Plans Busy 2004
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio - The days are ticking off before the short days of winter
turn into the exciting nights of racing at Fremont Speedway, "The Track
That Action Built." The recently released 2004 schedule - the 53rd year
of racing at the third-mile clay oval - will entertain fans from April
The season kicks off Saturday, April 24, with Grabill Construction Night
featuring all three regular divisions of 410 super sprints; 305 sprints;
and the exciting dirt trucks. All three divisions are on tap on Saturday,
May 1 for Willie's Toro Lawn Mower Night.
Two-time All Star Champion Chad Kemenah will try to pick up where he
left off when "America's Series," the All Star Circuit of Champion sprints
make the first of four appearances on Fort Ball Pizza Night, Saturday,
May 8. Kemenah took home $10,000 at the All Star's last appearance at Fremont
The All Stars will be back at Fremont for two legs of the Ohio Spring
Speedweek. They will do battle with the Fremont stars on Tuesday, June
29 for Coors Beer Night, and Thursday, July 1 for Miller Beer Night.
The All Stars will make their final appearance of 2004 at Fremont on
Saturday, Sept. 11 with a special 50-lap featuring paying $10,000 to win.
Other special events on tap in 2004 include:
- The SOD Sprints/305 sprints challenge on Saturday, May 22. The night,
sponsored by Roots Poultry, will be an all sprint car affair, as the 410
sprints are also on the card.
- The Second Annual Budweiser Shoot-Out will be held Saturday, May 29.
The night features twin features for the 410 sprints.
- True Value Hardware of Woodville will sponsor two appearances by the
American Late Model Series, Monday, May 31, and Saturday, Sept. 18.
- The stars of the United States Auto Club will bring their mud-slinging,
wheelie-popping, non-wing sprint and midget action to Fremont on Thursday,
June 17, under sponsorship by Pepsi.
- The Chuck Kear Memorial-Fremont 50, featuring a 50-lap feature paying
the 410 sprint winner $5,000, will be held Saturday, July 31. There will
also be manufacturer's give-aways for the feature combatants in both the
410 and 305 sprints.
- The dirt trucks will again take center stage at the Henry Motorsports
Night at the Sandusky County Fair, Tuesday, Aug. 24. The night will also
feature the vintage race cars.
- The annual 305 Sprint Invitational will be under new sponsorship in
2004. Synder's Floor Covering of Bettsville will back one of the highest
paying 305 sprint features in the country, scheduled for Sunday, Sept.
- For you two-wheel racing fans, the American Motorcycle Association
will bring the Hot Shoe Motorcycle Series to "The Track That Action Built"
on Friday, Sept. 17.
"It's a pretty ambitious schedule that will provide a variety of entertainment
for all types of race fans," said speedway promoter Jim Ford. "We've increased
the purse for all three divisions this year - it's mainly in the middle
of the finishing order. Not everyone can win, and we want to make sure
more drivers can make a little more money."
Byron Reed, the 2003 champion in the 410 sprints, is expected to try
and defend his title. That could be difficult with the likes of Alvin Roepke,
David Harrison, Lee Jacobs, Bobby Clark, Mike Linder, John
Ivy, Mark Keegan, 2003 Rookie of the Year Craig Mintz and a host of others
making equipment improvements during the off-season.
Caleb Griffith, the teen who went from rookie of the year to track champion
in one year in the 305 ranks, is moving to the 410 division in 2004. That
means the division is wide open with the likes of Jamie Miller, who won
five features in 2003, Bill Kraylek, 2003 points runner-up Roger Shammo,
Andy Shammo, Bryan Sebetto, Scott Miller, Ryan Lowe, Matt Merrill and others
battling it out.
The 2003 dirt truck track champion Gregg Summitt is also moving on,
planning to compete in the 305 sprint division in 2004. Two-time
track champion Steve Sabo looks to be the man to beat, but he'll be challenged
by 2003's most improved driver, Rex Wright, Bobby Davis, Bob Dible, Brian
Arnold, Andy Maynard, Steve Rando, Dwight Waltermeier and Danny Roepke.
"All three divisions will be highly competitive this year. There will
be some talented rookies in all three divisions. There were some 305 drivers
who are moving to the 410s and some dirt truck drivers moving to the 305
sprints," said Ford. "And we're hearing some former drivers like Eric Rankin
are coming back this year."
Gates open for most races at 4:30 p.m. with racing scheduled to begin
at 7:30 p.m. (times may vary on specials). Fremont Speedway is located
four miles south of the Ohio Turnpike Exit 91 in the Sandusky County Fairgrounds.
For more information on the schedule, rules and race purses, visit the
track's official website at www.fremontohspeedway.com, or call Jim Ford