Craig Mintz held off several challenges to take the 410 sprint victory Saturday, May 2 at Fremont Speedway on Bauman Auto Group Night. In the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints, Bobby Clark took the lead with seven laps to go to get his 21st career win. Steve Endicott had to hold off a last lap charge from Jim McGrath to take his 6th career win in the Fremont Fence Dirt Trucks.
Mintz, who hails from Gibsonburg, led all 30 laps of the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprint feature, but had to first hold off Cap Henry, then Phil Gressman and a great side-by-side battle with Brock Mayes before finally holding off Brandon Martin to get his third career win at "The Track That Action Built."
"We got racing in lapped traffic and cars were in the way... it was just one of those deals where you kind of hang on and keep it straight. I went to the bottom and he (Mayes) must of went to the top I didn't get to see what happened," said Mintz in the Engine Pro Victory Lane beside his Real Geese Decoys, Erie Shore Propane, KS Sales and Service sponsored #09.
"Pat Harger, my dad (Les), Rich Witte, Kent Tyson, Tim King...all these guys put this thing on the race track and all I had to do is drive it. I'm not even close to being in shape...I realize I need to start working out. The yellows came at the right time to keep me out of lapped traffic. With this type of race track you need to be in clean air and not trying to get around race cars to go forward," added Mintz of his third career Fremont victory.
Defending track champion Stuart Brubaker looked like he would get his first win of the season in the 305 sprint feature, but he just couldn't shake Bobby Clark, who battled him throughout the first part of the event. Clark executed a perfect slide job for the lead in turns one and two just as the field completed the 17th lap to take the lead.
"After awhile I found out if I just followed him in three and four I could get a run on him in one and two. He left me just enough room...that was about my only chance to get by and I had to take it," said Clark in the Engine Pro Victory Lane beside his Al Davis Carpeting, Fremont Fence, Jenny's Copper Penny backed #40.
The dirt truck feature was another dandy, with Risingsun's Steve Endicott leading all 20 laps, but he had to battle the entire way with defending track champion Jim McGrath and Art Ball. In fact, following a red with two laps remaining, McGrath drove to Endicott's outside to race him for the win.
"I don't like those caution laps..I've lost a lot of races that way. Cory and Art's been pretty fast...I kept looking at the board to find out where Art was," said Endicott in the Engine Pro Victory Lane beside his BMS Engines, Endicott Trucking backed #8.
"We're shooting for a championship...we built a new truck. We have a second and third and a first...that's not too bad starting out," added Endicott of his sixth career Fremont victory.
At the start of the 410 sprint feature, Mintz bolted into the lead from his pole starting spot with Cap Henry, Phil Gressman and Rob Chaney in tow. Just as Mintz was getting ready to hit lapped traffic on lap 7, the caution flew. On the restart, Gressman battled Henry for second, taking the spot on lap 8. Gressman applied pressure to Mintz while Henry had his hands full with fast qualifier Brock Mayes. Mintz pulled away slightly while Gressman and Mayes battled hard for second over the next six laps until moving into the runner-up position at the half-way mark.
Mayes would then pressure Mintz for the lead, and with 11 laps to go had pinned Mintz behind a lapped car and looked like he would steal the lead. However, Mayes would drive off the high side of turn one coming to a rest against the softwall to bring out the caution. Mintz now lead over Brandon Martin who had quietly worked his way to the front. Martin applied pressure the rest of the way while Gressman, Henry and Cole Duncan waged a great battle behind.
Mintz was able to hang on for the win with Martin, Gressman, 12th starter Byron Reed and Duncan rounding out the top five.
"This will really help us in the hunt for the (Kistler Racing Products) FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) championship. This FAST thing is the greatest thing to happen around here in awhile. It's going to bring some more cars in that normally wouldn't be here and we're proud to be a part of it," said Mintz of the third night for the series.
Brubaker would jump into the top spot at the start of the 305 sprint feature with Clark right on his bumper and Tim Kern, Steve Rando, Josh Muntz and last week's winner Todd Heuerman giving chance. While Brubaker and Clark battled up front, Heuerman was on a mission, moving from his eighth starting spot into third by the third lap. Following a caution for debris on lap five, Clark really began pressuring Brubaker, poking the nose of his car under him lap after lap with Heuerman and Rando waging a torrid battle for third. The car on the move was D.J. Foos who had worked his way up to fifth from his 12th starting position by lap seven.
The final yellow would fly on lap 11 with the running order Brubaker, Clark, Rando, Foos, Heuerman and Muntz. Clark continued to hound Brubaker before making the winning move on lap 17 as Rando made it a three-car battle. Once in the lead, Clark would drive a smooth race while Brubaker and Rando battled side by side lap after lap for second. At the checkered, it was Clark, Brubaker, Rando, Foos and Heuerman rounding out the top five.
In a crash filled dirt truck feature, Endicott jumped into the lead with McGrath, Brian Sorg, Will Tezak and Art Ball in pursuit. Following a lap seven red for a Alex Weichman flip (he was unhurt), the running order was Endicott, McGrath, Sorg, Ball and Cory Ward. Ball would move into third on lap eight and would pressure both Endicott and McGrath for the lead while Sorg and Ward battled hard for fourth. With six laps to go, the truck on the move was Bob Dible who had moved into fourth from his 12th starting spot. With two laps to go, another red flag halted the action as two trucks crashed hard in turn three - no one was hurt.
The two lap dash to the checkered feature Endicott, McGrath, Ball and Dible duking it out. Endicott was take the victory with McGrath, Ball, Dible and Sorg rounding out the top five.