Rahmer tops stellar field to win third straight Kenny Weld Memorial; Jeremy Brown claims first career thundercar feature. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 10/5/02 - For the past six years, Lincoln Speedway has belonged to Fred Rahmer. And for those who...
Rahmer tops stellar field to win third straight Kenny Weld Memorial; Jeremy Brown claims first career thundercar feature.
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 10/5/02 - For the past six years, Lincoln Speedway has belonged to Fred Rahmer.
And for those who thought Lance Dewease would sweep the season finales at all four Central Pennsylvania tracks or Greg Hodnett might win his 20th race of the year before heading to Charlotte to take on the World of Outlaws next weekend, he removed any doubt.
Driving the last 17 laps without brakes, Rahmer pulled the slider on Dewease in turn three of a 36th-lap restart to grab the lead and win his 10th feature of the year in the Pigeon Hills. It marked the sixth straight year that Rahmer's win total has reached double digits at Lincoln, and came exactly one year after Rahmer announced in victory lane that he was leaving the Hamilton Motorsports team.
Regarding his double-digit wins, Rahmer said, "If you get going on that, it don't mean nothing until you almost don't get it...it would be hard to start over on that streak so I wanted to keep that one going."
Dewease, who had already won the Selinsgrove National Open, the Port Royal Tuscarora 50, and the Williams Grove National Open, started on the outside of the front row and assumed the lead when polesitter and race-long leader Sean Michael was collected by a spinning Doug Esh on the third turn of the 18th lap.
Rahmer, who started eighth, passed fast time trialer Todd Hestor to enter the top five on lap four, and was running there when Greg Hodnett lost a rear end on the backstretch while running third on the 11th lap. During the caution, fourth place Cris Eash pulled into the pits, advancing Rahmer from fifth to third. Michael's misfortune on the 18th lap put Dewease and Rahmer first and second. Michael then tipped onto his side trying to avoid a spinning Johnny Mackison five laps later. That's when Rahmer lost his brakes. In fact, he had to drive into the guardrail after the red came out to stop for the fuel stop on the 23rd-lap red.
"We lost our brakes about 20 laps into the race and it tore the caliper off," said Rahmer on not having brakes through the second half of the race. "We were very fortunate Hodnett had trouble, Cris (Eash) had trouble and I guess it was just our night...and getting it there at the end made it all the better."
"I was ready to pull in under that one red. I had to run into the fence to stop. But, you know, everybody has a million excuses. We were just lucky."
The Hamilton No.77 looked unbeatable after pulling away from Rahmer on the 23rd and 24th-lap restarts, and held a 2.71-second lead over the Lincoln champ by the 33rd lap. But a 36th-lap caution for Josh Wells (who came a stop on the backstretch while running tenth), gave Rahmer another shot at the leader. Rahmer took to the top side of turns one and two, then dove to the inside of the backstretch, setting up his patented third turn Lincoln pass for the lead.
"Lance got a hole in the tire the same time I lost brakes...it appeared to me to be up, but I'm sure it wasn't helping him," said Rahmer on Dewease's apparent problem during the middle stages of the race. "He was good early so I don't know if he had a hard tire on or a soft one."
"This one didn't go at the beginning. There at the end...I'm a bit hard on brakes...but I think I ran better without them because it kept the car straighter."
From there, things went from bad to worse for Dewease, who lost second spot to Keith Kauffman at the checkered flag. Brook Weibley and the Hard Charger Award winner Bobby Weaver completed the top five, with Chris Knopp, Steve Siegel, Hard Luck Award winner Michael, Jeff Rohrbaugh, and Darren Eash completed the top-10.
Rahmer's took the checkered 2.05 seconds over Kauffman for his third straight Kenny Weld Memorial win, and fifth Weld win overall.
"Kenny Weld changed racing and we were very fortunate to have him in our area," said Rahmer on the race's namesake. "We've had a lot of great racers here, but I don't know whether there were any that was ever better."
"He was an unbelievably intelligent man and a great racer. It's nice to win a race in his honor."
"Miller Brothers is a real good sponsor of ours," Rahmer added. "As far as low-maintenance sponsors, they are absolutely effortless...they're great people to be with and we've had a really good association."
"They said they wanted me to win tonight with the owner of Miller Brothers here tonight so this win was for him."
Reflecting on last year's ride change, Rahmer said, "The Hamilton car was a great ride for me, and I won a lot of races in that car, but as many as I won in that, it sure as hell feels good to beat it!"
The only person happier than Rahmer may have been car-owner Joe Harz, who was very animated in in victory lane.
"What a season, it feels good to beat the red car...that's all I live for!" said Harz. "They may have everything they want to race, but this little team here can kick their ass when things are right at Lincoln Speedway!"
"We're having a ball, we're going to be here next Friday night, and we're going to kick the red car's ass, and all next year here at Lincoln too!!"
Heat for the super sprints were won by Esh, Donnie Kreitz Jr., and Hodnett, with Shawn Weaver winning the consolation.
Fast time in time trials over the 28-car field was set by Middleburg's Todd Hestor with a one-lap time of 13.161 seconds (102.576 MPH).
Hanover's Jeremy Brown ended years of frustration by capturing his first career thundercar victory in the 20-lap nightcap.
Brown, who started fifth, fell in behind early race leader Doug Devilbiss, Dave Highlands, and Mike Johnson and quickly moved into second after a second lap tangle eliminated Highlands and sent Johnson back through the pack. Brown and 14th-starting Steve Clabaugh then teamed up and took off after Devilbiss over the next 12 laps. Devilbiss then made one mistake entering the third and fourth turns on the 14th lap, slipped high, allowing Brown to slip under and into the lead. Clabaugh then got around Devilbiss as well on the next lap and quickly closed on the leader's bumper.
A caution with two laps to go set up a dash to the checkered with Brown trying to keep three-time Lincoln winner Clabaugh behind. Clabaugh pulled alongside Brown in the final turns, but Brown was able to keep his car in front by .31 seconds to pick up his inaugural thundercar win.
Clabaugh settled for second, with Devilbiss third, Chet McCormick fourth, and Nat Tuckey fifth.
Heats for the 32 thundercars were won by Devilbiss, Johnson, and Mike Walls, with Mike Ziegler Sr. winning the consolation.
Next Friday night, October 11th, Lincoln Speedway will close out it's 2002 season with the postponed 13th Annual Manufacturers Appreciation Race for the super sprints. Hank and Denise Gentzler, and a host of other racing merchandise providers, have waited anxiously since the originally scheduled September 21st event was postponed due to rain. Weather permitting, they will finally get to give away over $64,000 in racing merchandise to the starting feature field. The Miller Brothers Thundercar point race will finally come to a conclusion as well as they join the super sprinters in the final race of the season. Time trials for the super sprints will start the evening's program at 7:30 PM, with gates opening at 5:30 PM.