The Racing Report is a five-part photo essay shot at short tracks in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania that will run in Farm and Dairy through the summer. Each month we will bring you a different theme to ponder from a different track. For the third installment, photojournalist Matthew Chasney visited Fremont Speedway, in Sandusky County, Ohio on June 22 to talk to people about freedom.

Welcome to Fremont Speedway in Fremont, Ohio. Opened in 1951, it epitomizes Midwestern dirt racing. There aren’t many things better than watching (and hearing and feeling) sprint cars blast through the corners of this 1/3 mile treasure on a summer night. As the setting sun illuminated the cloud of caramel colored dust over turn 4, it was the perfect place to consider freedom.

With that in mind, I photographed race fans on a Saturday night in late June and asked what freedom meant to them. I got a lot of answers which was good because this is one of those types of questions to which there really aren’t any wrong answers.

There are two types of freedom: freedom to and freedom from. The freedom to say what’s on your mind. The freedom to move about unencumbered. The freedom to love who you want to. Freedom from fear. Freedom from want. Freedom from worry. But everyone said that it meant being able to decide how to live their lives.

I can’t tell you what freedom should mean to you, but I’ll tell you what it means to me. For me, it means floating in the deep pool in my favorite creek and letting the current just take me wherever she pleases. It means a fair wage for my labor. It means being left alone to do as I please as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. It means the freedom to ask if I am, in fact, free. And it means driving to Fremont Speedway so 21 sprint cars can baptize me with dust. Do I feel free? Sometimes, but not as much as I’d like to if I’m being honest. Happy Fourth.

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