From Rich Vleck
ROCHESTER, NY — (May 23, 2011) — Not since Independence Weekend 2005 has the Patriot Sprints run three full shows on consecutive nights, but the series is primed for a Memorial Weekend Trifecta at some of the most familiar stops on the circuit.
The Patriot Sprint Tour (PST) attacks the first Holiday Weekend of the 2011 racing season this weekend with stops at Ransomville, Stateline and Eriez Speedways. The three facilities are the fourth through sixth most visited tracks in Patriot history, with each hosting an event in the inaugural season of 2003 as well as in 2010.
Bryan Howland and Jared Zimbardi, the top two in Patriot points the last three seasons, have won at each of the three tracks and will be ready for go for their first win of the season, if not their first two.
Friday Night’s stop at the Ransomville Speedway will be the first full points race in the 2011 A-Verdi Storage Containers King of Upstate New York Series. Mother Nature’s schedule restructuring has also made this event the first A-Verdi Sprint Night at the Races Event of the season.
“The Big R” has been a staple on Patriot Schedules for many years, and this season moves its sprint race to the unofficial kickoff point of the summer. The 4/10-mile challenge, like many Northeast facilities, has struggled in a bout with Mother Nature this season, which will make this Friday’s event hopefully their first complete event of the racing season. Expect the Niagara Frontier’s race-hungry fans to come out in droves for this showcase event.
Chuck Hebing, who claimed the PST regular season opener at Woodhull Saturday, is the only repeat winner in Patriot history at Ransomville. He will look to revenge this Friday as the last time “The Cobra” was at the Friesen-owned facility his No. 45 ended up between trees.
A host of past sprint winners at Ransomville are expected including George Suprick, Jason Barney and local Curt Sherwood. Also of note is Scott Kreutter, a former modified campaigner at Ransomville who should be a factor with a runner-up showing in his history.
After the action is over Friday Night, the teams will travel down the I-90 for a stop at Stateline Speedway just south of Jamestown, NY. It will mark the seventh consecutive season that the Patriots return to the site of the inaugural Patriot event.
Saturday’s event will be the first race in the Bonnell’s Collision Center King of the Western Swing, which has been renamed in 2011 to include Stateline, as well as Merrittville. The 1/3-mile facility shares characteristics with Woodhull, the most recent stop for the Patriots and is getting many teams very excited.
Steve Collins, the early leader for Insinger Race Fuels Rookie of the Year, not only comes off a solid performance at Woodhull, but his crew chief Tom Taber was the winner of the inaugural PST race at Stateline in 2003 and should have their No. 67 set to go.
Gary Troutman had a solid start to his 2011 season Saturday and would likely refer to Stateline as his best track. Brad Knab is also a regular front-runner, as is Don Adamczyk, who is continually moving closer to his first career feature win.
A number of locals expect to be in competition as well with Jay Groves continuing his rookie season at the track just minutes from his home in Sugar Grove, PA. Kyle Moffit joining the tour once again and Todd Hoddick making the short trip down from Cheektowaga.
Sophomore Shayne Ely will be making his second start at Stateline, as will Kyle Lefelhoc, another Insinger Rookie of the Year contender. Jeff Frasier looks to make another trip west in his No. 99 while veteran Central Pennsylvania Competitor Dave Ely and Canadian Mitch Brown among those planning his first trip to Stateline.
To cap off this exciting weekend, the Patriots head to Northwest Pennsylvania for the first of two traditional Holiday Weekend trips to at Eriez Speedway.
Eriez always boasts an impressive crowd on Memorial Weekend as the sprints put on a wild show each time. In eight prior visits to the 1/3-mile for the tour, no driver has been able to win multiple times.
Tim Kelly was the winner of the Labor Day event last year and enters this critical weekend with a slim three-point lead as he chases the 2011 PST Championship. He will be a factor all weekend, and could very well be the first to repeat in Patriot action at Eriez, where he also won at in 1999.
Vern Wasson has been impressive early on in 2011 and will be a factor Sunday at the site of his first checkered flag of his sprint car career. Dave Wickham has also been solid this spring and has always done well at Eriez, dating back to 1981 when he finished fourth to Smokey Snellbaker.
Bob Reis’ wild racing weekend will round out at Eriez, along with Bruce DeWick, Jeremy Barnard, Robert VanTassel, Adam Anderson, and other potential invaders.
The events at Ransomville and Stateline kick off at 7:00 P.M. while Eriez gets going at 6:00 P.M. Those in need of lodging this weekend can receive a special rate at the Comfort Inn of Jamestown by mentioning Patriot Sprint Tour. For more information on the hotel and everything else PST, be sure to visit www.PatriotSprintTour.com.
Patriot History at Ransomville
7/11/2003- Billy Krull
9/17/2004- Chuck Hebing
7/1/2005- Bryan Howland
7/29/2006- Rick Wilson
6/29/2007- Jared Zimbardi
8/3/2007- George Suprick
6/27/2008- Chuck Hebing
6/18/2010- Stewart Friesen
Patriot History at Stateline
5/3/2003 Tom Taber
6/18/2005 George Suprick
5/27/2006 Rich Swarthout
6/16/2007 Chuck Hebing
8/23/2008 Bryan Howland- Make-up from 6/21
8/23/2008 Blake Breen
6/27/2009 Jared Zimbardi
8/29/2009 Bryan Howland
6/19/2010 Bubba Broderick
8/28/2010 Bryan Howland
Patriot History at Eriez
5/25/2003 Scott Bonnell
6/17/2007 Jared Zimbardi
5/25/2008 John Schuyler
6/22/2008 Chuck Hebing
5/24/2009 Trevor Lewis
9/6/2009 Bryan Howland
5/30/2010 Bubba Broderick
9/5/2010 Tim Kelly