By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – The Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame will hold its 11th induction ceremony Saturday, June 8 with eight new members joining the hallowed halls.
The ceremonies will be held rain or shine in the historical grandstands at Fremont Speedway in the Sandusky County Fairgrounds beginning at 2 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. Those planning to attend need to purchase a ticket – ticket gates open at 1 p.m. – which also includes the evening’s racing following the hall of fame induction. Vision Quest Night racing includes the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints, the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints and the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Trucks. It is an All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads/Kistler Racing Products Attica Fremont Championship Series (AFCS) Presented by the Baumann Auto Group point night for the 410 sprints, paying $4,000 to win. It is also a KS Sales & Service AFCS Presented by Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales point night for the 305 sprints who are gunning for $1,000 to win. The vintage race cars will also put on a demonstration race and there is free camping across the street from the speedway.
Those being inducted into the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame are:
John Wisbon – John began racing in 1987 after buying a sprint car from hall of fame member Joe Keegan. He was named the Fremont Speedway rookie of the year in 1987, finishing sixth in the track’s points. In 1988 John finished third in the track’s points in a season that saw him record 20 top 10 finishes in 34 A-main starts. John got his first feature win in 1989 at Butler Speedway in Michigan and he finished fourth in Fremont and Attica Raceway Park’s point standings. In 1990 he once again finished third in Fremont’s points. John won Ray Bowman Chevy-Olds Invitational race at Attica in 1991 and finished ninth in Fremont’s points. In 1993 John scored two feature wins at Buckeye Speedway (what is now Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio). John also recorded a pair of top 10 finishes during Ohio Sprint Speedweek including a best seventh place finish at Fremont Speedway. He retired from racing in 2005.
Bruce Berryman – Bruce started racing late models in 1975 and was Fremont Speedway’s rookie of the year. He recorded four feature wins in the late model division at Fremont Speedway and won the track’s 1978 championship. After retiring from driving in 1988 he would later purchase a 305 sprint car and later a 410 sprint car for his son Doug to drive. From 2000 to 2007, Bruce and Doug racked up some 15 feature wins, including winning two 305 feature on the same night at Fremont Speedway (a make-up feature and the night’s regular feature). One of the things Bruce is most remembered for, however, is giving future racers a start in go-karts. Racers like Paul Weaver, John Ivy and Phil Gressman all drove go-karts for Bruce. When Skunk Hollow began a kids kart division it was Bruce who built most of the karts.
Dave Marko – Dave raced a late model from 1979 to 1988 and scored over 100 feature wins in that time span including 13 at Fremont Speedway. He won the late model track championship at Eldora Speedway five years straight and also recorded a championship at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio. Dave nearly scored a Fremont Speedway title in 1983 coming up just two points short of Ken Clark despite missing six events that year at the track. Dave scored some of late model racing’s biggest events including the Johnny Appleseed Classic at Mansfield Speedway.
Jerry “Dude” Creeger – Jerry was Fremont Speedway’s 1982 Sportsman Six-Cylinder champion and also earned the track’s Herbie Robinson Sportsman of the Year award that season. Jerry was the 1983 Herbie Robinson Award for Outstanding Personality and Attitude at Fremont and received a certificate of appreciation and dedication from the track in 1985. Jerry scored 9 feature wins in two divisions at Fremont Speedway and also scored wins at Oakshade Raceway (Wauseon), McCutchenville Speedway, Attica Raceway Park, Coshocton Speedway, East Bay Raceway (Florida) and Millstream Speedway (Findlay). Jerry drove his first late model in 1997 and recently drove a limited late model at Fremont in 2018 after 25 years.
Rich Farmer – Rich was the Fremont Speedway promoter from 2008 through 2018, the third longest tenure in the history of the track. He founded the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame and the Fremont Speedway Historical Club. Rich was recognized as the regional promoter of the year in 2013 and 2015 and was the Vintage Auto Racing Promoter of the Year in 2015. A recipient of the Key to the City of Fremont in 2016, he also has 2 dirt truck wins at Fremont Speedway and was the track’s rookie of the year in 2000. Rich also has owned sprint cars that have accumulated wins with drivers such as Bryan Scott, Mike Linder, Bryan Sebetto, DJ Foos, Matt Foos, Dustin Dinan, John Ivy, Brad Haudenschild, Dan Roepke Jr., Shane Stewart, Rodney Duncan, Rob Chaney and Shelly Farmer. In fact Rich’s cars won two 410 features in the same night with Mike Linder and Brad Haudenschild as the drivers. A successful businessman Rich owns several NAPA Auto Parts Stores and a limousine business.
Chuck Kear – Chuck and his wife Shirley opened Kear’s Speed Shop in downtown Tiffin, Ohio in 1969 and it is still in business today supply parts for race cars. Chuck, who passed away in 1980, tried to race in the late 1960s and found he had trouble finding affordable parts. Shirley said that’s when he opened the speed shop which started with late model parts but later switched to sprint car parts because of the universal design of most parts at the time. The early years of Kear’s Speed Shop saw Shirley run the business during the day while Chuck maintained a full-time job after which he would come in and keep the store open into the evening to accommodate the racers. Chuck and Shirley, along with their children, traveled to tracks all over the country, making a national name for themselves. Chuck was an industry pioneer in many ways, spearheading many events including the racers flea market in the Sandusky County Fairgrounds. Chuck joins Shirley in the Fremont Speedway Hall Fame as she was inducted in 2011. Shirley was also inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2016.
Floyd Slatter – A pioneer in auto racing, Floyd was one of the four owners and mechanics on the #100 car that competed at the very first race at Fremont Speedway. Floyd and fellow Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame members Dick Willey, Ken “Red” Root and driver Johnny Auxter formed the team in 1950 and even journeyed to the beaches of Daytona to compete. That first car, legend has it, had a rock filled pipe that weighed around 500 pounds and rims from old wagon wheels that Auxter was able to find. Floyd was happiest when he was elbows deep in oil and grease working on an engine and mechanical parts. He was a fixture at fellow hall of fame member Fritz Meyers’ Garage.
Chuck Keegan – Chuck, a truck driver by trade, bought his first race car in 1956 with a lot of the work being done by his brother Ed Burr and cousin Paul Keegan because Chuck was on the road all week. Chuck’s wife, Marilyn would go get the parts the team needed. Paul drove the cars most of the time because as hall of fame member Jim Linder remembered “Chuck would run wide open and scare you.” Chuck loved kids and the Linder boys would hang out at the house in their teen years. Chuck owned three race cars between 1956 and 1960. When Paul got hurt in another car, Chuck let his car sit idle, eventually giving it to Jim Linder to start his driving career. Chuck was a generous person, often times lending other racers parts off his own passenger car during a night of racing then having to wait to go home until the races were over and the parts could be put back on the passenger car.
For more information on Fremont Speedway go to www.fremontohspeedway.com. For more information on the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame go to www.fremontspeedwayhof.com