notes from Fremont Speedway's Memorial Day weekend
Speedway is batting .500 against Mother Nature in 2002.
Out of six possible shows, the track has been able to get
three in with three rained out, including two All Star Circuit
of Champion shows.
The May 25 All Star show that was rained out has been rescheduled
for Saturday, June 8. The Budweiser sponsorship that was
for the May 25 show will move to the Tuesday, July 2 All
Star Spring Speedweek show. So, both All Star Spring Speedweek
stops at Fremont - Tuesday, July 2 and Thursday, July 4
(Miller Beer Night) will pay $6,000 to win and $500 to start!
The June 8 All Star show will pay $5,000 to win and will
be sponsored by Wilhelm Auto Parts.
Speaking of All Star Sprint Speedweek... Race fans Grace
and Lacey Black are organizing a bus trip from Fremont (Tuesday,
July 2 show) to KC Raceway near Chillicothe for the Wednesday,
July 3 show. That way campers can leave their rigs at Fremont,
which will host the fourth leg on Thursday, July 4. The
cost is $22 per person plus the cost of admission. The bus
leaves the Sandusky County Fairgrounds at 3:30 p.m. For
more information, contact the Blacks at 419-332-0909.
One of the cars in the pits for Saturday's competition was
the 4j of Lynton Jeffrey from Australia.
A couple of drivers came out of retirement to race Monday,
May 27 at Fremont. Jim Fleming of Bellevue, Ohio, who sits
15th on the all-time career feature win list at the speedway
with 23 victories, piloted the #12F late model owned by
the Stiltner family. Fleming was the 1968 late model champion
at "The Track That Action Built." He failed to
make the A-Main.
Also, Bobby Sears Jr., who owned two dirt trucks in competiton
at the track in 2001, and who currently owns the truck driven
by John Rhoads, was behind the wheel of the other #20 truck.
Sears, who hasn't raced since 1985, is tied for 33rd on
the track's all-time career feature win list with 12 victories.
He was the 1977 Sport Stock track champion. Sears raced
his way into the A-main where he dropped out to finish 15th.
Rumors were circulating around the Fremont Speedway pits
Saturday that 1985 and 1987 sprint track champion Johnny
Beaber was coming out of retirement. Beaber, who runs a
fabrication shop and repairs many of the area sprint car
chassis and who built Jack Hewitt's two-seat sprint car,
has 24 career wins at Fremont, placing him 13th on the career
win list for the track. Beaber's son, Tony, sold his midget
over the winter and purchased a 410 sprint engine. Rumor
has it the elder Beaber has built a car and will race it
some time this year.
Don Keegan debuted a new dirt truck Monday. He said he plans
to have several guest drivers behind the wheel during the
season, including the possibility of Scott Gressman taking
a spin. Gressman has made a name for himself building 305
sprint and dirt truck racing engines.
Charlie Dagg had two cars in competition Monday at Fremont.
Joe Keegan, who came out of retirement at the beginning
of the season was behind the "Chuck Wagon III,"
while Mike Linder, who normally pilots the James/Brewer
Motorsports #3 on the 360 trail, raced the "Chuck Wagon
II" Monday. Linder's car is the one Dagg usually competes
in on asphalt. Linder's team converted the car Sunday night
to dirt, and he won his heat Monday and finished eighth
in the A-Main. Keegan's night wasn't so lucky. He knocked
a hole in the oil pan while unloading the car, but some
JB Weld quickly patched the hole. However, he failed to
make the A-Main.
Bobby Foster came out of retirement Monday to pilot the
#37 305 sprint normally driven by Keith Whaley. Whaley is
still fighting kidney stones, but hopes to be back behind
the wheel soon. Foster finished 19th in the A. His car from
last year was purchased by the Griffith family (Griff Engines)
and is piloted by young Caleb Griffith this year.
Many of the 305 sprints and dirt trucks carry stickers in
memory of Jimmy Deal, the 305 sprint driver who died while
racing at Fremont last year.
Many are having fun at the expense of Jim Linder, who came
out of retirement with an experimental 410 sprint this season.
His co-car owner and long-time friend and mechanic Larry
Keegan (brother of sprint driver Mark Keegan), put yellow
tape around the rear bumper to signify "rookie"
The Sandusky County Fair Board's 50/50 raffle got even better
this past weekend, as Dave's Lawnmower Repair donated a
lawn mower as a second prize. With the heavy spring rains,
some fans may want that prize rather than the money.
There were a couple of father/son racing combinations in
the late model ranks Monday at Fremont, including Bill (dad)
and Ken (son) Hahn of Gibsonburg, and John Mayes Jr. and
Sr. of Clyde.
Friends of Sue McLaughlin were at Fremont Monday to raise
funds to help in her battle with cancer. McLaughlin, wife,
mother of five boys and grandmother of five, was diagnosed
with cancer two years ago. Without medical insurance to
help cover costs, and a desperately needed trip to a cancer
clinic for treatments, costs are staggering. There is a
trust fund for McLaughlin at any Key Bank location. An raffle
is also taking place with first prize being two tickets
to the Michigan 400 NASCAR race on June 16 and second prize
is two tickets to the Pepsi 400 at MIS on Aug. 18. Tickets
are $5 each or 5 for $20. For more information contact Steve
Cole at 419-870-7830 or Robin Johns at 419-478-4633.
The hosts of WFRO radio (99.1 FM, 900 AM) "The Garage
Area" - Ron Otto, Dave Dugan and Craig Holland - attended
Monday's late model, 305 sprint, dirt truck races at Fremont.
The trio have joined forces with Brian Liskai, Scott and
Andrew Barman and Mike Linder, who host "The Last Lap"
racing program on WFRO, to form one of Northwest Ohio's
most potent racing information programming. Otto, Dugan
and Holland could be seen cheering mightily for Linder Monday
night. "The Garage Area" focuses on NASCAR racing
and can be heard every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and again
Wednesday nights following Cleveland Indians' baseball game.
"The Last Lap" is devoted to area dirt track racing
and can be heard every Monday at 5:30 p.m.
The pre-entry list for the second leg of the "Buckeye
Nationals" USAC sprints and midget races to be held
Thursday, June 20 at Fremont Speedway is already quite impressive.
In the USAC sprints, pre-entered are Jonathan Vennard of
Vincennes, Ind.; Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind.; Jon Stanbrough
of Jamestown, Ind.; Brandon Petty of Alexandria, Ind.; Derek
Davidson of Terre Haute, Ind.; Jay Drake of California;
Tracy Hines of Greenfield, Ind.; Tony Elliott of Indianapolis,
Ind.; Levi Jones of Olney, Ill.; and Jerry Coons Jr. of
Tucson, Arz. Entered in the midgets are Darland, J.J. Yeley
of Phoenix, Arz.; Steve Paden of Downey, Calif.; Ron Gregory
of Nobleville, Ind.; Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind.; and
Ryan Scott of Concord, N.C.
Speaking of USAC, Randy and Jane Mapus of Castalia, Ohio,
recently shared a photo album containing photos of the last
time USAC ran at Fremont - Oct. 3, 1981. They also had a
complete scoring list of the night's racing. Sheldon Kinser
set a new track record that night at 16.834, among the 26
cars qualifying. Some of those racing included Johnny Coogan,
Danny Donaldson, Dave Pepperak, Mark Alderson, Tom Bigelow,
Larry Rice (now an ESPN racing commentator); Bill Tyler,
Gary Irvin, Mac McClellan; Jerry Carmen, Kerrie Norris,
King Kramer, Eddie Leavitt and Jerry Nemire (who continues
to race). Sheldon Kinser won the first heat over Bigelow
and Frank Weiss. In heat #2, Nemire took the win over Steve
Long and Mac McClellan. Tipp City, Ohio's Mike Winblad picked
up the third heat win over Kerrie Norris and King Kramer.
The fourth heat win went to Red Bledsoe over Gary Irvin
and Bill Tyler. Eddie Leavitt won the last chance race over
Bobby Matecki Jr. and Jerry Miller. In the feature, the
winner was Leavitt over Nemire, Johnny Coogan, Larry Rice
and Steve Long.
There was also included scoring from the Oct. 4, 1981 Great
Lakes Classic, with 47 sprint cars on hand and 35 late models.
Some of the sprint car drivers included Larry Helms, Jack
Sodeman, Jim Roepke, Bill Corbin Jr., Terry Tackas, Johnny
Auxter, Dave Fisher (father of Indy car racer Sara Fisher);
Al Liskai, Joe Keegan, Jack "The Wild Child" Haudenschild,
Hank Lower, Mark Keegan, Don O'Connor, Spike Sneider, Curt
Kelly, Gary Griffith (his grandson now races 305 sprints
at Fremont); and Chuck Wilson. Mark Keegan won the first
heat over Al Liskai and Larry Helms. The second heat went
to Tackas over Skylar Hinkle and Kerrie Norris. Don O'Connor
picked up the third heat win over Griffith and Haudenschild.
Jeff Potts (now an official with the NRA Ohio Lottery 360
sprints) won the fourth heat over Brian Craft and Jim Roepke.
The C-Main went to Potts, while Haudenschild won the B-Main
over Dave Fisher. Kerrie Norris won the 30-lap A-Main over
Terry Tackas, Haudenschild, Al Liskai and Hank Lower.