David Reininger -- motorsport.com Abbottstown, Pa. (April 1, 2000) - Dave Ely claimed his first Lincoln Speedway victory tonight after taking the lead from defending track champion Fred Rahmer with two laps to go. Four caution periods delayed...
David Reininger -- motorsport.com
Abbottstown, Pa. (April 1, 2000) - Dave Ely claimed his first Lincoln Speedway victory tonight after taking the lead from defending track champion Fred Rahmer with two laps to go.
Four caution periods delayed the initial start of the race, removing three drivers from their top-five starting positions. Curt Michael and Chris Knopp moved to the rear of the field for the start while Dan Dietrich's night was over early after flipping in Turn three on the third attempt to start the race.
Rahmer, who was slated to start 12th, started on the outside of the fifth row. He passed five cars in the first two laps while Jesse Wentz pulled away with the lead. Rahmer moved steadily through the field passing Lance Dewease for third place on lap seven. One lap later, Rahmer passed Brook Weibley for second place. With the top-five in heavy traffic, Wentz's lead diminished, allowing Rahmer to make a pass for the lead on lap 11.
Meanwhile, Dave Ely slipped back to ninth place early in the race.
"The beginning of the race I had my doubts," Ely said. "I think I dropped back to about eighth or 10th at one point...it just rolled up terrible and we had no stick. I got some heat in my tires, got going and found a nice spot, rolled the wing around a little bit, and got going better."
With 15 laps complete, Curt Michael stopped on the front straight bringing out the yellow flag. Rahmer led, followed by Wentz, Keith Kauffman, Lance Dewease and Dave Ely in fifth.
Five laps later, Ely showed his strength, making an outside move on Dewease, easily taking fourth place. Ely's No. 77e was performing perfectly as he executed a big slider through Turns three and four to take second place from Keith Kauffman.
When the yellow appeared once more, this time on lap 21 for Jimmy McBee's spin in Turn three, Ely lined up in second, separated from Rahmer by the lapped car of Becca Anderson. Ely quickly eliminated Anderson and went to work on Rahmer, who tried his best to block a challenge for the lead.
"I think Fred was kind of off his game a little bit," Ely said. "He started to come to the middle, trying to block me, and when he did that, he just opened up the door. He didn't have the stick that he needed."
On the final lap, Ely powered through turn four with ease, several car lengths ahead of Rahmer. Approaching the finish line, he hoped to see the checkered flag, instead he saw a red flag.
Jimmy McBee spun in turn three again and the yellow flag turned to red in order to refuel the cars.
"It really didn't bother me that bad," said Ely. "As soon as we stopped I just told my guys not to touch the car - make the other car get better. We drove by him, so now it's up to them...the ball's in their court if they want to get better."
In victory lane, Ely reflected on his race-winning pass of three-time track champion Fred Rahmer. "I just try to think of all the cars as being plain black cars with no numbers, I don't care who it is," Ely said. "My job is to pass them...of course Fred (Rahmer) is the best there is, and you feel good going home if you beat him - but I've got a long way to go to get into his shoes."
Tonight was a good start.