The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 20, 2013

Shawn Wood's Inside Track column: Rahmer gives fans one final memory


Daily Item

---- — Fred Rahmer's drive to a near win last Saturday at Selinsgrove Speedway showed that the retiring Hall of Famer still has it.

Rahmer has 54 410 sprint car wins at the track and is the 1990 and 1991 410 track champion. He was a 12-time winner during the 1991 season.

He closed the gap on race leader Pat Cannon from a 2.06-second deficit on lap 32 to a .424-second deficit on lap 38 during the 31st annual National Open Jim Nace Memorial.

But those darn lapped cars gave Rahmer fits.

"Pat had to get past the lapped cars and I didn't get through them as good as I should have," Rahmer said. "It was just one of those deals."

The speedway has one more 410 sprint car show remaining on Oct. 4, but, the show will only take place if the World of Outlaws National Open at Williams Grove does not need to use Sunday as a rain date.

Rahmer said he was not sure if he was going to race at the speedway in October.

"I'm going week-to-week right now, we'll see how it goes" he said. "I appreciate all of the fans support that I get here at Selinsgrove, but I don't know."

Rahmer -- who holds a 175-point leader over defending track champion Greg Hodnett at Williams Grove Speedway -- won his 11th career 410 title at Lincoln Speedway this season and has 169-career wins at the track. His 11 track titles came in a span of 19 years.

In last week's National Open 44-lap feature, Rahmer was within two cars lenghts of Cannon with five laps to go.

"I was just trying to keep hitting my marks and run the best laps I could," he said. "I was hitting my marks about 80-percent of the time and I needed to do that 100-percent of the time. I just need a little more experience."

While doing the post-race interview, I could here it in Rahmer's voice as to just how dejected he was in not winning what might have been his sixth National Open; an event he last won in 2000.

"When the track gets just right, you can run anywhere on it," he said of why he likes racing at Selinsgrove. "When that happens and the speeds are pretty good, that makes it enjoyable to race rather than the one-lane tracks like we regularly race on. I enjoyed racing here, I just wish I could have won."

Among his 54 wins are seven Pa. Speedweek wins. He is third behind Mitch Smith and Ray Tilley on the all-time combined super modified/sprint cars win list.

In three 410 starts at the speedway this season, Rahmer has a pair of runner-up finishes and a seventh. This year's Speedweek finale was rained out.

It is hard to gauge or hear the crowd late at night during the feature, but one has to think that there were throngs of fans willing Rahmer on for one final win.

Not taking anything away from Pat Cannon -- he led all 44 laps and has constantly proven he is one of the top sprint car drivers around -- but what a story-book ending to Rahmer's career it would have been if he were to have won his sixth National Open at a track he dearly loves

Thanks to those darn lapped cars, we'll never know.