by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
It was raceday once again at the Fremont Speedway for the AFCS 410 and 305 Sprints, along with the dirt trucks. As rain avoided the area, 31 of the AFCS 410’s signed in for some racing action to conclude the doubleheader weekend.
Cap Henry, coming off a rare DNF the night before, and Cale Thomas, who has been fast since hopping into the Jay Kiser Racing 23 the week prior, led the field to the green flag, with Travis Philo, Byron Reed, and Friday night’s winner Stuart Brubaker completing the top five. Thomas used the outside to his advantage and got the jump on the AFCS points leader Henry and sixth-starting Zeth Sabo. Thomas’ lead was a steady .48-.49 seconds for the first few laps, as Sabo was closing in on Henry for second.
On lap six, Henry took a peak under Thomas for the lead, but Thomas held serve. In turns three and four, Sabo went off the top side, losing a spot to Philo as the yellow came out for Nate Reeser. Thomas got a good restart, and Sabo went to work on Philo, trying to get the third spot back. Henry again took a peak under Thomas for the lead in turns one and two, but Thomas maintained the top spot and gapped Henry by .869 seconds on lap 10. While Thomas and Henry were holding steady in the top two spots, Philo and Sabo were side-by-side for laps on end for third. Finally, on lap 11, Sabo was able to reclaim the third spot down the backstretch.
Thomas’ lead grew to 1.255 seconds at the halfway point of the race, as lapped traffic loomed, and Philo got by Sabo once again for third. The yellow would come out for Sabo on lap 16, as he fell off the top of turns one and two, smacking into the softwall. Thomas again got a good restart over Henry, Philo, and Brubaker who made his way into fourth. With ten laps remaining, Thomas’ lead was 1.058 seconds, which grew to 1.377 seconds with eight laps to go.
Lapped traffic would be looming, though, and you can never count out Cap Henry. Henry started cutting into Thomas’ lead as they inched towards traffic. Philo was coming with Henry, as well. Three laps to go and the lead was cut to .633 seconds as they got into lapped traffic. Unfortunately for Henry, the lapped traffic was occupying his line, and Thomas was able to use the middle of the track to get by. Again, you can never count out Cap Henry. Coming to the white flag, Thomas had a lead of .716 seconds, but Henry got a run down the backstretch, and was able to get close to Thomas as they came to the checkered flag. Thomas was able to shut the door on Henry as they exited turn four, and Thomas held on by .289 seconds to nab his first career Fremont Speedway win.
“It’s just crazy, you get behind cars here, even at a slow place like this [Fremont], and you just start spinning,” said Thomas. “I just got through those last lapped cars pretty good and I knew he [Henry] was there, but I kept my tires under me and it was pretty good.”
Early on in the evening, it didn’t look too promising for Thomas. During single-lap qualifying, Thomas drove over the edge of turns three and four, essentially giving him a no-time, and relegating him to starting last in his heat race. In his heat race, Thomas drove from last to second in one lap, securing himself a spot in the Feature redraw, where he drew the two.
“I was pretty upset with myself, but Jay, AJ and Brice didn’t stop believing in me and actually pumped me up more than put me down. I side-stepped the field and decided last-minute what I was going to do. I felt like I’d try to make the bottom three-wide, and the seas parted and I got second there. It definitely helped getting the redraw and drawing the two– I’ll take some luck there, too,” Thomas said about his heat race.
“Jay runs these places a lot, so he knows what to do, and I’m kind of like a chameleon in the racing world. I can drive any car, any motor, with anybody, anytime, anywhere. A lot of thanks to my dad, traveling with me in the 91 car. That was our plan, to be able to run at different places. I’ve been to these two places [Fremont and Attica] a lot in my career growing up. You give me one night at Fremont and I’ll be up there. You give me a couple more and I’m probably going to win. It’s just repetition and laps. Even though this place is slick and slow, there’s still a skill factor, a luck factor and definitely a setup factor, and it all came together tonight,” Thomas said.
Cale’s full interview can be found here: Cale Thomas post-win at Fremont 8/5/23