In the winter of 2017 the Mid-Ohio racing scene received some much-awaited positive news, Mansfield would again have an operational racing facility. The news itself was great, but the cherry on top was that Cody Summer would be the person at the helm of transforming the beautiful facility back to its roots as a dirt track.
The late 90’s saw the facility go from a hometown dirt track to a full-fledged, top notch pavement racing facility. Millions of dollars were pumped into the property to give it an all-around facelift. The racing surface was changed to pavement with a pit lane and infield wall to match. The facilities were drastically improved with new grandstands and suites, along with new bathrooms, a concrete concourse and a paved pit area.
Mansfield Speedway hosted top notch pavement racing through the early 2000’s, including the NASCAR trucks series, but even with a top-notch facility and great racing the track wasn’t able to stay in operation. There were some efforts thought the late 2000’s to revive the facility but they all fell short leaving race fans in the area wondering if the facility would ever operate again.
Fast forward to 2017 when it was announced Cody Summer was leasing the facility with a purchase option, bringing Mansfield Speedway to the center of attention in the dirt racing world. Cody brought in equipment to tear out the pavement, changed the name to Mansfield Motor Speedway and announced the anchor event at the facility for 2017, The Great Lakes Dirt Nationals that would pay $15k to win.
The 2018 schedule would boast more large paying events while still hosting the Great Lakes Dirt Nationals but with a twist, the event would pay $20k to win for the 410 sprints division.
The event was brought to life to give local and regional 410 sprint car drivers, that can’t afford to make the haul to Knoxville Raceway, a chance to race for big money, not to compete against the 50+ year tradition in Iowa. The event also hosts the 305 sprint car division, which along with the 410 sprints is hosted under the FAST Series banner. The event also brings in the non-wing BOSS sprint car series to complete the sprint car trifecta.
The 2018 version on the Great Lakes Dirt Nationals would see the big money stay local with Lane Racing and driver Cap Henry taking the big pay day. Henry took his third FAST Series victory in a row, winning the two weeks previous at Fremont Speedway. Matt Westfall would take the BOSS win and Tyler Street would take his first ever feature win in the 305 division.
Henry would take the lead just before halfway of the 40 lap main event and go on to lead the rest of the way to claim his largest payday ever. Lap traffic would limit Henry’s lead through the middle part of the race letting 2nd place finisher Cale Conley reel him in. Conley’s effort would be halted by a lap 30 caution for top five contender Tyler Gunn and a flat right rear.
With a clear field in front of him Cap Henry was able to run away for the final ten circuits claiming the $20k prize for the New Holland Spirits, Beer Barrel Bourbon backed, Lane Racing.
For Lane Racing the victory couldn’t have come at a better time. The small Michigan based team may be riding a high in the recent weeks but the season until this point has been closer to a roller coaster. Henry was able to put the team in victory lane earlier in the year at Attica Raceway Park but following soon after was a streak of bad luck that would consist of losing two motors.
Team owner Brett Lane has been on the roller coaster ride this season but his attitude and sense of humor may show you why this team works so well together. Proof of that is his quote from victory lane, as he was handed the $20k check.
“Hey, it only took us two motors to get here”