Column By: BROOKE JOHNPIER / RPW – RANSOMVILLE, NY – The night started off late for me as I arrived at the track at 5:30 instead of 4:30.
As soon as we pulled in, my dad and I tailgated and not ten minutes after we started I got recognized.
I was given a sticker for a locally run Facebook group (716 Stock Car Racers) for my efforts to support the sport. It’s the little things like that that make these articles worth it, and also just make your day.
The sticker is now proudly displayed on the computer that this article is being typed on.
Anyway, the gates opened before I knew it, and dad and I got our tickets. We went in, got our seats and headed down to the concession stands where we got a ton of food. Then, we went back up and ate while we waited for Hot Laps to start.
From the beginning of the racing action, the night was jam-packed. Hot Laps were filled with action, and I was cheering heavily although it wasn’t even a main event. After the Hot Laps were done, they had the kids rides. Each kid that came through the gate was given a wristband that granted them access to be able to ride in either a Mini Stock or a Streetstock car for one lap around the track. Unfortunately, I never took part in the kids rides when I was younger. I was too shy and couldn’t bring myself to talk to a stranger for that long. But now, I get to see the other kids doing it, and I smile. It brings me joy knowing that the sport is growing and not failing.
After the kids rides was the opening ceremonies; the invocation, and the two countries’ anthems. Once those were done, the Heat races began.
I can’t remember the order of the Heats, but I can tell you who won and what briefly happened. When the Modifieds came out, the first winner was someone who I didn’t expect to win at all. In fact, I don’t believe he’s won anything at Ransomville this year at all. Scott Kerwin started on the pole for the first Modified Heat, and would end up keeping that position until the end of the eight lap race. Noah Walker would do the same thing in the second Heat.
For the Sportsman Heats, there were three of them. During all three races there was some serious action. Slidejobs, bumping, and places being swapped ended up with Nelson Mason, Cody McPherson and Brett Senek taking home the title of Heat race winner. The Streetstock and Mini Stock races also had three Heats. All of these were as jam-packed as the “big dogs”. In fact, Anthony Muscato’s car started on fire during the first few laps when he went in the pits. Luckily, he was okay, and the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Company was right there, but that’s still some insane action for a Heat race. The winners for the Streetstock races were Josh Pangrazio, Shane Wolf Jr., and John Zimmerman. The winners for the Mini Stock race were Curtis Rung, Brad Whiteside, and Rocco Conte.
Finally, for the Novice Sportsman race, there were two races. The one race had a lot of action, mainly with Mr. Larry Vick. Mr. Vick would tag the wall and keep going, or he would spin out and get a caution thrown. Either way it was pretty exciting, and he kept the car going, which is all that matters. The winners of the Heats were Kyle Teeter, and Mike Kramarz. Kyle is in the same boat as Scott Kerwin with the fact that he hasn’t won anything at all at Ransomville (or so I think).
Intermission came, and the drivers for the Blake Chaffee Memorial Race walked over to the grandstands to sign foam footballs for any fan that wanted one. Unfortunately, I had to walk away at this point in time because I was freezing and I had foolishly left my hoodie at home. So I walked down to the novelty booth and got myself a hoodie. It is a bit too small, so if you’re looking to buy a zip-up hoodie, go a size bigger. But besides that, I was cozy and warm for the rest of the night. I guess that’s all that matters. During that time, my dad and I got talking to an old racer and a lady who was at Ransomville for the first time. Long story short we got back to our seats a lap into the Novice Sportsman feature. Luckily, as soon as we sat down, a caution hit.
The Novice race was filled with action from Larry Vick and others. Same as the other races: slidejobs, bumping, and just plain ol’ dirt track racing. The winner of the Novice race would be Mr. DJ Rosinski. Immediately after the Novice race, the Streetstocks came out. Their race was thirty laps long, and there was nineteen of them. It was the Empire Street Stock Series race, and it was one thousand dollars to win. Everyone was gunning in this race. Positions swapped multiple times, and there was some pretty tough competition. But in the end, Josh Pangrazio was victorious.
Next up was Sportsman. Their race was twenty five laps long, and there was also some great action throughout the whole race. Nelson Mason ended up moving up a few positions, and would hold first for about a lap. A caution hit immediately after, and once the green flag was thrown, Cody McPherson took the lead and walked it all the way home.
After that was the big race of the night: the Blake Chaffee Memorial Race. There were a ton of drivers on hand for this special occasion, and although there were a lot of cautions throughout, the race was still amazing. The action was unbelievable, and the #10 car was the victor. Due to some miscommunication, I was led to believe that the winner was James Gayton. It was his car, and the announcer said it was James. But as my dad and I were walking out of the stands to head over to the pits, we heard that it was actually Dante Mancuso who had won the race from dead last.
Finally, the Modifieds came out. Throughout the whole race, Gary Lindberg led the pack. Obviously, he was the winner. But the race itself was crazy. The entire race had a good battle going between Chad Brachmann and Mat Williamson, although Mat would end up taking Chad near the end. Another good battle was going on between Brad Rouse and Pete Bicknell. And as you can clearly understand, the rest of the field was the same way.
After the races, dad and I went over to the pits. We visited Chad Brachmann and Dante Mancuso, and then we went to the truck to head home.
If you’re reading this and haven’t come to Ransomville yet, please do so. I promise you that you won’t regret it, and that you’ll get to see some amazing racing action. If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday night, come on out. I look forward to seeing you all there.
Until next time!