FREMONT, Ohio – The Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame, located in the Sandusky County Fairgrounds, inducted 10 individuals on Saturday, June 25.
Three drivers, two car owners, two mechanics, and two special contributors were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Blaney has recorded 24 career feature wins at Fremont, 18 of those being with the All Star Circuit of Champions to lead all competitors in series wins at the track. Blaney, a 2016 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, will join his brother Dave who was inducted into the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame in 2016.
Roepke is a member of a rich family tradition at Fremont Speedway, as he joins his uncle Jim “Smiley” Roepke and aunt Christina Roepke in the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame. Roepke’s grandfather, Harold Van Ness and uncles Jim and Norm Van Ness were all inducted into the hall of fame in 2014 having fielded race cars at the track for many, many years. Dan raced street stocks at Fremont in 1984 and 1985, picking up the track championship in 1985.
Scott started racing in 1993 after serving in the United States Air Force. He saved as much money as he could while serving his country and bought out the entire operation of Butch Schroeder for $10,500 and went racing. Scott owned his own team through 2002 and then picked up a few rides with other owners during the 2003 season. Scott served as the Fremont Speedway tech inspector in 2004 and in 2006 raced a 410 sprint car for hall of famer Rich Farmer. Scott amassed 21 career feature wins at Fremont and was the track’s 2000, 2001 and 2002 track champion in the 305 sprint division.
Harrison, who was born and raised in Bettsville, Ohio, started helped his cousin, hall of famer Darl Harrison in the early 1950s on his super modified team. Al and Darl bought a dirt champ car in 1971-72 and ran with the United States Automobile Club (USAC) for nearly five years. The car was sold and Al was out of racing until 1986 when he bought an engine for David Harrison’s pavement car. The following year Al bought a sprint car and started racing at various tracks with David driving the car. Al then bought a second car and put driver Rusty McClure behind the wheel. David won the championship at Buckeye Speedway (Wayne County Speedway) in 1993 and McClure was second. David Harrison ran for Al for approximately 10 years.
Steinbrick began his racing life in the 1950s. Steinbrick fielded cars in the 305 sprint division with drivers including Bruce Roby, Lenny Benyak, Spike Schneider, Willy Steinbrick and Jerry Narbecki. Schneider would win the 1989 championship at Attica Raceway Park with Schneider behind the wheel. Steinbrick, along with his sons, Willie and Adam, fielded 410 sprint cars for drivers like Randy Hammer, Andy Shammo, Chad Kemenah, Al Hager, Mike Lutz and hall of famers Tim Shaffer, Jim Linder and Mark Keegan. Kemenah would driver Steinbrick’s sprint car to the track championships at Buckeye Speedway (Wayne County Speedway) in 1995 and 1996 (14 wins on the season). Keegan would pilot Steinbrick’s cars to 22 wins, taking the 1999 and 2001 Attica championship and the 1999 K-C Raceway (Atomic Speedway) title. During Steinbrick’s incredible career his team scored notable wins as the Lorain County Speedway mid-season championship in 1955 with Norm Sawl as the driver; the 2000 Mercer Raceway All Star Circuit of Champions Western Pennsylvania Speedweek event; the 2001 All Stars Ohio Speedweek event at Fremont Speedway.
Hampshire’s racing life began in 1964 in drag racing where he raced a Corvette for 10 years. He then jumped into go-karts for a few years then moved to the mini-stocks at Limaland, Findlay, Mansfield and Eldora. In 1979 Hampshire purchased a car from hall of famer Rick Ferkel and made the decision to become a car owner and mechanic and hired Jay Pilcher to drive. He then hired Johnny Beaber and finished fifth in the All Star Circuit of Champions points. Over the next few years Hampshire owned and prepared cars for the likes of Rick Unger, Ferkel, Keith Kauffman and Jac Haudenschild. But it was in 1985 that the legendary relationship began with hall of famer Jack Hewitt. The duo netted over 100 feature wins running with and without a wing and in USAC’s Silver Crown series. The duo won the 1985 All Star Circuit of Champions title and the 1986 and 1987 Silver Crown Championship and scored 23 career Silver Crown wins. Hampshire also wrenched Silver Crown cars for driver Kody Swanson who has scored 4 series titles and over 30 wins. In 2008, Hampshire was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Witty, like so many that become involved in racing, began as a fan, attending Fremont Speedway beginning in 1964. In 1971 Witty rolled up his sleeves and began helping hall of famer Jim “Smiley” Roepke and the following year helped on Mike Hensel’s machine. In 1978-79 Witty helped wrench on hall of famer Al Liskai’s sprint car. Witty purchased a former Bobby Allen sprint car in 1981 and lifelong friend Spike Schneider got behind the wheel and through 1987 they won four features. Witty went back to being solely a mechanic in 1988, helping on Bill Reynolds sprint car. The following season he picked up the wrenches and helped driver/owner Alvin Roepke, buying into the team the following season. That duo produced four feature wins before Witty sold his share in 1999. In 2000 Witty co-owned and wrenched on Eric Lynd’s 305 sprint car.
Vicki and Monte Collins
Monte started his career at Fremont Speedway in 1982, working as a back stretch official. He worked in the infield of the track until becoming assistant flagman to Rex LeJeune. Monte took over as the head flagman in 1985 and served on the stand until he retired in 2017. Vicki, Monte’s wife, began working at Fremont Speedway in 1984 in the pit tower. She moved to the scoring tower in 1985 and hand scored and did line-ups through 2018. The couple has nearly 70 years of combined service to Fremont Speedway. Today, their sons, Nick and Nate can be seen every race event on the flag stand.
Raubenolt began as a fan at Fremont Speedway. He got interested after meeting Harold Billow and Fremont Speedway founder Joe Stelter as a young boy. That all changed in 1975 when Raubenolt, who had been producing racing films and operated a silk-screen t-shirt business, started the Spinning Wheels coloring book for kids. Raubenolt saw a need for a racing publication to cover Fremont Speedway and other area tracks. That lead to the Spinning Wheels magazine, a weekly publication that covered past and present drivers and was full of lots of interesting, long forgotten racing history that other publications never mentioned. In the mid-1980s Raubenolt became Fremont Speedway’s track promotion director under hall of fame promoter Gary Kern. Raubenolt was a hardcore fan of Fremont Speedway and in fact dubbed the City of Fremont as “Race Town USA!”