Earlier this week, the mood around the shops of drivers Chad Brachmann and Jipp Ortiz was somewhat subdued after both encountered bad racing luck in the last few weeks.
Determined to persevere, both camps soldiered on and through their hard work and determination turned their fortunes around by scoring victories this past Friday at Ransomville Speedway.
Brachmann passed both leader Pat Vigneri and Brian Sage simultaneously with superior speed on the outside of Turn Three on lap 15 and went on to score the win in the 30-lap 358 Modified main event. Ortiz took off from his outside pole position start and ran away with the 25-lap Sportsman headliner.
Last Monday, Brachmann suffered major disappointment at Merrittville Speedway. On that night, Brachmann was leading the Super Dirt.Car Series big-block Modified Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial 100 by several car lengths when his progress was stymied by a lapped car on lap 93. Matt Sheppard was able to sneak by on that lap and get the victory.
On Friday however, Brachmann was again strong at Ransomville, rebounding to record his first Ransomville win in nearly two years.
"We worked hard for what we got," said Brachmann. "We had a good car at Merrittville on Monday night. Unfortunately it didn't work out the way we wanted. We went back to the garage and talked about it and regrouped.
"I saw the leaders battling on the bottom and there's a lot more race track out here then just on the bottom so we used the outside and I wasn't waiting for anybody tonight."
With a few weeks left in the Ransomville title chase, Brachmann also has a shot at the 358 Modified point title. Todd Burley, who finished fifth on Friday, and Brachmann both gained ground on leader Pete Bicknell, who placed seventh. Burley now trails Bicknell by a mere eight points and Brachmann is third, 14 back of the lead.
Meanwhile, Ortiz had led the last two Sportsman races run at Ransomville only to come up short. On Friday, Ortiz finally sealed the deal.
"I guess I needed a third time to get the win," he said. "The other two were just dumb stuff happening. You can't point fingers. It just happens. Two weeks ago the radio wouldn't work when I went to go out for the feature.
"I was thrashing around and trying to get the radio changed. I must have turned the fuel off or almost all the way off because it would idle but it wouldn't run. It ran good for a couple laps then it just shut off.
"Last week, we were running good and a car spun and they didn't say yellow flag quick enough for me. I got into Turn One a little too hard. I brushed the wall with the right rear and hooked the bumper and swung the car around, hitting the right front. It flattened the tire and bent the axle."
Ortiz admitted that during the waning laps of this past Friday's race he was wondering if the bad luck gremlins and demons would return to haunt him again.
"My mouth was about as dry as it's been in a long time," Ortiz said. "I was just watching the lap counter and saying, 'Come on baby, let's get this over with.' "
*Several area speedways paid tribute this weekend to Debbie Hoddick, who died Saturday. She is the wife of veteran car owner Trey Hoddick. The Hoddick family has had several members involved in local racing over many years.
*Eden's George Skora III won the 75-lap NASCAR Late Model event Saturday over a banner field of 32 cars at Lake Erie Speedway. NASCAR star Kyle Busch raced in the event and placed fifth.