By Brian Liskai
FREMONT , Ohio – The Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame will hold the 8th annual induction ceremonies Saturday, June 11 in the historic covered grandstands prior to the racing action on Vision Quest Night.
Eleven individuals will be enshrined in the hall. Drivers to be inducted include Dave Blaney, Bobby Sears Jr., Ron Leaser and Joe Keegan. Mechanic/car or engine builders to be inducted include Paul Kistler and Dick Willey. Car owners to be inducted will be Roy and Keith Pierce, Len Malloy and Vince Fisher; Supporter/life contributor to be inducted will be Larry Nuber.
This will bring the total inductions into the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame to 99. Gates will open at 1 p.m. with the ceremony to get underway at 2:30 p.m. Those wishing to attend must purchase a ticket which includes entry into the track for the night’s racing.
The racing includes the North vs. South challenges pitting the 410 sprint drivers of the Kistler Racing Products FAST Championship Series presented by KS Sales and Service against the drivers from the Ohio Sprint Car Series.
Also, former drivers will once again get behind the wheel of a 305 sprint and compete in the Race of Legends. Legends drivers include Eric Rankine, Steve Liskai, Chris Nagy, Kenny Clark Jr., Charlie Fisher, Lee Potter, Jerry Nemire, David Harrison, Joe Keegan, Brian Neeb, Kenny Jacobs, Rodney Duncan, Randy Curlis, Rick Ungar, Clay Keim and Harry Kresser.
The dirt trucks and 602 late models will also be in action.
Here is a look at the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame inductees:
Dave Blaney, 53, is from Hartford , Ohio . He was the 1983 All Star Circuit of Champions rookie of the year and won USAC’s Silver Crown Series championship in 1984. Blaney won his first World of Outlaws race at Tri-City Speedway in 1985 and won the Championship in 1995. He also made his NASCAR Winston Cup debut.
He won the Gold Cup in 1997, the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in 1993 and 1995 and the Historical Big One in 1997, and the Knoxville Nationals in 1997. He is 8th on the World of Outlaws all time win list with 70 victories. He is seventh in all-time wins with the All Star Circuit of Champions with 47 victories
Blaney, known as the Buckeye Bullet, has 10 career wins at Fremont Speedway of which 7 were All Star Circuit of Champion victories. His first All Star win at the track came on Aug. 17, 1983 and his last on Sept. 8, 1990.
Blaney was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2014.
He is part owner of Sharon Speedway in Hartford , Ohio .
Blaney’s son, Ryan, is having a very successful rookie season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving for the famed Wood Brothers.
Bobby Sears Jr. started going to the races in 1958 to watch his dad, Bobby Sears, and Uncle Otis Clymer race. Bobby rebuilt his first race care and engine when he was 13 years old and Clymer would drive it.
Bobby Jr. started driving in 1976 in the Lightening Rod division at Fremont Speedway for Bill and Albert Treen. He built his own car for the 1977 season for the sport stock division, wining 16 features that year, 10 at Fremont and the track championship.
Bobby Jr. moved to late models in 1979 and 1980. He finished 10th in the points in 1979. He won the street stock invitational in 1985. Bobby Jr. won six features at Sandusky Speedway in 2000 driving for Mike Dukeshire in the Sport Stock division.
Bobby Jr. became an owner/builder in 2001 fielding two dirt trucks driven by Bobby Davis and John Rhoads, with four feature wins with the teams finishing second and third in points. In 2002 the team won three more features and finished third in points.
Bobby Jr. would field a 305 sprint team in 2003 with Brian Smith winning a feature. In 2004 the team won the 305/360 challenge at Fremont and three other features to win the track championships at Fremont and Attica .
Bobby Jr. then fielded a 410 sprint car in 2008. The team won two features in 2009, and claimed the FAST championship series title. In 2010 the team won the 410 points championship at Fremont and had two feature wins.
As a driver Bobby had 23 feature wins including 12 at Fremont and won the track’s 1977 Sport Stock championship. As a car owner, Bobby’s teams won 48 features, 6 track championships and a FAST championship. Bobby’s drivers included Bob Sears, Otis Clymer, Mike Cowdrey, Bobby Davis, John Rhoads, L.J. Connors, John Auxter, Craig Keel, Brian Smith, Phil Gressman and Craig Mintz.
Ron Leaser won the 1976 and 1977 late model championships at Fremont Speedway. He scored eight career wins at Fremont Speedway.
Joe Keegan raced late models and sprints at Fremont Speedway and other area tracks and was Fremont ’s rookie of the year in 1973. Keegan would break the late model qualifying record at Fremont in 1976 only to have Art Ball re-set the record at the end of the year.
Keegan was instrumental in creating the 305 sprint division in 1988 and won the first division feature at Fremont and the track championship at Attica Raceway Park ,
Keegan would also own sprint cars driven by Jim Linder in 1981 and 1982.
Dick Willey was an auto racing pioneer. He was a car builder and competitors in the mid and late 1950s. He along with Red Root, Floyd Slatter and Johnny Auxter built many of the winning coupes during the 1950s.
Willey built the famous #100 car that he ran on dirt and asphalt.
Paul Kistler was part owner of a late model for several years with drivers Jack Hewitt and Roy Sheets. Though Paul admits he does not keep great records he knows his cars won lots of features and championships.
Paul began building racing engines in 1993 and today Kistler Engines are among the most successful in racing. Paul began Kistler Racing Products selling racing parts in 2007.
Roy and Keith Pierce owned the famous #01 late models, street stocks and dirt trucks driven by Art Ball to many of his 76 career wins at Fremont Speedway. Ball would win the track’s 1975 late model championship and drove the Pierce owned dirt truck to track titles in 2011 and 2012.
Len Malloy owned the #44 sprint car driven by hall-of-famers Al Franks and Darl Harrison. Franks would drive Maloy’s sprint car to the 1966 Fremont Speedway championship.
Vince Fisher owned the #3 ¼ super modified driven by hall-of-famer Gug Keegan. Al Franks would drive one of Fisher’s sprint cars and Fisher was very instrumental in helping Gordon Holbrook win the 1981 Fremont Speedway Six Cylinder Sportsman championship.
Larry Nuber announced his first race at Fremont Speedway at the age of six. He told then promoter Joe Stelter that some day he would announce the Indianapolis 500 – he did.
Nuber joined the new ESPN network in 1979 for their first motor sports telecast. Nuber and Bob Jenkins called the USAC race at Salem Speedway in Indiana. In 1984, Nuber helped start SpeedWeek on ESPN, a weekly auto racing news program. He co-hosted the show until 1989. During his years with the network, he also announced Formula One and Thursday night "Thunder" USAC events.
At the 1985 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Nuber made one of his most memorable calls when Bill Elliott won the race and became the first winner of the Winston Million. In addition to his work with ESPN, Nuber also worked on TNN and CBS race broadcasts.
Nuber died in June of 2000.