Abbotstown, PA (April 18, 1998) - Fred Rahmer took his third season and 60th career Lincoln Super Sprint win tonight. You'd think the crowd would have been happy for him. They weren't. As he entered Victory Lane, much of the crowd was booing...
Abbotstown, PA (April 18, 1998) - Fred Rahmer took his third season and 60th career Lincoln Super Sprint win tonight. You'd think the crowd would have been happy for him. They weren't. As he entered Victory Lane, much of the crowd was booing him over a Lap 7 incident that put then-leader Jesse Wentz out and early leader Brook Weibley to the back of the pack. Rahmer's first words in the post-race interview were to accept blame and apologize. "I totally put it to Jesse Wentz...I'm very sorry for that."
After three heat races for the 30 Super Sprints present, the lineup for the 25 lap, $2500 to win feature was:
1. 69 Shawn Weaver 2. 32 Brook Weibley 3. 8J Danny Jones 4. 16 Bill Brian Jr. 5. 8 Dan Dietrich 6. 2W Jesse Wentz 7. 12B Brian Montieth 7. 92 Kevin Gobrecht 9. 17E Cris Eash 10. 77 Fred Rahmer 11. 88 Sean Michael 12. 12 Tim Shaffer 13. 07 Dave Haight 14. 65 Johnny Mackison Jr. 15. 73 Lonnie Ryan 16. 59 Steve Siegel 17. 28 Brian Paulus 18. 43 Larry Shive 19. 7E Darren Eash 20. 77E Dave Ely 21. 25 Todd Gracey 22. 8D Billy Dietrich 23. 3H Kevin Higgins 24. 03 Jeff Miller
At the green, polesitter "Big Block" Weaver, who had won his heat in convincing style, experienced problems and fell back. Brook Weibley took the lead, followed by Bill Brian Jr., Jesse Wentz and Kevin Gobrecht, who all started behind him in the outside row. Wentz was on the move, passing Brian for second place on the second lap. Further back, Tim Shaffer and Steve Siegel were also on the move, taking fifth and sixth positions by beginning of lap 4, when the caution flew for Kevin Higgins' spin in Turn 2.
On the restart, Wentz went under Weibley in Turns 1 and 2. Gobrecht was on the go, working under Weibley at the other end of the track, the two running side by side until Gobrecht gained the advantage on the front straight. Within a few laps Rahmer, who was dealing with a slightly loose car, was able to work past Brian and Shaffer into fourth place, then past Weibley into third.
The yellow came out on lap 7 when Cris Eash spun to the inside of Turn 2. Eash was restarted with no problems. The field was quickly reformed, and the green was waved.
Rahmer got a good restart, heading for the outside and getting past Gobrecht on the front stretch. As they came to the end of the straight, Wentz, Rahmer and Gobrecht were running inches apart. Entering Turn 1, Rahmer dove low and attempted to pass Wentz in an opening that did not exist. The contact left Wentz and Weibley sitting in Turns 1 and 2. Wentz was unable to continue.
The lineup for the next restart put Gobrecht in the lead, with Rahmer behind him, followed by Brian and Shaffer. Sean Micheal and Brian Montieth rounded out the top six.
Gobrecht was ready for Rahmer on the restart, and took a lead of several car lengths. The leaders began to pull away from most of the field, working the high side. The low line was also working, with several successful passes ocurring over the next few laps, including Shaffer taking third away from Brian.
The final yellow of the race came out after 8 laps when Higgins spun again in Turn 2. He was restarted and moved to the rear, and the green waved. Shaffer, in third place, got a jump on Rahmer, getting ahead of him on the front stretch but unable to make it stick. Half a lap later, Rahmer got under Gobrecht in 3 and 4, but also could not make the pass stick. A lap later, with Rahmer riding the high line, Shaffer got past on the low side.
By the halfway point, the three leaders were separated from each other by half a dozen car lengths and began to encounter traffic. Gobrecht handled the traffic with no difficulty. Rahmer slowly gained on Shaffer, finally passing him on the 18th lap.
For the next few laps Gobrecht continued to work traffic well and kept his lead over Rahmer. Rahmer had a very good 22nd lap, winding up on Gobrecht's tail. Gobrecht continued to play the lapped cars to thwart Rahmer. On the 24th lap, as the G-man took a high line around Turns 3 and 4, Rahmer took advantage of a clear path down low, and made the pass for the lead. Rahmer stretched his lead over the final two laps, finishing with a comfortable margin.
After the race, Rahmer talked about how tough the competition is. "Those guys are making me run harder and you gotta stick it in there." He said that he screwed up in the incident with Wentz, and that he felt terrible about it. On his lap 24 pass over Gobrecht, he said "I never figured Kevin would go in on the top when he did, and that cost him the race." Fast Freddy said that he was very fortunate again, and thanked his crew.
In other action tonight, Steve Clabaugh won his Thundercar heat and went on to win the action-packed feature. Johnny Heydenreich won the ARDC Midget feature.
A distinguished visitor at Lincoln tonight was two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Gordon Johncock. Johncock, who concentrated on pavement in his driving career, never drove at Lincoln, but talked of his running at other Pennsylvania tracks. His driving career is also not yet over. He has recently retired from farming (his career after retiring from the big cars), and will be running a limited modified on a 1/4 mile asphalt track in Michigan.
Sprint Feature Results (25 laps):
1. 77-Fred Rahmer; 2. 92-Kevin Gobrecht; 3. 12-Tim Shaffer; 4. 88M-Sean Michael; 5. 59-Steve Siegel; 6. 16-Bill Brian Jr.; 7. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 8. 25-Todd Gracey; 9. 17E-Cris Eash; 10. 12B-Brian Montieth; 11. 73-Lonnie Ryan; 12. 07-Dave Haight; 13. 28-Brian Paulus; 14. 32-Brook Weibley; 15. 77E-Dave Ely; 16. 7E-Darren Eash; 17. 8D-Billy Dietrich; 18. 43-Larry Shive; 19. 3H-Kevin Higgins; 20. 03-Jeff Miller; 21. 8J-Danny Jones (DNF); 22. 8-Dan Dietrich (DNF); 23. 2W-Jesse Wentz (DNF); 24. 69-Shawn Weaver (DNF). No Time
Lap Leaders: Brook Weibley (1-3), Jesse Wentz (4-6), Kevin Gobrecht (7-23), Fred Rahmer (24-25)
1st Heat (10 Laps, 6 transfer) - 1. 69-Shawn Weaver; 2. 77-Fred Rahmer; 3. 8J-Dan Jones; 4. 92-Kevin Gobrecht; 5. 07-Dave Haight; 6. 59-Steve Siegel; 7. 7E-Darren Eash; 8. 8D-Billy Dietrich; 9. 65-1/2-Christine Karns; 10. 71-Bill Stine. Time - 2:22.85
2nd Heat (10 Laps, 6 transfer) - 1. 16-Bill Brian Jr.; 2. 32W-Brook Weibley; 3. 2W-Jesse Wentz; 4. 88-Sean Michael; 5. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 6. 28-Brian Paulus; 7. 77E-Dave Ely; 8. 25E-Jon Eldreth; 9. 32G-Randy Glover; 10. 25-Todd Gracey (DNF). No Time
3rd Heat (10 Laps, 6 transfer) - 1. 8-Dan Dietrich; 2. 12-Tim Shaffer; 3. 17E-Cris Eash; 4. 12B-Brian Montieth; 5. 73-Lonnie Ryan; 6. 43-Larry Shive; 7. 03-Jeff Miller; 8. 3H-Kevin Higgins (DNF); 9. 29T-Neil Amspcher (DNF); DNS - 6-Curt Michael. No Time
Consolation (10 Laps, 6 transfer) - 1. 7E-Darren Eash; 2. 77E-Dave Ely; 3. 25-Todd Gracey; 4. 8D-Billy Dietrich; 5. 3H-Kevin Higgins; 6. 03-Jeff Miller; 7. 32G-Randy Glover; 8. 65-1/2-Christine Karns; 9. 71-Bill Stine; 10. 29T-Neil Amspacker; DNS - 25E-Jon Eldreth. No Time
Ken Plotkin - Motorsport News International