When Mike got out of the army, he happened to be looking through a Popular Mechanics magazine and decided he wanted to go to school in St. Louis to learn about gas and diesel engines. The rest, so they say, was history.
Mike got hooked up with the Ward family building engines for Hall of Famer Jim, his brother and current racer Jeff, as well as Jim's son Cory. Jim won Fremont Speedway's 1978 and 1979 Sport Stock championships while Cory won the track's 2007 Dirt Truck title. You could say racing is a family ordeal for Mike as his daughter married Jim and Mike is Cory's grandfather.
Mike started working on race cars around 1962. He also operated push jeeps at Fremont Speedway for many years.
Lamar began driving a modified in 1962. He raced on and off for several years but gladly gave up the seat to other racers like Hall of Famers Johnny Auxter, Lamar Berryman, Fred Linder, Bob Knoll and others like Bill Northcut, Larry Nahm, and Rollie Alvers.
In 2002, Lamar's son convinced him to turn his 'vintage' sprint car into a 305 team. With Andy Shammo behind the wheel, the team won the Attica Raceway Park championship in 2006 and the Fremont Speedway title in 2007. The team also won the Computer Man Dash championship in 2007.
Lamar continued to own a 305 sprint car until 2009. He is a regular at Fremont Speedway cheering on his grandson, Mike.
Doug began working on the Ford family sprint car when he was 10 years old in 1970. He was the head mechanic on the family car for his brother, Hall of Famer Randy Ford who won the Fremont Speedway sprint championship in 1986. Later, Doug was the head mechanic on Alvin Roepke's sprint car helping him win the 2002 Attica Raceway Park 410 sprint car championship. With Doug turning the wrenches, Randy Ford won a World of Outlaws race at Eldora Speedway and Alvin Roepke won the Brad Doty Classic at Attica Raceway Park and a 50 lap race at Fremont in the early 2000's.
An engineer at General Motors, Doug enjoyed trying to "out smart" the competition when setting up the car, simply loving the competition.
Doug was a very integral part of planning events, purses, race structure, and more when his dad, Hall of Famer Jim Ford, reopened Fremont Speedway in 2000.
Jeff came from a racing family. His dad, Howard "Huffy" Hoffman owned cars driven by Hall of Famers Art Ball and Paul DeWald.
Jeff was the 1983 and 1984 Fremont Speedway Street Stock Champion. He recorded nine career feature wins at Fremont including an E-mod victory.
Bob, known as the 'Flying Mailman', owned and built his super modified roadster with his brother Vernard. He raced at Fremont, Sandusky, Findlay, McCuthenville, and Lorain County Speedways in the 1950's, 60's and 70's.
In 1972, Bob became the last driver to win a feature at Fremont Speedway in an offset roadster.
Jack raced from 1957 until 1977. He's best known as the driver of the blue big block Plymouth powered #71 super modified. He raced the last few years of his career racing against the roadsters and sprint cars.
When jack retired, he drove his push truck with the Union 76 Jack's Carryout logo wherever his son Bill was racing his 305 sprint car.
Ron built the Leaser and McComas Chevrolet late model team #81 in 1972. Ron began McComas Racing Enterprise in 1979, fielding the #22, #29, and #49 late models.
McComas' late models won the Fremont 1976 and 1977 late model track championships with Hall of Famer Ron Leaser behind the wheel. The team won the first Great Lakes 50 late model classic at Fremont in 1976.
McComas' late models won the Ohio State Championships in 1986 and 1988 under the UMP banner. His late models recorded over 40 feature wins with several Hall of Famers behind the wheel. One of his late models won the first race on TV aired by the Diamond "P"/TNN network at Eldora Speedway. Ron's late models competed in the biggest races including the World 100 and the Johnny Appleseed Classic.
Ron is still involved in racing, helping with the #77i 305 sprint car.
Ken Nemire, Sr
Ken drove in the third stock car race in the Toledo area. When his friend Don Riffner bought a car, Kenny, or "old lead foot as he was known", took the motor out of his passenger car and put it in the famous Sweet 16 and his racing career was off and running. The #16 - which was used by his son Jerry and is currently used by by his great-grandson Austin - came about because Kenny was only 16 when he started driving and he was the 16th to sign up in the first stock car association in Toledo.
Kenny recorded four career wins at Fremont Speedway and was the track's 1956 mid-season champion.
Kenny lost his life on July 6, 1957 when he crashed while leading the Australian Pursuit at Toledo Raceway.
Jerry officially began racing a late model at Toledo Speedway in 1967. A year prior, he raced in a Figure 8 division under an alias due to age restrictions. Two years later, he began racing a super modified in the area.
During his racing career, Jerry competed a lot with the United States Auto Club (USAC) in sprints and silver crown champ cars. Jerry was the 1997 ARCA midget champion.
Though he raced primarily in cars owned and built by him and his family, Jerry also campaigned cars owned by hall of Famers Johnny Auxter and Jim Roepke as well as several owners in the USAC ranks. Jerry last raced competitively in 2002. He did race his restored AJ Foyt champ car in 2013.
On a personal note, Jerry fought cancer for 15 years and has been an inspiration to others and huge supporter of Fremont Speedway.
Eric was always interested in cars. A self-described "gear head", he was always at a race track. At one time, he was a flagman at tracks in Lima and Findlay.
Eric was part owner of Riverside Engines Inc. in Tiffin, OH and was involved in sprint cars driven by Al Liskai and Fred Linder.
Eric was part of the team that built Attica Raceway park in 1988. He was also responsible for creating the 305ci sprint car division in 1988 that still continues with large fields of cars today.
Ken "Red" Root
Red was an auto racing pioneer and was one of four owners - along with Dick Willey, Floyd Slatter, and Johnny Auxter - of a race team with Auxter as the driver. The team began in 1950 and competed in the very first race at Fremont Speedway in 1951.
Red was also part of the team that competed on the beach in Daytona, Florida.
Red helped build the chassis and engines in those race cars and was the "gear changer" at the track. Red was a part of the Auxter team until 1957.
Ken Smith started attending races at Fremont Speedway in 1956 when his brother-in-law started racing a stock car. As a teenager in the late 1950's, he started writing race results and submitting photos to several area newspapers.
Former Fremont Speedway Promoter Dot Stelter asked Ken to help in the scorers' booth in the late 1960's. Over several years, he also worked as a scorer at McCutchenville, Findlay, and Sandusky Speedways. In the early 1970's Ken was asked to be the official Fremont Speedway photographer.
When the Mid American Auto Racing News started, Ken was a weekly contributor with his column "Trackside" as well as submitting Fremont Speedway race reports and photos. Over many years, he also wrote articles and submitted photos to the MARC Times Racing News and the National Speed Sport News.
Gary attended his first race at Fremont Speedway at the age of nine - it was the track's first ever race in 1951 and he was hooked.
Gary built his first car in 1961 and drove a sprint car for the first time in 1965.
Through his business - Gary Willey's Radiator Service - he sponsored and supported other drivers and the track. Gary even wrote and recorded a song "Dirt Track Boogie"..