Weedsport, NY — May 25, 2010 – By Dave Roberts, DIRTcar Northeast PR
*Alex Bruce Photo
She is regarded among the busiest women in Northeastern weekly short track racing. When it comes to dedication to the racing facilities at which she works, Tana Robinson can be found entrenched seven days a week in a sport where she is surely recognized as one of the world’s greatest fans.
For a lifetime of commitment to motorsports she will be recognized alongside track officials Judy Snyderman and Buffy Swanson as co-recipient of the 9th annual Gater Racing News “Outstanding Woman in Racing” award during the 2010 Northeast Modified Hall of Fame ceremonies Sunday, May 30 on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds held in conjunction with the annual Memorial Day Weekend holiday show at Weedsport Speedway.
Currently employed full-time at Ransomville (NY) Speedway as the track’s public relations and marketing director, she’s also become a fixture within the DIRTcar Northeast office working in the accounting and ticketing departments.
Tana has been around racing her entire life. The first time at any speedway was as a three year-old when her grandparents, Erwin and Eileen Carr, took her to Ransomville in the late 1960’s. The couple had short track experience as race promoters when they ran the now closed Fort Covington Speedway in the late 1950’s. That track, located some 16 miles from Malone, is near the Canadian border in upstate New York.
In the early 1960’s, the Carrs moved back to Western New York. Once converted to a race fan, Tana has always been a regular at Ransomville Speedway. The first driver she cheered for was family friend Jim Borget, who drove in the 1960’s and 70’s in the track’s Late Model division.
In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, her favorite driver was Gary Iulg from Sanborn, N.Y. Well known for his DIRTcar Modified efforts, Iulg also went on the road in the 70’s with USAC. To this day, he’s still one of Ransomville Speedway’s favorite sons.
In addition to Ransomville, she also attended Lancaster Raceway, where her dad, Jack, spent time as a Modified racer in the early 1980’s.
In 1989, she got her first job in racing when she represented Ransomville Speedway between the covers of DIRT Trackin’ Magazine. Tana worked with current DIRTcar statistician and chief handicapper Gary Spaid, who was also editor of DIRT Trackin’ Magazine.
She continued with the magazine until 1997, the year following the death of promoter Alex Friesen. At that time, Alex was in control of Lancaster, Fulton, Utica-Rome and Mahoning Valley (PA) speedways. The Friesen family someone who could write up the race results on a weekly basis and asked Tana to step in. Today, it’s still a part of her job requirements. While the Friesen family owned Lancaster, she also spent time there working in the office and scoring on race night.
In 2000, Ransomville Speedway co-promoter Jamie Friesen asked Tana to come on board full-time in the marketing department, selling sponsorship for the Niagara County-based oval as well as working in the office. It seemed to be a part of her nature.
Selling sponsorship came slow in that first season yet has managed to progress with each passing year. Today, Ransomville is well represented by the local area businesses in support of the speedway. In addition to her Friday night stock car duties, Tana also works with the Thursday night go-kart program.
Her children are also on the speedway grounds each race night. Dan is the race starter while Mike is the lead scorer and Jeff is the handicapper. It’s a real family gathering for the Robinsons every Friday night at Ransomville Speedway. Tana would like to thank her family for the support given as she has managed a career in the sport of short track auto racing.
In 2008, Tana started working in the pit booth at Canandaigua Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and Cayuga County Fair Speedway, as well as the New York State Fairgrounds during Super DIRT Week. Last season she obtained additional duties when she took over as a DIRTcar Northeast accountant.
While her duties in weekly short track racing take up much of her time, Tana is still a first class race fan and enjoys the racing competition. One of her biggest memories remains the night four 20-lap DIRTcar Modified features were run during the early 1990’s at Ransomville when Danny Johnson won three of the races and came back to finish third in the fourth event after rolling the car.
Her endless dedication to the sport places her in a position most deserved as the Modified Hall of Fame honors her for the efforts given to both Ransomville Speedway and DIRTcar Racing Northeast.
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.