By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – As part of its 60th Anniversary celebration Fremont Speedway dedicated its new Hall of Fame and Museum building Saturday, May 28, with hundreds of fans, hall of fame inductees and family members in attendance.
The Fremont Speedway Historical Club – a non-profit organization – owns and operates the new facility. The board is comprised of Fremont Speedway Promoter Rich Farmer, Randy Mapus and Brian Liskai. The organization began three years ago to recognize and honor those who have made Fremont Speedway one of the most renowned dirt trucks in the United States.
“Three years ago Rich (Farmer) and myself where trying to come up with new promotional ideas…to get fans involved and excited about Fremont Speedway. We came up with the hall of fame…not many race tracks have been around as long as Fremont. We knew we had to involve Randy Mapus because of his knowledge and dedication to the track’s history. We initially figured it would take at least eight to 10 years to have a facility for the hall of fame. But, the racing community stepped forward and through their generosity here we are in just three years in a beautiful building,” said Liskai.
“Randy and Jane Mapus have worked tirelessly on this project…it’s because of their hard work and Rich Farmer’s determination to see this project through that the history of this great race track will be around for generations to come,” added Liskai.
The Hall of Fame and Museum houses photos, plaques, racing uniforms, helmets and other memorabilia from throughout the 60 years of racing at “The Track That Action Built.” There are even restored historic race cars on display. The museum also houses the plaques of the 27 individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame the past two years. The third class of 10 individuals will be inducted during ceremonies prior to the racing on Saturday, June 4.
During Saturday’s dedication ceremony, Mapus noted every inductee into the hall of fame – or a family member – were present. Mapus too was surprised at the speed of the project.
“We broke ground for this the last weekend of July last year…and here we are with a completed building. And, it’s completely paid for,” Mapus told the big crowd who applauded the success. “It’s a testament to this track and the great fans that support it.”
Mapus praised Farmer for his determination to make sure the Hall of Fame and Museum became a reality.
“He was determined to build this thing. I really can’t say enough about what Rich did for this project. This hall of fame will be his legacy…he was passionate about it,” said Mapus.
Pat Mowry, a member of the Sandusky County Fairboard – the speedway and hall of fame are on the fairgrounds – welcomed the new facility and the many fans that come to the track every week.
“We are proud of what you all have accomplished and what it means to the fairgrounds,” said Mowry, who also thanked Mapus for keeping the fairboard appraised of how the project was proceeding.
Mapus said race fans should be proud of how the fairboard and the hall of fame organizers cooperated and worked together to make sure the hall of fame became a reality.
Fremont Mayor Terry Overmyer told the crowd the speedway is a very important part of the community.
“Growing up here I realize how important this track is to this community. It brings people from all over the United States to Fremont,” said Overmyer. “I congratulate Rich Farmer and his staff, Randy Mapus and all those who contributed to this hall of fame.”
Mapus then thanked many individuals and businesses who made the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum possible. He noted over $45,000 has been raised through donations.
First on the list was sprint driver Brandon Martin who, through his family business, did all the excavating work. Then there was John Horn of JLH General Contractor who constructed the building basically at cost, Mapus noted. Horn’s crew consisted of Jordan Karr, Matt Ferrell, Geoff Young and Adam Mulligan.
Jay Gundy of Fremont Overhead Door provided a discount as did Fremont Roofing’s Todd and Ed Williams and Gordon Lumber’s Tracy Witt. Sabroski Electric provided materials at cost and Palmer Brothers Concrete donated the stone for the project. Matt Darth wired the building and John Adkins and his sons Jim Bo Adkins and JR Adkins used their equipment to move stone and install the drain tiles. Joey Pasch and his crew of Scott Keckler, Brad Keckler, John Ivy, Jerry Nunley, Tim Seabolt, Fred Birch and Kenny Birch poured the concrete floor with support from Mosser Construction. Koch Building Products also donated supplies to the project.
Mapus also thanked Ken and Chris Kiser for their efforts and Clay Keim of CA Kustoms and his staff of Cody White and Seth Schneider. He noted that photographer Rick Sherer helped keep fans updated on the status of the hall of fame through his photography. Mapus also thanked Mike and Stephanie Linder for their efforts on the 60th anniversary souvenir program that helps raise funds for the hall of fame.
“We have to thank the Jim Ford family…they brought racing back to Fremont Speedway when it looked like the place my fade away,” added Mapus.
Mapus also thanked the fans who have given money to the project.
“We have had several hall of fame members step up and make big contributions. And, it was the big donation by De and Marilyn Genzman and their family that got us off the ground and moving ahead with this,” noted Mapus, adding fans are always handing him $5 or $10 here and there.
Liskai also thanked the families of the late John Wisbon, Harold McGilton, Mike Holman and Bill Shammo who dedicated the memorial contributions to the hall of fame.
“We still need to keep raising funds to operate the hall of fame and museum. And, we have plans for special exhibits and a media center. It costs money to pay for upkeep and things like the electric for the air conditioning and heat,” said Mapus.
Farmer concluded by noting the race track and hall of fame and museum are successful because of the hard work and dedication of his staff.
“Someone once told me if you surround yourself with good people good things will happen and this is proof of that,” Farmer said.
The Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum will be open every race night and admission is free. The facility is located along the midway leading to the historic covered grandstands.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com