex Morris' season in the Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstock class. With a total of six victories to aid him, Morris would win the points chase by a total of 55 markers over second place finisher Mike Short. Morris was all smiles and perhaps the life of the party as he received his championship plaque.
Short earned his best points finish of his career, coming home in second. With consistency proving to be the key for 2012, Short also had a very consistent season and earned two wins - the final coming in the annual King of the Hill 100. Derrick Borkenhagen backed up his championship season of 2011 with a third place finish. Borkenhagen suffered some ill luck early in the year but turned it around in the late going.
The Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball title went to Jim Stone of Ransomville. Stone represents the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Company. It's a unique setup the Big R presents to the Fireball entries, giving the opportunity to race for free to earn points for the fire company of their choice. By virtue of his championship Stone earned a donation for his fire company, compliments of Bobcat of Buffalo who donated a total of $1,000 to be divided amongst the top five point finishers. Chris Leone was in the hunt for the title much of the season and came home in second. Marika Morris defended her 2011 Gippster's Collision 4 Banger title with a third place finish in the Bobcat of Buffalo Fireball class.
Dave Sheehan of Grand Island earned his first championship in the Gippster's Collision 4 Banger class. Sheehan enjoyed one victory in 2012 taking the title by just 16 markers over Mike Hossfeld. Hossfeld led the points much of the season, but some bad luck late in the season allowed Sheehan to take the lead and maintain it in the final weeks. Ryan Plante enjoyed his best career points finish, coming home in third.
•Original Pizza Logs Most Popular Driver Awards: Mighty Taco Modifieds - Jeff McGinnis; Original Pizza Logs Sportsman - Jesse Cotriss; Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstocks - Derrick Borkenhagen; Bobcat of Buffalo Fireballs - Gary Watier Jr.; and Gippster's Collision 4 Bangers - Jose Torres.
•Most Improved Awards: Mighty Taco Modifieds - Rich Vinson; Original Pizza Logs Sportsman - Mike Williams; and Ki-Po Chevrolet Streetstocks - Jesse Johnston.