Mintz opens Fremont Speedway season with thrilling win; Stroup dominates 305s; Valenti takes trucks; Keegan wins late model main
April 21, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Contact: Brian Liskai
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio (Saturday, April 21, 2018) - A week ago Craig Mintz flipped his 410 c.i. sprint car to start his season. The Gibsonburg, Ohio driver redeemed himself in a huge way to open Fremont Speedway's 68th season Saturday, claiming a thrilling victory on Smith Family Food Night.
"The Track that Action Built" bumped up starting time by nearly four hours due to a cold forecast and the large crowd was treated to very entertaining racing.
The win was Mintz' 11th at "The Track That Action Built" and begins his quest for a third All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads FAST 410 Championship Series presented by Ohio Logistics. In the 30-lap feature he first had to hold off defending FAST champion D.J. Foos and then late in the race Cap Henry.
"That just shows the ups and downs of racing and shows you how mentally tough you have to be to be in this game. You build a new race car and destroy it in one lap and then you put a new car together and come here and win races. This crew battled and battled and battled and here we are in victory lane. I know my wife's sitting at home pretty mad..I'll text her and hopefully she will forgive me," said Mintz beside his Eagle Ignition Leads/Real Geese/ Design Graphics Group/ KS Sales & Service/ Anjulina’s/Linder’s Speed Equipment backed #09.
"I seen his (Henry) nose there a couple of times and it was a matter of taking up as much room as I could in turn one and trying to hold my line in three and four. I love racing with Cap...we have raced each other since we were five," Mintz said.
Like Mintz, Fremont, Ohio's Dustin Stroup had to repair his 305 c.i. sprint car after a previous week crash and it paid off for him as well as he dominated the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature for his second career Fremont Speedway victory.
"Last week at Attica I got into a mishap and it pushed the whole front end of the car over. We took it over to Tony Beaber's and he got the thing done in less than 24 hours and I can't thank him enough. Thanks to Century 21 Premiere Properties, Triple X, Level Performance, Slade Shock Technologies, Mom and Dad and my crew chief Adam. My wife isn't here but thanks for her...she's going to be upset," Stroup said in the Engine Pro Victory Lane.
Fostoria, Ohio's Shawn Valenti picked right up where he left off in 2017 in the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Trucks - winning. He led all 20 laps for his 42nd career victory at Fremont Speedway, placing him 10th on the historic track's all-time win list.
"I want to thank Fremont Speedway for getting the show in and all the fans for coming out. I think the only thing Jeff Babcock did to this truck over the winter was get the engine freshened over at Gressman Powersports. I had awesome horsepower," said Valenti of his Craig Miller Trucking/Best Performance Motorsports/Dave Story Equipment/KS Sales & Service backed #7B.
Fremont, Ohio's Dustin Keegan held off a late race charge by John Mayes to score his first ever late model win. It was his seventh overall victory at Fremont Speedway.
"This is awesome. We've battled in these things for four years. We've been playing around to start the season at Attica trying to get this thing dialed in. I've got Ky Harper helping me out tonight and that's a plus. He (John Mayes) showed me his nose and I figured I had to cut him down a little bit and rubbing off his line," said Keegan.
Fast qualifier Chris Andrews and Mintz brought the field to green for their 30-lap Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprint A-main with Mintz gaining the advantage as fourth place starter Foos drove into second. Mintz set a blistering pace and just as he was ready to drive into heavy lapped traffic by lap five the caution flew.
The restart order was Mintz, Foos, Andrews, Nate Dussel, Henry, Stuart Brubaker and Broc Martin. Mintz pulled away when the green flew but when he closed in on the back of the pack Foos, Andrews and Henry closed. Henry took third on lap 14 and at the half-way point the crowd were on their feet as Mintz, Foos and Henry sliced through traffic battling for the top spot.
With 10 laps remaining Andrews had caught the lead trio as the top four ran nose to tail. Henry took second on lap 21 just before the caution flew with eight laps to go. The good news for Mintz was a clear track while the bad news was Henry looked to have the fastest car on the track. When the green reappeared Henry drove to Mintz' outside several times. Exiting turn four with five laps to go Henry got sideways and spun, ending his entertaining run.
The last five laps featured a tremendous battle with Mintz continuing to lead while Dussel took second with Andrews and Foos challenging. At the checkers Mintz won by a car length over Andrews who rebounded nicely with two-time 305 track champion Dussel rounding out the podium. They were followed by Foos, Martin, Brubaker, Gunn, Brian Smith (up from 18th), T.J. Michael and Tracy Hines rounding out the top 10.
Kyle Capodice and Stroup brought the field to green for the 25 lap Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint A-main with Capodice leading the first lap. It didn't take long for Stroup to drive around Capodice to the point just before the caution flew with two laps scored. On the ensuing restart John Ivy charged into second with Capodice battling with Paul Weaver for third.
A caution with four laps scored bunched the field up and when the green flew Ivy pressured Stroup for a couple of laps before the leader began to inch away. Weaver closed on Ivy by lap nine as the leaders found the back of the field. Stroup sliced his way through the lapped cars to maintain a sizeable lead over Ivy, Weaver, Capodice and Matt Foos who had charged from his 14th starting position.
Stroup had to survive one final caution with nine laps remaining. He once again pulled away when the green flew and drove to the dominating win over Ivy, Weaver, Steve Rando and Seth Schneider.
Valenti and Dustin Keegan brought the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Truck A-main to green with Valenti driving into the lead while Keegan stayed within striking distance. The race for third was entertaining involving Eric DeVanna, Paul Brown, Brad Keckler, Keith Sorg and Jeff Ward. Following a spat of cautions in the early going, Valenti found his drove and pulled away.
The competitors had one last shot at Valenti when the caution came out with nine laps to go. But, Valenti's truck was just too strong as he drove to the victory by nearly four seconds over Keegan, Ward, DeVanna and Sorg.
Keegan's great night continued in the McCullough Industries Late Model feature as he led all 15 laps. Mayes made it very interesting following a caution with four laps remaining, driving to Keegan's outside several times. In fact with two laps to go Keegan led Mays by only .015 seconds!
Keegan held off Mays for the win with Brad Mitten, Steve Sabo and Wes Morrison rounding out the top five.
Fremont Speedway will be off April 28 but will return to racing Saturday, May 5 on Amerigas Propane Night for the Open Wheel Shootout featuring the FAST 410 sprints and a challenge race between the JLH General Contractor FAST 305 Championship Series presented by Engine Pro and the 360 c.i. sprints. The Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) non-wing competitors will also compete. It will also be Fan with a Can Night with fans encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the local food bank.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FremontSpeedway or on Twitter https://twitter.com/FremontSpeedway
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