Pit Notes from May 12th
By Brian Liskai
May 14th, 2001:
Fremont Speedway lived up to its nickname "The Track That Action Built," as there were three flips in the A-Main. On the start of the feature, Brad Ellenberger of Karns City, Pa. took a nasty flip down the front stretch. His car struck the flag stand and flagmen Monty Collins and Darren Long had to scramble to keep from getting hurt. The crash brought back terrible memories for many, as it was reminiscent of the 1995 crash that took the life of speedway flagman Mike Holman.
Bruce Robenalt, the Most Improved Driver in 2000 at Fremont Speedway, looked to have a top five finish in his grasp Saturday. Then tragedy struck. The center broke out of the #98's right rear tire coming out of turn four and Robenalt took a nasty series of flips. Robenalt said the chassis was destroyed, but the #98 crew is working hard to put another car together for next week. Robenalt's crew also donated a #98 t-shirt that was given to a lucky fan. You can see more by going to www.friendleynet.com/bjr/01-14.html and www.friendleynet.com/bjr/o1-18.html.
David Harrison, driver of the Harrison Trucking #44, was involved in the Robenalt flip, as his sprinter also ended up on its lid.
The first 100 mothers coming into the race track Saturday received free hot dogs in celebration of Mothers' Day.
Steve Sabo, driver of the #16 dirt truck and winner of the last nine feature events, celebrated his 35th birthday Sunday, May 13.
Wendy's Restaurant, sponsor of the racing activities on May 12, had Wendy herself at the track, handing out free balloons to all the kids. Wenday's also had a penny scramble for all the kids 8 and under on the front stretch.
Brenda and Scott Genzman, part of the crew on Scott Kraylek's #21 305 sprint, became grandparents last week.
John Wisbon, driver of the Burmeister #16 super sprint, celebrated his 45th birthday on Friday, May 11.
Overcast skies and a brief rain shower early Saturday morning caused for a super tacky and fast race track. In all, six cars broke the track record that Dean Jacobs set on April 28 of 12.562. Rob Chaney now holds the mark at 12.092. In all 16 cars qualified in the 12 second bracket. How long until we see a qualifying run in the 11 second bracket?
Shawn Chaney was back racing Saturday after destroying his car the previous week in a nasty flip in turn 3. Chaney said he put last year's chassis together and the only thing salvageable out of the new car was the motor. He was literally turning wrenches on the car as it arrived in the race track.
The Tackle Box II gave another bike to a lucky young race fan Saturday.
Ashley Whetsel, 17, a junior at Lakota High School, sang the National Anthem Saturday. Plans are to have a singer perform the song at every race this year.
Representatives of Greyhound Rescue of Ohio will be at Fremont Speedway Saturday, May 19. The group is a non-profit adoption service for retired racing Greyhounds. You can find out more about the organization by visiting their website at www.greyhounrescueohio.com
Bobby Clark, Mike Linder and Jeremy Durst made it back to Fremont Speedway from Buckeye Speedway after it rained out Saturday. The three had to race through the B-Main with none transferring to the A-Main. Clark raced from the tail to a seventh place finish, missing the A-Main by three cars.
Ricky Ferkel, son of sprint car driving legend Rick Ferkel, has by far one of his best outings in his young career. Ferkel qualified 17th quick out of the 37 car field, and just missed the A-Main (by one car) by finishing fifth in the B-Main.
Dirt Truck driver Jeff "Doughnut" Dougherty (#4j) suffered his second broken driveline of the season Saturday.
Christina Roepke, wife of former Fremont track champion Jim "Smiley" Roepke, along with her daughters and friends, run the pit concession stand. Christina is also the sister of Joanne Ford, wife of Fremont Speedway promoter Jim Ford.
After only one show last Monday, a new radio program on WFRO 900AM-99.1 FM called "The Last Lap" has received great reviews from race fans. The half-hour show, broadcast every Monday at 5:30 p.m., features results and race discussions from local race tracks. Hosts are Fremont Speedway announcer Brian Liskai, and long-time fan Scott Barman and his son, Andrew Barman, who also assists behind the mic at Fremont Speedway. The show has five sponsors - Fremont Speedway, Fosters Auto Body, Sabroske Electric, D&L Construction and Burger King Restaurants of Fremont. Plans call for the show to expand to an hour with the addition of a few more show sponsors.
Eight-time Fremont track champion Mark Keegan was struggling to begin the season. The Steinbreck team was looking at switching chassis from a Stealth back to a Maxum. However, a few adjustments made last week, and Keegan scored wins at Attica and Fremont. He followed that with a win this past Friday at Attica. However, his luck ran out Saturday as he brushed the front stretch wall during the feature at Fremont and retired to the pit area.
The folks at Ratbag had two computer video sprint car games at Fremont Speedway Saturday. The computer screens were situated in a real sprint car rollcage.
Former Fremont Speedway late model track champion De Genzman can be found most every Saturday in the reserved box of former sprint car owner Don Eckert. Joining those two long-time race fans is Mike Bookman who sponsored race cars for many years.