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Sportsman trio's in championship form

Three local Sportsman class drivers, one on asphalt -- Billy Burd -- and two on dirt -- Ryan Susice and Brian Sage -- emerged as season point champions in their divisions this past weekend.

Each did it in race-winning style.

By winning both his heat race and the 50-lap SST Sportsman main event Saturday at Dunn Tire Raceway Park, Burd overcame a 20-point deficit to pass Andy Jankowiak and earn the championship by seven points, 375-368.

Meanwhile, at Ransomville Speedway on Friday night, Susice battled through heat race carburetor problems and a field of strong entries to win the 25-lap Sportsman feature and with it the 2009 Ransomville Sportsman championship.

Sage won the Sportsman feature race at Genesee Speedway on Saturday to claim his seventh career division championship at the track.

Burd entered the 50-lapper still 14 points down but wrestled the lead from Jerry Gradl Jr. on lap 18 to go on to victory. Jankowiak raced his backup machine to a sixth-place run.

"This has been a really rough day," said Burd, who had four wins at the Lancaster track this season. "I hate point racing. To show up 20 [points] down, we had to have a lot of good luck and Andy some bad luck."

Also at Dunn Tire Raceway Park on Saturday, Tim Garlock started the Street Stock 50 with a 20-point cushion over Mike Nash. Nash won the race but Garlock was able to scamper to fourth place to author his first track title by a scant 504-501 margin.

Sege Fidanza, the Lancaster track's most successful Modified driver, won his 10th Modified title last week. The track ran a limited stock car schedule. That coupled with many rainouts made for a short season.

"Is it a championship with just seven races this season?" Fidanza said. "Yeah, it's a championship but is it really?"

Susice came to Ransomville on Friday night boasting a 30-point edge over Don Spatorico. If Spatorico won Friday's event, Susice still could have claimed the title with a 13th-place-or-better finish. Susice did not play it conservatively, however, as he sped to the checkered flag to claim the win and then began celebrating his championship.

The night did not come without a major mechanical scare for Susice. His car seemed to perform well early in Friday's heat race, but suddenly trouble hit the team.

"In the heat race I went in the corner and the car was dying real bad," Susice said. "I went to pull off the track and the car shut completely off. I didn't know if we screwed something up or we knocked a plug wire off.

"I got out of the car screaming that we got to get my other car. But we changed carburetors and it seemed everything was fine. I owe it all to my dad [Roy] and all the guys."

Susice amassed an impressive six wins this season at Ransomville en route to the title, which came in only his sophomore season in the Sportsman class after moving up from Street Stocks last year.

"I did not expect the season that we had," Susice said. "My dad and I spent all our money that we got from our sponsors at the beginning of the season and bought a lot of shocks and everything. Last year we didn't have any of that stuff. It really helped us pick up our game."

For good measure, Susice also clinched the Canandaigua Speedway season championship Saturday night.

Todd Burley got tangled up in a crash Friday night but just by starting the 50-lap 358 Modified event Friday at Ransomville, he won his third class title in the last four years.

"Up until August we had a flawless season going and the last three out of five weeks we got caught up in someone else's mess," said Burley, who fashioned five Ransomville victories this season.

Elsewhere, Holland champions crowned Saturday were: Justin Shepker, NASCAR SST Modifieds; Eldon King III, LAMOT Late Models; Dave Krawczyk, NASCAR Chargers; Nik Welshans, Pro Fours; Eric Brown, Hornets; Samantha Lutz, Queen Bees and Mike Eckam, Figure-8.



>Victory Lane / Weekend's winners

Dunn Tire Raceway Park

Quick 16: Rick Thurnherr
Top ET: George Pease
Mod ET: Joe Skok
Sleds/Bikes: Rob Brandel
Street: Steve Peloza
SST Sportsman: Billy Burd
Street Stocks: Tim Garlock
4-Cylinder: Tim Durfy
TQ Midget: Rich Watkins

Holland Speedway

LAMOT Late Models:
Eldon King III
NASCAR/SST Sportsman:
Amy Catalano
NASCAR Chargers:
Dave Krawczyk
Pro Fours: Nik Welshans
Hornets: Eric Brown
Queen Bees: Sylvia Miszczak
Figure 8: Jesse Baker

Ransomville Speedway

358 Modifieds: Pete Bicknell
Sportsman: Ryan Susice
Street Stocks: Don Rappleyea,
Derrick Borkenhagen
Firehall Enduro:
Jamie O'Donnell

Genesee Speedway

Sportsman: Brian Sage
Late Models: Jon Rivers
Sprint Cars: T.J. Newton
Street Stocks: Josh Smallidge
Mini Stocks: Val Stephens
Micro Sprints:
Dave Ferguson

Arcade International

FASTRAK Late Models:
Tom Kemp
E-Mods: Justin Tatlow
Street Stocks: Dan Giboo
4-Cylinder: Levi Watson
Pure Stocks: John Ellwood

Stateline Speedway

Super Late Models:
Doug Eck
E-Mods: Rich Michael Jr.
Outlaw Cadets: Mike Moore
Super Sportsman:
Ben Burgess Jr.

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