Rick Ferkel gave Christopher Bell his first ever 410 sprint car ride two years ago. Bell has moved on to USAC racing, but when he was asked to pilot the famous 0 car at Fremont Speedway the youngster from Norman, Oklahoma 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, from Gibsonburg, 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 in the Engine Pro Victory Lane beside his Steyer Seeds/Shorty’s Truck Repair/Smith Farms/Zeis Development/Griff’s Engines/Griffith Truck and Equipment/Rick Baker Trucking backed machine.
“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 for his first ever sponsor, Crown Battery.
“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 beside his Real Geese Decoys/Erie Shore Propane/Keller Chevrolet/R2C Filters/Kistler Engines/KS Sales and Service backed No. 09.
“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.
Ivy’s win in the 305 sprints was the third of the season and coupled with his 6 dirt truck feature wins his career total is now 45 at Fremont, moving him into a tie for sixth with Jimmy McCune on the all-time win list.
“I was running out of fuel. It fluttered going into the last corner. I have to thank everyone involved in this deal. Joey (Pasch, crew chief on the 305 sprint) can finally relax. He was a nervous wreck all day today. I have to thank Kenny and Karen Clark and all the sponsors, Fremont Fence, B&L Plumbing, Little Bar on the Prairie, Miller Rigging, Kistler Engines. We finally got us a championship….now we can finally race,” said Ivy who has now won Fremont Speedway championships in the 410, 305 and dirt trucks.
“The guys took a shot at the truck. Charlie says ‘what do you think John,’ and I said we accomplished what we wanted to so he changed this thing crazy. He did a bunch of things to it…it didn’t make it perfect but it definitely helped it. I think I just got wore out there at the end of the race. Man I’m tired,” said Ivy after the truck feature.
Bradner’s Nate Dussel got in an early race tangle and laid his car on its side. He would come back to record a seventh place finish, good enough to take the JLH General Contractors FAST Championship by four points over Ivy.
“You want to talk about the most stressful night of my life. First off hats off to John. I definitely didn’t give him that track title, he earned it. It’s pretty awesome to be on the front stretch with him. He’s someone I grew up watching and I have a ton of respect for him,” said Dussel beside his Berrier Fabrication/Kylynn Manufacturing/Kistler Racing Products/Gressman Powersports backed machine.
“When the car was laying on its side I was like ‘please don’t let anything be broken.’ I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get back up to eighth but I just wanted the opportunity. I didn’t want to get to the trailer and have to face the crew because that was totally driver error. I’m just exhausted. What a year…this is the capper. This means a lot to us. We’re a team that nothing gets handed to us…we work our asses off we deserve this,” added Dussel.
Dan Roepke Jr. would grab the lead in the dirt truck feature on lap two and would hold off Shawn Valenti to score his second win of the season and the eighth of his career.
“I got into both of the Wards there at the beginning and luckily didn’t get a flat tire. And Shawn was battling us there at the end. He raced us clean and I appreciate that,” said Roepke beside his Johnny’s Electric/Vision Quest/Village Inn backed No. 88.
Mintz and Bell would bring the field to the green for the 30-lap 410 sprint feature with Bell grabbing the lead over Mintz, Brian Lay, Rob Chaney, Byron Reed, Chris Andrews and Bryan Sebetto. Lee Jacobs would bring out the caution with three laps in when he stopped on the track. When the green flew Bell pulled away as Mintz battled with Lay for second with Sebetto moving into fourth.
Bell would hit lapped traffic by the seventh circuit but Mintz and Lay could not close. With nine laps in Bell’s nose wing collapsed but it didn’t slow his march as Lay took second. Sebetto would grab third on lap 14 but Mintz would regain the position two laps later.
The caution flew on lap 21 for a Travis Philo spin with the running order Bell, Lay, Mintz, Reed, Chaney, Sebetto and Greg Wilson. On the restart Reed moved around Mintz into third but the caution would fly again with 22 laps in for Duane Zablocki.
Again Bell would pull away from Lay with Reed, Mintz, Chaney and Sebetto in tow. Chaney would take fourth on lap 24 as Reed pressured lay for second. With five to go Mintz began to tire as Sebetto moved into fifth bringing Stuart Brubaker into sixth.
Bell would catch the back of the pack again as he took the white flag but Lay or Reed could not close. Bell would power to the victory over Lay, Reed, Chaney and Sebetto.
In the 25-lap 305 sprint feature Seth Schneider and Jimmy Colvin paced the field with Schneider grabbing the lead. Colvin, Bobby Clark, T.J. Michael, Dean Jacobs, Alvin Roepke and Ivy gave chase. The caution would fly on the second lap for a Kyle Capodice spin. On the restart Jess Stiger would spin. When the green flew Schneider pulled away slightly over Colvin. Dussel was on the move from his 16th starting spot and was up to ninth in just four laps.
Action would grind to a halt on lap five when Dussel and Dustin Dinan tangled with both getting upside down. Dinan was done but Dussel was able to rejoin the field at the tail. Under the stoppage Clark would go pit side with a flat tire. The restart order was Schneider, Colvin, Michael, Ivy, Roepke and Jacobs. Ivy would grab third on lap six and immediately pressured Colvin for second. Ivy would drive into the runner-up spot on lap nine.
Schneider would shoot over the cushion in turn two on lap 13, handing the lead to Ivy as they raced into lapped traffic. Colvin would make contact with Ricky Peterson as he tried to lap him on the 15th circuit, sending Colvin flipping. The restart order was no Ivy, Schneider, Michael, Roepke, Jacobs, Jordan Ryan and Paul Weaver.
Ivy couldn’t pull away on the restart as Michael moved into second. With four laps to go Weaver would take a tumble down the front stretch. Ivy could not shake Michael on the restart with Schneider, Jacobs, Roepke, Ryan and Dussel in tow.
The final caution would fly for a stalled Luke Griffith on lap 23. When the green reappeared Ivy pulled away as Michael began to drop as his mount ran out of fuel. Ivy took the win over Jacobs, Schneider, Roepke and Ryan.