FREMONT, Ohio – Fremont Speedway wrapped up its 61st season at a gala banquet Saturday at Ole Zim’s Wagonshed. The top 10 drivers in points in the track’s weekly four divisions were honored along with several special awards.
Fremont Speedway Promoter Rich Farmer thanked the fans, drivers, race teams and owners and all of the dedicated track employees. He presented worker Brian Sabo with a special service award and presented the Alex Burkett Business Award to Vision Quest of Elmore and Adkins Sanitation and Fence of Fremont.
Randy Mapus, curator and director of the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame, presented Johnny Auxter with a special plaque commemorating the 40th anniversary of his Fremont Speedway track championship. He also announced the induction class for the hall of fame for 2013 – drivers, Al, Steve and Dick Liskai, Paul Dewald, Bill Hahn, Gordon Holbrook and Randy Ford; mechanics Sonny Conger and Mervin Keegan; car owners Larry Keegan and Don Eckhardt; and special service Phil Huss (aka Smokey the Clown). Mapus said the Hall of Fame is working to raise funds for a wheel chair lift to help fans reach the viewing area in the historic covered grandstands.
Emcee Brian Liskai – the track’s announcer and public relations director – then handed out the prize money to the drivers.
In the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints, Gibsonburg, Ohio’s Craig Mintz took home his second track championship. Mintz, the track’s 2010 champion, also earned the track title at nearby Attica Raceway Park in 2012. Mintz competed in 18 of the 19 feature events in 2012, missing only the end of the year event. Mintz, the 2009 Fremont Attica Sprint Title (FAST) champion, scored nine top five feature finishes in 2012 and 14 top ten runs. During a stretch from July 7 through Sept. 8, Mintz finished no worse than third and scored four runner-up finishes in a row. For the season Mintz, who has five career feature wins at “The Track That Action Built, scored an incredible six runner-up finishes and his average A-main finishing position was seventh.
“I have to thank my dad and mom for all the sacrifices they have made for me to race. I have to thank my crew…these guys work their tails off all year. I have great sponsors in Real Geese Decoys, Wasserman Construction, R2C Filters, Erie Shore Propane, Keller Chevrolet, Design Graphics Group, KS Sales and Service….without their support we couldn’t do this,” said Mintz, who is getting married next month.
“We will be back to defend our title next year and hopefully pick up some wins,” added Mintz.
Fremont’s D.J. Foos claimed the title in the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints. Foos, who also claimed the 2012 FAST championship for the division, scored six feature wins at Fremont to take his career total to nine. During a stretch from May 27 through Sept. 8, Foos finished out of the top four only once – a 10th place finish on June 27. To go with his six wins, Foos recorded three third place runs while racking up 12 top five finishes and 14 top ten runs. He competed in 18 of the 19 features during 2012, missing only the final race of the year. Foos’ average feature finishing position was sixth.
“I’m excited for next year as the Genzman family has given me the opportunity to drive their 410 sprint,” said Foos.
“I have to thank my dad and mom and my brother for all their support and hard work. We were able to accomplish what we did thanks to the great support of our sponsors Buckshot Farms, Automatic Fire Protection, Schiets Motorsports, Gyro Motorsports, Pit Stop Carryout, Crown Battery, Kistler Racing Products, Linder’s Speed Equipment, Level Performance and the Jet Express,” added Foos.
At the age of 74, Tiffin, Ohio’s Art Ball showed no signs of slowing down as he picked up his second straight championship in the Fremont Fence Dirt Trucks. Ball, a former two time Fremont Speedway late model champion, has now recorded 25 track titles in his 51-year racing career. Ball scored three wins at Fremont in 2012 to take his career total to 74 as he remains the all-time feature win leader at the track.
Even more remarkable, of the 18 features Ball competed in at Fremont in 2012, he never finished worse than seventh in 17 of them. Ball racked up an incredible 14 top five finishes and 17 top ten runs. His average A-main feature finishing position was fourth.
“I have to thank Keith Pierce and my crew, particularly my son Gary. They work very hard on that truck…I knew it was capable of winning every night,” said Ball. “I want to thank our sponsors Kear’s Speed Shop, Chaney Roofing and Maintenance, Distel’s Septic Service, Nye Farms, Harley and Bev Lee, Ritzler Accounting, Faber Sub-contracting, the Lash Family and everyone who helps out,” said Ball, adding he would be back for season #52 in 2013.
In the Surfin’ Sweepstakes Internet Café Sports Compacts, Brandon Myers, 17, of Grand Rapids, Ohio, took home the championship for the division’s inaugural season. Myers competed in all 7 features in 2012, scoring a pair of wins. He never finished worse than 7th all season and had an average A-main finishing position of third.
“It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. Between racing, school and football it took a lot of time and effort. I have to thank my mom and dad and my grandpa and my sponsors, BG Radiator, Mark Shultz Signs and R&R Repair,” said Myers.