New Egypt, NJ (May 11) -- When Pennsylvania Sprint car sensation Fred Rahmer decided to try on a promoter's hat for size last year, he chose New Egypt Speedway as the site of his first-ever event and put on the hottest ticket spectacle in the...
New Egypt, NJ (May 11) -- When Pennsylvania Sprint car sensation Fred Rahmer decided to try on a promoter's hat for size last year, he chose New Egypt Speedway as the site of his first-ever event and put on the hottest ticket spectacle in the track's history. On June 14, Rahmer will return to New Egypt -- only this time, he's focused on winning the race, not presenting it.
"I did the deal because I wanted to prove that you can do gimmicky things during a race program, make it entertaining for the fans without taking away from the racing, and it would work," said Rahmer, 42, who borrowed a lot of ideas from Australian race organizer David Lander for his rookie promotion.
The short-distance Sprints-only event Rahmer presented on June 16, 1999 was a smash hit, producing a record crowd (including New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, who took a spin around the speedway) and media raves. National Speed Sport News called it "a show worthy of a superspeedway or even their neighbor up the road, Great Adventure."
Of course, Rahmer was pleased with the success, "but I also realized it was more than I could handle," he admitted, in hindsight. "Wearing two hats at once, as promoter and driver, wasn't fair to the people I race for. I was totally disattached from the race car last year, worrying about the show, and I didn't run well. This time, my focus will be on the racing."
New Egypt's Thunder in the Pines event for the superfast 410 Sprints on Wednesday night, June 14, will mirror Fred Rahmer's format. Under the direction of Thunder on the Hill promoter Bob Miller, the program will feature time trials (utilizing New Egypt's cutting-edge computerized timing and scoring system), preliminary qualifying races and the popular Pole Scramble elimination runs, capped off by a 30-lap main event paying $3,000 to win, $1,000 for tenth. Energy Kinetics of Lebanon, NJ, is putting up $200 to win a heat. The Pole Scramble is worth $1,000, and a 360 c.i.d. bonus will also up the ante.
Rahmer, a professional racer who's already clinched seven wins in his first 20 starts this season, will be looking to take home a good chunk of that cash.
"I'd love to win this thing," said Rahmer, who drives Al Hamilton's J&J Sprinter with a powerful 410 Don Ott engine pinned under the hood.
Rahmer's stiffest competition will come from Billy Pauch, another career driver, who cleaned house in last year's 410 event in a last-minute pickup ride and holds sway as the defending champion in New Egypt's weekly big-block Modified division.
"He'll be the guy to beat," Rahmer agreed. "But we've been good and we're really focused. Hopefully, we can come down and wax Pauch's butt."
The June 14 event, with a next-day raindate, will kick off at 7:15 p.m. Adult admission is $18, children 7-12 are $6 and kids 6 and under are free. For more information, call the speedway at (609) 758-1900.