Rahmer Rallies in Outlaws Season Debut at Williams Grove
Pennsylvania legend passes Hodnett for lead with five laps to go to claim the opener
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – May 11, 2012 – To say Fred Rahmer knows his way around Williams Grove Speedway is an understatement.
Since claiming the 1986 Rookie of the Year, Rahmer has amassed eight track championships en route to becoming the winningest driver in Williams Grove history. He added to that list on Friday and picked up his fifth career World of Outlaws feature victory in front of a packed crowd on Night 1 of a weekend doubleheader at the historic paper-clip half-mile oval.
“Any time you get a win against this group, plus our local guys, it’s a good win,” Rahmer said. “When you respect somebody as much as most of the guys around here respect (the Outlaws), it feels really good. It’s tough to put a whole night together and end up standing here in the winner’s circle.”
The Hall of Famer timed in third quick of the season-high 45 cars. He then finished fourth in his heat race to advance to the feature and lock himself into the dash. The invert was a six, starting Rahmer fourth in the six-lap dash. He gained a position to earn the third starting spot for the 25-lap feature and then he began to play the guessing game.
“I knew watching the (Last Chance Showdown) that there was no way it could sustain life on the top the whole race,” he said. “I just hoped it gave up quick enough and it did. I saw Steve (Kinser) driving across the track in the (Last Chance Showdown) and that’s my best line. We were just fortunate that it gave up just enough right at the right time.”
Rahmer, who rocketed into second place as polesitter Jason Sides took an early advantage in the feature, peaked late in the race. Midway through the event Rahmer fell to fourth place as Greg Hodnett began to work his way toward the front.
Hodnett passed Daryn Pittman and Rahmer to advance to the runner-up position on lap 13. Hodnett reeled in Sides through lapped traffic and slid for the lead in turn four on lap 19.
At that time Rahmer also found a groove and advanced to second on the ensuing lap. He then passed Hodnett for the top spot as the duo exited turn two on lap 21.
“I thought we were pretty decent,” Hodnett said. “I was floating around, not really running the bottom, not really running the top. I just kept doing what I was doing and I think it kind of took half rubber on the bottom of (turn) four. I just kept sliding by it and I was having to slow down too much to get to it.”
The only caution came on lap 22 as Sides appeared to have something break in the front of his car entering turn one while running fourth. He spun up the track and had to be towed to the pits.
Rahmer lined up on the inside for the double-file restart and checked out during the last four laps. Pittman slid Hodnett for second place in the final couple of laps.
“To be good enough to race with Fred and actually pass Hodnett back, those guys have been really good and we haven’t even been in their league,” Pittman said. “It’s fun to be competitive again.
“Every time I thought I had something figured out I’d change around and get better. The track really, really changed a lot as the race went on. That was fun driving it, so that had to have been fun to watch.”
For Hodnett, it was a disappointing end to a promising night in his return to a sprint car. It was Hodnett’s first race back since his father, Hoyette, passed away last Saturday.
“We want to come out with a win every night, but this one would have been pretty nice,” he said. “Obviously we’re going to try again tomorrow, but I really wanted to win this one and it just didn’t work out.”
Danny Dietrich, who claimed his first career World of Outlaws win on Thursday at Lincoln Speedway, finished fourth and Steve Kinser led the Outlaws with a fifth-place finish.
Stevie Smith was sixth, Don Kreitz Jr. placed seventh and Sammy Swindell earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 23rd to eighth. He also reclaimed the World of Outlaws points lead, which has swapped each of the past seven races.
Craig Dollansky, who set quick time with a lap of 17.118 seconds, finished ninth and Lucas Wolfe rounded out the top 10.
Dietrich, Hodnett, Smith and Wolfe each claimed a heat race victory. Kinser won the Last Chance Showdown and Paul McMahan was victorious in the C Main.
The Outlaws return to Williams Grove on Saturday for a full night of racing that includes not only the 30-lap A-main, but also the Morgan Cup Challenge featuring PA Posse drivers against World of Outlaws drivers in a 12-lap dash.