FREMONT, Ohio – Robert Ballou was skeptical when he got to Fremont Speedway Saturday for the Smith Family Foods/Mike Hensel Memorial Race.
He had been struggling as of late and the track didn’t look like it would suit his driving style. But, the Rocklin, Calif., native worked with his crew and the results showed.
Ballou passed six-time AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones on lap 19 of the 33-lap, $3,300 to win Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) season opener and drove to his first win at Fremont.
“That Jeff Walker race car with Levi Jones are two of the best guys around and if you can run them guys down you know you’ve got something. Jeff Walker is the best mechanic around and Levi has obviously shown it with six championships with the USAC National Sprint Car series. Last night we struggled and Ken Baldwin was going to hire someone else…he said we suck on slick tracks so I had to do something to show these guys. I give it my best and sometimes it isn’t enough,” said Ballou. “I have to thank Derek for sticking with me night in and night out. He does this for free.
“This is for this family (the Mike Hensel family)…I’m sorry for their loss,” added Ballou.
Nate Dussel, who scored wins at Attica Raceway Park and Fremont Speedway a week ago, destroyed a car this past Friday at Attica. He and his brothers and dad worked all night to put a car together to come to Fremont and he rewarded them with his second win of the year in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints.
Dussel used a great move on a restart to get around early race leader Paul Weaver, and then battled with John Ivy in lapped traffic before claiming his 9th career Fremont win.
“On that restart I timed it up perfect so I could try and pull a slider on him (Weaver). I hope it wasn’t dirty cause that’s not how I race. And I knew John (Ivy) would be coming. He always is there. He gets to see the race track a lot during the night (Ivy races in the 305 sprints and dirt trucks),” said Dussel.
“I’m pretty tired. I haven’t had to run on a curb all year. I’m pretty tired. I have to thank my brothers Craig and Mike and Bill Berrier…my dad and myself. We put in a lot of time. I can’t thank them guys enough. I destroy a race car and all they worry about is getting it back together for me,” added Dussel.
In another close race, Shawn Valenti battled with Ivy all 20 laps of the AAA Ohio Auto Club Dirt Trucks feature and nipped Ivy at the checkered by .08 second to score his sixth career win.
“I have to thank John Ivy for racing me clean. I was hoping I didn’t give that one away there at the end. I appreciate the way he raced me,” said Valenti. “I’m just happy to get this one. I have to thank my wife for all the time we’ve spent on this thing. It was a last minute deal. I wouldn’t have thought three weeks into the season we’d be standing in the Engine Pro Victory Lane. This is still more fun than ever. I would race anything and I’m glad to be back at Fremont.”