The Future of Ohio
Sprint Car Racing
by Doug Seeger for Flat Out Magazine
When you think of the Sprint Car scene in Ohio a few names that come
to your mind might be Mark Keegan, Byron Reed, or John Ivy.
Two names that might not be on that list are Craig Mintz and Brock
Mayes. Both Craig and Brock just completed their rookie season this past
year and turned a few heads in the process. The two rookie sensations ran
weekly at the Attica Raceway Park and Fremont Speedway during the
Craig, who is in his senior year at Gibsonburg High School, got his
first taste of Sprint Car racing at the young age of five when his father
took him to watch the greats like Johnny Beaber and Mark Keegan. He began
his career in 1993 running go-karts. After seven years in the karts, Mintz,
moved into the ever popular 305 Sprint class.
Brock, the older of the two rookie hot shoes at age twenty-four works
in the family owned construction business as project coordinator and safety
director. Mayes racing career got started off in 1998 in the 305 Sprint
After both establishing their skill in the 305 division Craig and Brock
made the move to full size Sprints in 2003. Craig teamed up with Ohio car
owner Dick Sabo while Brock ran the family
As most rookie drivers expect, intimidation was a factor which both
had to cope with coming into the start of the season. "At first it was
very intimidating running weekly against guys like Byron
Reed, John Ivy, and Mark Keegan."
"Those guys are among the best in the business and just a few years
back I was sitting in the stands watching and cheering for them," Mintz
Mayes also felt the intimidation coming into the 2003 season. "I won't
lie, I did feel a little intimidated moving into the 410 division."
"In my third 410 race I led the twenty-one laps of the feature before
a caution came out. On the restart I did a wheel stand down the front stretch
and lost the lead with four laps to go. After that race the intimidation
of the other guy's I raced against turned into what drove me to race as
hard as I could," Mayes said.
Jumping from the 305 Sprints to the more powerful 410 Sprints didn't
take long for the duo to get use to. "The main thing was the transfer of
speed from the 410 compared to the 305 that impressed
me.The corners appear so much faster and having the extra power allows
a mess up now and then but will usually get you out trouble most of the
time," Mintz said.
Brock found the extra horsepower to his liking. "Adjusting to the extra
horsepower was not that hard to do with the speed," Mayes said. "I love
it, it took a little adjusting on throttle control but other than that
it was great."
A major confidence booster came for young Craig back in July of last
season running against the All Stars at Fremont Speedway during Ohio Sprint
Speedweek. Craig came home in a impressive fourth place finish against
some of the best drivers in the country. "When I came off the track I
was upset with myself for letting another driver get under me and take
third place away," Mintz said.
"To make the feature and to place in the top five was undescribable
with words to do in my rookie year."
The 2003 season was full of learning curves for both rookie drivers.
"Establishing a good relationship with my car owner and the other drivers
that I raced against was really important for me to learn," Craig said.
Brock learned to be more patient as driver on the track this year. "I
feel I learned more patients this year as a driver on the track. I also
learned the more questions you ask to people that have been around for
a long time can only do you good," Brock said.
Looking back on their first season in the 410 Sprint division
both drivers were very happy with the outcome. "I was really happy with
the racing on the track and how the crew worked," Mintz recalled.
Brock would have like to change a few things in his first year with
the 410 division. " I would of liked to change a few times we ran second
and third but who wouldn't? Looking back we had one heck of a good time
and I feel lucky that I am able to do this and have the support of my dad,
crew, and sponsors,'' Mayes said.
At season end Craig and Brock were honored with the co-rookie
of the year award at both Attica and Fremont. Craig finished up the year
seventh in the Attica point chase and sixth in the Fremont point chase.
Brock rode home with an impressive third place finish in the Fremont
point chase and seventh in the final Attica run down.
The 2004 season will see Craig back with car owner Dick Sabo
running regularly at Attica and Fremont. Brock will be running as many
All Stars races as possible in his own car while looking for a full time
Keep your eye on both Craig and Brock this season.
Doug Seeger has maintained his own website called the Wide Open Sprint
Car Page for about 4 years, in addition to writing for such well known
websites as TJ Slideways, Sprints N Midgets, and USA Dirt Racing. Starting
in 2004 he is writing for Flat Out Magazine. This is his first article
for that publication. This article was posted here by permission from Seeger.