FREMONT, Ohio – official release — Mike Campbell photo — Fremont Speedway was Dale Blaney’s personal ATM in 2013. But, after opening the track’s season with a win in April, “The Low Rider” has been held winless at “The Track That Action Built.”
That all changed Thursday during night #4 of the 32nd Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek with the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions.
The four time and defending UNOH All Star Champion took a major step to claiming an unprecedented fifth series title by blasting past James McFadden on a restart at the half-way point of the feature and driving to his second Ohio Sprint Speedweek win. The victory is Blaney’s 102nd career UNOH All Star win and the third series victory of 2014. He now has 21 career victories at Fremont, of which, 15 have been All Star triumphs.
Blaney now holds a commanding lead in the Ohio Sprint Speedweek point standings as he looks to claim that title for the fifth time in his career. In fact, he has not finished out of the top three in any of the four speedweek events. He also pads his point lead in the UNOH All Star’s national and Ohio region points.
“I was really really tight entering the corners. Him (McFadden) in front of me…it had me all balled up. I was able to get a good run on him in one and two and in three he saw me and he had been running down and he caught it and I got around him and moved to the top. The car got really good the last 12 laps. I was able to get off two really well,” said Blaney beside his Kennedy Cattle/Penske Shocks/Ti22 Performance/GF1 Chassis #14k.
“George and Tony and Donny and Skippy…they do an awesome job with this thing. It’s such a pleasure for me to drive this right now. Those guys do 80 percent of the work and the credit should go to them…I just get to drive it,” added Blaney in the Engine Pro Victory Lane.
For McFadden, Fremont Speedway has been fantastic to the Australian driver as he scored a $10,000-to-win victory back in May at the track and followed with a second place run Thursday on “I’m Your Guy Water Proofing Night.” The battle he had with Jac Haudenschild for second the last hand full of laps kept the big crowd entertained to say the least.
“I really like this track…it’s a lot like home. The track’s a little bit flatter but slicker than I’m used to. The team gave me an awesome car and it’s a pleasure to drive and it’s easy to get around here,” said McFadden beside his Tim Norman/Joe Gaerte owned #3G.
“It is always fun racing with someone like Jac. I probably used him up a little too much coming into three…didn’t expect to move up as much as I did…it kind of got away from me and I’m sorry about that. But, this gives us a lot of momentum going into the last two races,” added McFadden beside his Gaerte Engines/XYZ Machining/Red Line Oil/All Star Performance backed machine.
Haudenschild, who won the speedweek event the previous night at Atomic Speedway, is happy with the direction of his Rick Rogers backed team.
“James and I had a real good race there…we slid back and forth a couple of times. That was fun. We’re getting better here and I’m looking forward to coming back here in a couple of days. I said it about a month ago…this team is starting to gel,” said Haudenschild beside his Mondak Portables/Triple X Racing/Renegade Rentals/Champion Oil/Destiny Racing backed #9w.
After the field of 51 cars – second highest car count of the week – was whittled down to the 24-car starting grid for the 40-lap feature, McFadden and Lee Jacobs would make up the front row. Jacobs, who holds the track record at Fremont Speedway, would bolt into the lead over McFadden, Blaney, Gary Taylor, Cap Henry and Haudenschild.
Jacobs set a blistering pace, hitting lapped traffic by the 7th circuit with McFadden, Blaney and Taylor closing. Taylor would use the lapped cars to steal third on lap 8. As Jacobs and McFadden tried to negotiate through the traffic, Taylor and Blaney closed. As Jacobs tried to maintain the lead and get around the lapped car of Brandon Wimmer, the two touched wheels with Jacobs slamming into the front stretch wall, ending his night and handing the lead to McFadden. Taylor too would suffer a flat tire and relinquished his second running spot to Blaney.
The restart order was McFadden, Blaney, Henry, Haudenschild, Christopher Bell, Chad Kemenah and Randy Hannagan. Haudenschild would move into third on lap 13 with Bell taking fourth by lap 16, bringing Kemenah to fifth. Travis Philo would spin on lap 19 to bunch up the field and on the restart; Blaney drove around the high side of McFadden in turns one and two to grab the lead.
Just past the half-way point the running order was Blaney, McFadden, Haudenschild, Kemenah, Bell and Henry. The car on the move was Chris Andrews who started 19th and was up to 7th by lap 24. With 11 laps remaining both McFadden and Haudenschild were closing on Blaney with Kemenah fourth and Andrews fifth.
The final caution would fly with five laps to go when Broc Martin spun. With a clear track Blaney would drive away as McFadden and Haudenschild put on a heck of a show battling for second with Andrews grabbing fourth. Haudenschild would move into second on lap 37 but McFadden squeezed back by a circuit later.
At the checkered it was Blaney over McFadden, Haudenschild, Andrews and Kemenah.
As a way to thank the teams for supporting Fremont Speedway during the Ohio Sprint Speedweek event, track promoter Rich Farmer added extra funds to the B-main.
For more information go to www.allstarsprint.com