Little Valley - Ron Baker spotlight

Ron Baker to lead Super Stocks into Little Valley. Ron Baker has been racing stock cars longer than a lot of people have been alive, beginning his illustrious career in 1957, at the age of 21. A quick calculation will tell you that Ron is 66 ...

Ron Baker to lead Super Stocks into Little Valley.

Ron Baker has been racing stock cars longer than a lot of people have been alive, beginning his illustrious career in 1957, at the age of 21. A quick calculation will tell you that Ron is 66 years old and has been racing for some 45 years. That's a long time to do anything, much less endure the rigors of piloting a race car, but Ron is still enjoying himself, and that's all that matters.

Ron, who lives in Freedom, New York, started racing at Southern Tier tracks like Olean, Angelica, Cuba, Hunts Raceway, and all the little tracks around the area. In those days the term "stock cars," described the vehicles, before the age of sophistication. Ron said that in those days, you'd take a regular car that you drove on the street, put a roll bar in it and go racing. He roamed the area tracks for three years and then went to the trio of Holland, North Collins, and Perry in 1960, all of which were dirt at the time. He ran what were referred to as the "new" car division, and the modifieds, affectionately known as the "B Bombs." When they paved Holland and Perry, he ran 1968-70 on the asphalt, but went back to dirt racing in 1971. His only appearance on asphalt since was when he ran his brother's mini-cup car at Lancaster last year. Ron puts it this way, "Dirt, to me, is where it's at. I've tried both surfaces, and I like the dirt."

Though he has no idea how many feature wins he's had over the years, the soft spoken Baker knows that he has quite a few track championships and points proudly to 1972 when he recorded 25 feature wins at Woodhull, Dundee, Allentown, and Bradford. "It was our best year. We were running Dodges then," he noted.

The key to Baker's career is the enjoyment he still gets by climbing into a race car, which is currently in the Super Stock division, one of the raciest classes on dirt. "Where am I going to go at sixty-six years old and have the most fun I've had in a lot of years," he quipped. Ron is also a realist and knows that he can't race forever. He knows what he will do. "When I'm not competitive, I'll put somebody else in the car."

This season Ron will be running in various locales once again (McKean, Freedom, Bradford, plus specials at Ransomville), but one track he is particularly fond of is Little Valley Speedway, where he will appear eight times this season. Ron explains his affinity for the track. "To me, I like half miles. I like the speed. Speed is what turns me on. I like running there. Everybody is real nice. All the people at the track have been excellent to all the racers as far as I can see. I like the whole operation down there. I've had pretty good luck. Two years ago I lost the championship by five points. Last year we were sixth in points, so we've been pretty successful. I definitely like the high speeds on the half mile. The only real drawback is that you have to have a super motor or you're not going to survive. I run a Dick Fite-built motor and they run pretty strong. I ran forty-eight races last year."

Unlike some teams that show up at the track with big haulers and all manner of glitz, Ron's is the classic low buck operation, his hauler being an open flat bed truck. He explains, "I've got the girlfriend, Ronnie Lincoln, and Ricky Wolf (who owns Rainbow Auto Repair). We do our own thing. Tommy Taber down at Alfred does our chassis setup. We go around try to keep things in one piece and make it for the next day."

With a philosophy like that and experiencing the success that he does, we can expect to see a lot more of Ron Baker, one of racing's really nice guys.

Catch Ron and the top Super Stock pilots, as they do battle at Little Valley on Sunday, May 26th, as part of the Tri-State Championship weekend for Super Late Models, which starts on Friday at Raceway 7 in Conneaut, Ohio, moves to McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, PA, before concluding at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds on Sunday. Along with the Super Late Models, running for $3333 to win for 33 laps, and the Super Stocks, the Street Stocks and popular school buses will also be running. The gates open at 4:00, with the first race at 7:00. Tickets are $12 for adults, with those under 12 FREE.

Little Valley is on State Route 353 eight miles north of Interstate 86 Exit #20 [Salamanca] westbound and twelve miles northeast of Interstate 86 Exit #16 [Randolph] eastbound. From the Buffalo area LVS is accessed off State Route 242 10 miles southwest of Ellicottville / Route 219. There is free camping available, and the speedway offers the best food anywhere on the racing circuit. The Speedway office phone is 315-536-3728 or 716-938-9146 [race day]. The World Wide Web address is www.littlevalleyspeedway.com.

-lvs-

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Series Stock car