Fan Notes from Fremont Jim Ford Classic Night #1

Friday, September 15, 2017
Fremont SpeedwayFremont Speedway (Tom Myers) 9/15/2017 Fremont, Ohio – I haven’t been able to get to Fremont this year but the schedule worked out and we made our way west to take in the first night of the Jim Ford Classic. Fremont runs a great program. They organize it well, push the races off fast and they get the stalled, spun out or wrecked cars off the track quickly. The track was tacky and stayed that way all through the feature. The feature was over by 10:00pm and we got home before midnight! Thank you Fremont!

When we got there, we were pulling into the north parking lot and I thought I saw Jeff Swindell walking across the road. He was wearing his driver suit and talking on a smart phone. I later found out that it was indeed Jeff Swindell, who was to be piloting the Pete Grove blue 70 car. However, the car didn’t show up until after time trials. They still had to put Jeff’s seat in it and they ended up starting on the tail of the c-main….probably just to get a few laps in since they couldn’t realistically make the feature. I anticipate they will compete Saturday…….we will see. I also missed seeing Rob Chaney. I figured he would be driving the Holbrook 83 car, but they were not to be found. In any case, there were 40 cars on hand and it was a quality field. The field included Aaron Reutzel from Texas…and he raced well.
Jeff SwindellJeff Swindell We arrived half way through time trials and I hate that! Tomorrow I plan on getting here much earlier. So I ventured back to the pits after time trials. I have never been in the pits at Fremont. It reminds me a little bit of the way Knoxville used to be, with the barns scattered all around and cars tucked back in everywhere. You can also get up close to the backstretch screen to watch the cars flash by…if you have the courage!

Craig Mintz was the fastest qualifier and for that he won $600. Cale Thomas won $300 for second quick and Aaron Ruetzel, from Texas, won $150 for third fastest time. Nice! The heats then were ready to go and in heat 1, Brubaker wins it followed by Mintz, and Brian Lay. Top 3 go to the feature. Cap Henry pulled off on the first lap. In the 2nd heat, Cale Conley won it, followed by Gary Taylor and Trevor Baker. In heat 3 Shawn Valenti was trying to pass Todd Heller at the exit of turn 2 by going around the outside. They touched wheels and Valenti executed a few fips and Heller ran into the back straight guardrail. Both were ok. After many repairs, Valenti returned to run the b-main and Heller returned for the c-main as well. The heat 3 finish was Jody Keegan, Byron Red and Aaron Reutzel. Heat 4 started with 6 cars as a few must not have answered the call. After a first lap tangle, the 41 car broke an axle so now the heat started with just 5 cars. The finish was Chris Andrews, Ryan Brougton, and Jordan Ryan. Duane Zablicki broke something his motor and didn’t return. The fifth heat got us Tim Shaffer at the front, followed by Cole Duncan and Lee Jacobs. By now, the sun was setting and the scene was beautiful. What a wonderful evening for a sprint car race at the old fairgrounds!
Kenny Jacobs, Lee Jacobs and AJ HavensKenny Jacobs, Lee Jacobs and AJ Havens The B-main was loaded. D.J. Foos, Broc Martin, Travis Philo, Dan McCarren, Cale Thomas, Danny Smith, Tyler Gunn, Brian Smith, Hunter Schurenburg, and Cap Henry. McCarren, Foos, Philo, Martin, and Thomas transfer to the 30 lap A-main, paying $5,000 to win and $500 to start.

The lineup for the first few rows of the feature went like this…Lay and Andrews in row 1, Brubaker and Jacobs in row 2, Mintz and Ruetzel in row 3, Conley and Reed were in row 4. At the green, Andrews grabbed the lead and was flying when a yellow came out on lap 3 for Foos, who had stopped in turn 4. The running border was Andrews, Lay, Jacobs, Ruetzel, Brubaker and Mintz. Tim Shaffer, who started in 13th, has already passed a few cars. The race goes green again and on lap 8 Baker flips it in turn 4. He’s okay and the running order now is Andrews, Jacobs moving up to 2nd, Lay, Ruetzel, who was riding the high side up against the cushion, Brubaker, Cole Duncan, up from 10th, Mintz and…Tim Shaffer, now up to 8th. It goes green and on Lap 12 Jody Keegan goes over the cushion in turn 4 and that brings out a yellow. Shaffer is now up to 6th! He is using the low side and also the middle and is carving them up! Reutzel is now in 3rd. The running order is Andrews, Lay, Reutzel, Jacobs, Cole Duncan, Shaffer. Mintz, Brubaker and Byron Reed. The green flies again and on lap 14 Broc Martin stops in turn 4. Shaffer is up to 5th.
Tim ShafferTim Shaffer It’s only lap 14 and Tim Shaffer is coming on strong. Pops and I looked at each other and kind of agreed that Shaffer was gonna make this fun! On the next green flag lap, Foos spins in turn 4 and he will go to the pits. These yellows are really helping Shaffer….but no one else seems to be moving forward so much. When the green drops again, Shaffer gets past Jacobs around the middle of turn 2 and sets sail for Reutzel. Shaffer pressures Reutzel and Reutzel, who has been riding the cushion the whole feature, jumps the cushion in turn 2, giving Shaffer the spot. Andrews and Lay were still out on front but were slowing. Actually, Lay was getting ready to pass Andrews for the lead when Shaffer got a run out of turn 2 and split the pair exiting 2 to grab the lead, much to the crowd’s approval! Tim goes on to win the $5,000 and looks good to be a factor for the big prize tomorrow. Andrews finishes 2nd and Lee Jacobs comes back to finish 3rd.

Wow, that was a good race! It’s really neat to see someone come from the back and win a race. That was exciting. Thank you Fremont, for the nice evening and the great track and a fast moving program. We hope to see you tomorrow!