crowns 2004 champions John Ivy (410 sprints), Brian
Smith (305 sprints)
and Steve Sabo (Coors
Light Dirt Trucks)
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio (Nov. 9, 2004) - Fremont Speedway wrapped up its 53rd
year of racing by honoring its 2004 track champions in front of nearly
500 people attending the awards banquet Saturday, Nov. 6.
The top 10 in each division - 410 sprints, 305 sprints and Coors Light
Dirt Trucks - shared in over $20,000 in point fund money. The top three
in the 305 sprint points each received a $300 gift certificate from Brodix
Heads, and each champion received a Fremont Speedway champions coat, with
Kear's Speedshop also handing out Goodyear Racing Eagle jackets to the
410 sprint winner.
Prior to handing out the awards, Fremont Speedway Promoter Jim Ford
thanked the track's employees and volunteers, along with the many sponsors,
the drivers, crews and fans.
"We had a pretty darn good year. We had great racing and were able
to pay out some good purses," said Ford. "I have to thank the fans for
their support. We have the most enthusiastic fans in the country. I also
have to thank the sponsors...without them we couldn't do this. We've already
got all the sponsors back for 2005 and we might even have to add another
race or two because we've got businesses that want to sponsor a night."
Ford said the 2005 season will kick off Saturday, April 23. Some of
the highlights include three visits by the All Star Circuit of Champions;
the second annual SOD 360 sprints verses the Fremont Speedway 305 sprints
(there were 86 sprint cars that competed in the affair in 2004); plus other
"I've sold the Tuesday night speedweek show (Ohio All Star Sprint Speedweek)
back to the All Stars...I don't know where that will be held. We still
have the Thursday speedweek show and two other All Star shows," said Ford.
Ford hinted he was working on the possibility of hosting a World of
Outlaws sprint show in 2005, but no formal agreement had been reached.
The World of Outlaws last visited Fremont Speedway in the early 1990s.
The 2004 track champions were all Fremont residents: John Ivy (410
sprints), Brian Smith (305 sprints) and Steve Sabo (Coors Light Dirt Trucks).
For Ivy, the track title was even more impressive considering the owners
of his Carousel Racing #20, Sid and Beth Eickelberry, considered not fielding
a car this season.
"This sport is expensive, and the economy wasn't doing so good and
they just didn't know if they could afford to do it. It got to be March,
and we were getting ready to take the car back to Sid when he calls up
and asks me if I bought a new wing. I was a little confused...I couldn't
figure out why he would want me to put a new wing on the car to bring it
back to him. Then he told me to get things around because we were going
racing," said Ivy. "I can't thank Sid and Beth enough. They've done so
much for me. They just love racing," said Ivy. "It looks like we're going
to do the same thing next year...maybe even travel a little more."
"I have to thank my crew, Guy Meyers, my brother Scott, and Sonny Conger...they
work so hard on this thing all week so I can go out there and have fun.
I have to thank my wife Penny. I have the easy job at the track...she's
the one taking care of the kids every Saturday," added Ivy. "And I have
to thank my number one fan, my mom."
Ivy dominated the 410 sprint division at Fremont in 2004, scoring
five wins, including two All-Star victories. He now has 22 career feature
win at Fremont Speedway, tying him for 16th on the all-time win list.
Ivy made all 16 A-mains during 2004, and opened and closed the season
with feature wins. He never finished out of the top 10 in 2004, with a
9th place showing his worse finish. Besides his five wins, he scored a
second, three thirds and a fourth. His average feature finishing position
was a remarkable fourth.
This marks the fourth track title for Ivy, who also scored championships
in 2001 and 2002 in the 410 sprints and in 1994 in the 305 sprints.
Finishing second in the 410 sprints - just 11 points behind Ivy -
was Fremont's Mike Linder. Linder piloted the Andy James Motorsports #3
to an incredible five second place feature runs. Linder qualified for 15
of the 16 A-mains in 2004, missing only one of the All Star speedweek mains
after crashing his car in the heat and barely missing the transfer in the
B after hoping in car-owner Andy James’ mount and coming from the back
of the pack. Linder scored 11 top 10 finishes, and besides his five runner-up
showings, scored a pair of thirds, a fourth and a fifth. His average
feature finishing position was sixths.
Finishing third was Fremont's Mark Keegan. Keegan proved he still has
a lot of racing left in his remarkable career, as he picked up two wins
at Fremont in 2004 to take his career total to 58 at The Track That Action
Built. He is now tied for third on the all-time career feature win list
with Jim Linder, just eight away from Art Ball for the top spot. Mark qualified
for 15 of the 16 A-mains, missing only one of the All Star Speedweek mains.
He picked up 11 top 10 finishes. Besides his two victories, he scored a
pair of seconds and three fourth place showings. His average feature finishing
position was eighth.
The rest of the 410 top 10 in points were: David Harrison, fourth;
Todd Heller, fifth; Bobby Clark, sixth; Craig Mintz, seventh; Alvin Roepke,
eighth; Lee Jacobs, ninth; and Brandon Martin, 10th.
The 410 sprint rookie of the year was Castalia, Ohio's Caleb Griffith.
The 2003 track champion in the 305 sprints, 16-year-old Griffith raced
his Ludwig Motorsports entry into 10 of the 16 A-mains in 2004 enroute
to finishing 13th in the point standings. He scored two top 10 finishes
including a best fifth place in the second feature of the Budweiser Shootout
on May 29. He picked up his first career 410 feature win at Sharon (Ohio)
Speedway this season.
The 305 sprint champion was Fremont's Brian Smith, with Bryan Sebetto
finishing 19 points back in second and Paul Seaver just 21 points back
Smith drove the Bobby and Kelli Sears owned #20x into alll 16 A-mains
in 2004, finishing in the top 10 in all but one, the Snyder's Floor Covering
305 Sprint Invitational. He finished in the top five an impressive 13 times,
often times coming from the middle and back of the pack. He scored two
wins in 2004, including besting a field of 86 sprinters in the 305 verses
SOD Challenge. Besides his two wins, he scored three seconds and a remarkable
six thirds. His average feature finishing position was fourth.
"First of all, I have to thank God for everything I have and everything
I've been able to accomplish. I have to thank Bobby and Kelli Sears for
believing in me and giving me the best car anyone could have every night,"
said Smith. "I have to thank my wife Kim for all of her support and the
rest of my family."
Smith said he is looking for a ride in 2005, with Sears Truck and Auto
Repair agreeing to be a sponsor.
Sebetto, who will be moving into the 410 sprint ranks in 2005, possibly
chasing the rookie of the year and points title for the Mid-American Sprint
Series, also had an incredible 2004 aboard the Mominee Motorsports #72.
Sebetto also made all 16 A-mains in 2004, never having to run in a B-main.
He finished in the top 10 in all 16 features and finished in the top five
an incredible 10 times, including two wins, a second, a third and three
fourths and three fifths. His average feature finishing position was fifth.
Weaver led the 305 sprint division in feature wins in 2004, scoring
five victories, including the richest 305 sprint purse in the country,
the Snyder's Floor Covering 305 Sprint Invitational.
Weaver was one of only three drives to qualify for all 16 A-mains in
2004. Besides his five victories, he also picked up a second, a third and
3 fifth place showings enroute to scoring 12 top 10 finishes and nine top
fives. His average feature finishing position was seventh.
The rest of the top 10 in points were: Scott Miller, fourth; Andy Shammo,
fifth; Jamie Miller, sixth; Bill Kraylek, seventh; Roger Shammo, eighth;
Ryan Lowe, ninth; and Matt Ferrell, 10th.
The 305 sprint co-rookies of the year were Green Springs' Kevin Lee
and Castalia's Chris Andrews. Lee made seven of the 16 A-mains in 2004
and scored three top 10 finishes enroute to finishing 12th in the point
standings. His best feature finish of the season was a fourth. Andrews
qualified for six of the 16 A-mains in 2004 and finished in the top 10
once, an eighth place showing on July 31 in the split field program. He
finished 14th in the point standings and scored his first career sprint
feature win during the season at Attica Raceway Park.
Over $2,500 in cash was also handed out to the top 10 in the Computer
Man Dash point standings. The dash was comprised of each night's 305 sprint
heat race winners. Points were accumulated during the season for the dashes,
and Sebetto took home the over $1,000 top prize.Plans are to run the Computer
Man Dash program again in 2005.
The 2004 Coors Light Dirt Truck Track Champion Steve Sabo made all
14 A-mains during the season. He finished out of the top seven only once,
12th place showing on Aug. 14. His four feature wins led the division.
He also picked up a second, a third, a pair of fourths, three sixth
place showings and a pair of sevenths. His average feature finishing position
Sabo has now won three track titles at Fremont in five years. He now
sits 19th on the all-time career feature win list with 21 victories.
"I have to thank my wife Linda for allowing me to spend so much time
in the shop. I have to thank my sister...she does the majority of the work
on the truck, and my dad for all of his support," said Sabo. "I've got
to thank Crown Battery, Burns Iron and Metal and Ed Smith for the incredible
engines he builds."
Sabo said he plans to run a truck in 2005, and is even entertaining
some thoughts of getting behind the wheel of a sprint car.
Finishing second in the truck division was Fremont's Bobby Davis. Davis
was another of the five drivers to qualify for all 14 A-mains in 2004.
He picked up three feature wins during the season on route to scoring 11
top 10 finishes. He also finished runner-up twice and third twice. His
average feature finishing position was 6th.
Tiffin’s Brian Arnold drove the #33 into all 14 A-mains in 2004, enroute
to finish third in the truck point standings. He scored an impressive 11
top 10 finishes and was a feature runner-up an incredible fourth times.
He also scored a third and three fourth place finishes. He was undefeated
on the asphalt at Sandusky in 2004 also. And, Arnold was the winning
truck owner of the Queens Royal during the Sandusky County Fair race, with
Teri Harrison behind the wheel. Arnold’s average feature finishing position
The rest of the top 10 in the Coors Light Dirt Truck points standings
were: Andy Maynard, fourth; Art Ball, fifth; Art Howey Jr., sixth; Cory
Ward, seventh; Brian Michael, eighth; Jim Welty, ninth; and tied for 10th
were Dwight Waltermeier and Bob Dible.
The Coors Light Dirt Truck rookies of the year were Fremont Art Howey
Jr. and Tiffin's Art Ball. Howey qualified for 13 of the 14 truck A-mains
during 2004 (missing only the opening night feature) enroute to finishing
sixth in the point standings. He scored six top 10 finishes including a
runner-up performance on the last night of the season. He also scored a
pair of thirds and a pair of fourth place finishes. Ball, Fremont Speedway’s
all-time career feature winner, most coming behind the wheel of a late
model and a street stock, drove the familiar blue and white #01 into 12
of the 14 A-mains in 2004. He scored career win #66 this year enroute to
finishing in the top 10 eight times. Besides the win, he picked up a pair
of second place runs and a pair of third place runs.