Zeb Wise takes Fremont win at Ford Classic

Zeb Wise led the last half of the 16th annual Jim and Joanne Ford Classic at Fremont Speedway and survived a late race challenge Saturday from Friday night’s winner and a caution with just two laps to go to score a $10,000 payday and his first Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions driver crown.

Wise’s eighth All Star win of the year and the 12th of his career with the series gives his Rudeen Racing team momentum heading to the season finale Saturday at Eldora Speedway and the $80,000 team title. Wise took the lead from two-time and defending All Star champion Tyler Courtney on Lap 20.

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Wise, who started in the outside-pole position, slipped back to third at the initial start before making his charge to the front on Madison Motors Night. In an action-packed race that saw the top five slicing through thick lapped traffic while battling side by side and nose to tail for position, the Angola, Indiana, native used the congestion to get himself to second on Lap 15.

He passed Courtney five circuits later. The next 10 circuits saw Wise stretch his advantage to almost three seconds, until caution flags on Lap 30.

Kyle Reinhardt, who started fifth, made his way to the second spot, utilizing some mid-race chaos to get around Courtney and Kerry Madsen. Reinhardt, from Neptune City, New Jersey, did everything he could to get to Wise in the final few circuits, even banging wheels with the leader on Lap 35.

Reinhardt had a final shot at Wise when the caution flew with two laps to go but Wise executed a perfect restart and drove away to his third career win at Speedway. Reinhardt raced home second, followed by Madsen, Parker Price-Miller and Cole Duncan.

"I was getting through there really well," Wise said. "I didn’t know what to do at all once the yellow came out on the restart and the laps after that because the whole race I was never in clean air by myself out front. Hats off to my guys.

"Tyler said after the dash we didn’t look that good and I didn’t feel that great. But, my guys put their heads down and gave me a great car. How about this Ford motor by the way? Everyone says they can’t come to the slick tracks and we just got it done.”

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For Reinhardt, it was a fantastic weekend at Fremont with a win and a runner-up finish.

"I can’t thank my guys enough for working really hard," he said. "You can’t ask for much more. We had a good race with Zeb going and I got under him that one time and he did what he had to do and closed the door and broke my momentum enough to let him keep the lead and that’s what pretty much sealed the deal."

For St. Mary’s New South Wales, Australia's Madsen, a third place finish was encouraging after challenging for the lead throughout the 40-lap affair.

“It was a good run for Vermeer Motorsports," he said. "I was being really patient early and we got to traffic everything seemed to equalize. It was a really fun race track tonight."

Jamie Miller

Jimmy McGrath Jr. jumped into the early lead of the Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprint feature but a restart on Lap 6 saw last week’s winner John Ivy take the lead. Jamie Miller used a restart on Lap 10 to take the lead and drove away for his third win of the year at Fremont.

It’s his 44th career feature victory at the track, placing him 10th on the all-time list.

“That motor rips," Miller said. "You get some mud on the track and this thing just goes."

Ivy was second, 16th starter Paul Weaver third, McGrath fourth and Brendon Torok fifth.

Speedway is playing host Saturday to season championship night with the Fort Ball Pizza Palace 410 Sprints, Fremont Federal Credit Union 305 Sprints and the Burmeister Trophy Dirt Trucks.

This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Jamie Miller takes truck race during Ford Classic