by Tana Robinson
Marketing & PR Director
A total of 91 entries were recorded for the 14th annual Hangover 150. The yearly event at the half-mile Western New York oval officially kicks off the racing season at the Big R.
Celebrating its 57th year of existence, the Friesen-owned facility was a buzz of activity as a full pit area and packed grandstands helped kick off the racing season.
The eight cylinders were first up, sporting a total of 17 entries. Racing notables Tim Phillips, Ryan Susice and Derrick Borkenhagen put on a great show for the fans as they took turns leading laps 3 through 50.
Phillips appeared to have the race well in hand through the middle stages before mechanical woes sidelined him on lap 44 - just six laps shy of the checkered flag.
Borkenhagen was in the right place at the right time and inherited the top spot. He would lead the remaining distance and captured the $500 to win payday. Steve Matson came home in second, followed by Nathan Schmidt.
The six-cylinder main event was next up as 27 cars took the initial green. Steve Matson did double duty racing in both the eight-cylinder and six-cylinder mains. Matson would back up his second-place finish in the eight-cylinder event with a win in the six-cylinder main. Matson dominated the 50-lap main, leading every lap.
Jacob Stefanski finished in the runner-up position, piloting an entry in memory of the late Sean Kott. Austin Herman rounded out the top three.
"That Guy," Mike Kramarz, took top honors in the four-cylinder 50-lap event that concluded the day's activities. Kramarz would take the lead away from defending Gippsters Collision 4 Banger champion on lap 46 after contact was made between the pair. After dominating the majority of the event, Susice had his day come to a conclusion as he was sidelined on the front stretch.
Kramarz went on to take the $500 win. After a torrid points battle during the 2013 racing season, which found Kramarz finish one marker behind Susice for the title, it only seems fitting they would battle for the win in the four-cylinder Hangover event.
Next up on the schedule is the annual membership meeting, slated for Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Lewiston No. 2 Volunteer Fire Co. firehall, 1705 Saunders Settlement Road, Lewiston.
Big Blocks making 2014 return to Big R
Hey race fans, look who's coming back to Ransomville Speedway for the 2014 season.
After an absence of several years, the Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series will make its return to Western New York's famed Big R. The event will take place on the 30th anniversary of the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals, slated for Tuesday, Aug. 5.
The DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds were a part of the weekly program from the start of the Ransomville Speedway facility in 1958 until 1993 when the Friesen family decided to switch to the small block 358 modified motor. Following that, the big block modifieds ran Ransomville Speedway once annually until a few years back when the track concentrated on its headlining 358 Mighty Taco Modified class.
The announcement of the event also aligns Ransomville Speedway with Merrittville Speedway as the two tracks that will once again showcase the modified doubleheader that was so popular when it was started in the early 1970s and continued until the late 2000s.
Merrittville's Bob St. Amand 100 is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4.
The Alex Friesen Summer Nationals will be entering its 30th year. The highly successful show has thrilled race fans and has also been one of the longest-running programs in the northeast.
Ransomville Speedway co-promoter Jamie Friesen has been pondering a change to the Summer Nationals format.
"Hosting an event such as the Summer Nationals on a weekend limits the opportunity for many drivers to attend due to weekly commitments," he said. "Putting it back to a midweek show where it was originally showcased allows our race fans to see the 'who's who' in big block modified racing."
It was the early 1970s when both tracks were owned and promoted by Stan Friesen and Kurt Uhl. Both were St. Catharines, Ontario, businessmen, and Friesen was a top modified racer, as well. Both gentlemen decided to have a two-day program that consisted of twin 100-lap events for the big block modifieds.
"The timing seems right," Friesen said. "We are excited about 2014 and this will certainly be one of the many highlights of the schedule."
The Summer Nationals has had 11 different modified winners in its history, with both Alan and Danny Johnson leading the way with six wins apiece.
In addition to the Summer Nationals, Ransomville Speedway has also announced Wednesday, July 2, will be the date for the fifth annual Battle at the Border.
The 75-lap event for the DIRTcar 358 Modifieds will also be a Super DIRTcar 358 Modified Series event paying $5,000 to win.
Danny Johnson was the winner of the first three events of the series. In 2013, Chad Brachmann interrupted Johnson's dominance while also winning his first career DIRTcar Series event.
The DIRTcar Sportsman Series will also make an appearance on Battle at the Border night. It will be the first of two scheduled 2014 shows as the Sportsman also will run a series event at the Niagara County-based oval in September.
It's going to be an exciting 2014 season at Ransomville Speedway as the schedule is starting to take shape.
Check out www.ransomvillespeedway.com for all up-to-date information.