A four-race win streak normally would leave Mini-Stock driver Doug Freeman feeling overwhelmed with joy. But the Fredericksburg resident has found it difficult to smile despite his recent success at Old Dominion Speedway: Missing from the celebration is Freeman's father, Skip, a regular crew member who has been hospitalized the past 10 days because of complications from cancer.
After a difficult start to the season, Freeman has become one of the track's hottest drivers, taking the checkered flag in five of the past six Mini Stock races. He has worked his way up from the middle of the points standings to second place and trails Jason Lineweaver by just eight points.
Freeman's success, however, has been bittersweet. His father, whose cancer has been in remission for more than a year, was hospitalized two weeks ago for an operation on a cracked femur. His recovery has been slow, and he had to stay in the hospital while his son raced to victory last week.
"He loves that race car, and it's kind of unfortunate that he's missing all this good fortune that's being bestowed upon us," said Doug Freeman, who dedicated Saturday night's victory to his father. "We'll keep pressing forward. He wouldn't want us to stop racing."
Freeman is a four-year veteran of Old Dominion Speedway who had just four career victories entering this season. Freeman earned one victory last year in a season full of engine troubles. The year before, he finished first three times but missed two months of the season after wrecking his race car.
"It's a welcome reprieve," Freeman said of his success. "It's nice. We knew our turn would come. It's taken a lot of perseverance the last couple of years, but it's paid off. . . . I wasn't going to give up when we were down."
As Freeman's luck on the track has taken a turn for the better the past few weeks, fellow Mini-Stock driver Mike Bryant has seen his fortune take a nose dive. After winning six of the first seven races of the season, Bryant has suffered through an array of mechanical problems that has left him lucky to finish a race and 20 points out of the lead. Forced to borrow Dave Lucash's car last week because of mechanical problems to his own car, Bryant suffered a flat tire and finished 15th.
"We had a 62-point lead, and now we're down by 20 points," Bryant said. "We've still got half the season to go so we'll see what we can do. . . . We've been staying up until five o'clock in the morning just trying to get everything right, and it all seems to go wrong."
McFarland Wins Ninth
Mark McFarland continued his winning ways in the Winston Racing Series Late Model division, earning his ninth win of the season and narrowing the lead of points leader Mike Colabucci--who finished third--to 16 points. Dale DeLozier--who finished fifth--trails Colabucci by two points. . . .
Tom Dyson extended his Grand Stock lead to 36 points over Stan Owens with his sixth victory of the season. Jim Todd Jr. won his sixth Speedway Sportsman race of the season and leads Scott Lunceford by 36 points.
Late Model: 1, Mark McFarland, Winchester; 2, Dion Ciccarelli, Severn, Md.; 3, Mike Colabucci, Waldorf, Md.; 4, Danny Fair, Manassas; 5, Dale DeLozier, Alexandria. Grand Stock: 1, Tom Dyson, Manassas; 2, Randy Bragg, Annandale; 3, Jeff Callihan, Fredericksburg; 4, Stan Owens, Haymarket; 5, Dennis Werner, Warrenton. Mini-Stock: 1, Doug Freeman, Fredericksburg; 2, Rick Bowman, Catlett; 3, Ed Zbignewich, New Windsor, Md.; 4, Jason Lineweaver, Stephens City; 5, Steve Coleman, Fredericksburg. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Jim Todd Jr., Casanova; 2, Ray Miller, Manassas; 3, Scott Lunceford, Burke; 4, Dennis Tobin, Stafford; 5, Jeff Sisak, Linden.
Late Model: 1, Colabucci, 548; 2, DeLozier, 546; 3, McFarland, 532. Grand Stock: 1, Dyson, 638; 2, Owens, 602; 3, Mike Darne, Manassas, 600. Mini-Stock: 1, Lineweaver, 502; 2, Freeman, 494; 3, Mike Bryant, Midland, 482. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Todd Jr., 574; 2, Lunceford, 538; 3, Sisak, 514.