FREMONT, Ohio (Sept. 13, 2002) - After being shut down for
a few weeks for the Sandusky County Fair, Fremont Speedway
had a busy week this past week, racing the Bauman Auto Group
305 Sprint Invitational on Labor Day, followed by the two-day
All Star Circuit of Champions that Friday and Saturday.
Sprint car driving legend Jack Hewitt's heart was full of
gratitude on Sunday, Sept. 8, as 56 fans purchased tickets
to ride in his two-seat sprint car at Fremont. Greg Wilson
and Chad Kemenah thrilled the rider-goers with their exploits
behind the wheel. At the end of the evening, the two were
exhausted, as was evident by the big pile of used-up tires
next to the trailer. Jack was on-hand to great fans. The
weekend netted nearly $10,000 for Jack and his family. Five
305-sprint teams - Mintz Racing, Mayes Racing, Scott Racing,
Lowe Racing and Neeb-Reidling Racing along with REM Racing
(sponsor on Ryan Lowe's 305 sprint) purchased ride tickets
that were than raffled off to help raise funds for Hewitt.
Fans also contributed $1,500 in cash as drivers made their
way through the stands on Saturday.
C.J. Landry, who writes a motor sports column for The (Toledo)
Blade newspaper, contributed $50 to the driver posting the
13th quick time in All Star qualifying Saturday (Rob Chaney);
another $50 whoever led the 13th lap (Dale Blaney); and
$100 to whoever finished 13th in the feature (Chad Kemenah)
Fremont sprint car driving legend Jim Linder has not competed
recently as his car owner, Larry Keegan is at home trying
to regain his strength from a serious bout of bronchitis
and other breathing problems.
Fremont Speedway has had 12 drivers win their first features
at Fremont in their career this year, including: J.J. Yeley
(who won three times); Dale Blaney, Shane Stewart (his first
every All Star win); rookie Shawn Chaney (410); Jeep VanWormer
(late model); Jamie Miller, Caleb Griffith (14-years-old),
Josh Hill and Mike Oberdorf (305 sprints); Matt Lucius,
Darrell Brown and Mike Porter (twice) in the dirt trucks.
Cheryl Liskai, widow of former sprint driver Dick Liskai,
who passed away this past July after battling cancer for
two years, has attended the last couple of races at Fremont
with her friends, the Craig Mintz family. Also, Roger Shammo,
who was a close friend to Dick, had Cheryl take a photo
with him in victory lane following his win in the 305 sprint
Joanne Ford, wife of promoter Jim Ford, and the ladies in
the ticket booth - affectionately called the Hen House _
gave $100 to the All Star fast qualifier Saturday (Bobby
Clark) and an extra $100 to the 305 sprint feature winner
Saturday (Bobby Foster).
Fremont Speedway's "softwalls" have taken a real
beating this past month, but they have more than proven
their worth. Just ask Roger Shammo, who made heavy contact
Saturday in turn three. Shammo credits the walls with saving
him hundreds of dollars in repairs...he was also able to
push back off after the contact and race again.
After Shane Stewart won Friday's All Star feature, many
teams wondered aloud if his car would make the 1,200-pound
weight limit as Stewart raced primarily with the World of
Outlaws Gumout Support Series this summer which has no weight
rule. Junior Holbrook's sprinter tipped the scales at 1,301
pounds. However, when All Star officials went to check the
motor, it was discovered the engine had either blown a head
gasket or cracked a head, so an engine change was in order
Also changing motors for Saturday was Attica Raceway Park
Track Champion Alvin Roepke. Roepke said Friday's motor
probably had over 20 shows on it and he "took a tired
motor out and put a less tired motor in."
After Friday night's show, fans who stuck around were treated
to tunes from the live band "Elmore Fudd" headed
up by drummer and former 305 sprint driver Dusty Rodawalt.
Dirt Truck driver Jeff "Donut" Doughtery celebrated
his birtday at Fremont Friday night.
National Speedsport News Editor Coreen Economaki was in
attendance at Fremont Speedway Saturday. She is the daughter
of NSSN founder and racing broadcaster Chris Economaki.
410 sprint driver John "Poison" Ivy became the
first sprint driver to win back-to-back track championships
at Fremont since Mark Keegan scored the feat in 1992, 1993
and 1994. Prior to Ivy there had only been six sprint/super
modified drivers to win back-to-back championships - Leo
Caldwell in 1951 and 1952; "Irish" Jim McCune
in 1958 and 1959; Darl Harrison in 1960, 1961 and 1962;
Gug Keegan in 1974 and 1975; Jim Linder in 1976 and 1977
and again in 1983 and 1984; and Mark Keegan in 1981 and
1982, again in 1989 and 1990 and again in 1992, 1993 and
The scoring tower ladies - Vicki, Mary, Carol and Sue, along
with scoreboard operator Scott B. and All Star publicity
director Scott Hall - shared Friday night's Sandusky County
Fair Board's 50/50 winning ticket. Each took home around
Fremont Speedway's Champions Banquet will be held Saturday,
Nov. 9, at PK's Banquet Hall, 2270 W. Hayes Ave. in Fremont.
A point fund and trophies for the top 10 in points in all
three divisions will be awarded. Doors will open at 5:30
p.m. with a buffet style dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the awards
ceremony to follow. Tickets are $25 each and you may purchase
them by phoning 419-862-2206.
For the second year in a row, Kear's Speed Shop put on a
manufacturers' give-away to the 24 drivers in the All Star
A-Main Saturday and the 20 cars in the 305 sprint A-main
Saturday. There were over $8,500 in prizes for the All Star
sprints and $3,500 in the 305 sprints. Kear's owner Shirley
Kear and her children and grandchildren were on the front
stretch handing out the gift certificates. There was also
a nice photo display in the pit area of Kear's founder,
the late Chuck Kears. Also, one of the ironies of the give-away
is that for the second year in a row, 305 sprint driver
Bryan Scott has won a front wing - Scott does not run a
front wing, just wide panels bolted to the frame.
Fremont Speedway announcer Brian Liskai, who also co-hosts
a radio show heard every Monday at 7 p.m. on WFRO Eagle
99.1 FM in Fremont, along with co-hosts Scott and Andrew
Barman, recently were guests on a two-hour radio program
on racing out of Lorain County, 1320 AM. The trio talked
about the history of Fremont Speedway along with how the
current season had gone.
Johnny Auxter, who is a constant in the pit area at Fremont
and Attica, was seen at Friday's All Star show carrying
a black case with the words "Heat Race Set-up by John
A" on it in the pits. When Auxter opened the case all
that was in there was a hammer and one of those wooden fold-up
rulers. Auxter said the hammer was to hit the driver on
the head to get his attention while the ruler was to measure
L.J. Connors, driver of the #X dirt truck, will retire from
racing after the Saturday, Sept.14 race. L.J. sits tied
for 33rd on the all-time career feature win list at Fremont