Fremont Speedway - 5/3/2014 Smith Family Foods Night
May 3, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Contact: Brian Liskai
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – Kody Swanson gave his grandfather a wonderful birthday present Saturday. The Kingsburg, California driver scored the $5,000 top prize at Fremont Speedway to open the Buckeye Machine BOSS Series 2014 season.
There were 40 cars signed in to compete in the non-wing event on Smith Family Foods Night. The 33-lap feature was run in honor of the late Mike Hensel whose race cars carried that familiar number.
Swanson battled with fellow Californians Thomas Meseraull and Robert Ballou from lap 10 on until taking the lead for good on lap 24. He had to not only battle Meseraull and Ballou, but heavy lapped traffic to score the Mike Hensel Memorial 33-lap win on Smith Family Foods Night.
“What a phenomenal handling race car. Everyone who works on this did an outstanding job. What an opportunity for me to drive. I feel so lucky and happy to be here. I have to thank the DePalma family. One of their boys is getting married today and that’s why they aren’t here. Also thanks to Radio Hospital and I have to give a shout out to my grandfather at home. It’s his birthday today,” said Swanton beside his Hampshire Engines/K&N Filters backed #63.
“Thanks to the Hensel family for putting this on. It was pretty hairy out there. There was times when Robert and Thomas and I were three wide for the lead with a lapped car and everyone was touching wheels. It was a great view for a minute but I sure as heck wanted to get out of there,” added Swanson.
In another barn-burner, Jordan Ryan and Nate Dussel ran side-by side nearly the entire feature in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints with John Ivy coming on strong to challenge late in the race. With seven laps to go a cloud burst brought a halt to the racing with Ryan – complete with a flat left front tire – taking his second win of the season.
“I hit an infield tire and nothing has ever happened when I’ve done that before but this time a tire went flat. The rain helped me out a little bit,” said Ryan beside his Frosty Frog/Village Pizza House/J&J Automotive/Griff’s Engines/Kistler Racing Products backed machine.
“There was a hole in turn two and I saw Roepke (Alvin) hit it and go up the race track and I saw him go up in front of Dussel and that helped,” added Ryan of his third career Fremont win.
Ryan has not finished out of the top five all season.
For the fourth straight week, a driver has set fast time, won his heat and went on to win the feature in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks. And, for the third time this season that driver was Risingsun , Ohio ’s Shawn Valenti. Valenti took the lead on lap seven after a tremendous battle with Brad Keckler and Matt Foos and went on to score his fifth overall win (he has two at Attica Raceway Park including this past Friday) of the season and the 12th of his career at Fremont.
“Last night we (Foos) had a heck of a battle and tonight it was the same thing. It was an awesome track and I have to thank the fans for coming out,” said Valenti beside his Babock Racing/KS Sales and Service/Burns Petroleum/Craig Miller Trucking/Best Performance Motorsports/Conrad Transportation/Dave Story Equipment Repair/Day Dream and Memories Crafts and Antiques backed #7b.
Tyler Gunn, a regular with Fremont Speedway’s winged 305 sprints who was making his non-wing debut, and Mike Galajda paced the field of 24 cars to the green in the feature. Gunn would lead the first lap as third place starter Meseraull grabbed second with Galajda , Chad Boespflug, Ballou and seventh starter Swanson in tow. Meseraull would slide into the lead on the second circuit, bringing Boespflug into second with Gunn, Ballou and Swanson staying close.
Action would grind to a halt on lap four as Fremont 410 winged regular Chris Andrews would take a wild ride down the back stretch. He would exit the machine unhurt. On the green Meseraull would continue to lead as Ballou drove into second with Gunn and Swanson battling for third. Andre Layfield would spin on lap six to bunch up the field.
When the green reappeared Meseraull and Ballou battled side by side with Gunn joining the fray on lap eight. Gun would slide off the high side of turn one a circuit later, losing a couple of positions as Swanson moved into third with Todd Keen taking fourth.
By lap 14 Swanson’s tire choice began to kick in as he reeled in Meseraull and Ballou. That trio then had the crowd on their feet as they raced three wide at times, rubbing wheels. The leaders caught lapped traffic by the 18th circuit but that did not slow their tremendous battle. On lap 24 Swanson dove under both Ballou and Meseraull and took the lead. Meseraull and Ballou stayed close over the next handful of laps but after clearing lapped traffic Swanson began to pull away.
Swanson would take the checkered for his first career Fremont win while Meseraull, Ballou, Michael Fischesser and Scotty Weir rounded out the top five. Fremont 410 winged sprint regular Brian Smith would charge from his 19th starting spot to finish sixth and earn a $333 hard charger bonus from the Hughes Racing in memory of Mike Hensel. Mike Miller, Gunn, Dustin Smith and Bryan Sebetto (up from 20th starting spot) would round out the top 10.
In the 25 lap feature for the 305 sprints, Ryan and Dussel brought the field to the green but before a lapped could be completed Alvin Roepke and Steve Rando would tangle. On the restart Dussel got the advantage over Ryan with Seth Schneider, Dustin Dinan, T.J. Michael and John Ivy in tow.
By lap three Ryan had closed the gap on Dussel with Schneider, Dinan and charging Ivy staying within striking distance. The leaders would hit lapped traffic by the seventh circuit and that allowed Ryan to take a look underneath Dussel for the lead which he took utilizing the extreme bottom groove on lap 9. Dussel would not give up though and continued to race to Ryan’s outside as the duo battled side by side. Meanwhile Ivy grabbed third from Schneider on lap 12, bringing Dinan into fourth.
With Ryan and Dussel battling for the lead through lapped traffic, Ivy closed quickly and with 10 laps to go joined the fun up front. The trio were slicing and dicing through lapped traffic and when Roepke caught a rut and bounced up the track in turns one and two on lap 17 right in front of the battle for the lead, it stopped Dussel’s momentum as Ryan pulled away with Ivy grabbing second. As the field completed the 18th circuit Ryan, Ivy and Dussel were really duking it out for the lead when the skies opened up bringing an end to the battle.
Ryan would take the win over Ivy, Dussel, Dinan and Bobby Clark.
Keckler and Foos brought the field to the green in the 20-lap dirt truck feature with Keckler gaining the advantage. Cory Ward would drive into second with Foos, Art Ball and Kent Brewer within striking distance. The caution would fly with four laps recorded when Dustin Keegan and Jeff Ward got hooked together.
A lap later and another caution for Andrew Lutman spin with the running order Keckler, Foos, eighth starter Valenti, Ward, Brewer and Cory McCaughey. Ward would retire to the pits during the caution. On the restart Valenti would drive under Foos for second and a lap later would execute the same move under Keckler for the lead.
Valenti could not pull away though as both Keckler and Foos raced right off his rear bumper with Brewer and Ball also beginning to challenge. At one point Valenti, Keckler, Foos, Brewer, Ball and McCaughey were all within a truck length of one another. Foos would grab the second spot on lap 14 and raced to Valenti’s inside on several occasions until the caution flew for debris on lap 15. When the green reappeared Valenti could not shake Foos as Keckler, Brewer, McCaughey and Ball battled for third.
Ball’s run would come to an end on lap 17 as he made contact with the front stretch wall and coasted to a stop to bring out the caution. On the restart Valenti was able to hold off Foos to take the win with Keckler, Brewer and McCaughey rounding out the top five.
Fremont Speedway will be back in action Saturday, May 10th on Baumann Auto Group Night with the 410 sprints, 305 sprints and dirt trucks in action. There will also be the King of the Hill Match Race pitting the top 8 qualifiers who transfer into the feature via their heats in two car, two lap match races with the winner moving on until there is a King of the Hill who gets to start on the pole of the feature event.