With more than 40 drivers from 14 states already entered in Friday night's Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway the race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive short-track fields in series history,
One of the pre-race favorites is Brent Sherman, N. Barrington, Ill. Sherman is currently second in points in the ARCA RE/MAX Series has been knocking on the Victory Lane door in the last couple of short track races. He drove to the runner-up spot at both Lake Erie (Pa.) and South Boston (Va.) speedways.
Looking at his second-place standing in the series points race in just his second year behind the wheel of his black No. 44 Seta Mattress-Hickory Farms 2002 Ford, Sherman said he and his team are basically doing nothing different this year than last year when they finished fourth in points. "It's just that we are more experienced and are having better luck."
An added incentive that Sherman will have going into Friday night's race is that he will be racing in front of a large group of Hickory Farms employees. "I've gotten to know everybody at Hickory Farms since they've been sponsoring me and it's always fun to race in front of people that you know."
For the first time ever Sherman's team will have a second car racing at Toledo Speedway. The Sanitec-Hard Core Choppers Ford will be driven by Will Langhorne, Washington, D.C. Langhorne, who has experienced seat time in a number of racing series, will be competing in his career-first stock car race.
Labor Day weekend will be extra challenging for not only Sherman's team but all of the ARCA RE/MAX Series teams. After Friday's Toledo race the series moves southwest to the one-mile clay oval at the DuQuoin (Ill.) Fairgrounds where they will race Monday, Labor Day.
The 30-year-old Sherman said that there is a big difference between racing on dirt and asphalt. "I count on the first 20 laps or so [on dirt] to get accustomed to it. It's the same car but on dirt the car is flying around a lot more. It's fun to feel the car moving around on the dirt. You just have to get comfortable with it."
Friday's schedule at Toledo Speedway has practice beginning at 1 p.m. with Pork Pole Qualifying at 4. An on-track autograph session is slated from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Following pre-race ceremonies the green flag will fly for the start of the Hantz Group 200 presented by Jasper Engines and Transmissions and Belle Tire, at 8 p.m.
Thunderstorms last Friday afternoon flooded out the Allen Chevrolet-Cadillac Season Championship races at Toledo Speedway. The season point chases are now complete and will not be made up. This was the ninth event canceled because of the weather this season.
Ron Allen (Eastern Oil/Cintas Sportsman), Greg Studt (Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Figure 8) and James Hazlett (A-1 Auto Parts Factory Stock) join Joe Hawes (Allen Chevrolet-Cadillac/Budweiser Late Models) as the 2004 ARCA Toledo Speedway champions.
Tickets distributed by The Blade, Marco's Pizza and Home Depot dated for August 27 will be honored Friday evening, Sept. 10.
Fremont Speedway will host one of the richest 305 winged sprint car races in the country on Sunday with the fifth annual Snyder's Floor Covering 305 Sprint Invitational, which pays $2,500 to win. Also on the program are the Coors Light Trucks. Qualifying is set for 6:15 p.m. with racing scheduled to get under way at 7:30 p.m.
●Saturday at Flat Rock Speedway the track titles will be decided on Allen Chevrolet-Cadillac Season Championship Night. Preliminary events are also on the race card, which begins at 7 p.m.
One of the competitors in Sunday's 250-lap enduro race at Flat Rock will be Paul Martell, who is home on leave from active duty in Iraq. Martell, of Westland, Mich., will drive a car fielded by enduro driver Jeff Maran of Cygnet, Ohio. Race time is 1 p.m.
●The Sunoco American Late Model Series headlines the race card Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway. The green flag flies at 7 p.m.