Click photo for each Hall
of Fame Inductee Page
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – Fremont Speedway
will once again pay tribute to those who helped create the history of “The
Track That Action Built” with the third annual Fremont Speedway Hall of
Fame Induction on Saturday, June 4. The list of inductees in the 2011 class
ranges from the man who won the first track championship 60 years ago,
to late model, sprint and super modified drivers to championship team owners
to the founder of a speed shop over 40 years ago.
And, to make the 2011 hall
of fame inductions even more special, they will take place in the newly
constructed hall of fame building at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds prior
to the night’s racing activities.
Being inducted into the Fremont
Speedway Hall of Fame are: Leo “The Gobbler” Caldwell, Jim Fleming, Bud
Gill, Dale Hasselbach, Shirley Kear, Harry Kresser, Tom Leaser, Wayne Maffett
Sr., George Miller and Leroy Youster.
Caldwell, who hailed from Perrysburg, Ohio, won the very first
feature event at Fremont Speedway in 1951. He would go on to record five
feature wins and the track championships in 1951 and 52. Known as “The
Gobbler” because he “gobbled up the competition,” Caldwell won the Motor
City Speedway championships in 1949 and 1950; the Fort Miami Championship
in 1951 and 1953; the Michigan State Championship (sportsman division of
NASCAR) in 1952; the Raceway Park Championship in 1954 and 1955; the Sandusky
Speedway title in 1957; and was winner of the Atlanta Peach State 200 in
Caldwell also campaigned
the first cage and roll bar on a modified to run as a sprint car in 1957.
He ran championship cars from 1960-68. Throughout his career, Caldwell
scored 400 feature wins
Fleming, of Bellevue, Ohio, was always a force to be reckoned
with in the hobby stocks/late models at Fremont Speedway. He recorded 23
career feature wins to sit 19th on the track’s all-time win list. Fleming
claimed the track’s 1968 championship, ending a two-year title run for
hall-of-famer Roy Sheets. Fleming won many races at Mansfield, Millstream
and other tracks throughout Ohio during his career.
Gill hailed from Clyde Ohio and fielded some of the most successful
and beautiful super modifieds/sprint cars to ever hit the track. The black
and orange CR Gill Construction machines carried hall-of-famer Darl Harrison
to Fremont Speedway championships in 1960, 1961 and 1962. Hall-of-Famer
Gug Keegan wheeled the Gill machine to the 1967 track championship, and
teammate Jim Linder would claim a Fremont Speedway title in 1969 aboard
a Gill sprinter. Rollie Beale would pilot a Gill sprint car to many feature
wins as well.
The late Dale
Hasselbach of Fremont was known as a fun-loving gentleman off
the track, but once strapped in behind the wheel of a hobby stocker/late
model, he was a fierce competitor. Hasselbach recorded 16 career wins at
Fremont Speedway to sit 32nd on the track’s all-time win list. Hasselbach
drove to the track’s 1970 late model championship, beating out his brother-in-law,
hall-of-famer De Genzman.
Kear - A Kear’s Speed Shop parts truck has been coming to Fremont
Speedway for over 40 years. It was 1969 when Shirley and her late husband
Chuck would pack up a truck and head to “The Track That Action Built” to
sell parts to the racers who would all become like family to the Tiffin
couple. In fact, many, many racers would have quit or not been able to
race if it wasn’t for the Kears. Often times, after a crash, a team didn’t
have the resources to put their car back together. Shirley would simply
tell them to get what they needed and arrangements would be made for payment
later. Shirley was one of the first – if not THE first female – to grace
the pits at Fremont Speedway and other tracks across the country. Shirley
continues to operate Kear’s Speed Shop with the help of her family.
Kresser of Sandusky, Ohio, raced during one of the most competitive
times in the history of Fremont Speedway. Kresser always was a contender
for a win, and he claimed six checkered flags during his career. In the
1970s, hall-of-famer Jim Linder was winning most of the features at Fremont
Speedway, promoting promoter Gary Kern, a hall-of-fame inductee, to put
a cash bounty up for someone to beat Linder. It was Kresser, in that powder-blue
#31, who would claim the bounty!
Leaser of Fremont, has been a fixture at Fremont Speedway for
many, many years and continues to trade racing stories in the track’s pit
tower each week. Bob Leaser hired hall-of-famer Harold McGilton to drive
his Chevy powered #55 sprinter which was wrenched by Tom Leaser and Joe
Wright it was magic. McGilton would drive to the 1964 Fremont Speedway
super-modified championship and would follow with another title in 1970.
Many of McGilton’s 40 career Fremont victories came aboard the Leaser -
Wright owned machines. Tom Leaser also owned the 360 Sprinter driven by
Harald McGilton in the 90's.
The late Wayne
Maffett Sr., of Mansfield, Ohio, was the “king of the street
stocks” at Fremont Speedway. Maffett would record 44 victories at “The
Track That Action Built” and sits seventh on the track’s all-time win list.
He recorded street stock track championships in 1986, 1990 and 1993. He
also sits second on the all-time win list for street stocks/limited late
models at Attica Raceway Park with 30 wins and recorded two track titles.
Miller of Gibsonburg, Ohio, began his racing career in 1960
and earned the Fremont Speedway Rookie of the Year title. Miller drove
his own machines until 1965 when he began driving for Bob Wireman in the
1 Jr. car. In 1967 Miller teamed up with hall-of-fame car owner Earl Lowe
to drive the familiar purple and white #66. Miller produced several top
10 finishes and heat and pursuit race wins before scoring his big feature
victory on Memorial Day in 1970 at Fremont. The following night at Millstream
Speedway, Miller had a nasty crash, literally breaking the #66 into two
pieces. He would retire the following year. Last year, the old #66 was
found and restored and Miller again returned to the track during the vintage
Youster of Oak Harbor, Ohio, was one of the pioneers of racing
at Fremont Speedway. He would take the track’s strictly stock championship
in 1956 and add a hobby stock/late model title in 1965. Youster claimed
9 career feature wins at Fremont Speedway.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!