By Tana Robinson
The biggest news of the 2016 season at Ransomville Speedway was the purchase of the racing facility made by the Atwal family, who became the third owner in the history of the speedway.
The speedway itself saw numerous improvements this past season, including a brand-new, state-of-the-art video board and a new lap counter. Additional demand for VIP seating was met with newly built VIP rooms. Ransomville Speedway also replaced the track surface for both the stock cars and go-karts.
Recapping the 2016 racing season:
•Hometown driver Ryan Susice took home his second consecutive Krown Undercoating of Ransomville 358 Modified championship, grabbing two feature victories. Susice came up through the ranks at Ransomville Speedway, starting in the Thursday night go-kart program. He has also won a Street Stock title and a pair of championships in the Investor's Service Company Sportsman division.
The 358 Modified chase went down to the final points night with Susice getting a fourth-place finish while Pete Bicknell of St. Catharines, Ontario, finished second in the race and in the points.
Kenny Wills of Ransomville and Nick Joy of Lyndonville picked up their first career 358 Modified wins. In all, 21 different drivers picked up weekly track points.
•Matt Farnham of Tonawanda led the youth movement in the Investor's Service Company Sportsman, by winning the division championship. Farnham won three feature events this season, including the season-ending King of the Hill 100.
James Henry of Niagara Falls made a late-season run at Farnham, finishing second in points. Like Susice, Farnham was a champion in the track's go-kart program. Wills of Ransomville and Jesse Cotriss of Medina were third and fourth in points, respectively.
•Nine different drivers won features, including two other drivers in their first season in the class: Austin Susice and Steve Lewis Jr. Nine different drivers won main events.
•Cory Sawyer of Niagara Falls came back to weekly competition in 2016 and won the Ki-Po Chevrolet StreetStock championship. He had also won a championship in 1996.
Sawyer won two feature events this season, while Billy Bleich Jr. won six times and was the early season points leader. Mike Short of Tonawanda was third in points, while Jaren Israel of Wilson was fourth in points and also had six feature wins. The StreetStocks saw a growth in numbers from 2015 with seven different drivers getting feature wins and 18 getting points.
•Cole Susice of Ransomville won the Gippsters Collision Four Banger championship, winning two features and establishing a consistency of finishing in the top five. It was his second season in the Four Bangers. Susice is also a driver who came up through the go-kart ranks.
Ransomville fireman Chad Lederhouse finished second in points with three wins, making a late season charge at Susice for the points. Mike Kramarz of Niagara Falls finished third in points with a single feature victory. Twenty-five different drivers took the green flag this season with 10 different winners in the field.
•Second-generation driver Justin McKay of North Tonawanda moved into the Van Raine Construction Novice Sportsman class after spending the 2015 season in the Gippsters Collision Four Banger class. McKay adjusted to his new surroundings very well, winning the division championship. He won three times in 2016 and went into the final night of points tied with Andrew Spurback of Niagara Falls, who sold his ride a few days before the final points night. Spurback still ended up second in points and also had three victories.
Anthony Muscato of Lockport was third in points with two wins, and Darrell Borkenhagen of Sanborn was fourth in points also with two wins. Garrison Krentz of Tonawanda was fifth in points. Ten different competitors were feature winners here as well.
•The Van Raine Novice Sportsman class has been an excellent starting point for young drivers, with several competitors moving up the ranks over the past two years.
•Pit notes - The 2016 banquet takes place Friday evening, Nov. 11, at the Ransomville firehall. For ticket information, call 716-791-3602.
Keep your eye on the Ransomville Speedway website at www.ransomvillespeedway.com for more news on Ransomville Speedway for the 2017 season, including the schedule.