Waynesfield Raceway Park to honor “the Ohio Traveler” Rick Ferkel Friday
WAYNESFIELD, Ohio – He was an “outlaw” racer before the term became part of a series. Weekly he picked up the racing publications, looked where the higher paying sprint car shows were, loaded up the trailer and hit the road. Across the country Rick Ferkel’s driving abilities and personality garnered him a legion of fans who referred to the Northwest Ohio native as “The Ohio Traveler.” On Friday, Aug. 2, Waynesfield Raceway Park will honor Ferkel with the 2nd Annual Rick Ferkel Classic.
The 2nd Annual Rick Ferkel Classic is presented by Tommy Tire Sales of Bluffton, Ohio and Kear’s Speed Shop of Tiffin, Ohio.
“Growing up around racing, Rick Ferkel was a hero to me. He was one of the best sprint car drivers ever in my mind. But, also having been able to watch how he interacts with the fans makes him even more of a legend. I’m proud we can honor such a great man,” said Shane Helms, Promoter of Waynesfield Raceway park. “I also want to thank Tommy Tire Sales and Kear’s Speed Shop for all their support of this race.”
Ferkel, who turned 80 earlier this year, first started racing in 1965, welding together his own cars, including building one out of materials from a swing set. The first few years of racing weren’t kind to Ferkel who put a “zero” as his car number to reflect his lack of success. But, it didn’t take long for Ferkel’s natural driving abilities to shine. He scored his first ever win at Fremont speedway in his third year of racing. And, the rest, as they say, was history.
Ferkel went on score nearly 400 career sprint car wins across the country including the Pacific Coast Championship as Ascot in California and the Western World Championship at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Arizona. Ferkel was one of the original stars of the World of Outlaws when it launched in 1978, finishing second in points to Steve Kinser in a battle that came down to the final race at Eldora Speedway. He is enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
After retiring from driving in 1989, Ferkel owned his own team for several years, giving young racers a shot, including Christopher Bell, who scored his first ever 410 sprint car victory driving Ferkel’s car at Fremont Speedway. Ferkel currently helps his son, Ricky, who competes in sprint car events in Michigan.
Waynesfield Raceway Park will host a Facebook live event with Rick Ferkel Wednesday, July 31 at around 7 p.m. Tune into the Waynesfield Facebook page to follow along.
Shirley Kear, who started Kear’s Speed Shop in Tiffin, Ohio with her late husband Chuck in 1969, calls Ferkel a “member of the family.”
“When Chuck started the speed shop Rick bought a lot of stuff from us and gave us so much advice. Rick always had Kear’s Speed Shop on his cars. Chuck and I followed Rick around the country a lot when we first started out. He and Cathy are our family,” Shirley said.
Racing at Waynesfield Raceway Park on Friday, Aug. 2 will be the NAPA Auto Parts FAST 410 Sprints vying for $5,000 to win ($400 to start the A-main) along with the 305 sprints battling for $1,000 to win thanks to Rich Farmer at NAPA Auto Parts. Also making their appearance at “The Field” will be the AMSA Lightening Mini Sprints.
Grove City, Ohio’s Cole Duncan, who won the first ever Rick Ferkel Classic at Atomic Speedway last year, comes into Friday’s event leading the FAST point standings. He is also coming off a weekend sweep of feature events in the Buckeye State.
There have been two events in 2019 at Waynesfield Raceway Park. Indiana’s Justin Peck scored the FAST 410 win in April while Shawn Dancer took the NRA 360 sprint victory. The Jack Hewitt Classic on July 3 saw Cody Gardner score his first ever sprint car win with the BOSS non-wing series while Cale Conley scored the FAST 410 winged win and Max Stambaugh claimed the NRA victory.
Tickets for the Rick Ferkel Classic are $18 for adults (11 and up); $16 for senior citizens (62 and up); with kids 10 and under admitted free. Pit passes will be $35. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with racing underway at 7:45 p.m.
For more information go to www.waynesfieldracewaypark.net on Facebook by liking Waynesfield Raceway Park or on Twitter by following @OfficialWRP.
About Tommy Tire – www.tommytiresales.com
Located in Bluffton, Ohio, Tommy Tire Sales is your one-stop-shop for car, truck, semi and farm tires and tire services. With thousands of virgin tires and retreads on-hand or readily accessible and three service trucks, you can count on Tommy Tire to get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Tommy Tire is also proud to offer no trip charge on the installation of eight or more semi tires. Check out our online catalog for current pricing and real-time inventory where you can quickly and easily place your order.
About Kear’s Speed Shop – www.kearsspeedshop.com
Kear’s Speed Shop was founded by Chuck and Shirley Kear in 1969 at its present location on Market Street in downtown Tiffin. You can build your winning race car and outfit your driver from Kear’s large inventory. Kear’s also has three trucks that service your needs at the local tracks as well as the All Star and World of Outlaw races.