Ryan Smith holds off Bell and Darrah for $10,000 All Star payday at Fremont Speedway
September 19, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015
Contact: Brian Liskai
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio –Ryan Smith decided to hit the road this season with the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champion Sprint Cars. Having started his career on the big tracks in Central Pennsylvania, he knew 2015 would be a challenge considering a majority of the All Star events are held on the smaller bullring tracks in Ohio . The Kunkletown, Pennsylvania driver – known as the Kunkletown Kid – has adapted well and it paid off in a huge way Saturday as he held off Christopher Bell and Cody Darrah to earn his first career victory at the tough Fremont Speedway.
Smith’s third All Star win of 2015 was worth $10,000 as he claims his first Jim Ford Classic Presented by JLH General Contractor. And while the race recap will show he led 48 of the 50 laps – Bell led laps 31 and 32 – it was far from easy.
“I love racing out in Ohio . There’s great fans and great people to race with. The race tracks you guys give us are awesome. They’re slippery and racy. It was a perfect race track tonight. These guys had the car good. We started from the pole and it was my race to lose. I had some pressure there pretty much the whole race. I couldn’t get off two if I just missed the bottom. Lap after lap I missed it….kicked myself in the butt….I was like man I have to hit this and when I needed to I hit it,” said Smith beside his Warko Group, Quality Roofing Supply, GLT Electrical, C&B Chubby, HP Engines backed #94.
“The guys were telling me I had a big cap on that last green flag there so I decided to try the outside on the restart and that didn’t work. I’m just glad to get the lead back. The car was good…I could go any where but I had to be on the bottom,” added Smith.
Norman, Oklahoma’s Christopher Bill would cap off a good weekend in the #09 normally driven by Craig Mintz, with a close runner-up finish.
“That car is nice. It took me some time to get used to it…we struggled a little bit yesterday. But the more laps I got the more comfortable I got. It’s just frustrating for my guys…they worked so hard. I got the lead and the plan was under the red that I might be able to drive around him (Smith) and as soon as I did go right back to the bottom. It felt so good right through the middle there I decided I’d try it…it just didn’t work out and he was able to get going on the bottom. If I had it to redo I definitely know what I would do different. I’m thrilled to be here and this is my best All Star finish. I had a blast…I can’t thank Craig and Les Mintz enough for the opportunity. It’s really cool to be able to come out here and race with such a good group of people,” said Bell beside his Real Geese Decoys, Kistler Engines, Ti 22 Performance, GF1 Chassis, Design Graphics Group, KS Sales and Service backed machine
On Friday, Red Lion, Pennsylvania ’s Cody Darrah struggled mightily at Fremont Speedway. It all turned around for him Saturday as he battled both Smith and Bell before bringing his J&K Salvage, Eckert Trucking, Eichelbergers U Pull It, J&W Leasing backed #87 home in third.
“It was really the same car and the same set-up from last night. I just starved myself from sleeping last night and a couple of nights before that so pretty much all we did to regroup was drink two big Yuengling Beers and go to bed and get some sleep. I had a great race car and it was a heck of a race. I needed to be a little bit tighter but I had a car good enough to win. It’s frustrating to run third when you’re so close to a win. I have to thank all these fans for coming out and supporting this race track. This is a place I’ve struggled at in the past and I really enjoyed it tonight,” said Darrah.
In a very thrilling Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature, it looked like Luke Griffith would earn his first career sprint car win. However, as he raced through turns three and four on the final lap, he and second place runner John Ivy would make contact while battling in lapped traffic, and fourth running Steve Rando would pounce for a last lap, last corner pass of three cars for his third win of the season. Rando’s eighth career Fremont victory would be by only 0.14 seconds.
“The car was coming good before that caution came out (on lap 14). The car fell off a little after that and I started missing my marks trying to run too hard and I slowly started to pick it back up. And Ivy jumped Luke on that last run. I was under there at the right time. It’s been a great year. I want to thank my parents, my girlfriend and everyone for their support,” said Rando beside his Davis Fabricators, Westway Farms, North Coast Sealing, North Coast Asphalt, Gressman Powersports, Loadmaster Trailers, Attitudes Hair Salon, Thornbahn Woodworking backed machine.
Delta, Ohio ’s Ky Harper would actually barrel roll his late model across the checkers to claim his fifth win of the season in the McCullough Industries 602 Late Model Division. Race long leader Tim Sabo and Harper made contact coming to the checkers with Harper’s car taking a violent series of flips. While the car was totaled, Harper was still upbeat in the Engine Pro Victory Lane as he has won the last four straight features in the division.
“Didn’t really want to win it that way. All I saw was sky and dirt. We’re here to win and have fun and put on a good show. The fans make it possible for us. We’ll find another car…we’ll be back. Definitely a good class….a fun class. All these guys are good racers. Things happen…but hey, I got the win,” said Harper, thanking his sponsors of Tiffin Paint and Body, Tiffin Auto Mart and Childress Collision.
Bowling Green, Ohio’s Dustin Sautter would finish 7th, good enough to wrap up his first ever Fremont Speedway track championship in the 602 late model division.
“This last month has just been really hard on us. Three races ago we broke our steering rack in hot laps so we scabbed it together just to get points. And the week after that we had a tied up birdcage and then the beginning of the last feature we stripped out the spool in the rear end. I can’t thank all the guys at RSR (Rusty Schlenk Racing) enough…we spent a lot of time on the car, put a brand new Bulldog rear end in there and it was just amazing tonight. I screwed up the last couple of laps. I was trying to get up there…I think I had something for them there at the end. I just pushed too hard and went off the track and dance through the infield,” said Sautter.
“I can’t thank all my sponsors enough. Matt Shipley from Shipley Auto and Towing, and Sautter Farms and my wife and family and all the fans who came out tonight. It feels so good to be the first champion in this division,” added Sautter.
Smith and D.J. Foos would bring the field to green for the 50-lap Jim Ford Classic. But, Brian Smith and Cap Henry would tangle on the start, and when the second green flew so did Smith, as he pulled away from Foos, Bell , Darrah and Sheldon Haudenschild. Darrah would flex his muscles early, drive from fourth to second on lap two. Haudenschild would take the third position on lap four.
Smith would hold a commanding lead as he raced into lapped traffic by the 10th circuit with Darrah, Haudenschild, Bell , Dean Jacobs, Foos and Chad Kemenah in tow. Dale Blaney would stop with a flat right rear on lap 16 to wipe out Smith’s lead. On the restart Darrah would challenge with Bell and Haudenschild battling for third. Darrah continued to hound Smith over the next hand full of laps as the leaders again closed in on heavy lapped traffic. By lap 23, you could cover the top three of Smith, Darrah and Bell with a blanket with Bell taking the runner-up spot on lap 24.
Meanwhile, behind the lead trio, Haudenschild and Jacobs waged a tremendous battle for fourth. However, when Cap Henry stopped on the track with 29 laps scored, All Star officials called for a fuel stop with the running order Smith, Bell , Darrah, Jacobs and Kemenah.
During the stoppage, it was found that Jacobs had a hole in his right rear tire. His crew tried valiantly to patch it, but when the green flew it was evident the patch didn’t hold as he began losing positions. He would later go pit side for a tire change.
When the green flew the battle up front continued with Bell driving around Smith for the lead. Smith didn’t give up though, and drove back under Bell two laps later to regain the lead. The caution would fly for Chris Andrews who stopped on the track with 34 laps scored. Smith, Bell and Darrah resumed their great battle when the green reappeared as Kemenah and Cole Duncan gave chase.
Darrah would retake second on lap 40 as Smith pulled away slightly. But, heavy lapped traffic with seven laps to go Smith’s lead was in peril as Bell drove back by Darrah into second. The driver on the move was the previous night’s winner Tim Shaffer who had charged from his 24th starting spot to 7th.
As the five to go signal went up Smith and Bell were racing side by side with Darrah only a car length back while Kemenah, Haudenschild, Duncan and Shaffer gave chase. Smith would hit his marks perfectly the rest of the way to take the win over Bell , Darrah, Kemenah and Haudenschild.
Shaffer would advance 18 spots to finish sixth with Duncan, Byron Reed, Greg Wilson (up from 25th) and Foos rounding out the top 10.
In the 25 lap 305 sprint feature, Alex Paden and Griffith brought the field to green with Griffith gaining the advantage. With two laps scored, Alvin Roepke and Cody Bova would tangle to bring out the caution. On the restart Griffith would pull away from Paden with George Englert, John Ivy, Kyle Capodice, Kyle Peters and Seth Schneider in pursuit. Ivy would move into third on lap five as the leaders prepared to race into heavy lapped traffic.
Griffith’s big lead would evaporate by lap 12 as he sliced his way through the lapped cars with Paden, Ivy, Englert, Schneider, Capodice and Rando in tow. With 14 laps scored Paden would try a move on Griffith in traffic in turn one and would slide up the track, collecting Englert and bringing out the caution.
On the restart Griffith had to contend with Ivy as Rando drove into third with Schneider, Capodice, A.J. Sleek, Peters and Dan Mc Carron giving chase. Griffith would soon begin to inch away from Ivy as Rando and Schneider waged a great battle for third. Schneider would take the spot with five laps to go. With just two laps remaining the leaders raced into heavy lapped traffic and Ivy quickly closed on Griffith . After taking the white flag, Griffith raced into turns three and four on the bottom but there were lapped cars there. He tried to move up but Ivy was already committed and the two touched and slid up the track, opening the bottom for Rando ad he dove under Schneider and the lead pair, driving to the victory.
Griffith, Ivy, Schneider and Capodice would round out the top five.
Tim Sabo and Dale Cole brought the field to green for the 15 lap late model feature but Steve Sabo would bring out the caution and necessitate another start. When the green flew Sabo and Harper would pull away from Cole, Matt Shipley, Brandon Perkins, Jamie Miller, Sautter and Chester Fitch. Shipley would take third on lap 3 and closed on Sabo and Harper. The lead trio would battle hard for the lead until the caution flew for Louis Allan on lap 9. Two laps later Fitch would bring out the caution. A lap later and debris would tighten the pack back up.
The final three laps would see Sabo, Harper and Shipley continue their terrific battle for the lead. As they exited turn four and headed to the checkers Harper would try to squeeze past Sabo and the two would make contact, sending Harper flipping across the start-finish line. Sabo would finish second followed by Shipley, Steve Sabo and Dustin Keegan.
The Eighth Annual Jim Ford Classic was the 121st appearance of the UNOH All Stars at “The Track That Action Built.” Prior to the night’s racing, race drivers, crew members and fans participated in a kick ball tournament to help raise funds for the Jeff Gordon Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. The events of the day put the total raised to well over $20,000 by the Fremont Speedway family and Jeff Gordon has vowed to match the monies dollar for dollar. Also, nine-year-old Kayla Willette, who is battling a cancerous tumor on her spine, was the guest of honor for the day’s events.
Also, the Fremont Speedway Queens Contest to determine who represents the track in 2016 was held and Brooke Schiets would be the pick of the judges. Also, Jonnie Laird would be tabbed the Little Miss Fremont Speedway for 2016.
Fremont Speedway will put a wrap to the 2015 season on Saturday, Oct. 3 with the Mo Vaughn Transportation BOSS non-wing sprints in action with the 305 sprints, dirt trucks and 602 late models. There will also be a ladies powder puff race in the trucks.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com
Fremont Speedway - 9/19/2015
JLH Contractor Night
UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions Sprints (35 Cars)