posted September 02, 2001 02:16 PM
RAHMER CAPS OFF CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR WITH FOURTH ABEL MEMORIAL WIN
"I never saw a jockey take a horse with three legs and win the race...but
that is what he did tonight."
Car owner Al Hamilton gave the latest indication that things are okay in
the Manheim Auto Auction/Cindy Rowe Auto Glass "stable" after Fred Rahmer
drove to his 12th win of the year in the 30-lap Seventh Annual Bobby Abel
Memorial at Lincoln Speedway.
Rahmer backed up a pass of Cris Eash following a wild three-car battle for
the lead with Craig Keel in the third and fourth turns of the 13th lap and
led the rest of the way for the win.
"Cris (Eash) and I talked tonight and we were sure Keel wasn't going to
win," said Rahmer jokingly in victory lane. "He's been starting up front
pretty good and we pretty much decided he wasn't going to win."
"There wasn't but room for one car but Cris gave me just enough room, no
extra," said Rahmer on the wild three car pass for the lead on the 12th lap
which Eash fought off exiting the fourth turn. "I'd like to think I'd do the
same for him...it was tight off of two and off of four."
"But like I said, we talked before the race and we knew one of us was going
Rahmer started beside Port Royal track champ Keith Kauffman on the outside
of the sixth row and stormed through the field to enter the top five by lap
four. He followed Cris Eash past Pierron Reasner into fourth on lap five,
then followed Eash as both cars passed Brian Montieth on an eighth-lap
restart for debris on turn three.
Eash and Rahmer chased Craig Keel (who took the lead from Reasner on lap
three) from laps eight through 12, when the caution came out for
simultaneous spins by Billy Sims and Pat Cooper on turns one and two and
Mark Smith on turn three. It was then that track officials noticed a broken
front right torsion bar on the Hamilton No.77 sprinter.
Despite the handicap, Rahmer dove between Keel and Eash to challenge for
the lead in a wild three-wide battle in turns three and four of lap 13.
Though Eash was credited with leading the lap, Rahmer took the lead for good
on the first and second turns of lap 14.
Arms were thrashing as the Hamilton crew attempted to make repairs during
two red flags over the second half of the race. In fact, Rahmer was out of
the car holding it up during the second red flag. The first red flag came
out for a fuel stop during an 18th lap caution for a Mark Smith spin in turn
two. The second red flag came out for the flipping cars of Glenndon Forsythe
and Mark Smith on turn three of lap 22.
Despite all of his problems, Rahmer drove away from the field over the
final eight laps to take the checkered by 2.08 seconds over Eash, with
Montieth third, Steve Siegel fourth, and Kauffman fifth. Sixth through tenth
were Keel, Doug Esh, Shawn Weaver, Brook Weibley, and Cliff Brian.
"It just goes to show you that the car don't have to work good all the
time," said Rahmer. "Sometimes you have to just drive it a little
harder...Richie, Moon, and everybody, and Scotty and Wop, they do a good
job. They stuck though when we were not running good. Hopefully we can pick
it up. One win don't mean nothing, but we've got to keep at it."
The win, Rahmer's fourth in seven Bobby Abel Memorials and the 111th his
career in the Pigeon Hills, was worth $3,000.
Though Rahmer was too young to see Bobby Abel race, he recognized the
accomplishments of one of Central Pennsylvania's all-time greats in victory
"Any time they have a race for a guy you know he must have been a heck of a
good racer," said Rahmer. "Because Central Pennsylvania fans have seen some
good racers come through and they just don't have a race for everybody...he
must have been one heck of a good racer."
Al Hamilton wasn't too young to see Abel race.
"They had a bounty on Abel when I first came to race here," reflected
"Fred did a tremendous job tonight and, he has been. We've had a few
problems along the way, but those things will happen to anybody. There have
been things that have gone wrong that don't normally go wrong, but this year
we've been down occasionally. We're not finished yet."
Greg Leiby ended his career as a car owner on a winning note by claiming
his third Lincoln win of the year in the 20-lap "358" sprint feature.
Commenting on the burden racing has placed on his family, Leiby announced in
victory lane that he would only return to drive if it was for another car
Matt Boland led the first lap, then yielded to Eichelberger, who led until
Leiby's race-winning pass on lap eight. Leiby then had to fight off the
challenges of new Lincoln 358 sprint points leader Eric Stambaugh over the
final 11 laps to seal the win. It was Leiby's eighth career win at Lincoln,
moving him into a third-place tie with Brian Seidel on the all-time Lincoln
win list. Stambaugh's second-place finish broke a tie with Cory Haas for the
point lead heading into next week's final race of the year, a $1,000-to-win
358 sprint championship.
Joe Ilg kept his title hopes alive with a third-place finish, followed by
Eichelberger and Cory Haas, who still has a chance at the track title next
Tim Tomson had a perfect night in the INEX Legends division, winning his
heat, picking pill No.1 for the inversion, and leading all 15-laps of the
feature event. Brian Levan started fifth and crossed second, with Butch
Brough, Ronnie Dunstan, and Rodney Kistler completing the top five.