Few would deny that there are inherent advantages to being a second- or third-generation racer. If you have been immersed in the sport since your youth, no one needs to translate the specialized language, formal and informal rules, and other nuances of this unique culture for you.
Almost at birth, you possess the necessary code words and secret handshakes needed to make your way into the inner circle.
That’s the good news.
The other side of the equation is the spoken and unspoken demand by others that you meet their expectations, and you must have an ego strong enough to withstand the incessant comparisons that are sure to follow.
Fred Rahmer, a second-generation driver, was more than just a Hall of Famer. The record shows that Fast Fred put up staggering numbers and a slew of championships. If one were to use his career as a benchmark, the simple truth is that few can measure up.
That’s only a small part of the story.
Rahmer’s results alone made him a giant in a race-crazy region of the country. Beyond that, he possessed a personality that truly made him larger than life.
There was no question about it; he could be the straw that stirred the drink.
Freddie Rahmer, one of two racing brothers, knew the score the moment he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. When asked if he feels pressure to live up to his father’s legacy, Freddie is quick with his response.
“Not really,” he said definitively. “I put more pressure on myself. What I have had is a great opportunity.”
As for the stories about his father, he has heard a ton of them, and even witnessed many firsthand.
“He had rivals,” Freddie said with a laugh. “Oh yeah, big time. And that was good. It got the fans fired up and made them come back. Some of them weren’t even true rivals, but they made it seem that way. That was pretty good. That’s what it is about; it’s entertainment really.”
One thing is for certain, Freddie is his own man. He has his own personality, and his own approach to the sport. Even at this stage of his career it is clear that he shares his father’s passion. The talent is there for all to see.
Yet Freddie is also still a young man in a game where experience matters. Development as a true professional occurs race by race and lap by lap.
He knows there is work to be done, but is driven by the knowledge that there are rewards right at the edge of the horizon. From the very beginning, Freddie understood that his father was willing to help him reach his goals, but only if he would demonstrate a commitment to the task, as well as a willingness to put in the necessary work.
Most parents can empathize with Fred and Deb Rahmer. It is exciting, and life changing to become a parent for the first time, but few are prepared to welcome triplets into the home.
While his mother and father were forced to deal with practicalities, Freddie is in a position to view it all philosophically.
“At least it was all at once,” he noted with a laugh. “Everything happened at the same time. High school, driver’s licenses and college, all of that.”
The good news is that all of these things did happen, and the fact that all of their children graduated from college is a source of immense pride for the Rahmers.
Freddie earned his diploma from Penn State with a degree in mechanical engineering, and Brandon Rahmer, who also is making his way through the Pennsylvania sprint car circles, attended Temple University and earned a degree in marketing.
While Chessie did not follow her brother’s path, she did inherit her family’s innate drive to compete.
She was an All-American in lacrosse at East Stroudsburg University and is now doing graduate work at Slippery Rock State University with an eye toward becoming a physician’s assistant.
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