FREMONT, Ohio – Brian Lay has learned to be patient. The former asphalt racer has paid his dues in dirt track sprint car racing and it showed Saturday on Crown Battery Night at Fremont Speedway.
Lay passed Chris Andrews with seven laps to go in the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprint feature and went on to score his second win of the season at “The Track That Action Built.” The Genoa , Ohio driver won earlier this year on a heavy track and showed his versatility by getting his second career Fremont win on a slick racing surface.
“When I came to this sport they said a pavement guy would never do anything. Well, that patience came from the pavement. When you’re turning 1,700 (RPM) in the corner it’s hard not to do 1,900 or 2,100 you just gotta keep control of it and keep the car under you. I have to thank all my crew. They gave me the best car I could possibly have to drive,” said Lay beside his Seagate Blasting/Local 85 Boilermakers/Kistler Racing Products/Big Apple Deli/Wood County Collision/Dave Story Equipment/Gary Shoemaker Fuel Transport/Warpaint Graphics/Kistler Engines backed machine.
“The track kept getting slicker and slicker and I thought I was going to try and run the top but there was just a little bit of moisture down there (in turns one and two) and towards the end of the race he (Andrews) couldn’t hold that bottom and I was getting a half a car and then three quarters of a car. I just said don’t over drive it and be patient…we’re coming and sure enough we’re here,” added Lay in the Engine Pro Victory Lane .
As it was a Kistler Racing Products FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) Championship Series event, it was not only a big point night for Lay but for second place finisher Chris Andrews. Craig Mintz came into the weekend leading the points at Attica Raceway Park , Fremont Speedway and FAST, but he injured his back in a crash Friday at Attica and was forced to miss Saturday’s racing at Fremont . That should propel Andrews into the FAST point lead. And, Lay becomes the first repeat feature winner in the eight FAST series events in 2014.
In the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints Bobby Clark wanted to give his dad a nice Father’s Day present. He did just that, leading all 25 laps to record his first Fremont win of 2014 and the 28th at the track for his career, moving him into 14th on the track’s all-time win list.
Clark’s team had to pull the engine from his Fremont Fence/Kear’s Speed Shop/Kistler Engines backed machine after Friday’s racing to get it repaired. But, the long day and hard work paid off. Also, Clark ’s car is the machine that Mark Keegan used to win the Legends race the previous week.
“I saw his guys (Nate Dussel) signal for him to go up a little bit and I thought he might try to ride to the outside of me. But I thought the way the track was I knew if I could keep it on the tires I was going to make him earn it,” said Clark of his Little Bar on the Prairie/Big D’s Pizza/Nagy Equipment Sales/CRF Concrete/Willey’s Towing/B&L Plumbing backed #8.
“We got a good race car but have had horrible luck. We made some changes tonight and I think they were all in the right direction,” added Clark . “I have to thank my Mom and Dad and all my crew. These guys have worked their tails off…especially the last couple of weeks moving the engines around.”
It was also a JLH General Contractors FAST Championship Series event and the point’s battle there will tighten up as Steve Rando came in with an 11 point advantage and would finish fifth in Saturday’s feature. Clark is the sixth different FAST winner in six events.
Cory Ward has had a fast dirt truck all season. But, gremlins have struck several times, keeping him away from victory lane in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks. That changed Saturday as the former track champion drove to his 23rd career Fremont victory, moving him into a tie for 20th on the track’s all-time win list.
“You start wondering what can wrong next. Then we had that caution with one to go and I saw that 7b (Shawn Valenti, 7 time feature winner this season) behind me…I was like awe man. We finally got running good and finished it off,” said Ward beside his Budweiser and Yuengling Beers/Precision Body and Frame/Hiser’s Transmissions/Eastside Café/B&L Plumbing/Blue Chip Machine backed truck.
Ward lost the lead briefly on a lap 8 restart when Matt Foos drove by. But, Foos’ move came before getting by the restart cone and on the next caution he was moved back two positions and that put Ward back into the lead.
“I was just trying to get as straight as possible…that way I wasn’t going to break loose. And he decided to pass me before the cone,” explained Ward beside his Gibson Auto Salvage/Mini Warehousing/Griff’s Engines sponsored #18w.
Dave Blaney and Caleb Griffith were scheduled for the front row of the 30-lap 410 feature. However, Blaney, who easily won the Alex Burkett Memorial Australian Pursuit and its $1,000 payday, took the Baumann Auto Group Big Bucks Bump and went to the tail with the opportunity to win an extra $5,000. So, that moved Andrews beside Griffith at the start of the race.
Andrews would rocket into the lead when the green flew with Griffith staying close with Rob Chaney, Brandon Wimmer and Lay in tow. Lay would move into fourth on lap two, bringing Brian Smith into fifth. Dean Jacobs would spin on lap four to bring out the caution and on the restart Lay would drive into third as Andrews continued to lead Griffith .
A caution for a Matt Merrill spin on lap six would give Griffith a chance at Andrews. When the green flew Griffith raced to Andrews’ outside as the pair raced side by side over the next handful of laps. With 10 laps recorded the running order was Andrews, Griffith , Lay, Smith, Wimmer, Chaney, Dain Naida, Todd Heller, Byron Reed and Travis Philo.
At the half-way Andrews had pulled away slight as Griffith now had his hands full with Lay. Disaster nearly struck for Andrews on lap 16 as he tangled with the lapped machine of Bruce White but he was able to keep his car rolling to maintain the lead as lay drove into second. Smith would take third from Griffith on lap 19.
With 10 laps to go, Lay had steadily eaten into Andrews’ lead. The two raced side by side on lap 22 with Lay shooting under Andrews for the lead on lap 23. Lay would drive away for the win with Andrews, Smith, Wimmer and Chaney rounding out the top five.
Blaney’s bid for the Baumann Auto Group Big Bucks Bump would take him from 21st to a 12th place finish with double the finishing money because of the challenge acceptance. Blaney’s payday was as if he finished fourth.
In the 25 laps 305 sprint feature, Ricky Peterson and Clark brought the field to the green with Clark gaining the advantage with Bryan Sebetto, Jordan Ryan, Kyle Capodice, Nate Dussel, Dan McCarron, Rando and T.J. Michael in tow. Ryan would take third on lap two as the caution flew for Sebetto who stopped with front end damage.
On the restart Ryan drove into second with Dussel grabbing third over Peterson, McCarron, Rando and Michael. While others were on the bottom, Rando would use the high line to drive into fifth on lap four. Josh Harrison would bring out the caution on lap eight with the running order Clark, Ryan, Dussel, Peterson, Rando, McCarron, Michael, Dustin Dinan, John Ivy and Alvin Roepke.
Clark would get an excellent restart as Dussel drove around Ryan for second with Peterson and Rando rounding out the top five with Dinan moving into sixth. Dinan would suffer front end damage on lap 12 and collected Roepke to bring out the caution. Again on the restart Clark would pull away from Dussel with Ryan and a closing Ivy in tow.
With six laps remaining Dussel began closing on Clark with Ryan and Ivy working to keep pace. The leaders would race into lapped traffic with three to go and Dussel was right on Clark ’s rear bumper. Clark would not make a mistake and drove to the win over Dussel, Ryan, Ivy and Rando.
Cory Ward and Cory McCaughey were scheduled for the front row of the 20-lap dirt truck feature. However, McCaughey would accept the Baumann Auto Group Big Bucks Bump and went to the tail for the chance at the $5,000 bonus (he too would double his finishing place money for accepting the challenge). This put Ward and Keith Sorg on the front row and when the green flew Ward took the lead over Jimmy McGrath, Sorg and Matt Foos.
As Ward pulled away slightly there was a tremendous battle behind him between McGrath Jr., Sorg, Foos, Shawn Valenti, Brad Keckler and Dana Fry. The caution would fly on lap six for an Andrew Lutman spin with the running order Ward, McGrath Jr., Foos, Sorg and Valenti. On the restart Foos drove into second with Valenti taking fourth while Kent Brewer had worked his way from 17th to sixth.
Lap eight would see another caution for Lutman and Brandon Leighton. On the restart Ward held a slow pace to the green and Foos drove by before the cone to take the lead. It was short-lived though as the caution flew on lap 10 for McCaughey, with Foos being penalized two spots on the restart and handing the lead back to Ward over McGrath Jr., Valenti and Brewer.
On the restart Valenti would grab second and was closing on Ward. As they took the white flag Foos and Brewer would tangle with Brewer going pit side. For the one-lap dash to the finish the running order was Ward, Valenti, McGrath Jr., Foos, McGrath Sr. and Art Ball.
Ward would hold off Valenti for the win with McGrath Sr., McGrath Jr. and ball rounding out the top five.
Fremont Speedway will not be in action on Saturday, June 21st as the 32nd Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek kicks off. However, Fremont Speedway will host the UNOH All Stars during Speedweek on Thursday, June 26 and the finale on Saturday, June 28.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com
Fremont Speedway - 6/14/2014
Crown Battery Night
Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints (21 Cars)
Qualifying - Fricker’s Restaurant/Callie’s Performance