July 3, 2013 – By Steven Ovens – Ransomville Speedway ran their 4th edition of the Battle at the Border Friday night, at the ½ mile dirt oval set just 15 miles from historic Niagara Falls. The Ransomville fans have seen some great driving performances the last 3 years of the event, with dirt star ‘The Doctor’ Danny Johnson having won all 3 of the previous Battles. 2013 promised to add a star-studded field as this race was added to the 2013 358-Modified DirtCar Series. Names like Stewart Friesen, Billy Decker, Jimmy Phelps and ‘Mr. Small Block’ Pete Bicknell all were in attendance in hopes to claim 358-Modified supremacy.
Danny Johnson was debuting a brand new 2013 Bicknell on this night as well. After Johnson’s split with Mike Payne Racing, it was a long shot for ‘The Doctor’ to even be able to field a ride to go for four in a row at the Ransomville Speedway. Family, friends and fans from the 27J Fans Facebook page all chipped in to help Johnson field a 358 Modified for this race and more races in the future. The night started great for the former winner, winning his Heat race comfortably. However in the A-Main The Doctor’s luck flat-lined- drawing 12 in the redraw and having a failure in the throttle linkage on lap 49 while running 3rd, ending his run for four in a row.
The 75-lap A-Main saw Chad Brachmann and Dale Planck (now driving for the aforementioned Mike Payne Racing 7z) start on the front row. Planck would hold the early advantage, leading the first 4 laps of the event. Cautions on laps 3, 4 & 21 slowed the field, but it was a car turned over on its side in Turn 2 that brought the field to a stop on lap 30. At the Red Flag, Brachmann was the leader, Planck second and Jimmy Phelps third. After the red flag, racing would resume with Brachmann pacing the field from laps 30-49- when Danny Johnson’s throttle linkage let go on the backstretch.
The race was only Brachmann’s to lose the rest of the way. Brachmann stretched out his lead over Planck, and increased that lead even farther once the leaders hit lapped traffic. Nobody had anything to top the driver of the Mighty Taco, finditquick.com #3, who spoke about his season-long troubles finding the right setup for his home track of Ransomville.
“I changed everything today. I changed everything. I was down in the dumps, and I knew I had to go home and do my homework. We went back to the shop today and threw everything at it but the kitchen sink.”
Brachmann runs Ransomville Speedway weekly as his home track. In terms of how much winning the Battle at the Border means, “It’s awesome! It’s only been won by one other driver the last three years. So to put my name next to his is an honor,” said Brachmann as he was being surrounded by high fives and smiles from his pit crew and fellow competitors.
The rest of the Top 5 at the Battle at the Border were: Dale Planck, Pete Bicknell, Jimmy Phelps & Hard Charger Jeff McGinnis who came from 25th to 5th. The 358 Series takes a summer long break and will resume competition Sunday September 1st at the Cornwall Motor Speedway.
For more information about Ransomville Speedway visit RansomvilleSpeedway.com.