The Chuck Kear Memorial
By Andrew Barman and Brian Liskai
FREMONT, OH (August 4th)-Once again it was a successful Chuck Kear Memorial
at Fremont Speedway on Saturday, Aug 2. The 305s and 410 sprints where
on the racing card that night. There where 42 Econo sprints where in the
pits and the 410s saw 45 signing in. It was also manufactures giveaway
night as well. Over $12,500 in race car parts where giving away to both
the 410 A-Main drivers and the 305 A-Main drivers. Here is what happened
in the pits.
-For the first time in 20 years, Alvin Roepke's mother Jean Roepke made
it back to the track. It was a good night for her to come back to the track
as Alvin won the $5,000 top prize. Alvin made his sprint car racing debut
in 1983 in his uncle Jim "Smiley" Roepke's #7a and proceeded to break a
front axle going into turn one and turn right off the track. That scared
his mom so much she said she'd never watch him race again. Well, this past
Saturday, she got talked into helping in the pit concession stand (which
is run by Jim Roepke's wife, Christina, Alvin's aunt) and she watched Alvin
pick up the win.
- Speaking of Alvin Roepke, he had new t-shirts for sale Saturday.
They are neon green...what better color for a Mt. Dew sponsored race car!
-Roepke credited his win to his hard warking crew of Charlie and Mike.
Charlie is son of Alvin's brother, Danny Roepke, who drives the #53 dirt
truck. Mike is the son of former Fremont Speedway sprint car champion and
current track preparer Randy Ford. Mike's uncle Doug (Randy's brother)
also co-owns Roepke's car. Roepke shared his team has been coming around
as late because they've gone back to old set-ups - the same ones Randy
used nearly 20 years ago to win a track championship.
-World of Outlaw regular, Daryn Pittman made his first appearance ever
to "The Track That Action Built." He was in the Jenkins #55 which is driven
by Billy Pauch in Pennsylvania.
-15 year old Mike Burkin from Clyde made his first 305 start of the
season in the yellow #48x. His dad Joe and grandfather Lamar own the #48
305 sprint driven by Andy Shammo.
-Good Luck to Caleb Griffith this week. He is going to try to get his
driving permit. Rumor has it that he will be driving with one foot on the
gas and one on the brake. Griffith also has new t-shirts out.
- Kear's Speedshop owner Shirley Kear had a display of old photos of
her late husband and speedshop founder Chuck Kear in the pit area.
-Lee Jacobs, driver of the #2 sprint car, gets quite a ribbing from
A.J. Sleek, driver of the #15 305 sprint. Sleek calls Jacobs "the snowman"
because he gets into the softwalls around the speedway so much and the
impact creates Styrofoam particles in the air like snow. Sleek suggested
Jacobs create snow globes to sell instead of t-shirts. Jacobs was quick
to remark that he finished better in Sleek's car this year than A.J. has.
These guys have a lot of fun in racing!
- Andy James, driver of the #72 sprint and owner of Mike Linder's mount,
has wanted Mark Keegan to drive his machine all season, to give him an
assessment of the car. When Mark failed to make Saturday's feature, James
tabbed him to drive the #72 car, which James put in the show with a great
drive from sixth to second during the last two laps of his heat. Mark got
tangled up in the feature with Jason Dukes and tore the wing off the #72.
Luckily, James won a new wing in the manufacturer's give-away.
- Fremont Speedway announcer Brian Liskai will be heading for the Knoxville
Nationals this weekend - his 28th straight year at the event. His first
appearance was in 1976 at the age of 12, as he tagged along with his father,
Al Liskai, who competed in the event many years.
- Sprint car rookie Scott Kraylek was back in his #21 after allowing
Terry McCarl to drive it during the Jack Hewitt Challenge at Attica Raceway
Park earlier in the week. Kraylek said he wanted a veteran to drive the
car to give him some ideas on set-up. McCarl made the feature, but struggled.
Kraylek said he did indeed learn something about the car which could help
him as the season progresses.