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Potters and Martins renew close ties

History for the motorsports Potter and Martin families, has repeated itself. Their close association on and off the track, which started many years ago, continues at Ransomville Speedway.

The families reunited this season in the two-car DIRT.car Sportsman team of Martin Motorsports. They continue to seek the checkered flag just as members of their families had at Ransomville in prior generations.

Brett Martin, 23, of Burt drives the Stedman Nursery 2007 Bicknell Sportsman entry. Veteran Mark Potter, 42, of Lockport pilots the team's AAA Tax Service 2005 Bicknell machine. The team is owned by Brett's father, Mike Martin Jr. of Wrights Corners.

The team got a big boost last Friday night when Potter won the DIRT.car Sportsman feature race at Ransomville.

"It's like we're all starting all over again," proclaimed Potter. "Many years ago Brett's grandfather, Mike Martin Sr., helped my dad, Dennis Potter when he was racing and then when I raced Sportsman several years ago, Mike Martin Jr., helped me. Now I'm with Martin Motorsports this season, so we've come full circle.

"We've been suffering with overheating and suspension problems this season but a few weeks ago we got our motor problems figured out and more recently we got a handle on our torsion bar suspension issues.

"I started on the pole last Friday with Brett also on the front row. He led the first few laps, then I got underneath him for the lead. I eventually had to hold off Nate Reynolds for the win but it felt so good to win."

Mark Potter began his Sportsman driving career at Ransomville in 1991 and raced on a regular basis through 2006. During that, Potter amassed 21 feature wins including 19 at Ransomville, and one apiece at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and Perry Speedway. Last Friday's win was his first at Ransomville since July, 2005.

Following the 2006 season, Potter raced sporadically for various reasons.

"I was building a house and needed a lot of money for that and also Ransomville was introducing the new crate style engines and I wasn't sure what I thought about the whole deal," said Potter.

Potter raced for about two-thirds of the 2007 season in a Sportsman car owned by Ken Banker and raced a handful of times the next two seasons in a entry fielded by the Schumacher family.

Meanwhile, the Martins were undergoing race career changes of their own. The Martins were long-time supporters of the DIRT Pro Stock class, which many tracks began to drop mainly due to high expense.

The Martins remained loyal to the class until two years ago when Brett sold his Pro Stock car and purchased a Sportsman car. He raced as a rookie in the Sportsman class last season.

Mike Martin Jr. was still racing in the Pro Stocks last season but when Genesee Speedway closed last fall, the elder Martin realized he needed to go down a different path.

"We really didn't want to leave the Pro Stocks but over time they sort of left us," recalled Brett. "We enjoyed our years in the class but with the closest track that runs them now in Cornwall, Ont., we had to go a different way."

Then Potter got a most important phone call.

"Last fall I got a call from Mike and he wanted to know that if he sold his Pro Stock car and got a second Sportsman car, would I be interested in driving it," said Potter.

"I said sure. But I didn't know what would happen. For example, what if Mike couldn't sell his car? About a month later, I got another call from Mike with the news that he sold the car and we got together for this season.

"This is so neat because so many members of our families have known each other for over 40 years," said Potter. "My job is to try to be fast, win races and be a mentor to the team to teach Brett about how these cars are set up. Brett is a good driver but his experience came in a different type of car."

Brett Martin agrees that the marriage of their talents is great.

"I am learning how to drive the Sportsman car but when it comes to set-ups, the learning curve is tough. That's where Mark comes in. With his experience he can work with us to get me where I want to be. I guess we're going back to where it all started with our families so many years ago.

"My father is supporting both of us in a big way and I know that Mark and I are grateful to him. I hope my second year will produce a few better results. Either way, I know we'll have fun."

"You know, I want to thank Mike Jr., and his wife Jennifer for giving me the chance to drive for Martin Motorsports," said Potter. "Sometimes in racing it's the little things that you learn over the years and the more simple stuff that makes all the difference. When I started I learned from others who had experience and now this new team will learn together."

***

Three for road

Three large events happen over the next three days. The World of Outlaws Late Model Series visits Merrittville Speedway tonight at 7. The Patriot Sprint Cars pay a visit to Ransomville at 7:15 p.m. Friday. The Sunoco Race of Champions (ROC) Modified Tour races at Dunn Tire Raceway Park in a 75-lapper at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

e-mail: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

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