FREMONT, Ohio — Cole Duncan knew track position was going to be everything on a very slick Fremont Speedway for the 15th annual Jim and Joanne Ford Classic with the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 on Saturday night.
The Circleville, Ohio, driver piloted the Sam McGhee Motorsports No. 11 to a dash win that put him on the pole of the shortened 30-lap main and other than a couple of challenges in heavy lapped traffic, held on to score the $10,000 payday to close out the All Star‘s season.
By taking the green in hot laps, Tyler Courtney wrapped up his second consecutive All Star title and the $80,000 award.
It was the second big payday with the All Stars this season for Duncan who earned a $15,000 win at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio.
It was his eighth career series win and the seventh victory of his career at Fremont. He became the third driver to take the Mike McGhee and Associates/XYZ Machining, Lind‘s United Auto Glass, Townline Variety, FK Rod Ends, Champion Oil backed machine to a win, joining Parker Price Miller and Anthony Macri.
Duncan built a sizeable lead until heavy lapped traffic came into play by lap 10. Travis Philo closed and on lap 18 drove beside Duncan but could not complete the pass. The first caution flew with just four laps to go gave Duncan a clear track.
Other than a caution with two laps to go, Duncan utilized the clear track and clean air to drove to the win over Philo, Kyle Reinhardt, who used the last caution to muscle his way to the podium finish, with Cole Macedo and Zeb Wise rounding out the top five.
“When the track gets like that we were lucky enough to draw the outside of the front row for the dash and it was my job to get a good start there and I didn‘t want to let these guys down,” Duncan said. “Sammy and Kevin and Jim Bob worked really hard this weekend and gave me two really really good race cars. Just so thankful for the opportunity. We had a rough patch through the middle of the year and you almost feel like you are washed up…you can‘t do anything right. It was a breath of fresh air to come and just be a driver tonight. I love driving my family car and putting in the work on it but it was really nice and relaxing to just come and drive and we were good from the time we unloaded.”
For Philo it was the second time he finished second to Duncan in a big money race as he lost the lead late to Duncan at Atomic earlier this year.
“I had a couple of runs there going into three where I probably could have pushed the issue and that‘s generally how I race. Cole and I race pretty good together…we‘ve been doing this for a long time now. Congrats to Cole…that‘s two big races we‘ve run second to him,” said Philo.
The Fremont Federal Credit Union 305s were split into odds and evens in track points to run a pair of 20-lap features. In the first A-main Tyler Shullick lead the first 17 laps but it was sixth starter and 2022 track champion Paul Weaver who utilized the middle of the track to take the lead and drive to his seventh win of the year at Fremont, the 71st win of his career at the track placing him third on the all-time win list.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 11-Cole Duncan ; 2. 5T-Travis Philo ; 3. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 4. 18-Cole Macedo ; 5. 26-Zeb Wise ; 6. 97-Greg Wilson ; 7. 1-Nate Dussel ; 8. 13-Justin Peck ; 9. 7BC-Tyler Courtney ; 10. 17B-Bill Balog ; 11. 4-Chris Andrews ; 12. 81-Lee Jacobs ; 13. 16-DJ Foos ; 14. 19-Chris Windom ; 15. 9-Ricky Peterson ; 16. 29X-Cap Henry ; 17. 5-Byron Reed ; 18. 47BC-Emerson Axsom ; 19. 99-Skylar Gee ; 20. 46-Michael Bauer ; 21. O9-Craig Mintz ; 22. 29-Zeth Sabo ; 23. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg ; 24. 4T-Josh Turner