Mintz dominates Fremont FAST field; Duncan wins legends race
June 11, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Contact: Brian Liskai – email@example.com
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – Craig Mintz turned disappointment into elation Saturday at Fremont Speedway. The Gibsonburg, Ohio driver would dominate the 410 sprint feature on Vision Quest Night, leading all 30 laps for his first win of 2016.
Mintz now has 10 career victories at “The Track That Action Built” and gained valuable points in his chase to win a third Kistler Racing Products FAST Championship Series presented by KS Sales and Service title and the $10,000 payday.
The previous night Mintz struggled at Attica Raceway Park , but his performance at Fremont rewarded his team’s hard work. The 30-lap feature would go non-stop and only took a little over eight minutes to complete.
Mintz’ victory coupled with Byron Reed’s win the previous night at Attica meant a sweep for the “North.” The weekend was the first “North verses South” event which pitted the FAST teams against the Ohio Sprint Car Series (OSCS). The rivalry continues on Aug. 20 when the FAST competitors travel south to Atomic Speedway to once again battle the OSCS.
“These guys behind me put a heck of a race car together and I just drove the thing. I’m glad to be up here on Legends Night. I think I won this a couple of years ago when Alvin (Roepke, owner of Vision Quest) did this. Track position when you have this good of a group of drivers is everything. If you start in the first two rows you had better win a race. We struggled last night but hopefully we can keep this momentum going,” Mintz said beside his Real Geese Decoys, Eagle Ignition Products, Real Archery Targets, KS Sales and Service, Ti22 Performance, Shetzer Insurance, Story Equipment, S&S Builder’s Linder’s Speed Equipment, Real Caps backed machine.
The day began at Fremont Speedway with the eighth annual induction ceremonies for the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame. A packed grandstands witnessed drivers Dave Blaney, Bobby Sears Jr., Ron Leaser and Joe Keegan be enshrined in the hall of fame along with mechanic/race car builders Dick Willey and Paul Kistler; car owners Roy and Keith Pierce, Len Maloy and Vince Fisher; and lifetime contributor Larry Nuber.
The night’s racing also included the third Annual Race of Legends, which pits drivers ages 50 and over who haven’t raced in the past two years in 305 sprint cars was, well, legendary. Lockbourne , Ohio ’s Rodney Duncan, a former staple with the All Star Circuit of Champions, took the lead with just six laps to go after a great battle with Benny Bowman and Eric Rankine and drove to his fifth career win at Fremont .
Duncan piloted the Rich Farmer owned 305 sprint car normally driven by 2015 rookie of the year, his son, Kyle Farmer.
“These are real race cars. Hats off to all the guys that race these every week because you have to race them. It was a blast. I have to say the old school ‘get your elbows up’ with these new cars don’t work. With those high side panels I kept getting my elbow caught on the outside of the car and I had to readjust my style a little bit,” Duncan said.
“I can’t thank Rich Farmer, his son Kyle and his guys enough. This is so cool. I love it and I appreciate all the fans sticking around. This is great,” Duncan added.
In the McCullough Industries 602 Late Models, Wayne , Ohio ’s John Brooks held off Chester Fitch on a restart with just two laps remaining and drove to his third victory of the season. It was Brooks’ fifth career win at Fremont .
“That was a workout to say the least. I have to thank Rusty Schlenk race cars, Foster’s Auto Repair over in Wayne , Ohio , Snack Time Vending of Celina, Jerry Bowersock, my crew chief Chris Watson and my wife and family,” Brooks said in the Engine Pro Victory Lane .
Kent Brewer tailgated Shawn Valenti the entire last half of the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Truck feature. But, Valenti never made a mistake and led all 15 laps for his fourth victory of the season. The win was the 29th of Valenti’s career at Fremont and moves him into a tie for 15th on the track’s all-time win list.
“This is cool to win with all these old timers here. I grew up watching these guys here and to see them back on the track is pretty awesome,” said Valenti in the Engine Pro Victory Lane .
“I know one bobble and Kent ’s there to capitalize. He’s a heck of a racer and we always put on a pretty good battle. I have to thank Jeff Babcock, Craig Miller Trucking, Real Geese Decoys, Dave Story Equipment and Gressman Powersports,” Valenti added.
Mintz and Cole Duncan brought the field to green for the 30-lap, $3,000-to-win Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 sprint feature with Mintz diving to the bottom groove to grab the lead. Duncan settled into second with a great battle for third between Broc Martin, Chris Andrews, Bryan Lay and Jordan Ryan.
Mintz quickly built a sizable lead and raced into lapped traffic by the eighth circuit. Lapped traffic allowed Duncan to edge closer to the leader with Andrews, Martin, Ryan and Byron Reed in pursuit.
Mintz patiently picked his way through the lapped cars, narrowly escaping contact on several occasions. Once cleared of the traffic Mintz again pulled away as Duncan ran unchallenged in second. Meanwhile the battle for third continued between Andrews, Martin and now Reed.
With eight laps to go Mintz held a five second lead over Duncan with Reed now applying pressure to Andrews for third. Mintz drove away the remainder of the race for the win over Duncan, Reed, Andrews and Martin.
“When you get into lapped cars like that…there’s nothing they can do…they’re racing hard too. There’s a groove on the bottom and one slip up and you hope you get by them,” Mintz said.
In the 25-lap Race of Legends Benny Bowman and Kenny Clark Jr. brought the field to green with Bowman grabbing the lead over Rankine, Clark, Duncan, Chris Nagy and Paul Taschler. Bowman pulled away as Rankine settled into second while Clark and Duncan battled hard for third.
While battling for third Clark spun on lap seven, wiping out a big lead for Bowman. On the restart Bowman, a veteran racer from Shelby , Ohio , now had to battle Rankine as Duncan, David Harrison and Clay Keim gave chase.
The race’s final caution – for debris – on lap 10 set up a classic shoot-out. When the green flew Bowman again pulled away slightly with Rankine and Duncan battling hard for second. Duncan, one of the few cars to utilize the track’s middle groove, took second on lap 12 and started chipping away at Bowman’s lead.
With 10 laps to go Rankine had rallied and along with Duncan closed on Bowman. The leaders hit lapped traffic on lap 18 and now Bowman, Rankine and Duncan were involved in tremendous battle. Duncan drove around Bowman into the lead on lap 19 and Rankine took second a circuit later. With four laps to go the cars on the move were Harrison and Keim along with National Sprint Car Hall of Fame member Kenny Jacobs who had driven from 16th to sixth.
Once in the lead Duncan pulled away slightly from Rankine who had his hands full with Harrison . When the checkers flew Duncan would take the win over Rankine, Harrison, Keim and Jacobs.
The 15-lap dirt truck feature saw only two cautions – a debris yellow after the first lap, and another on lap 7. Valenti seemed to have the race in the bag early, but Kent Brewer worked his way to the front and by half-way was right on the rear bumper of Valenti.
Valenti and Brewer pulled away from the field while a great battle ensued for third involving Dana Frey, Dustin Keegan, Cory McCaughey, Keith Sorg and Brad Stuckey.
Valenti withstood Brewer’s pressure and drove to the win with Frey taking a solid third and Keegan and Sorg rounding out the top five.
In the 15-lap late model feature pole-sitter Brooks grabbed the early lead over Chester Fitch, Matt Shipley and Ky Harper. A caution for a Brandon Perkins spin after two laps were complete kept the field close. When the green flew Brooks consistently hit his marks to maintain his lead over a determined Fitch with Shipley, Harper and Tim Sabo battling hard for third.
A caution for a Jamie Miller, Steve Sabo tangle with two laps remaining put Fitch right on Brooks’ bumper. But, Brooks didn’t bobble and drove to the win over Fitch, Shipley, Harper and Tim Sabo.
Fremont Speedway will be back in action Saturday, June 25 (rain date of Sunday) for a $5,000-to-win 410 sprint Buckeye State Blow-Out on Ludwig Propane Night. The Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints, Burmeister Trophy Dirt Trucks and McCullough Industries 602 Late Models will also be in action.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com