Hardee's Shootout a Freeman Family Affair
When it comes to Legends Car racing and the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, the Freeman family takes the pole position as the result of 11 years of participation across two generations.
For 10 Tuesday nights each summer, John and Jane Freeman of Charlotte, N.C., make racing a family affair, fielding three cars for their children¿17-year-old son John S. and 14-year-old daughter Bailey.
John S. Freeman competes in the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster division and also drives a Legends Car in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Pro division. His sister, Bailey Freeman, pilots a Bandolero in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Young Guns division. Dad serves as the crew chief on all three cars while mom provides moral support for both drivers.
¿Last year John S. won a Semi-Pro division feature at the Summer Shootout and Bailey had been in an accident moments earlier. I didn¿t know which way to go, victory lane or the ambulance,¿ joked Jane Freeman.
The Freeman racing legacy began in 1994, the inaugural year of the Hardee's Summer Shootout, when a local radio personality suggested the elder Freeman compete in the series to help market his business.
"He said it would be a good way to advertise my store, Freeman¿s Car Stereo," said John Freeman. "I just wanted to promote my store, but I really enjoyed competing."
And compete he did. The elder Freeman became a regular visitor to victory lane, capturing a Hardee's Summer Shootout title in 1997 and the Legends Car Masters National Championship in 1998. Jane also raced a Legends Car in a women's division during the mid-1990s and their son began racing shortly there after in the Bandoleros.
¿Racing has always been part of our family,¿ said John S. Freeman, now a seven-year veteran of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout. ¿I grew up with racing and developed a passion for it. I want to carry it on to another level."
Now, the youngest member of the Freeman family, Bailey, is also behind the wheel as the family builds its entertainment time around the weekly series at the speedway.
¿Having my entire family involved at the track gives us time together doing something we all like,¿ said Bailey Freeman. "I'll never give it up."
¿Driving with my sister is fun and interesting,¿ said John S. Freeman, a senior at Charlotte¿s Hopewell High School where Bailey will also attend this fall as a freshman.
¿I¿m going to have to chase the guys off her,¿ the protective older brother said with a big grin.
John Freeman hung up his racing helmet following the 2002 season to concentrate on tutoring his children. But the original concept of using racing to market the family business is still going full throttle.
All three of the Freeman family race cars are sponsored by Freeman Audio Video and Kenwood Car Audio while each car carries the No. 57, representing the year John and Jane Freeman were born.
The Hardee¿s Summer Shootout features three classes of Bandolero racing, three divisions of Legends Cars and the popular Thunder Roadsters. A unique novelty event is also part of each program.
Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or to purchase tickets.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude by 10:15.