Pat Dell has never finished better than eighth in Street Stock points in seven seasons racing at Ransomville Speedway. But a recommitted Dell seems ready to emerge as the Niagara County dirt oval’s 2013 Street Stock champion.
Dell has a 48-point lead over Alex Morris with two races left in Ransomville’s Street Stock season.
Making the feat all the more impressive is that if he earns the title it will be over the defending champion. Morris is arguably the most successful Street Stock racer at Ransomville over the last decade and a half, having won four championships since 1998 despite taking a few seasons off for personal reasons.
“I’ll be the first to admit it, that I’ve been putting a lot more effort into my racing this year than in the past,” said Dell, 23, of the Town of Niagara. “Also, this is my first year trying a crate motor and I’m completely happy with it. I also have a great group of guys on my pit crew and a good sponsor in All-Ways Carpet Cleaning. It’s all come together.”
Many drivers do not like to think about the points when they are so close to clinching a title but Dell has his points race figured right down to the mathematical possibilities.
“I have a 48-point lead, and there’s two races left in our season,” said Dell. “If Alex was to win each of the last two races, which he is capable of, I will be OK and still get the championship as long as I finish no worse than 10th in each race.
“I’m very cautious at this point. I will try to go for a win in the final two races if the opportunity is there but if I can at least get two solid finishes that would be great.”
Dell has won a pair of Street Stock features this season at Ransomville and in different fashion.
“In the first win this year, as far as I remember, I started at the back of the pack and worked my way to the front,” Dell said. “In the second win, I started toward the front and just held off everyone.”
Dell start racing at 14 and cited fellow Street Stock racer Jaren Israel in assisting him with his career start. Dell is especially grateful to his crew, which consists of John Panattoni, Bud Mt. Pleasant and Joe Rickard, with added advice from Pete and Jim Stefanski.
In September, Ransomville will hold its annual King of The Hill Weekend, during which a 100-lap Street Stock race is one of the main attractions.
Dell would love to cap his season with a victory in this race, having come close last season.
“I had my best finish in the King of The Hill 100-lapper of my career when I finished third in it last year,” said Dell.
“I’ve raced in the event four or five times so it was great to get that great finish. Of course, first I must take care of winning the championship, and it won’t be easy, but if I can beat Alex that would be extra special because there is no Street Stock driver out there better than him.”
As he looks to 2014, Dell may look to pick up an additional car to drive at other tracks as well as at Ransomville. Dell competes in a 1985 Monte Carlo.
During the week, Dell is employed in the maintenance department of Ransomville Speedway so he spends quite a bit of time at the track beyond race day.
“I appreciate the staff at Ransomville for what they have done for me, from providing a place to race to my employment,” said Dell. “It sure would be great to be a champion there. Maybe I will be soon.”
The DIRTcar 358 Modifieds and the DIRTcar Sportsman will conclude their point chases at Ransomville on Friday.
Defending Ransomville DIRTcar 358 Modified champion Pete Bicknell has a 792-778 lead over Erick Rudolph.
In the DIRTcar Sportsman, Jesse Cotriss has a commanding, 746-700 advantage over Don Spatorico.
Cotriss pretty much has only to start the feature race Friday to claim the title, which would be his first career Ransomville DIRTcar Sportsman championship.
• Stateline Speedway in Busti concluded its season Saturday with Dick Barton earning the Super Late Model championship for the 10th time in his career. John Woodward Jr., is the E-Mod titlist.
Ryan Scott claimed the Limited Late Model championship while Damian Bidwell finished best in the Crate Late Models. Other Stateline champions are: Jim Kibbe, Super Sportsman; Brian Crandall, Street Stocks; Casey Burch, Super Challenger.
• Holland Motorsports Complex will conclude its points season Saturday with several divisional championships on the line. The most interesting battle is in the Hornet class, where Dice Racing teammates Ben Russo and Jeff Szafraniec are deadlocked atop the standings with 309 points. George Skora III holds a 52-point advantage over Dave Catalano in the NASCAR Pro Modifieds.
• Among the other divisional championships that will be decided Saturday at Holland, Brandon Glover holds a slim six-point edge over Eldon King III in the NASCAR Late Models division.