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New options rule

Erick Rudolph utilized a new chassis this past Friday night at Ransomville Speedway while James Michael Friesen made a proper decision regarding new rules options as they both scored a victory during the Niagara County sanctioned oval’s 58th season opener.

Both drivers have each scored multiple wins at Ransomville over the last few seasons, including three 358 Modified checkered flags for Rudolph and five in the Sportsman ranks for Friesen during the track’s 2014 campaign.

Rudolph prevailed in the 358 Modified class Friday finishing seven car lengths over veteran Scott Kerwin. Friesen’s dominance up front in the Sportsman 25 Friday was only interrupted by brief caution periods. Once the green flag reemerged, Friesen pulled out to large leads over Jesse Cotriss with Friesen taking the checkered flag nearly a full straightaway ahead of Cotriss.

Rudolph took off from his pole position Friday to basically dominate the 358 Modified 30-lap headlining race. He was pleased.

“We switched over from a Troyer to a Bicknell car this year and we were a little concerned what the handling was going to be like once we switched. We just did what we know best and it seemed to work for us,” said Rudolph.

As for Friesen’s situation, this season and Ransomville officials have adopted new rules package options for the Sportsman class including different tire, wheel and other components. Drivers can also opt to utilize rules that were in place last season.

“This year there’s a lot of different options between the steel wheels and aluminum wheels, Sportsman tires and Modified tires so between all that and then there’s different weights for either, there’s a lot of new options now,” said Friesen.

“I have my theories and you just got to watch the track and decide what options you’re going to go with. I think tonight I nailed it. I’m happy with what I thought about over the winter. It seemed to work out now on this style of track. Next week it might be different or tomorrow night things could be different at another track and a different package could work. Tonight I used steel wheels. A lot of guys over the winter kind of went with a one track mind where I kind of stayed a little more open minded. There’s a lot of experimenting to do right now.”

In the Street Stock ranks Friday at Ransomville, Ken Camidge held Jaren Israel at bay to earn a big victory while Pat O’Keefe in 4-Bangers and Darrell Borkenhagen, Novice Sportsman also claimed checkered flags.

Also visiting Ransomville was Erik Tomas, the media consultant for the proposed Canadian Motor Speedway, the oval/road course major league speedway that is proposed to be built in Fort Erie. Tomas explained the current status of the project and is hopeful for an opening in 2017.

Tomas said there is much more that needs to be accomplished.

“The province seems to think that the track needs to pay 38 million dollars for a four-lane interchange there in an expansion from the existing two but we have a traffic plan that we’re going to present to the MTO in the next few weeks that will convince them that like most other tracks and certainly the Buffalo Bills, you simply get everybody off the highway by turning all the secondary roads in one direction coming in to an event and one direction coming out at the end of the event. But you don’t need to spend extra money on off-site infrastructure.

“We hope to convince them that instead of us having to pay them $38 million for four lanes we can do it with two. Once that’s done, the province will sign off on some work permits and we hope to have those in our hands by the end of summer to get construction equipment back on that land.”

Elsewhere, in another important local racing development a major repaving and repair of some sections of the drag strip and oval will take place Monday through Wednesday at Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway. It is part of the first phase of the facility’s three-year capital improvement plan.