FREMONT, Ohio – Byron Reed has often said he would rather be running second in lapped traffic than leading. The scenario played out Saturday as he trailed Rob Chaney at Fremont Speedway with six laps remaining in the 410 sprint feature. Reed, from Monclova , Ohio , used lapped cars to take the lead and drove to his 33rd career feature to open The Track That Action Built’s 67th season of racing on Level Performance/Gressman Powersports Night.
The win vaults Reed into the lead for the All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads FAST Championship Series presented by Ohio Logistics title. Reed is a four time and defending FAST champion.
“I don’t know if we were the best car…we were alright. It was just one of those deals where you’re better off being in second. I got beat that way last week at Attica . I don’t know if I would have gotten Rob but the lapped cars got all out of shape and I found the hole first. I want to thank Crown Battery and my crew Kurt, Dick and Kevin and my mom and dad,” Reed said.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and every year I think ‘that guy’s leaving and this guy is leaving but then there’s some new guys that come along. You get to thinking geez not another Haudenschild, not another Jacobs or not another whoever…they’re always coming. For a few more years I hope I can stay ahead of them,” added Reed.
Fremont, Ohio’s Paul Weaver would utilize the same technique to take the lead in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature, using lapped cars to drive around Brandon Moore on lap 12. Weaver drove to his 42nd career Fremont victory which puts him ninth on the track’s all-time win list. It was also his fourth feature win of 2017 as he owns three at Attica Raceway Park . The win opens Weaver’s defense of the JLH General Contractor 305 FAST Series presented by Engine Pro championship.
“I’m telling you anyone could drive this thing it’s handling so good I could drive it any where I wanted. I want to thank Dave Rice, Bob Hampshire, my wife, Andrea for helping,” Weaver said beside his M&L Excavating; Hampshire Racing Engines; Schiets Motorsports, Weaver Performance Center backed machine.
Fostoria, Ohio’s Shawn Valenti battled with Dustin Keegan the first four laps of the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Truck feature before pulling away. But, a caution with two laps to go put Matt Foos right on his rear bumper and Valenti moved his racing groove and held on for the win. It was Valenti’s 33rd career win at Fremont , tying him with Reed for 13th on the track’s all-time win list. It was his second win of the weekend as he took the checkers Friday at Attica .
“I was struggling with a couple of lapped trucks there and I looked at the board with two to go and saw Matt was lined up behind me…I knew it was going to be interesting,” said Valenti beside his Craig Miller Trucking, A+ Auto Center, Best Performance, Dave Story Equipment, Real Geese, JP Enterprise truck.
Delta, Ohio ’s Ky Harper held off defending Fremont champion John Brooks to capture the McCullough Industries 602 Late Model feature. It was his 10th career victory at Fremont aboard the B&R Powdercoating; H&H Environmental; Twist-T-Freez; Gipralth Excavating; VA Risk Services; AM Transport; Track Side Truck & Trailer Repair; Childress Collision; Warpaint Graphics; Mastersbuilt Race Cars backed #34.
“I didn’t know what the heck was going on with the car. All of a sudden it wouldn’t turn…I had my hands full. I’m worn out. I couldn’t do it without all these guys here,” said Harper gesturing to his crew and family.
In the 30 lap Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprint feature Chris Andrews and Rob Chaney brought the field to green with Chaney gaining the upper hand. Fourth starter Thomas Meseraull, who was making only his seventh winged sprint car start, took second on lap two. With six laps scored Meseraull was closing on Chaney while Phil Gressman and Duane Zablocki battled for third with Andrews, Reed and Tyler Gunn in pursuit. While battling for the lead and dealing with lapped traffic, Meseraull would spin for the first caution.
When the green flew Chaney now had to fend off Zablocki with Gressman and Andrews battling for third while Reed, Gunn, Stuart Brubaker and Adam Kekich gave chase. At the half way point Chaney and Zablocki were dealing with heavy lapped traffic with Gressman and Reed battling for third. A lap later and Andrews would spin giving the leaders a clear track. The cars on the move were D.J. Foos who had drive from 20th to ninth and Jared Horstman who moved from 18th to seventh.
On the restart Chaney continued to hold the point with Reed driving into second while Zablocki, Gunn and Gressman staying close. With six laps to go the leaders again found themselves racing into heavy lapped traffic and that’s when Reed made his winning move. Meanwhile a fantastic battle for third was going on involving Zablocki, Gunn and Gressman. Reed sliced his way through the lapped cars to take the win over Chaney who held off Zablocki. Rounding out the top five were Gunn and Gressman.
Brandon Moore and Kelsey Ivy paced the field for the 25 lap 305 sprint feature. Moore gained the advantage at the drop of the green with Ivy in second followed by Kevin Mingus, Tony Beaber and John Ivy. While Moore and Kelsey Ivy pulled away, the battle for third heated up between Mingus, John Ivy and Beaber. John Ivy would take the third spot on lap four. Meanwhile 12th starter Weaver had worked his way to fifth by lap five.
Moore ran comfortably out front over the next few laps while John Ivy passed his daughter for second on lap eight with Weaver taking third a circuit later. When Moore encountered heavy lapped traffic on lap 10, both John Ivy and Weaver closed quickly. Weaver took second on lap 11 and drove around Moore to the lead a lap later. As Weaver pulled away Moore was no locked in a tremendous battle for second with John Ivy who nabbed the runner-up position on lap 16.
Weaver made a daring move on lap 17, splitting two lapped cars entering turn three just as John Ivy had closed the gap. Weaver would then drive to the victory over John Ivy with Kelsey Ivy getting around Moore late to round out the podium. Beaber would complete the top five at the checkers.
In the 20-lap dirt truck feature Valenti and Dustin Keegan battled for the lead at the drop of the green. But, after a lap was completed, Brad Stuckey stopped with a flat tire. A lap later and Brad Mitten encountered the same difficulty. Once the green reappeared the battle was on between Keegan and Valenti while Matt Foos, Jim Holcomb, Cory McCaughey and Keith Sorg gave chase. Valenti was able to drive into the lead on lap five and immediately began pulling away.
At the half way point the entertaining battle was for second between Keegan and Foos. That fight would continue for six laps. With five to go Valenti held a comfortable lead while Foos and Keegan gave chase with Holcomb and Sorg in pursuit as well. Foos slowly ate into Valenti lead when the caution flew with two to go. On the restart Valenti changed his line in turns three and four, dropping to the bottom of the track and cutting off Foos’ advance.
Valenti took the checkered over Foos, Keegan, Holcomb and Sorg.
In a feature that saw only two cautions, Harper would grave the lead at the drop of the green and pulled away as Keegan, Steve Sabo and John Brooks gave chase. Brooks would take second on lap six and closed on Harper when the second caution flew for debris with five laps to go. Harper hit his marks and drove to the win over Brooks and Keegan.
Earning special prizes during the night were Thomas Meseraull who claimed the Fricker’s Frickin’ Fast Time Award and another $100 bonus from “Super Fan” Steve Klitsz, and Justin Peck who earned the Welly’s Spiced Up Move of the Night for taking a win in his first ever 410 winged sprint car heat.
Fremont Speedway will be back in action Saturday, April 29 on Tank’s Meats Night featuring the 305 verses NRA Sprint Invader 360s, the dirt trucks and late models. It is also Students Race Into Summer with every student in schools across Sandusky County having a free pass to the races.