Fan Notes from the 2018 Jim and Joanne Ford Classic at Fremont

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
(Tom Myers) Fremont, Ohio – I didn’t attend one race at Fremont this racing season…. and that’s not normal. Usually I make it for at least a couple of FAST races….not so this year. So it was a good feeling making it here for the Jim Ford Classic with the winner slated to take home $10,000.

My longtime friends, (and new racing buddies), were all hyped up to go to another race so I directed them to this one. I advised everyone to leave early so we could get a good seat. My friends made it to the track first by taking the turnpike, and that was really cool. They called me and told me they had seats in the top row between turn 4 and the flag stand, just where I like it. And I thought, wow, how awesome it is to have someone get to the race before you and save a seat for you? I never have that happen because it’s just pops and I going to the races and we always go together. I always worry about not being able to sit where I want (I think I have a phobia about it…really) and this helped me relax. I wonder if anyone else has this unnecessary stress and worry….while driving to the track?

When we got there and got seated, I found out that my instructions for entering the track were lacking. My friends parked across the street from the backstretch and walked up to the pit gate entrance and unwittingly paid for 3 pit passes to get in….instead of going through the fence opening further west and walking around the outside of the track….to get to the ticket booth. Oops! Not having planned to pay for pit passes, they took it in stride about the extra money spent and went back into the pits later on in the evening and had a great time.
Buddy KofoidBuddy Kofoid Now it was time to see which racers were in the pits on a beautiful evening for racing. I learned that Jac had won the previous evening with Tim Shaffer coming home 2nd. There were 39 cars were on hand for the Saturday show including Dale Blaney driving the 4n car out of Pennsylvania and a kid from California, Buddy Kofoid, who was driving the Linder wrenched 11n car. I thought that Geo Scelzi looked young but Buddy really looks young. I believe both are 16 years old. They just look out of place sitting in a fire breathing, ground pounding sprint car. That being said, they both can drive these things like seasoned veterans. Buddy impressed the heck out of me. He’s the real deal.

The drivers would get only 1 lap in time trials under the Fremont format for this race. The track was really tacky and had a dip at the turn 3 entrance as well as a rough spot in turn 1. Kelsey Ivy flipped her sprinter entering turn 3 in time trials. She hit the dip and dug in a tire and off she went. She landed upside down with her helmet pressing up against the foam cushioning….foam cushioning that surrounds the Fremont speedway around the outside of both turns. Half way through time trials some electronic scoring problems developed and more than a few drivers had to come back out and run a time trial lap a second time. D.J Foos came out 3 times to get a lap recorded! Buddy Kofoid ended up being the fastest timer followed by Lee Jacobs.

There would be 4 heats with the top 4 going to the A main. In the first heat and on a tacky track our finish was Cole Duncan, Kofoid, Tim Shaffer and Nate Dussel. In heat 2, Andrew Paulker would get the win followed by Chris Andrews, Hunter Schurenburg, and Stuart Brubaker. Second fastest qualifier Lee Jacobs faded back to fifth and into the B main. In heat 3 the winner was Jac, followed by Dale Blaney, Cap Henry and Travis Philo. In heat 4 the finish was Adam Kekich, Chance Morton, who was filling in for Spencer Bayston in the Swindell Speedlab 39, Tyler Gunn and Byron Reed. After the heat races, there were to be two B mains. In the first B main, the top two transfers to the A main were Craig Mintz with the win followed by Tracy Hines. In B main 2 the winner was Lee Jacobs followed by Ryan Ruhl.
Tim ShafferTim Shaffer The A main would be 40 laps and the first 4 rows were lined up with Tim Shaffer on the pole and Kofoid on the outside. In row 2 we had Duncan and Paulker with Haudenschild and Kekich in row 3 and Chris Andrews and Dale Blaney in row 4.

At the start Kofoid grabbed the lead and worked to open up a good advantage over 2nd running Shaffer. On lap 3 a yellow comes out for Chance Morton. The order was Kofoid, Shaffer, Paulker, Duncan, Kekech, Haud and Blaney. On lap 4 Andrews flips it in turn 3 bringing out a red. After racing resumed, Kofoid got a good lead again until a lap 9 caution for a spinning Morton. The order is Kofoid, Shaffer, Duncan, Paulker and Blaney. Racing resumes until lap 14 for another yellow. The running order is the same except Blaney has now gotten around Paulker for 4th. On the restart Kofoid leads the field but this time, Shaffer stays close to Buddy and on lap 16 Shaffer works around the young California driver and takes the lead. Paulker and Haudenschild touch and get tangled up in turn 3 but keep going. Then another yellow on lap 17 and that turns into a red for refueling. We can’t seem to get many racing laps in….before a yellow flies! After the restart, the race goes green until a lap 23 caution for Philo. The running order is Shaffer, Kofoid, Duncan, Blaney, Paulker, Kekich and Haud. The race then goes green all the way to the checkers with Shaffer taking the win, followed by Kofoid, Duncan, Blaney and Paulker.

Kofoid looked like he would run away with it at first but Shaffer would bide his time and figure out a plan and then he made his move…just like the seasoned pro he is. Shaffer is amazing and having a great year. After Shaffer grabbed the lead, Duncan and Kofoid battled for the 2nd position the rest of the way with Blaney lurking behind them but not able to get up close to make a pass. Paulker held on to 5th after damaging a front wing. This was a really good show and a great way for Fremont to end the racing season.

Thank you Fremont Speedway and congrats to Tim Shaffer on the win. A congratulations also goes out to Craig Mintz for winning this year’s 410 FAST championship.