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Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Hole living his dream on dirt tracks

By Mike Ernst
Like many kids sitting in the grandstands at Eldora Speedway, New Knoxville's Brent Hole grew up dreaming about racing on the high-banks.
For the past 10 years, Hole has lived that dream, wheeling first a stock car and now a more powerful UMP DirtCar Modified around local dirt tracks.
He now uses the same number on his car as one of his first racing heroes he watched from the stands as a youngster.
"My grandfather and dad used to take me and my brother, Travis, out there to watch," Hole, a 1992 graduate of Celina High School, said earlier this week. "My grandfather was a big fan of (sprint car legend) Rick Ferkel. My grandpa never got to see me race, but I use Ferkel's number (O) as a way to remember my grandpa."
Don Hole would be proud of his grandson this season. Despite missing the first two races of the season, Hole currently sits 22nd in the Eldora Speedway point standings, and is also currently 6th in the points, with a win, the second of his career, at Waynesfield Raceway Park.
"So far, this season has not been too bad," Hole understated while preparing for action this Saturday at Eldora. "We were only going to race at Eldora a couple of times but we were really running good early in the year at some other tracks, so we thought we would go down there and see what we could do."
Hole has done well. He has qualified for all four feature events, won a B-main and led the first half of a feature event in late May. He was hit from behind after dropping to third-place, and an apparent certain top-five finish evaporated into a finish outside the top 15.
"After running so good our first couple of trips down there, we decided to try to qualify for the Prelude," Hole said.
The top 22 positions in both the stock car and modified track point standings serve as support divisions when the speedway hosts The Prelude to The Dream, where more than 20 NASCAR stars compete in dirt late models.
"If we would have finished that race in the top five instead of in the back, I'm pretty sure we would have made the top 22 cut and been in the race. It was kind of disappointing to miss it like that," Hole said.
When rain washed away the event originally scheduled in June, Eldora officials announced the top 22 were locked into the rescheduled event in September but that two more spots, the top point getters in the three races between the rained out race and the rescheduled event, would be added to the field to make it a 24-car field.
Hole finished 11th in the only event held since and is hoping to take advantage of the second-chance. Hole figures he will be battling with Celina's Mike Chrisman and Matt Westfall, who drives a car owned by St. Henry's Bill Dues and Coldwater's Chuck Sanning. Westfall was 10th and Chrisman 14th in the earlier event.
"I've never been in that race but I'm sure everyone would like to race in front of that many people and in that atmosphere," Hole said. "But it is going to be tough. We have a couple of real good guys we are going to have to beat."
The next event in the battle for the coveted two positions comes on Saturday night when Eldora hosts its second Family Fun Night of the season. The UMP Modifieds and the Eldora Stock Cars highlight the night, which also includes an autograph session, special giveaways and a fireworks show.
"Family Fun Night is a lot of fun. We get to qualify and we are on center stage that night," Hole said.
Hole drives a Laser Chassis, which are built in Wapakoneta, and he actually maintains his car at the Laser shops, which is owned and managed by long-time modified competitor John Staples. The engines that power the car are also built in Wapak at Kalvinator Engines.
"Kalvinator built me a great motor,' Hole said. "I am never hurting for power. Our new motor this year is making 720-730 horsepower and John really helps me out with the chassis."
He gets assistance at the track from Dale "Floyd" Spees and Bryan Grieves as well as his girlfriend Wendy Hance. The car is sponsored by Brown Industrial.
"They all do a lot of work and make things easier for me and really support this," Hole said. "And I really have to thank my dad. He helped my brother and I build our first stock car about 10 years ago and he is another big supporter of mine."
He is hoping to repay them with a trip to victory lane at Eldora.
"Eldora is a real intimidating race track," Hole said. "It is tough to run that fast up against the wall lap after lap, especially in traffic. It may look easy from the grandstands but it is a lot of work. However, I have felt a lot more comfortable there this year."
Action on Saturday night begins with the autograph session at 4:30 p.m., followed by hot laps at 6 p.m. The first heat race will hit the track at 7:30 p.m., and fireworks complete the night. Adult general admission is $5 on Saturday night.
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