Known throughout the Northeast as the "Bedford Brain", Gus Frear became a household name as the crew chief, car builder, engine builder and head mechanic for Hall of Fame driver Gerald Chamberlain. The combination of Chamberlain and Frear won over 600 races from the late 50's to early 80's in various dirt racing divisions from New York to Virginia.
Frear was introduced to Chamberlain early in their careers at the former South Penn Speedway in Everett, PA. This combination quickly became a Super Modified powerhouse with their Don Rice Ford #31 on the tough Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia circuit at such tracks as South Penn, Bedford, Hagerstown, Winchester, St. Thomas, Ft Ashby, Hesston, Cumberland, Port Royal and other area speedways. Frear's ability to read the track conditions and adjust the car to Chamberlain's liking on any given night was something competing teams admired and envied.
After a decade of local overwhelming success, the duo went NASCAR racing on the former Sportsman (now Nationwide series) and Grand National (now Sprint Cup series) in the mid to late 60' s with modest results. During this period they did race at many of the southeastern dirt and asphalt speedways, gained much experience and became good friends with 1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund and other NASCAR drivers and officials. Without sponsor, however. It's been said if Gus & Gerald had grown up in the Charlotte area and the hub of southern stock car racing, the NASCAR history books would have been different. They were Yankees. After a year apart, the duo reunited in the early 70's on a deal that Chamberlain put together with car owner Joe Bullock. This time they exploded in the Modified/Coupe circuit of eastern Pennsylvania which featured the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway. Again, Frear's uncanny racing mechanical prowess and Chamberlain's superb driving ability was introduced to a whole new arena of drivers and fans.
With Frear building the racing chassis and the Ford racing engines, championships and wins in the Bullock # 76 were the norm on a non stop flurry of racing at tracks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. As the decade came to a close, Chamberlain and Frear became racing household names in the Eastern United States and to this day Bedford and Everett are well known because of their success. National racing publications during this period ran countless stories and photos on their success as writers told the story of how the Chamberlain and Frear combination became legendary.
Gerald always emphasized that Gus was the other half of the team. He was the quiet man in the pits, but he attracted fans there, and was twice honored as Mechanic of the Year at Reading. One year during the Daniel Boone 200, one of the richest races in the country, Gerald won by a nose. A news article said, "Talented Gus Frear, chief mechanic, got credit for a miraculous job of patching the steering box together during a quick pit stop." Gerald said "Other guys would try to duplicate Gus's work. It was right there before their eyes, but they couldn't see it. He'd tell them they could see it too, if they just look. But Gus saw deeper into engines. He knew them better."
As the early 80's dawned, the pair took yet another turn of the racing page as they fielded a Late Model at most of the same speedways they ran their Super Modified a decade and a half earlier. Again, Frear was able to take a completely different racing vehicle and adjust and tweak it to Chamberlain's liking as their winning ways continued. With their success as a team, the C & F Racing race car building business also flourished building
Late Model and Semi-Late Model chassis for area racing teams. Many drivers got the chance to be schooled by Gus on the mechanics and handling of the car, just like he gave Gerald for all those years. Gus is constructing a replica of the #31 Don Rice Ford Super Modified.
Class of 2009
Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame
Bedford County, Pennsylvania