by Tana Robinson
The 13th annual Hangover 150 took center stage on New Year's Day. A bright chilly day greeted fans, drivers, and crewmembers as a total of 97 cars took to the frozen 1/2-mile oval. A great crowd was on hand - many arriving by snowmobile. You don't see that too often on race day.
The 4 Cylinders were the first to hit the track some 41 strong. Local entry Corey O'Keefe lead the early going through lap four prior to giving way to Cody Hinchey of Churchville. Hinchey continued to lead the way through the midway point with Marty Brzyski giving chase.
O'Keefe now ran third as 21 of the 41 entries were still going strong. As the field neared the end of the event, Hinchey enjoyed about a half a track lead over Brzyski and Anton Anderson. Just when it appeared this was all but final, smoke began to appear under the hood of the Hinchey machine. Hinchey would nurse his ailing entry through the final laps and take the $500 win. Brzyski and Anderson rounded out the top three.
A total of 17 entries signed in for the 8 Cylinder class with veteran Tim Phillips grabbing the early lead. Phillips would maintain the point position through lap five prior to giving way to John Ortiz.
Brother of past "Mr. DIRTcar," ProStock champion Jipp Ortiz, John proved the racing talent ran deep in the family ties. Glen Hils ran second through lap 14, followed by pole sitter and early leader Phillips.
At the midway point, the top three ran nose to tail and were also the only three on the lead lap. Phillips' great run came to an end on lap 26 as mechanical woes disabled the No. 1 machine. Ortiz continued to set the pace through the final laps and took the $500 win. FindItQuick.com Fireball division regulars Pat O'Keefe and Steve Matson rounded out the top three.
The last and final 50-lap main was for the 6 Cylinder division led by pole sitter and defending champion Chad Smelser. Pat O'Keefe would lead the field through the first few circuits prior to Smelser taking over the top spot. Smelser's hopes of making it two in a row were sidelined, as his racer slipped low on the backstretch and became stuck in the snow. Tough break for the Ontario resident, who hoped to make another podium appearance.
Close friends and Ransomville regulars O'Keefe and Matson would swap the lead on a few occasions through the midway point prior to O'Keefe getting spun in turn two. O'Keefe would lose only a lap before righting his mount - he would be scored third.
Matson was in command up front aboard his No. 11 entry. O'Keefe advanced to second in the final laps and reeled in Matson up front. Matson and O'Keefe would run nose to tail with just five laps remaining, keeping it interesting for the fans. Matson went on to keep the edge and take the $500 win.
Next up at the Big R is the annual membership and rules meeting slated for Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Lewiston No. 2 Volunteer Fire Co. firehall, 1705 Saunders Settlement Road, in Lewiston.
For more Big R news, visit http://www.ransomvillespeedway.com.