SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Two weeks ago, a faulty left-rear tire foiled Freddie Rahmer’s chance at winning from the pole at Selinsgrove Speedway.
On Friday, after shouldering the blame and subsequently toiling for solutions, Rahmer found himself in an oddly similar situation and there was no doubt this time. Rahmer led all 25 laps from the point to bag his first victory at the half-mile oval on Friday night.
It also happened to be Rahmer’s first win of the backlogged 2020 season, a 1.691-second victory over Kyle Reinhardt, who bested Rahmer in the previous meeting at the track. And like that earlier race just two weeks ago, Rahmer and Reinhardt started first and second, respectively.
“It feels like I haven’t won in a long time, especially this season being all jacked around, or whatever [because of COVID-19],” Rahmer said in victory lane. “I’m so glad to get [a win], finally.”
“It felt like a redo,” Rahmer later added. I didn’t want to mess up again.”
Rahmer didn’t mess up this time. And, quite frankly, his driving ability never ravaged the first go-around on May 31 when he faded from the pole to finish seventh, opening the door for Reinhardt to score his first win of the season.
“That was very disappointing,” said Rahmer, who quickly linked the leaky left rear tire to an inefficient setup. So, Rahmer and his crew worked to clean up the faults, making minor changes to the suspension that clearly operated efficiently on Friday night.
“We needed to change,” Rahmer said. “That’s something we did over the past week.”
Rahmer started the night by streaking to a six-second heat race win over Steve Buckwalter and Jeff Halligan. In the heat before, Reinhardt did a lot of the same, winning the 10-lap qualifying event by more than two seconds over Mike Walter II.
Like May 31, Rahmer drew the pole while Reinhardt settled for second. After a complete reset for a first-lap red flag for Steve Buckwalter, who flipped in turn two while running fourth, Rahmer raced out to a 1.7 second lead by Lap 7. But that’s when Reinhardt stalked down Rahmer, who trudged through lapped traffic.
Reinhardt cut Rahmer’s lead to 1.045 seconds on Lap 10, but a caution for Mike Walter II stunted the pursuit for the top spot and practically reset the race, playing into the hands of Rahmer.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race if he got the jump, and he got a good jump,” Reinhardt said. “We got through lapped traffic [well] and I was reeling him in. And I didn’t need that yellow on Lap 10. That kind of reset the whole race.”
Rahmer ran his best six laps of the night once the race resumed, busting open a two-second advantage with 10 laps to go and claiming his long-awaited first win at Selinsgrove.
Halligan finished third, while Brian Montieth and Blane Heimbach (from 11th) rounded out the top five.