Niagara Gazette

December 26, 2012

Big R mourns loss of leader

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Before celebrating the new year with its annual Hangover 150, the Ransomville Speedway community will mourn the loss of longtime owner Stan Friesen.

“With heavy hearts and deep sadness we announce the passing of our Fearless Leader,” began the news release sent Christmas day.

Friesen died Monday at his home in St. Cathariens, Ont. He was 79.

An accomplished Modified’s driver in on the Western New York and Southern Ontario circuit in his youth, Friesen won the Hobby Stock Championship at Ransomville in 1960.

Friesen bought Ransomville Speedway in 1972, two years after he and partner Kurt Uhl bought Merrittville Speedway.

Friesen’s son Alex eventually purchased tracks in Lancaster, Fulton, Utica Rome and Mahoning Valley. When Alex died in a car accident in 1996, Stan ran those tracks until they were later sold.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Church of the Transfiguration, 359 Grantham Ave., St. Catharines.