By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio – The Jim Ford Classic weekend at Fremont Speedway just keeps getting bigger and more exciting.
When the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions visit “The Track that Action Built,” Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15, it be the 104th and 105th appearance of the series at Fremont Speedway. The fifth annual event will also have a lot to say about who takes the UNOH All Star championship and the series’ Ohio Region title which will reward the champion $20,000.
All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads will sponsor the Friday night event, which will also include the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints who will be competing in two feature events as they make-up the remaining laps of a rained out main from Aug. 4. The Fremont Fence Dirt Trucks will also be in competition.
Ludwig Propane backs the Saturday event which will pay the UNOH All Star 50-lap feature winner $10,000! The 305 sprints and dirt trucks will also be in competition. There is a rain date for this event set for Sunday, Sept. 16.
Three time All Star champion Dale Blaney has swept the four series events at Fremont in 2012 and now leads the All Stars’ all-time win list at “The Track That Action Built” with 11 victories. Blaney now has 16 career wins at Fremont.
As of Aug. 29, the Low Rider had scored eight UNOH All Star wins in 2012 to move his career total to 92, just six behind Kenny Jacobs for the series’ all-time win lead. Blaney currently holds a slim lead over three time series champion Tim Shaffer for the Ohio Region championship. Shaffer, who, as of Aug. 29, had five UNOH All Star wins in 2012 to run his career total to 50, holds the lead in the series’ National Points as he looks to wrap up his fourth straight championship – a feat only Jacobs and Chad Kemenah have accomplished in the history of the All Stars.
Last year for the Jim Ford Classic, Shaffer held off 2011 Fremont track champion Bryan Sebetto for the Friday night win. When the money was on the line the next night, Sebetto banged wheels with Shaffer – who had won the Jim Ford Classic finale in 2009 and 2010 – coming to the checkered and edged “The Steel City Outlaw” by .045 seconds for the $10,000 win – the biggest victory of his career. Adding to the excitement on Saturday, Greg Wilson charged from dead last – 24th – to finish third.
As of Aug. 29, Sebetto was leading the Kistler Racing Products FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) Championship Series points as he looks to repeat as the $10,000 champion. He has scored three wins at Fremont and 4 at Attica Raceway Park in 2012.
While winless at Fremont in 2012, Craig Mintz, the track’s 2010 champion and recently crowned 2012 Attica champion (3 wins), has been very consistent to lead Fremont’s point standings.
Also starting to come on strong at the end of the season is Byron Reed, a three-time Fremont champion who is also looking for his first win at “The Track That Action Built” in 2012. Two-time track champion Mile Linder has scored a win at Fremont in 2012, as has Chris Andrews. Don’t count out Dean Jacobs, who has 2 victories at Fremont in 2012, or young gun Cole Duncan who scored a victory at the track and has several wins around Ohio this season. Add to that mix tough weekly competitors Phil Gressman, Brian Smith, Duane Zablocki and a host of others.
Then throw in UNOH All Star competitors David Gravel, who is third in the national points, Paul McMahan, Cap Henry, Danny Holtgraver and 2012 Ohio Sprint Speedweek Champion Stevie Smith and possibly of the Eastern Region point leader Daryn Pittman.
Besides the racing, it will be a fun-filled weekend for the fans and race teams with many other events planned.
Kistler Racing Products will present a corn hole tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday to benefit the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame. Entry is $10 per team and the winning team will take home $100 and apparel from KRP. Half of the entry fees will be paid out to the top three teams.
Also on Saturday, Kear’s Speed Shop will present the 2012 Fremont Speedway Trophy Queen Contest at 11:30 a.m. in the Hall of Fame. A panel of diverse judges – all with extensive knowledge of racing and Fremont Speedway – will pick the track’s queen for next season. The queen will take home $100 and apparel from Kear’s Speed Shop. Entry forms for the queen contest can be found at www.fremontohspeedway.com
And for the race fans’ tailgating fun, Hoy’s Bar will present the band Sneaky Pete playing from 1-3 p.m. under the covered grandstands on Saturday.
There is plenty of camping available across the street from the race track.
For more information go to www.fremontohspeedway.com or www.allstarsprint.com.