By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio (July 26, 2004) - It has
been a busy couple of weeks at Fremont Speedway, and following are some
of the tidbits of information that came out of the pit area:
- Alvin Roepke, driver of the Mt. Dew #99 410 sprint, and two-time
410 track champion Eric Rankin, driver of the Mid-Ohio Nautics #39, have
a running bet going. Each week, which ever driver qualifies the slowest
has to give the other a buck. So far, Rankin is up $3 on Roepke.
-Speaking of Roepke, the Elmore, Ohio driver has been struggling a
bit this year. This prompted a chassis change this week, as he switched
from a Big Max Maxim chassis to a J&J. Roepke still struggled a bit
at Fremont, finishing 15th in the feature. He may want to buy back the
Maxim chassis he sold over the winter to the Brian Smith team. Smith, who
competes in the 305 sprint division, has two feature wins for the season
and is leading the point standings at both Fremont and Attica Raceway Park
and has consistently come from the back of the pack to the front. He celebrated
his 30th birthday this past week by racing from eighth to a third place
showing at Fremont and from eighth to second at Attica Raceway Park.
-Rankin, who says the car and driver are now up to speed after coming
out of a two-year retirement, now needs to catch a break - literally. On
Friday at Attica Raceway Park, his car's inboard brake caliper broke off
the rearend and took out all of the brakes. He was unable to compete at
Fremont Saturday because of business commitments. His business - Mid-Ohio
Nautics - supplied the boats, pro riders and ski show for the Riverfest
in Columbus. Rankin said he had plans to have someone else bring the car
to Fremont and he would come later, but the plans fell through. "I was
thinking about Frmeont from 8 o'clock on and was curious what I was missing,"
-For the second time this year, the Buckeye Cable Sports Network taped
the show at Fremont for rebroadcast throughout this week. All three divisions
- 410 sprints, 305 sprints and Coors Light Dirt Trucks - were taped. Show
times are Tuesday, July 27 from 7:30-10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, July 28, from
7:30-10:30 p.m.; and Thursday, July 29, from 7-10 a.m. Sprint car fans
and column writers Bob "Coach Bob" Cundiff and Duane Hancock provided the
color commentary for the races, which are broadcast in the Toledo and Sandusky
areas. The production crew expressed how well the show went, including
how good the lighting is and how professional and courteous the staff is.
- Cundiff and Hancock are part of the Hoserville Ohio gang that is
made up of fans who gather at races across Ohio for food, fun and fellowship
and hold fund-raisers to help gather funds to help injured drivers in their
time of need. The group now has beautiful Hoserville Ohio t-shirts for
sale. Go to their website at www.hoservilleohio.com for more information.
- Teri Scott, wife of three-time 305 sprint track champion Bryan Scott,
has been talking about wanting her chance behind the week of a racer. She
got her chance Saturday, as Danny Roepke put her behind the wheel of his
#53 Coors Light Dirt Truck for a hotlap session.
- John Ivy was in his backup car Saturday at Fremont, after he and
Byron Reed crashed together while battling for the lead of the feature
the night before at Attica. Ivy said the backup wasn't "too straight" either,
but was in better shape than the car the team started the year in. Ivy
raced from 13th to a 7th place showing at Fremont.
- Ivy's four wins at Fremont this season, takes his career win total
to 21 at "The Track That Action Built," moving him into 18th on the all-time
list, one win behind Rick Ferkel and Roy Sheets in the 16th spot, but 45
wins away from all-time feature win leader Art Ball. Bobby Clark's win
Saturday was his 18th, tying him for 23rd on the all-time win list with
Steve Sabo, just one win away from 20th position held by Darl Harrison,
Bryan Scott and Gordon Holbrook. Truck driver Bobby Davis' three wins this
season take his total to 7, jumping him from 96th on the all-time win list
to to a tie for 60th.
- Sprint car fan Carolyn Eversole Rhoads is in need of a liver transplant.
Her family is holding a raffle to raise funds for the procedure. They are
selling tickets - $25 each - for a chance to win a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am.
Hearing of the family's plight, Fremont Speedway Promoter Jim Ford asked
the drivers to collect funds in the stands Saturday night. The wonderful
fans donated nearly $850. Rhoads and her father teared up when presented
with the money on the front stretch. This touched one fan so much, he came
down and gave another $150 to take the amount to $1,000. That started a
frenzy, as groups of fans challenged one another with donations, including
$100 donations from Ford and the Sandusky County Fair Board. When all was
said and done, nearly $3,000 was raised for Eversole-Rhoads.
- Steinle Chevrolet, Olds, Buick, GMC and KS Sales and Service has
teamed up as associate sponsors on the Pepsi Presents the Chuck Kear Memorial
- Fremont 50 this coming Saturday, July 31 at Fremont. The 410 sprints
will run a 50-lap feature paying $5,000 to win and now $600 to start. As
a reward for all of the loyalty they have shown the track this year, the
305 sprints will be split into two separate fields (odds and evens in points)
with each competing in a separate program. So, all 305 sprints will run
a 25-lap feature, complete with a normal payoff and full points. Also,
Kear's Speedshop has put together a list totalling nearly $20,000 in manufacturer's
gifts to all the sprint cars that make the A-mains. As a tribute to the
loyal Coors Light Dirt Truck drivers, the same type of program will be
run on Fremont Fence Night, Aug. 14, with split fields competing in two
- Andy Potter, crew chief on Bobby Clark's #8, recently got married.
- Speaking of Clark, his wife owns a Fremont tavern called Jenny's
Copper Penny. There must have been a big celebration Saturday after the
races, as not only did Clark win, but Bobby Davis did as well, and his
truck carry's the bar as a sponsor.
- Barry Boss, the "cone man" at Fremont, the guy responsible for placing
the cone on the front stretch on restarts, and Darren Rice, the assistant
flagman, traded jobs for awhile this past Saturday. Also, Scott Barman,
who normally operates the scoreboard at the track, took over the driving
of the pace truck for the evening for Mike Busey who had prior commitments.
- Keith Whaley, driver of the #37 305 sprint, did not have a good birthday
Friday, as he blew his engine at competition at Attica Raceway Park. The
Bellevue, Ohio driver is done for the season unless someone steps forward
with a motor or financial help.
- Jon Finsel, driver of the #F1 410 sprint has had some help in the
pits lately, as Jim Roby, long-time wrench on several World of Outlaw teams,
has been on hand. Roby, who has left the road after recently getting married
and becoming a father again, owns his own landscaping and mowing service
called - appropriately - the World of Outdoors.
- Rodney Duncan, who retired from the the Al Harrison #22 All Star
team a few years ago, has come out of retirement to drive Dee Genzman's
#53 sprint at Fremont, with Lynn Potter (Andy Potter's dad) turning the
wrenches. Duncan has wheeled the car from deep in the pack to a pair of
top 10 finishes.
- After winning his first 410 sprint feature a few weeks ago at Sharon
Speedway, Caleb Griffith, 16, came home to a new chassis from his owner
Doug Ludwig. The car had been sitting in the Griff's Engine shop and Caleb,
who works there, actually sat in it a few times while eating lunch, expressing
his desire to have it to race.
- Waterloo, Indiana driver John Comment II, who has watched racing
a few times at Fremont, got the opportunity to compete this past week.
Comment, who has drive his 360 sprint only without a wing, put the top
on for the first time. He got some sponsorship help from the Little Tavern
on the Prairie in Fremont and Duane Hancock, along with some help with
the track's Goodyear spec tire from the Craig Mintz/Dick Sabo sprint car
team. Comment didn't look too bad in his first ever racing appearance at
Fremont, finishing 11th in the B-main.
-Patrick Haynes, from Bradley, Ill., competed for the first time at
Fremont. The driver, who competes with the Mid-American Sprint Series,
finishes sixth in the B-main. Haynes is battling cancer, and is currently
racing while undergoing chemo-therapy.
- Jeff Daugherty, driver of the Jim Moore #1m, experiences engine problems
Saturday, and Bryan Lehmann allowed him to drive his #77 sprinter. Daugherty
had a right rear wheel come off in the B, ending his night...or so he thought.
Brian Sorg then put the former dirt truck driver in his #4x truck, where
Daugherty failed to transfer out of the B. Daugherty used to own that truck
when he competed in the division.
- Joe Ervin, the driver of the #71j 305 sprint, and his wife are the
proud parents of a new baby, delivered last week. Joe was back in racing
action this past Saturday.