Fremont Speedway - 5/10/2014 Baumann Auto Group Night
May 10, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Contact: Brian Liskai – email@example.com
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – Despite having several good runs at Fremont Speedway over past few years, Craig Mintz just couldn’t seem to find victory lane. A three year drought ended Saturday on Baumann Auto Group Night as the two-time track champion took the lead at the half way point and cruised to his 6th career win. The 30-lap feature went caution free.
The victory in the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints was emotional for Mintz on the eve of Mother’s Day as he lost his Mom last year.
“Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day so this one is for my Mom,” said Mintz, who swept the weekend having won at Attica Raceway Park on Friday.
“This is the greatest weekend we’ve had in quite awhile. All these guys back here busted their butts. We tried something different this week…we put some good ProShocks on and Linder’s Speed Equipment put some different oil in them and tonight we were fast,” said Mintz beside his Real Geese Decoys/Damschroder Roofing/Erie Shore Propane/KS Sales and Service/Design Graphics Group/Story Equipment/City Blue Print backed machine.
Elmore, Ohio’s Alvin Roepke is known as a bottom track racer. While everyone was racing on the bottom of the track Saturday Roepke decided to try the top and it worked as the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature only had one caution. He took the lead from Jordan Ryan on the white flag and then used a lapped car as a pick on the final lap and drove to his fifth career Fremont win. It ended a long drought at Fremont for “The Ripper” as well as he said it’s been since 2003 since he got a victory at “The Track That Action Built.”
“You guys better write that on the calendar that I ran the top side. My brother (Danny) has been helping me on this. We did a couple things tonight and Les Mintz (Craig’s dad) helped us out a little bit and gave us a little trick advice. This is one of Craig Mintz’ old cars,” said Roepke in the Engine Pro Victory Lane . “Lapped traffic was in our favor because they were down on the bottom. I just tried to keep the car straight. I think it helped that Jordan (Ryan) and John (Ivy) were racing …they didn’t know I was coming…especially not Al Roepke on the high side.
“I want to thank all the people who have helped us out this year. Crown Battery ….they’ve been a great supporter of racers and the race track. Joe and Fran Darmofal and Third World Space Cargo and American Race Cars and Bobby’s Truck and Bus Repair and of course my hometown, the Village of Elmore ,” added Roepke.
Not to be outdone, Tiffin, Ohio’s Art Ball, who holds the all-time feature win lead at Fremont, finally put the early season gremlins behind him and drove to his 75th career victory at “The Track That Action Built.” Coincidently, Ball’s win total matches his age! And, it was the 300th overall feature win for the Fremont Speedway Hall of Famer.
“We’ve had horrendous luck this season. But these guys didn’t give up and have worked so hard on this truck,” said Ball beside his Chaney Roofing and Maintenance/Distel’s Septic Service/Kear’s Speed Shop/Harley and Bev Lee/Ritzler Accounting/Faber Sub-Contractors/Lash Family Racing/TA Custom Cabinetry/Handy Graphix backed truck.
“You can’t say these guys haven’t been trying. Every week they’ve torn this truck apart and put it back together. Last week we found out it was a simple ignition switch causing all the problems,” added Ball. “I felt like I was doing something wrong until tonight.”
When asked if he had a couple more years of racing left in him to try and reach 100 victories at Fremont , Ball joked, “I’m not even sure if I can finish this year.”
The King of the Hill match races determined the starting line-up for the first four rows of the 30-lap 410 sprint feature. Brian Lay, by virtue of winning the King of the Hill, and Mintz comprised the front row. Lay would bolt into the lead with Mintz, Todd Heller, Broc Martin, Gary Taylor, D.J. Foos, Travis Philo and Byron Reed in tow.
Lay and Mintz would separate from the pack as Heller ran comfortably in third while Martin and Taylor battled for fourth. The leaders caught the back of the pack by lap 9 and the lapped cars were racing side by side in front of them. Lay and Mintz continued to run nose to tail as they battled in lapped traffic with Heller, Martin, Taylor, Philo and Reed in tow.
At the half-way point, Mintz made his move, driving under Lay exiting turn two to take the lead. Mintz pulled away slightly as Lay, Heller, Martin and now Reed gave chase. With six laps to go in the non-stop feature Mintz encountered heavy lapped traffic again with five cars battling for position. However, the leader’s patience paid off as he was able to pick them off one at a time. Mintz would drive to the win over Lay, Heller, Reed and Martin.
Rookie Luke Griffith and John Ivy brought the field to the green for the 25 lap 305 sprint feature with Ivy gaining the upper hand over Griffith, Roepke, Jimmy Colvin, Dustin Dinan, Jordan Ryan and Jason Keckler. While Ivy pulled away, Griffith and Roepke ran nose to tail with Dinan, Colvin and Ryan watching a great race for fourth.
Ivy caught the back of the pack on lap eight as Roepke drove around Griffith into second. A lap later and Griffith made contact with an infield tire, ending his good run and bringing out the feature’s only caution. On the restart Ryan would drive under Roepke to take second with Dinan, a charging Bobby Clark. With 10 laps to go the running order was Ivy, Ryan, Roepke, Clark , Dinan, Colvin, Brian Smith and Nate Dussel.
But the leaders once again closed in on lapped traffic and by lap 17 Ivy had a race on his hands with both Ryan and Roepke. With five to go the crowd new lapped traffic would determine the outcome of the race as Ryan drove under Ivy for the lead as they sliced through the back-markers. Roepke would drive around Ivy for second with three laps to go and was racing to Ryan’s outside and would grab the lead off of turn four as they took the white flag with a lapped car holding up Ryan’s line. Roepke and Ryan split the lapped car in turns one and two on the final lap but the lapped car maintained his spot right in front of them as they drove into the final two corners, the lapped car was on the bottom and Ryan had no where to go as Roepke raced around to the checkered.
Ryan, Ivy, Clark and Dinan would round out the top five.
The King of the Hill match races determined the starting line-up for the 20 lap feature of the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks with three-time feature winner Shawn Valenti and Dan Roepke Jr. on the front row. Valenti would drive into the lead with Roepke battling Dustin Keegan, Ball and Kent Brewer.
On the second lap Brandon Leighton would spin with the running order Valenti, Keegan, Roepke, Ball, Brewer, Cory McCaughey, Matt Foos, Dana Fry and Brad Keckler. On the restart Valenti pulled away slightly as Keegan, Roepke, Ball and Brewer waged a tremendous battle. Roepke would take second on lap six with Ball moving into third a circuit later.
At the half-way point it became a three truck battle for the lead just as the caution flew for an Andy Earnhart spin. During the caution track officials stopped Valenti as his rear bumper was in danger of coming detached, presenting a safety issue. That put him on the tail of the restart and handed the lead to Roepke with Ball, Brewer, Keegan and Foos in tow.
Ball would drive under Roepke on lap 14 for the lead and appeared headed for the victory. But, the caution flew on lap 16 when Bob Dible and McCaughey got together. On the restart Ball held off Roepke, Brewer, Foos and Cory Ward and drove to the win.
Fremont Speedway will be back in action Saturday, May 17 on Roots Poultry Night with the Kids Race Into Summer event. All students in Sandusky County schools were given free admission to the night’s racing. It is a Kistler Racing Products FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) Championship points night for the 410 sprints and a JLH General Contractor’s FAST Championship points night for the 305 sprints.