SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Anthony Macri was livid after Freddie Rahmer foiled his first career 410 win at Williams Grove Speedway on Sept. 4 with a late-race slide job.
It was a move debated by many over the following days, but it was a move Rahmer felt he needed to exploit. Macri, though, insistently disagreed.
Macri and Rahmer are, without a doubt, the future of racing in Pennsylvania. But only recently have their maturing talents clashed, particularly at the forefront of the famed Pennsylvania Posse.
This past weekend, Rahmer and Macri swept first and second at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove, each winning a race. Five of their 15 combined wins this year have now come since that Sept. 4 exchange.
Additionally, they’ve collected 11 podiums in 14 central Pennsylvania races over that span.
Like the makings of a rivalry, if fans even want to jump that far, both sharpen each other and produce excitement. So, have Macri and Rahmer driven one another as of late?
“I do find myself driving a little bit harder when I’m behind him,” Macri said after he beat Rahmer Saturday at Selinsgrove. “I don’t know how he sees me as a driver, but I see him as a driver to beat. He’s pretty good. We’re the up-and-coming in Pennsylvania.”
“Recently, it’s been that way,” Rahmer, the 24-year-old, said the night after he beat Macri at Williams Grove. “We have a little battle going.”
Rahmer and Macri are putting together two of their finest seasons since joining the 410 ranks. They are both positioned in the top 10 nationally in wins. Macri is tied for seventh in the nation with eight victories. Rahmer is tied for 10th with seven.
“Both of our cars have been timing good,” Rahmer said.
Macri has owned the big, sweeping half miles like Port Royal and Selinsgrove. Rahmer, meanwhile, is in position to win track championships at the two trickiest places around, Williams Grove and Lincoln.
Both have something the other is striving for. Macri’s success and downfall, at times, is an overly aggressive approach. Rahmer, on the other hand, has pushed himself to drive harder, but his diligence is what makes him tick at Williams Grove and Lincoln.
“You work harder to keep educating and getting better,” Jimmy Shuttlesworth, Macri’s crew chief, said. “The younger kids are getting better at this.”
Two of the biggest events of the season in central Pennsylvania are up and in Rahmer’s and Macri’s wheelhouse. This weekend, it’s the $75,000-to-win National Open at Williams Grove Speedway. The following weekend, the World of Outlaws invade Port Royal Speedway.
While Macri has won seven of the last 15 sprint car features at Port Royal dating back to June 14, Rahmer has yet to crack the top five at the track.
But Rahmer has won three of the last four features at Williams Grove as Macri continues to search for 410 win No. 1 at the speedway.
In the Sept. 4 race at Williams Grove, Macri led 23 laps before Rahmer stole the win.
Rahmer moved to the bottom at an opportune time while Macri stuck it out on the top, trying to power his way to his first Williams Grove win.
That left the door open for Rahmer to be more aggressive, something he’s been conscious about all year, and Macri was hung out to dry.
On Friday at Williams Grove, circumstances helped Rahmer to victory, but Macri wasn’t far off. In fact, Macri turned the quickest laps of the race at the midway point and reeled in Rahmer at the end.
Lapped traffic slowed Macri’s pace, but he shaved Rahmer’s two-and-a-half second lead to just one second in the end.
“We’ve been trying to get our car better in dirty air and that’s a step in the right direction,” Macri said. “Obviously it wasn’t a win, but you have to take what you can get. We had a second place car.
On Saturday, Macri won at Selinsgrove with record pace. He set a new track record in time trials and led all 40 laps for the $20,000 check.
Rahmer tried a slide job on Macri on the final restart with four to go, but it wasn’t enough and Macri raced off.
“He has a fast car and he’s on the button,” Rahmer said. “We just have to pick it up.”