Speedway pit notes from busy week
FREMONT, Ohio (July 7) - It was a busy week of racing at
Fremont Speedway - between Saturday, June 29, and Thursday,
July 4, (six days) the track hosted three nights of racing.
It was a dedicated crew lead by Randy Ford who were responsible
for Fremont getting its Thursday, July 4 Ohio Sprint Speedweek
show in. Over an inch of rain fell in a little over a half
hour. So much rain, that the inside of the turns had over
8 inches of water sittin in the bottom. But, the new drainage
system in the infield and in the pits quickly siphoned the
water off, along with a little help from some pumps, and
the track's four three-wheeled water trucks (big tractor
tires) and all of the push trucks ran the track in. The
result was only a two-hour delay.
Few people get to live out their lifelong dreams. Jimmy
Deel did just that - drive a sprint car. The driver lost
his life in a crash at Fremont a year ago. His family -
wife and three kids - and friends came back to the track
Thursday, along with Deel's race car, which was piloted
by veteran Scott Miller. Promoter Jim Ford brought the family
- all wearing Jimmy Deel t-shirts - out to the front stretch
where they said a very emotional thank-you to all the fans
for their support. A collection was taken up for the Deel
family, and race fans gave generously, raising over $2,500.
Dirt truck driver Danny Roepke gave his wife, Karis, a great
birthday present Tuesday, with his 14th career Fremont feature
Bryan Scott's 305 sprint win Thursday, was his fourth of
the season at Fremont and his 18th career win at "The
Track That Action Built. Scott now sits alone in the 21st
position in all-time career feature wins at Fremont. He
sits just one win back from Darl Harrison and Gordon Holbrook,
and two back from 18th place Paul Strasser.
George Fosco, the 1957 Fremont Super Modified Track champion,
won the 71 and over age category in a 5K walk/run in Bellevue
Former All Star champion Fred Linder was visiting the track
during speedweek. Linder works for ProShock in Georgia.
Strokers Billards and The Last Lap radio show sponsored
the bike giveaways for kids 10 and under Tuesday and Thursday.
The son of Paul McMahon, driver of the U2 sprint car, won
the bike Tuesday.
Speaking of The Last Lap (Mondays at 5:30 p.m. on WFRO 99.1
FM, the station it is broadcast on has been sold and the
new owners are expected to take over this week. Those who
enjoy the one-hour show, dedicated to area racing, are encouraged
to send letters to the new owners and request the show stay
on the air. Letters can be sent to: WFRO c/o station managers,
905 W. State Street, Fremont, Ohio 43420.
Young ladies Kira Zyski and Ashley Whetsel did a great job
singing the National Anthem and God Bless the USA respectively
Thursday, while country artist Andrew Dean sang the National
The Baumann Automotive Group put up $6,000 to any driver
scheduled to start 14th or better who chose to start 15th
or worse and could win Tuesday - a total paycheck of $12,000!
No one excepted the challenge.
Fremont's Mark Keegan, along with Rodney Duncan and Kelly
Kinser are the only drivers to have competed in all 20 years
of the All Stars Ohio Sprint Speedweek.
All Star media director Scott Hall filed his 100th speedweek
race result story from Fremont on Thursday.
Fremont's Mike Linder was leading his heat race Tuesday
with only two laps to go when his muffler fell off, causing
him to be disqualified. On Thursday, Linder's crew had welded
and rivetted the mufflers to the headers.
Bellevue's Keith Whaley, driver of the #37 305 sprint, borrowed
a motor from Craig Mintz's #09 305 sprint team to compete
Thursday. Whaley finished 19th in the A.
Henry Motorsports of Bellevue, donated a set of racing gloves
to the All Star fast qualifier Thursday (Chad Kemenah) and
the 305 sprint feature winner (Bryan Scott).
Duane Hancock, writer of the Tri-State Outlook on Hoseheads.com,
posted a $50 bonus to Tuesday's fast qualifier, Dale Blaney.
What a contrast in body builds Thursday. Winner John Ivy
stands about 5-foot, 6-inches tall, while runner-up Dale
Blaney is something like 6-foot, 8-inches tall. However,
Ivy probably felt 20-feet tall after his first ever Speedweek
victory. Ivy also posted a second place finish in Tuesday's
speedweek show - using a Fremont Speedway spec. Goodyear
Racing Eagle tire.
Craig Agan of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum
traveled to the first six speedweek shows with the hall's
sprint car that is being raffled off. Fans could purchase
a ticket for a chance to win the Avenger/Gaerte sprinter
and 24-foot trailer for $20. He reported ticket sales were
Brothers Joey and Tim Montgomery raced their way into Tuesday's
A-Main through the same heat race. The brothers hail from
Fredericktown, Mo. Tim is a two time track champion at St.
Francious County Speedway in Farmington, Mo. Speedweek was
the first time the brothers had ever raced in Ohio.
Millersburg's Rob Chaney had to skip Thursday's show at
Fremont after a hard crash at K-C Raceway on Wednesday.
Kelly Kinser, winner of Tuesday's Fremont show, crashed
hard with Mark Keegan Thursday. Kinser, who had a sore thumb,
went back to Bloomington, Ind. on Friday to put last year's
car together to race Saturday.
Rochester, Indiana's Joe Gaerte, a former All Star champion,
debuted a new Mopar engine during speedweek. He recorded
his best finish of the week - a 7th - at Fremont. It is
the first Mopar engine Gaerte Engines has ever built.
Several dirt truck drivers, including Linda and Steve Sabo,
Richie Farmer, Jeff Dougherty, Ralph Willey, Bobby Davis
and others had a great time after the races Tuesday, grilling
hamburgers and hot dogs and telling old race stories.
Former Fremont Speedway late model track champion Dee Genzman
and wife Marilyn and friends hosted a cookout for fans and
crews after the races Thursday.
Jason Dukes debutted a new paint scheme Saturday at Fremont,
turning a lot of heads with the #3 sprinter.
Because of all the rain Thursday, several All Star competitors
opted to skip their qualifying order and just run one lap
at the end, including Danny Smith, Kenny and Lee Jacobs
and Shawn Chaney. However, according to All Star rules no
matter what their times, the drivers could start no better
than 11th in the feature event.
Fans Grace and Lacey Black organized a chartered bus trip
from Fremont Wednesday to K-C Raceway. The bus, full of
60 fans, arrived at the track, which had arranged for a
reserved section of seats for the. Many fans said they thoroughly
enjoyed the trip and would do it again next year if available.
If you want a good laugh, go down to the #8s sprint pits
and listen and watch owner Dick "Soupie" Sabo
and Johnny Auxter rib each other.
While waiting to see if Fremont would run Thursday after
the heavy rains, All Star competitor Rodney Duncan, All
Star Vice president Joe Darmofal and several others discussed
the state of sprint car racing and what could be done to
cut costs and improve competitiveness. Darmofal is trying
to put together a committee to study the matter and Duncan
suggested former sprint driver/t.v. commentator Brad Doty
be asked for his opinions. Duncan noted Doty has some ideas
on decreasing wing sizes and going with a set tire compound
for all competitors. "These tires and chassis hook
up so good anymore, it seems just about all you need is
a lot of money for a motor to go fast. We need to find a
way to put the driver and crews figuring into the equation
more," said Duncan. Also, All Star President Bert Emick
said a national sprint car minimum weight rule is currently
under discussion at 1,375 pounds with driver. If another
major sanctioning body adopts this rule for 2003, the All
Stars will go along with this rule in place of their current
1,200 pound minimum without driver (Fremont also has this
Fremont had the highest car count during speedweek with
51 cars signing into the pits on Tuesday.