RPW Column: Albany-Saratoga’s 4-Cylinder Dual Cam Champ Jaxson Ryan’s Looking For More In ’22

Column By: BRETT HORLACHER / RPW – BALLSTON SPA, NY – The 2021 4-Cylinder Dual-Cam Track Champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Jaxson Ryan, will be moving up in 2022. However, for now, he’ll be keeping fenders on his car.

“Were moving up to Pro Stocks,” Steve Ryan, Jaxson’s father said with a smile.

The proud papa, and multi-time track champion in his own right, was smiling ear-to-ear as I interviewed Jaxson next to an already stripped Stone chassis in the family’s shop in Ballston Spa, NY.

“This is where it all began,” Steve noted, as he recounted the first of his ‘Pro-Built’ racing cages that was created on the same jack stands holding the new-to-them pro stock chassis.

For those who have called Albany-Saratoga home on Friday evenings, you’ve no-doubt noticed the fleet of green Pro-Built 4-Cylinder cars making their way onto the track. Those cars were also usually the first to the stripe when it counted.

The strong and well-built cages, fabricated by Steve and his brother Will, are still in use in many cars today. Many drivers, including myself, can attest to their durability and safety.

Wanting to pass-on the skills needed to fabricate materials of such a high caliber is the foundation of the Ryan family. Jaxson, a three-year veteran in the 4-Cylinder division, is fully enrolled in Ballston Spa High School’s vocational programs. The Junior is well on his way to being the technical and fabrication expert that his father is.

When asked about how he likes to work with not only cars but fabrication equipment, you could tell the younger Ryan shared his father’s enthusiasm.

“There’s something about turning a regular piece of steel into something strong and useful that I just love,” Jaxson said.

The Ryan family isn’t making the jump to Pro Stock on their own however. They are teaming up with a former competitor, but always a close friend, Phil Defiglio, and his team at Sinister Metal in Ballston Spa. Phil’s the owner of Michael’s Automotive and a long-time 4-cylinder competitor (and champion) at both the Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley Speedway. Not only that, he’s chomping at the bit to get back in the game.

However this time, he’s doing it as an owner, and wants to see Jaxson compete on the track with several of the seasoned veterans of the Pro Stock division.

“The common DIRTcar rules for Pro Stocks means that we can build a quality car and can race it at many other tracks,” Defiglio said. “Once we get the car right, and he [Jaxson] gets some seat time, we’re going to chase some tour races.”

The elder Ryan also reiterated those statements.

“We’re definitely planning to hit Super DIRT Week and maybe even Charlotte in ’22,” Steve said.

When I sat down with Jaxson, my first question was why he wanted to embark on a different and tougher path. The answer the 16-year-old gave me was unexpected, yet seasoned.

“I want to be challenged,” Jaxson said. “The 4-Cylinders don’t race weekly and with the rules packages, we are locked into just local tracks. I want to see how we stack up against some really veteran racers and I know it won’t be easy.”

Jaxson is no doubt heading into the off-season with one goal in mind. With the help of his Champion Owner and Champion Father, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that this newly minted 4-Cylinder Champion and four-time Karting Champ won’t have a shot to make a big splash on the Pro Stock scene.

Not wanting to let the opportunity for thanks and recognition pass them by, everyone at Sinister Motorsports would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to their partners at Michael’s Automotive, Sinister Fabrication, Saratoga Honda, Pro-Built Racing Cages, as well as the team and their families for all of the support over the years.

For anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities, please feel free to reach out to Phil and / or Steve.

 
 
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