By Brian Liskai
Skip Miller, Fostoria, Ohio
Skip is the youngest of three Miller brothers who competed at Fremont Speedway and joins brother George in the hall of fame. Skip was the 1991 Fremont Speedway 305 sprint champion. He was the track’s rookie of the year in 1975. Skip retired from racing in 1993 and now helps his son, Jamie who drives a 305 sprint car.
Jimmy Leaser, Fremont, Ohio
Jimmy began racing in 1979 and instantly found success, winning the Fremont Speedway Sportsman Six-Cylinder track title and at one time won five straight features in the division. He was the Fremont Speedway 410 sprint car rookie of the year in 1984. Jimmy posted 13 wins at Fremont over his career which ran from 1979 to 1987. During his career he posted wins at Oakshade Raceway near Wauseon, Ohio and a win at Lakeville Speedway near Lakeville, Ohio. He finished second in the 410 sprint points at Fremont Speedway and Wayne County Speedway (Orrville, Ohio) in the same year, 1985. He joins his brother Ron in the hall of fame.
Lin Potter, Fremont, Ohio
Lin, who passed away in 2007, raced dirt late model cars for over 20 years at Fremont Speedway and other area dirt tracks. His driving career started in 1968 and continued through 1992. Like most drivers in that era, Lin not only drove the car, he built and maintained most of them. When he finished his driving career, Lin worked as a mechanic with Genzman Racing Enterprises. Lin recorded two career victories at Fremont Speedway. Lin joins his brother, Lee, in the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame.
Larry Gill and Buddy Gill, Clyde, Ohio
The Gill brothers were the mechanics on their hall of fame father, Bud Gill’s modifieds/sprint cars. The Gill family fielded some of the most successful and beautiful super modifieds/sprint cars to ever hit the track. The black and orange CR Gill Construction machines carried hall-of-famer Darl Harrison to Fremont Speedway championships in 1960, 1961 and 1962. Hall-of-Famer Gug Keegan wheeled the Gill machine to the 1967 track championship, and teammate Jim Linder would claim a Fremont Speedway title in 1969 aboard a Gill sprinter. Rollie Beale would pilot a Gill sprint car to many feature wins as well. Other drivers to sit in the Gill cars were Mac Clingan and Elmer Pratt.
Richard “Dick” Hazzard, Lindsay, Ohio
Richard, who passed away in April, owned and operated Hazzard’s Auto Repair and began his racing career in drag racing in the 1960s. He then switched to dirt track racing in 1970 and owned late models that competed at Fremont Speedway with hall of fame drivers De Genzman, Wally Heminger, Lin Potter, Dale Hasselbach, Ken Clark and Bob Brown behind the wheel. Genzman drove Hazzard’s late model to the Fremont Speedway championship in 1971. Hazzard was a “Ford Man” and built his own engines and cars.
Don and Ron Keegan, Fremont, Ohio
Brothers Don and Ron Keegan join their father, Mervin, in the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame. The Keegan brothers have been involved in racing practically since they were born, growing up working on the cars owned by their father. Don and Ron got their first Fremont Speedway track championship in the late model division in 1974 with Wally Heminger behind the wheel. In the seven years Heminger drove the Keegan brothers’ cars they won 70 features in four states. Other hall of fame drivers to sit behind the wheel of the Don and Ron Keegan machines were Dale Hasselbach, Jim Fleming, Lee Potter and LJ Connors. The Don and Ron have owned sprint cars which were driven by Don’s son Dustin, late models and dirt trucks. Dustin won the Fremont Speedway 2017 dirt truck championship in a Keegan machine. This year marks the 44th year Don and Ron Keegan have had race cars compete at Fremont Speedway.
Jay Engler, Fremont, Ohio
Jay grew up attending the races at Fremont Speedway. Jay built a super modified in 1964 and for four years hall of fame driver Fred Linder campaigned the Engler crafts. Jay was a Ford man, deciding to retire from owning race cars when sprint cars started taking over from the super modifieds. Jay would go on to work on the sprint cars of hall of famers Johnny Auxter and Jim Ford and later, when Fred Linder’s son Matt got into sprint car racing, Jay was there to lend a helping hand. Later Jay would run the pit tower at Fremont Speedway for many years. Jay’s business, Engler Printing of Fremont, helps with the printing needs of Fremont Speedway and other area tracks
Joe and Shirley Thompson, Mansfield, Ohio
Joe began his career as a driver, competing in the super modifieds/sprint cars and was inducted into the Wayne County Speedway Hall of Fame. After retiring from driving, Joe and his wife, Shirley were the race directors at Fremont Speedway throughout the 1980s and early 1990s and later helped out at Attica Raceway Park. Joe and Shirley were beloved by the race teams because they treated them like family.