FREMONT , Ohio – Brian Lay faced a lot of adversity this weekend when it came to racing after being the subject of some negative press. He was able to put it all behind him and scored his first 410 sprint win of the 2017 season Saturday at Fremont Speedway on Kistler Engines Night.
Lay, from Genoa, Ohio, took the lead from Broc Martin on lap five of the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprint feature and survived a couple of late race cautions to score his fifth career win at “The Track That Action Built.” The win also keeps Lay in contention for the All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads FAST 410 Championship Series presented by Ohio Logistics title.
“When you throw all that other stuff out, this one is for the old man. We’ve been struggling with our dry slick set-up…I think I almost got fired at one point. Today is my crew guy Jeff Martin’s 61st birthday and no other way to celebrate than a win,” said Lay beside his Robert Mucha Law; Seagate Sandblasting;Varga Farms; American Quality Stripping; Dave Story Equipment; Wood County Collision; Gary Schumaker Fuel backed #45.
“This thing is out of brakes. I used everything I had. At one time I missed a mark down there and I said ‘man if you do that again you are in trouble.’ I was probably 1,500 (RPM) around one but it was eight grand (RPM) down the back shoot. I got into three and four hot and buried the right front and I thought ‘Oh God here comes the turn four wall.’ I just tried to settle myself down. The cautions helped us so we didn’t have to race too hard in lapped traffic. Everything went our way tonight,” Lay added from the Engine Pro Victory Lane .
Fremont , Ohio ’s Paul Weaver stormed from his 10th starting position in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature to grab the lead on a lap nine restart and drove to his second win of the year at Fremont . It was his 8th overall victory of 2017 – he has six at Attica Raceway Park – and the 43rd of his career at Fremont where he sits ninth on the track’s all-time win list.
Weaver has won all three of the JLH General Contractor FAST 305 Championship Series presented by Engine Pro features so far in 2017 as he looks to repeat as the series champion.
“This just doesn’t make sense to me. The cushion is momentum and forward drive. Jamie (Miller)…I never ever would have thought he would go to the bottom. It was just unbelievable that he just opened the door for me. You saw how high the cushion was in three and four. All you had to do was close your eyes and bury it in there and it would launch off the corner. One and two was half throttle. I have to thank Bob Hampshire and Dave Rice for giving me such a great motor. I relinquished all the set-ups this year to Daniel and I was hoping he had listened to me the past two years…and now I can sit in the chair and just hop in and race. I have faith in what he does,” said Weaver of his M&L Excavating; Hampshire Racing Engines; Schiets Motorsports, Weaver Performance Center ; Tender Touch Car Wash; Miller Rigging backed #1w.
Delta, Ohio ’s Ky Harper would lead all 15 laps of the McCullough Industries 602 Late Model feature but it wasn’t easy. Chester Fitch, who had won the previous two weeks in a row and defending track champion John Brooks pressured Harper throughout the A-main before he could score his third win of the year and 12th career victory at Fremont .
“It’s been a really long week. Monday we found out something was wrong with the motor. I can’t thank Rich Farmer and all the guys at the Fremont NAPA for rushing around and getting this motor done for us tonight. They did a hell of a job. The thing was strong and ran good. I knew with Chester (Fitch) and Brooks (Mike) starting close to us we were going to have it tough. I hate running the bottom but it worked,” said Harper.
“I have to wish a happy birthday to one of my crew guys. He busted his butt all week on this thing to get it ready and my uncle…everyone put a lot of time in this car to get it to victory lane,” added Harper.
Fostoria ’s Shawn Valenti continues to dominate in the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Trucks. He grabbed the lead from Keith Sorg on lap four and other than dealing with a hand full of cautions was never seriously challenged as he scored his fourth win of the year at Fremont . It was Valenti’s 36th career win at the track placing him 11th on Fremont ’s all-time win list. He also owns two wins this year at Attica Raceway Park .
“Once you get a cushion out here and it slicked off getting off two…just an awesome truck and I’m blessed to be the one to drive it. I could hear someone back there so I knew it was going to be close. Any time you have a short shoot out with these things it’s exciting. Brad (Mitten) has been running really good this year and last week just had a little bit of misfortune. I have to thank JP Enterprise, Gressman Powersports, A Plus Auto Center, Craig Miller Trucking, Banshee Graphics, Dave Story Equipment, Real Geese Decoys,” said Valenti of his Jeff Babcock owned truck.
Defending track champion Broc Martin and Lay comprised the front row of the 30-lap 410 sprint feature and when the green flew Martin gained the advantage over Lay, Chris Andrews, Thomas Meseraull, Shawn Valenti, Byron Reed and Adam Kekich. A Martin bobble on the cushion on lap five would allow Lay to grab the lead and two laps later Meseraull used the low groove to steal second as Andrews, Martin and Reed battled hard for third.
Duane Zablocki would stop with engine woes on lap eight with the running order Lay, Meseraull, Andrews, Martin, Reed, Valenti and Lee Jacobs. The man on the move was Stuart Brubaker who drove from last starting spot – 20th – to 10th.
When the green flew Lay pulled away while Andrews got around Meseraull for second with Reed driving into fourth. Martin spun on lap 13 and when the green reappeared Lay pulled away again as Andrews, Reed and Meseraull waged a terrific war for second.
Lay had a comfortable lead when he raced into heavy lapped traffic with eight laps remaining. That allowed Meseraull and Reed to close quickly. A caution with five laps to go gave Lay an open track but put “T-Mez” Reed right on his rear bumper.
Lay hit his marks perfectly on the restart as Meseraull and a resurgent Andrews gave chase. Valenti coasted to a stop with two laps to go, setting up a shoot out to the checkers. Lay got an excellent restart and made zero mistakes the last eight turns and drove to the win over Meseraull, Andrews, Reed and Tyler Gunn.
The 25 lap 305 sprint feature saw second row starters Jamie Miller and Alvin Roepke drive around the front row at the drop of the green. While Miller and Roepke pulled away everyone was watching Weaver who drove from 10th to fifth in the first three laps.
A couple of cautions over the next few laps kept the field close and when the green flew after a lap eight yellow Weaver pounced, driving against the cushion to take the lead over Miller, Roepke, Kyle Capodice and 13th starter Nate Dussel.
Weaver encountered heavy lapped traffic with 10 laps remaining and Roepke began to close as Miller was trying to hold off Capodice and Dussel. Dussel drove into third on lap 17. Weaver’s lead was over seven seconds just before the caution flew with three laps to go.
On the restart Roepke took a peak to Weaver’s inside with Dussel challenging up top. Once Weaver got momentum back he pulled away for the win over Roepke, Dussel, 12th starter John Ivy and Capodice.
Harper led from the drop of the green in the late model feature and first had to fend off Dustin Keegan, then John Brooks and then Chester Fitch. As Harper led after each of the early restarts, second would change between Brooks and Fitch. Fitch would be docked at the end of the race for jumping on a restart.
Harper held off the field for the win with Brooks being credited for second, Keegan third, followed by Fitch and Brad Mitten.
Pole-sitter Keith Sorg grabbed the early led in the 20-lap dirt truck feature and held it the first three circuits before Valenti took over. Other than three cautions over the first eight laps, not much could keep Valenti from winning. Valenti held a big lead until a caution with four laps to go put Sorg, Mitten, Brad Stuckey, Kent Brewer and Matt Foos on his tail. Another caution two laps later kept Sorg and Mitten close. Valenti hit his marks perfectly the final eight corners and took the win over Sorg, Mitten, Foos and Stuckey.
Fremont Speedway will be back in action Saturday, June 17 for Mid-Season Championship on AmeriGas Night with the 410 and 305 sprints, trucks and late models in action. Fans who bring a canned good get $2 off their general admission tickets with the food going to area food banks. Some lucky fan will also win a free gas grill compliments of AmeriGas.
For more information about Fremont Speedway go to www.fremontohspeedway.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FremontSpeedway or on Twitter https://twitter.com/FremontSpeedway. Those seeking additional information regarding the 2017 All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads FAST Championship 410 Sprint Series presented by Ohio Logistics or the 2017 JLH General Contractor FAST Championship 305 Sprint Series presented by Engine Pro can log on at www.fastondirt.com. Be sure to stay updated on everything FAST related and ‘like’ FAST on Facebook at facebook.com/fastondirt and follow FAST on Twitter @FASTseries.
FAST On Dirt, Inc. would like to thank the following contributors to the 2017 FAST Series point fund: All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads, Ohio Logistics, JLH General Contractors, Engine Pro, Kistler Racing Products, Engler Machine & Tool, CP-Carillo Pistons, Design Graphics Group Inc., SCS Gearbox, Reebar Die Casting, Hoseheads.com, Level Performance, Young's RV Centers, Gressman Powersports, Hoserville Ohio, Jon Wright’s Custom Chrome Plating, Fremont Fence, Baumann Auto Group, Fricker’s, Goofy Golf, NAPA Auto Parts, Hoosier Tire, UNOH, Welty Financial Services, EZ Shop, US Army, Weld Racing Wheels and the Pub 400.