McFadden conquers Fremont for $10,000 UNOH All Star payday
May 25, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Contact: Brian Liskai – firstname.lastname@example.org
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio - Not many sprint car drivers have come to the historic Fremont Speedway and win in their first visit. Australia ’s James McFadden not only accomplished that feat, but did it against the tough University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions on Budweiser Night to the tune of a $10,000 payday.
Before the weekend double-header, McFadden had never seen “The Track That Action Built” which is known throughout the country as one of the toughest places to win on a weekly basis let alone when the UNOH All Stars are in competition. The 25-year-old driver didn’t seem to worry about the reputation as he took the lead from four time series champion Dale Blaney on the second lap and then diced his way through traffic throughout the 50-lap feature. McFadden, piloting the All Star Performance, Gaerte Engines, XYZ Machining backed #3G then had to survive a late race caution before driving to his first All Star win.
“Really have to thank Joe, Cindy and Tim for giving me this opportunity. It’s a big undertaking for them to get a young Aussie over. This is an awesome feeling for me and a dream come true,” said McFadden in the Engine Pro Victory Lane .
“I really didn’t know where the fastest part of the track was. The lapped cars were just as fast as we were. It was pretty tough. On that red light (for refueling on lap 43) I asked the crew if I was doing the right thing and they said yes so I just tried to keep doing that and hit the bottom as good as I could coming out of two and that set us up,” continued McFadden who is only in his sixth season of racing sprint cars.
For Blaney, he could get close to McFadden but could never get to where he could move past for the lead. It was the third straight race at Fremont for Blaney to finish second.
“He’s a top 10 guy in the country. He’s won a lot of races over in Australia and he came over the last couple of years and has done really well. He’s run up front in a bunch of outlaw races. He’s as good as there is. I couldn’t do anything. Once we got about two or three laps going I just stayed the same. I really struggled in one and two…I couldn’t catch the bottom off of two. We weren’t great and he ran a great race and that’s a good car and I look forward to running against them for the next six or seven weeks,” said Blaney beside his Kennedy Cattle/Ti22 Performance/Penske Shocks backed machine.
Greg Wilson, a two-time UNOH All Star champion, has been on the road all season and was making his first appearance at Fremont in 2014. It seems every time there’s a big race at “The Track That Action Built,” he is around the front and Sunday was no different as the Benton Ridge, Ohio driver would come home third.
“We’re normally pretty good here but we were definitely the third best car here tonight. I want to thank Doug Berryman at OC Shocks…he’s been helping me. Also Bob and Sue Williams at All Pro, Paul Kistler…they helped us put together a nice motor…it’s the third night on it and it’s a horse,” said Wilson beside his Hercules Tiers/All Star Plumbing and Heating/Ohio Logistics/DNC Hydraulics backed #w20.
“We’re pumped. We’re getting better and it was nice to be home in Fremont with all the cool fans and Farmer had a hell of a race track,” added Wilson .
In the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints, it looked like rookie Luke Griffith was on his way to his first sprint car win. But, with a $1,000 on the line, Lindsey, Ohio’s Steve Rando used the high line to drive around the youngster with 10 laps to go and went on to score his second win of the season at Fremont. The victory was Rando’s fifth career win at the track.
“I got lucky tonight. I got a guy to help me with set-ups. The car was awesome tonight. Josh Meggit helped get us rolling,” said Rando beside his Davis Fabricators/North Coast Asphalt/G&H Restoration/Attitudes Hair Salon/West Way Farms/Lake Front Drywall/Thorbahn Woodworking backed machine.
“I kept following and following him (Griffith) and slowly I was gaining on him and when I went around the top of three and four I realized I was faster up there and was gaining on him,” added Rando. “I have to thank my girlfriend Kayleah, my mom and dad, Josh Meggit for setting the car up.”
For the second night in a row and for the 6th time this season Risingsun , Ohio ’s Shawn Valenti would be standing in the Engine Pro Victory Lane for the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks. Valenti’s 15th career Fremont win wasn’t easy though as a couple of late race cautions would put veteran Art Ball on his rear bumper.
“Last night was easy either. Last night was a little different race track and tonight we were able to put it against the cushion,” said Valenti beside his Craig Miller Trucking/Best Performance Motorsports/Dave Story Equipment Repair/Conrad Transport/Day Dream and Memories Crafts and Antiques/KS Sales and Service backed truck.
“Art Ball is a fighter to the end. You know he’s going to be there and he will try everything in the books to get you,” added Valenti.
Wayne Johnson and Blaney would bring the field of 24 UNOH All Stars to the green for the 50-lap feature but before a lap could be recorded Danny Holtgraver and Mike Linder would spin in turn three. On the ensuing restart Johnson was called for starting too soon and moved back a row, butting McFadden on the point with Blaney. Blaney would take the lead with McFadden racing to his inside with Brady Bacon, Wilson, Johnson and Jac Haudenschild in tow.
McFadden would drive around Blaney into the lead on lap two but the “Low Rider” would stay close with Bacon, Wilson, Haudenschild, Brandon Wimmer, Johnson and Gary Taylor in pursuit. McFadden pulled away but that lead went away quickly when he caught the back of the field on lap 10. Blaney would close while Bacon ran comfortably in third with Wilson, Wimmer and Haudenschild the running order. By lap 15 the leaders were in heavy lapped traffic that was often racing side by side. McFadden did a masterful job of working his way through the lapped cars as Blaney tried to stay close while Bacon and Wilson tried to slice through the lapped cars. The driver on the move was 13th starter Shane Stewart who had moved into seventh.
The non-stop action continued as McFadden continued to work the traffic. At the half-way point the running order was McFadden, Blaney, Bacon, Wilson, Stewart and Wimmer. By lap 32 Wilson began pressuring Bacon for third with Stewart closing as well. Johnson would bring out the first caution on lap 33 when he coast to a stop in turn four. On the ensuing restart McFadden had two lapped cars separating him and Blaney. When the green flew so did McFadden as Blaney tried to get around the lapped cars with Wilson moving into third.
McFadden would catch lapped traffic again with eight laps to go and Blaney again closed with Wilson, Stewart, Bacon, Wimmer and 18th starter Dean Jacobs in pursuit. Bacon would coast to a stop in turn one to bunch up the field. On the ensuing restart Broc Martin would stop in turn four and officials decided to stop for fuel with seven laps to go.
On the ensuing restart McFadden had only one lapped car separating himself from Blaney with Wilson about 4 lapped cars back in third with Stewart, Jacobs and Wimmer in tow. With the clear track McFadden would pull away for the win over Blaney, Wilson, Stewart and Jacobs. Wimmer, Taylor, Haudenschild, Tim Shaffer (up from 24th) and Brad Bowman would round out the top 10.
In the 30-lap 305 sprint feature Dan McCarron and Griffith would pace the field but a Josh Harrison spin on the opening lap would necessitate a complete restart. When the green flew again Griffith dove to the bottom to take the lead with Jimmy Colvin moving into second over McCarron, Roger Shammo and Rando. Rando would drive into third on lap three as Griffith pulled away from Colvin. With just five laps recorded the cars on the move included 13th starting Seth Schneider and 17th starting Jordan Ryan who had moved into fourth and 9th place respectively.
Griffith would drive into lapped traffic by the 13th circuit with Colvin, Rando, Schneider, Tyler Gunn, Ryan and Dustin Dinan in pursuit. The first caution would appear on lap 16 when Alvin Roepke spun with Trey Jacobs also stopping. On the restart Rando bolted around Colvin for second with Gunn moving into fourth bringing Ryan and Dinan into fifth and sixth. It didn’t take long for Rando to find the high side in turns three and four to his liking and on lap 20 he drove around Griffith to the lead with Ryan moving into third.
The yellow would fly on lap 21 for a tangle involving McCarron and Harrison. The restart was Rando, Griffith , Ryan, Colvin, Gunn, Dinan, Schneider, Brian Smith, Nate Dussel and Ricky Peterson. With six laps to go Ryan got under Griffith for second and was closing Rando when the caution flew for a stalled Paul Weaver. With a clear track Rando was able to pull away as Ryan bobbled in turn two allowing Griffith and Dinan to get around him.
As Rando pulled away, Dinan pressured Griffith and took the runner-up spot on lap 28. However, Griffith was able to stick to the bottom groove and drove back into second a lap later but ran out of time to catch Rando. Following those two to the checkers were Dinan, Ryan and Colvin.
Pole-sitter Gene Potridge opted to take the Baumann Auto Group Big Bucks Bump and went to the tail for a chance to win $5,000 in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Truck 20-lap feature. That would put Dustin Keegan and Ball on the front row. Keegan took the lead at the drop of the green with Ball racing to his outside while Valenti and Jimmy McGrath also battled for the lead. Ball took the lead on lap two with Valenti moving into second a lap later. Ball and Valenti raced side by side over the next two circuits before Valenti was able to gain the lead on lap six.
By the half-way point Valenti led Ball, McGrath Jr., McGrath Sr., Keegan, Matt Foos and Kent Brewer. As Ball and McGrath Jr.worked on each other for second, Valenti pulled away. But a caution on lap 15 put Ball right on Valenti’s rear bumper with the McGraths, Brewer, Cory Ward, and Keegan in tow. On the restart Brewer would drive into third and began pressuring ball for second. Another caution on lap 18 kept Valenti from driving away to the win. Ball and Brewer would stay close when the green reappeared but Valenti was just two strong and took the win over ball, Brewer, Ward and McGrath Sr.
There will be no racing at Fremont Speedway on May 31st but coming June 7, Vision Quest Night will feature the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame induction ceremonies with gates opening at 1:30 p.m. The night’s racing includes the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints and the Race of Legends pitting former drivers in a complete night of racing behind the wheel of 305 sprints. The dirt trucks are also in action. The first 1,600 fans who purchase tickets to the Hall of Fame inductions and thus the night of racing action will receive free t-shirts compliments of Vision Quest.