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Sixt set for season opener at Little Valley Speedway

Adam Sixt says that the half-mile, paper-clip shaped dirt track at Little Valley Speedway is both the fastest and the slowest area race track at which he competes.

How can that be? According to Sixt, it is because of Little Valley’s unique shape.

The speedway, which is located on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, features long straightaways and tight, sharp corners. It is a dirt track version of the famous Martinsville (Va.) Speedway that the NASCAR Cup Series has raced on for years. Little Valley opens its special-events-only season on Sunday.

“Yeah, Little Valley is unique,” said Sixt, 25, of Chaffee. “Those straightaways at Little Valley are so long, the longest in area racing, so you get a lot of speed up going down them. But then you have to slow up a lot to not overshoot the turns, and they are so tight that I actually go through the turns at Little Valley slower than I do when I race in the turns at the smaller Humberstone Speedway.”

Humberstone is a one-third mile dirt oval located in Port Colborne, Ont., where Sixt competes on Sunday nights. He also races weekly at Freedom Motorsports Park on Friday evenings.

Sixt is progressing as he enters his sixth season of Crate Late Model competition. He began his 13-year race driving career in the Mini-Stocks and then Street Stocks before moving to the Crate Late Models in 2010.

“I think I’m learning pretty good,” Sixt said. “I’m communicating better with my team and I’m taking things more seriously as I get more time and money invested in the sport.”

While in the Street Stocks, Sixt captured the 2008 championship at McKean County Raceway in Pennsylvania. He also has two Street Stock victories to his credit at Little Valley.

“I had a good Street Stock career but I wanted to bump up out of Street Stocks to a higher division,” he said. “And after we looked at everything, the Crate Late Models were the most affordable for us.

“Plus, Ed Carley had a crate car for sale at the time so I bought it. While the price is different depending on what people put in their cars, you can get a good Crate Late Model car, engine and a set of new tires for a combined average of $20,000. That’s way cheaper than Super Late Models.”

On June 5, Freedom will run the Ron Baker Memorial in honor of the retired local racing standout who died Dec. 9 at age 78. Baker was highly respected in the sport, having won numerous races over more than 50 years. He was popular with fans and competitors alike.

“I saw Ron at the tracks and he always was smiling and said hello,” Sixt said. “Everybody knew him and he is a true legend of the sport. I think it was great that after he retired he still continued to own a race car.”

The Baker Memorial is part of the RUSH DIRT Late Model Series in which Sixt competes.

Sixt’s father and former racer Bob Sixt serves as the team’s crew chief, with Dan King also part of the team. Sixt Lumber, Diamond Saw Works and Tidd’s Towing help pay the bills for the team’s 2013 Rocket Chassis car that sports a Bill Campbell-constructed engine. Adam owns the car.

“While I won some races at Little Valley in the Street Stocks, I’ve only been able to grab a couple of top-fives there in the Crate Late Models so I’m hoping to get a better result at Little Valley this season,” he said.

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The area racing community is mourning the death of long-time area sponsor “Buffalo” Bob Hasenoehrl, who died May 16 after a long battle with cancer. Through his business, Ranger Transportation, Hasenoehrl made it possible for area drivers, most notably Mike Fiebelkorn Sr., to compete at area tracks such as Holland and Lancaster.

“He sponsored me when I was in the Challengers, Limited Modifieds and Late Models,” Fiebelkorn said. “He was very good about giving me the money that I needed to race. He helped me out a ton in many ways.

“Bob sponsored me for many years and I couldn’t have done it without him. He was a great guy who helped other drivers, too.”

“Bob was a great supporter of our race programs here at Holland and I am saddened by his passing,” said Holland General Manager Tim Bennett. “Local auto racing is sure in a better place because of Bob. He will be missed.”

As for the season, Bennett sees good things for the Holland campaign that gets underway on Saturday.

“We had increased car counts and fan attendance in 2014 and we start this season with a lot of momentum,” he said. “Sponsorship here is up and we have two new divisions that we picked up, the Legends and the E-Mods, due to Lake Erie Speedway not hosting racing this season. Everything starts this Saturday and we’ll see how the 2015 season goes.”

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com