Jay Fellows sat around a campfire this past weekend swapping old racing tales with former Freedom Raceway co-owner Larry Watson. Those tales no doubt included memories of Fellows' three career Freedom Super Stock championships. Fellows will try to again capture the title this season at the Delevan facility.
Fellows finished seventh in Freedom's only race of the season, May 9. Three other race dates have been washed away by rain, but Fellows will be ready to rebound when the green flag flies again Friday.
"I was racing for third in the opener," said Fellows the 1998, '99 and 2002 Freedom Super Stock titlist. "I had transmission problems with two laps to go and dropped back as the car kept jumping out of gear and I finished seventh.
"My crew chief, Tim Hutchinson, and crew member, Tim Gekas, work hard to keep us going. This weekend I took my family to Larry's campground in Washington (Pa.) just outside of Pittsburgh. We told some old racing lies, I guess."
Watson co-owned Freedom until three years ago, when he turned the operation over to current owner Dan Hoffmann.
Fellows clinched the track championship last year by winning his only race of the year on the final night of the season. He also placed second in the Freedom point parade in 2000. He has made Freedom his home track because it is almost in his own back yard.
"We also used to race regularly at Smetheport (McKean County Raceway) and Little Valley but things got too hectic," said Fellows, 52. "I live just one road over from the Freedom track and I could cut right through my backyard to get there if I had to. I have been racing Super Stocks for eight years and have never finished out of the top five in points at Freedom."
Fellows will do some racing beyond his yard this season. He will participate in a few races at both McKean and Little Valley. He also will attempt to make as many of the new traveling Can-Am Super Stock Series events as possible.
Fellows believes creation of the Can-Am series is proof of the healthy state of the Super Stock division.
"Last year it (the series) started a little bit with races like at Gasport, but now they are really getting into it," reasoned Fellows. "There are so many Super Stocks out there now. It's hard to believe just about five years ago I thought the class was going to die."
The Can-Am series will travel to seven different tracks and showcase nine events.
"The biggest reason I think that the Super Stock class has grown is because all the track owners where they run are finally cooperating and running similar rules. You don't have to buy different parts for different tracks. That was really adding to the cost of racing and racing is expensive enough as it is.
"Staying out of trouble will be the key to winning the Freedom championship again," Fellows said. "Consistency is it. When I won the championship in 1998 we got in 19 races that year and I didn't win any of them. There are so many things that can go right and so much that can go wrong. You're at the mercy of a lot of things."
The Friesen family of St. Catharines, Ont., owner of Ransomville Speedway, was honored last Sunday at DIRT Motorsports headquarters in Weedsport for its many contributions to area racing over many years.
Little Valley Speedway had a successful season opener Sunday night with a packed grandstand of about 3,000 on hand. A banner field of 24 Super Late Models, 22 Street Stocks and 38 Super Stocks competed. Defending Little Valley Super Stock champion Bill Holmes Jr., won the feature.
Wayne Mohawk, defending Little Valley Street Stock champion, was not so fortunate. After claiming the Street Stock feature, Mohawk was disqualified for using a triple disc clutch and Damon Lewis was declared the winner. Ron Davies was best in the ULMS Super Late Model main event.
Lancaster Motorsports Park had to curtail racing in progress last Saturday as rain water was seeping up through the track. LMP will complete the remainder of the program, including Late Model and Modified heats as well as all feature races, on Monday at 7 p.m.
After five weeks of racing at Merrittville Speedway, three drivers each earned their third wins of the season there last Saturday night. Scott Wood, DIRT 358 Modified; Wayne Conn, DIRT Sportsman and Dolf McGready, Street Stocks, all scored their hat trick feature wins of the season.