Speedway dedicates hall of fame and museum
Saturday, May 28, 2011
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – As part of
its 60th Anniversary celebration Fremont Speedway dedicated its new Hall
of Fame and Museum building Saturday, May 28, with hundreds of fans, hall
of fame inductees and family members in attendance.
The Fremont Speedway Historical
Club – a non-profit organization - owns and operates the new facility.
The board is comprised of Fremont Speedway Promoter Rich Farmer, Randy
Mapus and Brian Liskai. The organization began three years ago to recognize
and honor those who have made Fremont Speedway one of the most renowned
dirt trucks in the United States.
“Three years ago Rich (Farmer)
and myself where trying to come up with new promotional ideas…to get fans
involved and excited about Fremont Speedway. We came up with the hall of
fame…not many race tracks have been around as long as Fremont. We knew
we had to involve Randy Mapus because of his knowledge and dedication to
the track’s history. We initially figured it would take at least eight
to 10 years to have a facility for the hall of fame. But, the racing community
stepped forward and through their generosity here we are in just three
years in a beautiful building,” said Liskai.
“Randy and Jane Mapus have
worked tirelessly on this project…it’s because of their hard work and Rich
Farmer’s determination to see this project through that the history of
this great race track will be around for generations to come,” added Liskai.
The Hall of Fame and Museum
houses photos, plaques, racing uniforms, helmets and other memorabilia
from throughout the 60 years of racing at “The Track That Action Built.”
There are even restored historic race cars on display. The museum also
houses the plaques of the 27 individuals who have been inducted into the
Hall of Fame the past two years. The third class of 10 individuals will
be inducted during ceremonies prior to the racing on Saturday, June 4.
During Saturday’s dedication
ceremony, Mapus noted every inductee into the hall of fame – or a family
member – were present. Mapus too was surprised at the speed of the project.
“We broke ground for this
the last weekend of July last year…and here we are with a completed building.
And, it’s completely paid for,” Mapus told the big crowd who applauded
the success. “It’s a testament to this track and the great fans that support
Mapus praised Farmer for
his determination to make sure the Hall of Fame and Museum became a reality.
“He was determined to build
this thing. I really can’t say enough about what Rich did for this project.
This hall of fame will be his legacy…he was passionate about it,” said
Pat Mowry, a member of the
Sandusky County Fairboard – the speedway and hall of fame are on the fairgrounds
– welcomed the new facility and the many fans that come to the track every
“We are proud of what you
all have accomplished and what it means to the fairgrounds,” said Mowry,
who also thanked Mapus for keeping the fairboard appraised of how the project
Mapus said race fans should
be proud of how the fairboard and the hall of fame organizers cooperated
and worked together to make sure the hall of fame became a reality.
Fremont Mayor Terry Overmyer
told the crowd the speedway is a very important part of the community.
“Growing up here I realize
how important this track is to this community. It brings people from all
over the United States to Fremont,” said Overmyer. “I congratulate Rich
Farmer and his staff, Randy Mapus and all those who contributed to this
hall of fame.”
Mapus then thanked many individuals
and businesses who made the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum possible.
He noted over $45,000 has been raised through donations.
First on the list was sprint
driver Brandon Martin who, through his family business, did all the excavating
work. Then there was John Horn of JLH General Contractor who constructed
the building basically at cost, Mapus noted. Horn’s crew consisted
of Jordan Karr, Matt Ferrell, Geoff Young and Adam Mulligan.
Jay Gundy of Fremont Overhead
Door provided a discount as did Fremont Roofing’s Todd and Ed Williams
and Gordon Lumber’s Tracy Witt. Sabroski Electric provided materials at
cost and Palmer Brothers Concrete donated the stone for the project. Matt
Darth wired the building and John Adkins and his sons Jim Bo Adkins and
JR Adkins used their equipment to move stone and install the drain tiles.
Joey Pasch and his crew of Scott Keckler, Brad Keckler, John Ivy, Jerry
Nunley, Tim Seabolt, Fred Birch and Kenny Birch poured the concrete floor
with support from Mosser Construction. Koch Building Products also donated
supplies to the project.
Mapus also thanked Ken and
Chris Kiser for their efforts and Clay Keim of CA Kustoms and his staff
of Cody White and Seth Schneider. He noted that photographer Rick Sherer
helped keep fans updated on the status of the hall of fame through his
photography. Mapus also thanked Mike and Stephanie Linder for their efforts
on the 60th anniversary souvenir program that helps raise funds for the
hall of fame.
“We have to thank the Jim
Ford family…they brought racing back to Fremont Speedway when it looked
like the place my fade away,” added Mapus.
Mapus also thanked the fans
who have given money to the project.
“We have had several hall
of fame members step up and make big contributions. And, it was the big
donation by De and Marilyn Genzman and their family that got us off the
ground and moving ahead with this,” noted Mapus, adding fans are always
handing him $5 or $10 here and there.
Liskai also thanked the families
of the late John Wisbon, Harold McGilton, Mike Holman and Bill Shammo who
dedicated the memorial contributions to the hall of fame.
“We still need to keep raising
funds to operate the hall of fame and museum. And, we have plans for special
exhibits and a media center. It costs money to pay for upkeep and things
like the electric for the air conditioning and heat,” said Mapus.
Farmer concluded by noting
the race track and hall of fame and museum are successful because of the
hard work and dedication of his staff.
“Someone once told me if
you surround yourself with good people good things will happen and this
is proof of that,” Farmer said.
The Fremont Speedway Hall
of Fame and Museum will be open every race night and admission is free.
The facility is located along the midway leading to the historic covered
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