FREMONT, Ohio – Rick Ferkel gave Christopher Bell his first ever 410 sprint car ride two years ago.
Bell has moved on to compete in USAC, but when he was asked to pilot the famous No. 0 car at Fremont Speedway Saturday the youngster from Norman, Okla., didn’t hesitate. He would lead all 30 laps on Tanks Meats Night to score his first ever Fremont victory.
Defending track champion Craig Mintz came into the championship night leading the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints points. He had already claimed the Attica Raceway Park title and just needed a top five finish to pick up the Fremont championship. Mintz suffered a broken power steering pump and fell back to a ninth place finish.
Meanwhile Byron Reed would come home third meaning the two tied for the track title. Reed would earn his fourth Fremont Speedway championship by having two feature wins in 2013 while Mintz did not find victory lane. However, Mintz was able to earn his second Kistler Racing Products FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) Championship Series title and its $10,000 payday.
“I really can’t thank Rick (Ferkel) enough. Me and him worked together a lot last summer and I feel like we should have had a couple of wins. I either let them slip away or something would happen to take them away. I can’t say enough about Rick. It’s so awesome to put the zero back in victory lane,” said Bell.
“It’s an honor to win at Fremont against guys like Chris Andrews and Bryan Sebetto…they are literally the best of the best here. I tackled the wet and heavy track tonight which means a lot. The first ever time I drove a sprint car was back in 2011 for Rick…it’s just a privilege to drive for him,” added Bell.
Reed was happy to pick up his fourth Fremont track championship.
“I didn’t get the greatest start but we were pretty good there at the end. I didn’t know where Craig was…I just figured I’d do the best I could and see what happens. It shows you have to fight for everything you get and let the cards fall where they may,” said Reed. “One of the reasons I make sure I try to do my best here at Fremont is because I have Crown Battery sponsor me and they told me they really wanted a championship and it took everything we had.”
An exhausted Mintz was hoping to make it a trifecta of championships and feel just short in his bid for the Fremont title. But, the FAST championship brightened his night.
“We junked a power steering pump. I was fine and was getting into a groove until the cautions came out and it just kept making it worse and bunching us back up. I was fine when I was by myself and I had a couple of guys throwing me a wheel and I was just trying to stay out of the way and not destroy a race car. I have to give it to Byron, this track wasn’t easy to pass on and he passed a lot of race cars and that’s why he’s the champion,” said Mintz.
“These guys from FAST….Scott Porter, Bryan Autullo…these guys do everything for us. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them there’s no doubt about it. What they do keeps the car counts up. I think we averaged 25 to 30 cars all season and it wasn’t for FAST there’s no way that would have happened,” added Mintz.
Fremont’s John Ivy became the first driver in track history to claim two championships in two divisions in the same year. Ivy would take the feature win in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints to earn that track championship and would then drive his truck to a third place finish in the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks to wrap up that track title as well.