Multiple times during a typical IHRA Friday night drag racing event at Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, fans will hear the name Ricketson mentioned by the grandstand announcer.
There are two reasons. Three members of the Ricketson family are in competition each week, and the Ricketsons have made winning a habit.
Clay Ricketson, 30, is joined by his younger twin brothers Reid and Ryan, who each turned 28 last week. In 2015 Mod class at the one-eighth mile strip, Reid has amassed four wins while Clay has a hat trick of triumphs with Ryan sporting a single win.
All told, the Ricketson’s have accounted for wins in eight of the 13 Friday night Mod elimination finals this season at Lancaster.
Reid also scored a win in a Nostalgia event at Lancaster as well as a win in the Super Pro class at Empire Dragway in Leicester.
“There is definitely a sibling rivalry between us brothers,” said Reid of Bennington. “But at the end of the day we’re all on the same team. We help each other whenever we can. We often work on our cars over at my parent’s house in Marilla and we generally work on our cars together.”
The brothers are the sons of retired stock car racer Russell Ricketson and the nephews of Holland Motorsports Complex stock car driver Kathie Ricketson, but have taken to straight-line racing instead of making left turns around an oval.
“My father retired from racing before my time,” Reid said. “We are the brothers-in-law of drag racer Dale Eckert, and we grew up watching Dale drag race. He is a great driver. He has had a huge influence on our careers. I just loved the sport of drag racing from the time I started watching Dale race.”
Eckert has been very successful and no one knows it better than his brothers-in-law. Eckert will most likely win his ninth Lancaster Mod season point championship in the last 10 years when Lancaster runs its point finale Oct. 10. Clay has been Eckert’s point teammate for many of those seasons, including 2015, and shares in many of those titles.
“I’ve finished second to Dale and Clay in Mod points at Lancaster the last three years,” said Reid, who drives his First Gear Performance-Differentials and Transmissions-sponsored 1974 Plymouth Duster. “This year I will finish third.”
Reid did better than Eckert in one area of competition. He won Lancaster’s recently completed Summit Super Series, which is awarded to the driver who has the best 30-round win percentage during a designated period. Eckert was second.
Reid will represent Team Lancaster in the Summit Team Finals for Division 3 Northstars in Pittsburgh later this year. He will be pitted against the champions from other drag racing facilities. The winner in Pittsburgh will advance to the Summit Super Series World Finals later this year in Memphis.
In addition his win at Lancaster, Ryan nearly won the Super Pro class championship at Empire. He came into Saturday’s final deadlocked with John Cira Jr. Despite winning several rounds last Saturday, Ryan lost to Ken Iamele. Ryan captured the $1,000-to-win Eighth-Mile Nationals at Empire on July 4 Weekend and had a Super Pro class victory there as well this season.
“That was awesome and a lot of fun winning the Eighth-Mile Nationals,” Ryan said. “I’ve been racing for about seven years now and I got my first career win at Lancaster in 2011. I’ve pretty much been a perennial winner each season. I’ve been able to keep winning at a pretty good clip the last few seasons.”
Ryan also has helped put a few extra dollars into his fellow Mod class competitor’s pockets. He runs the weekly “Last Man Standing” pool, which is not affiliated with the Lancaster program.
“If a driver wants to be in my pool, they pay me $20 on that race night and at the end of the night the driver in the pool who goes the farthest in Mod eliminations wins the pool for that week,” said Ryan, who drives the Nova Glass 1975 Dodge Dart. “The pot is usually somewhere between $300 and $400 a night. I won it once. I think my pool brings some guys to Lancaster each week to race.”
Ryan keeps his car at his home in Delevan and transports it to his parent’s house when the car needs work.
Clay and Eckert most likely will be co-champion teammates at Lancaster this season. They lead the Mod class standings by 50 points. Drivers can join the points as teammates but only one can earn points on a given night.
Eckert has run for the points every week except for one night when he was out of town. Clay made the most of the opportunity, winning the Mod class that night. Eckert is scheduled to be the designated point driver on Oct. 10.
“I’ve run more point nights the last few seasons with Dale, but like other years Dale has done most of the points running,” said Clay, who drives a 1974 Dodge Dart. “This year I ran the point number once and I went seven rounds and won so when I got the chance I did my part to help the cause.”
Clay entered the fray after watching his brothers.
“I started going out to watch Reid race and then Ryan and eventually I started driving about six years ago,” he said. “This is definitely been the best year that my family has had yet at Lancaster. Not many can enjoy a sport with two other brothers and a brother-in law like I can. If Dale and I clinch another Mod championship October 10, that would cap off a great year for all of us.”
Lancaster’s final drag race Oct. 10 is the Pro-Mod-A-Palooza, which will find several Pro Mod cars on the strip along with the final weekly drag classes point battles. For the first time, following the conclusion of the five weekly class point battles that day, the Lancaster class champions will compete in a separate set of eliminations to determine the track’s “Grand Champion” for 2015.
DIRT.car CEO Brian Carter announced Wednesday that Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, which is currently under construction, will be the new home for Super DIRT Week beginning in 2016. Super DIRT Week, which has been staged at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse for the last 44 years, will make its final run at the fairgrounds next week.