Through the years, Ransomville Speedway has been a proving ground where many talented dirt track drivers (Merv Treichler, Gary Iulg and Charlie Rudolph, and current DIRT series talents Scott George and Randy Chrysler) have gone on to prominence in DIRT Motorsports competition.
Stewart Friesen of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. and Chad Brachmann of Wheatfield are the latest after being named to the inaugural "Elite 11" of the new DIRT Motorsports. Both are driving for high profile DIRT Modified teams.
Last August, the old DIRT Motorsports sanctioning organization, which was based in Weedsport, was sold to Boundless Motorsports Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colo. Boundless had already purchased the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and formed the new World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
Boundless formed the "Mean 15" in the WOO Sprints and the "Dirty Dozen" in the WOO Late Models. These drivers agreed to attend every race on their respective series schedule. Fans would be guaranteed seeing these top series drivers at each event.
In that same mold, Boundless formed the "Elite 11" last month for the Advance Auto Parts Modified SuperDIRT Series. In addition to Friesen, 21, and Brachmann, 30, others from the Northeast who comprise the "Elite 11" are Brett Hearn, 46; Vic Coffey, 33; Danny Johnson, 45; Billy Decker, 40; Tim Fuller, 37; Steve Paine, 44; Pat Ward, 48; Gary Tomkins, 39; and Matt Sheppard, 22.
"This format has found success in the other series," said Boundless chief executive Bobby Hartslief. "For the drivers, sponsors, promoters and race fans it's very difficult to put together a better package."
The Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series, which features big-block DIRT Modifieds, opens May 1 at the Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y.
Friesen, who drives for the Madsen Motorsports team of Spencertown, is the youngest member of the "Elite 11".
"To be part of this group is the biggest thing to happen to me in my career," said Friesen, a junior at Windsor (Ont.) University.
Friesen raced TQ Midgets starting at age 14 and then joined the DIRT Sportsman ranks at his family-owned Ransomville Speedway in 2000. In 2003, he got a shot at driving the Dan Miller DIRT 358 Modified and finished third in Ransomville's biggest 358 event of the year, the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals. He was recruited by the Mike and Lisa Maroney team to pilot its 358 car and won two races at Ransomville in late 2003.
Last season, he was tabbed to drive the Madsen car in DIRT 358 competition. He posted eight feature wins at Utica-Rome Speedway and won the track title. He also won Turning Stone Casino DIRT 358 Modified Super DIRT Series races.
Friesen will race weekly at Canandaigua Speedway on Saturdays and Cayuga County Speedway on Sundays and in specials at Rolling Wheels. He hopes to make a cameo appearance at Ransomville.
Brachmann drives for H&H Motorsports. The overall 2001 Mr. DIRT Sportsman champion, he joined the big block DIRT Modified ranks with H&H last September after fielding his own effort in 2004, finishing 11th in Advance series points.
"I know that there are some skeptics out there who are not sold on the new DIRT Motorsports group but I am willing to trust them for this first year and see what happens," Brachmann said.
"I believe that with the good purse and united nature of the drivers in this series that it is the place to be and where our sport will grow."
Brachmann likes the fact that DIRT Motorsports is also allowing each member of the "Elite 11" to get five free pit passes to each of the 25 series races. With the average pit pass costing between $25 to $30 per crew member, the savings to the teams will add up.
He will race weekly at Canandaigua and specials at Rolling Wheels but will continue to field his own DIRT 358 Modified at Ransomville each week.