Lincoln Speedway race report 2002-03-16

LINCOLN SPEEDWAY Abbottstown, PA Rahmer Scores First-Ever Win In A Harz Race Car; Clabaugh win fastest-ever, Smith wins thriller in thundercar action ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/16/02 - You could almost see the relief on the face of Fred Rahmer as he...

LINCOLN SPEEDWAY
Abbottstown, PA

Rahmer Scores First-Ever Win In A Harz Race Car; Clabaugh win fastest-ever, Smith wins thriller in thundercar action

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/16/02 - You could almost see the relief on the face of Fred Rahmer as he exited the Joe Harz Racing No.88H after winning his first race of the year in Saturday's 25-lap sprint car feature at Lincoln Speedway.

"I want to thank everybody for coming out today," said Salfordville's Rahmer after scoring his 113th career win in the Pigeon Hills, "They better know they're in for a good year of racing at Lincoln."

Rahmer, the first driver to ever achieve double-digit wins five straight years at the Abbottstown oval, had scored several top finishes in Florida and Central Pennsylvania so far this season, but no wins until Saturday.

"We've just been biding our time here at the beginning of the year," said Rahmer. "You still don't know who is fast...once you get all the point stuff worked out and everybody starts in the back, then you'll know who is fast."

"We were lucky to start up front today," Rahmer was quick to add. "I'm just glad to get a win for Joe (Harz)."

After an impressive win in his heat, Rahmer drew pill No.5 for the feature. He advanced to third by the end of the first lap and drove around Bobby Weaver to move into the runner-up spot on a third-lap restart. Two laps later, Rahmer took to the top of the race track to motor around polesitter Steve Siegel for the lead exiting the second turn. After that, it was a race for second as Rahmer maneuvered through lapped traffic and pulled away for a 4.45-second win at the end.

Although Rahmer's super sprint career began in a Harz race car in 1986, he never won a race that year. Though he has won more than 270 races since then, Saturday's was his first with Joe Harz Racing.

"They did an article in Stock Car Magazine my first year in a sprint car," Rahmer pointed out. "I said if I don't have a sprint car ride the next year (1986) I'm quitting...and Joe approached me at Syracuse later that year and asked me to drive his car. It took me a long time to win a race for him, and I'm just glad he gave me another shot."

"I've never been with a bad team," Rahmer added, "I had a great relationship with Al Hamilton, but I'm really glad to be here. The equipment I have this year is on par with any I've ever driven."

Keith Kauffman came on strong over the final stages of the race to finish second, with Siegel crossing third and third-starting Bobby Weaver crossing fourth. Lance Dewease, who suffered a flat tire in his heat and qualified with a consolation win, came from 18th starting spot to complete the top five.

Rounding out the top ten were Donnie Kreitz, Jr., Todd Shaffer, Cris Eash, Jeff Shepard, and Mike Erdley.

Heats for the 38 sprints on hand were won by Rahmer, Kauffman, Shaffer, and Shepard. Twin consolation events were won by Brook Weibley and Dewease.

"I want to thank Miller Chevrolet, a great sponsor for this team," Rahmer said. "No matter what happens this year, Miller Brothers Chevrolet, CnB Mushrooms...I have everything I had anywhere and a real good group of people, just like everywhere else I've ever driven."

Hanover's Neil Smith held off a last lap threat by opening-day winner Bernie Beard to pick up his 26th career win in the regularly scheduled 20 lap thundercar feature. Smith started on the pole and fought off Greg Messersmith the first 10 lap. Messersmith squeezed under Smith for the lead following an 11th lap caution restart, then reclaimed the lead following a 13th lap caution restart. Messersmith ran second until 13th starting Beard came charging through a multi-car race for second on lap 19. Beard made one last charge on the bottom of the final turns, only to fall a quarter-car length short at the checkered.

Messersmith held on to finish third, with make-up feature winner Steve Clabaugh finishing fourth, and Mike Walls fifth. All five cars finished within a half-second of each other at the end.

Smith's win moves him into a second place tie with Jeremy Miller on the all-time Lincoln win list.

Heats for the 26 thundercars were won by Walls, Craig Wagaman, and Ken Berwager.

Bonneville's Steve Clabaugh inherited the pole position after an opening lap crash, proceeded to run away from the field, and never stopped en route to setting a new 20 lap track record in the March 2nd make-up thundercar feature.

Clabaugh took the checkered in a record-setting time of six minutes 55.41 seconds, almost a full straightaway ahead of the second place car of Neil Smith.

The win was Clabaugh 22nd career Lincoln win, fourth on the all-time win list.

Smith ran second the entire distance and was followed by Bobby Rudisill, Bobby Beard, and Walls.

Mt. Airy, MD's Bill Brown, Jr. claimed the 15-lap feature for the North East Classic Race Cars. Brown started on the inside of the fourth row and advanced to second by lap five. He pursued race leader Mike Ashwell until the 13th lap, when he passed Ashwell, only to have the pass negated when his dad spun while battling with both Brown, Jr. and Ashwell for the lead. Brown took the lead for good on the restart, with Ashwell crossing second and Bill Bollinger finishing third. Jerry Pownall and Roy Warehime completed the top five.

Heats for the 22 North East Classic Cars were won by Ashwell and Brown Jr..

Lincoln Speedway will host it's first race under the lights next Saturday, March 23rd at 6 PM. The 358 sprints will make there first of 15 appearances this season, joining the super sprint and thundercar regulars in a three division show. Gates will open at 4 PM, with hot laps at 5:30 PM, and the first heat getting underway at 6 PM.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Bill Brown , Neil Smith