Rahmer wins Night Before the 50

PORT ROYAL — Freddie Rahmer held off Tim Shaffer for the Night Before the 50 sprint car feature win Friday night at Port Royal Speedway.

His third career All Star Circuit of Champions win — and first career at Port Royal — was worth $5,000.

Drama for the sprint car track championship unfolded as well. Greg Hodnett appeared headed to the championship when he qualified for the feature, but was involved in a bad wreck during the dash. The team unloaded a back-up car, but the car wouldn’t start when they tried to push him off for the A-main.

With him not starting, Logan Wagner’s 10th-place finish clinched him the championship in the John and PeeWee Zemaitis-owned Zemco sprinter.

“Everybody counted me out tonight,” Wagner said. “I think the whole team earned it. It was a lot of consistency and we capitalized when we needed to. This is monumental for the team.”

Rahmer, 22, of Salfordville, had to put together a complete night to earn his first career trip to the winner’s stage.

“There’s so many parts of the night that have to go together to win this race,” Rahmer said. I got lucky and got by him in lapped traffic. I ran out of fuel with one to go and the red came out. There was a little bit of luck there. I couldn’t let up with Tim Shaffer back there. That was way too many shots for him on those restarts. I’ve got to do a better job with that, but we got away with it tonight.”

The yellow flew before one lap could be completed as both Gio Scelzi and Trey Starks slowed on the track.

Shaffer led Rahmer, Ryan Smith and Jared Esh as the 30-lap feature got going on a lightning-fast racing surface thanks to rain earlier in the night.

Rahmer was closing on the leader as they approached slower traffic at the back of the field with seven laps completed.

Rahmer ducked under Shaffer in turns one and two, but couldn’t make the pass. He made the same move in turns three and four. They were side-by-side down the frontstretch with Rahmer nipping him at the line for the lead.

The yellow flew as Robbie Kendall slowed on the front stretch.

Rahmer controlled the restart as ninth starter Lance Dewease took fourth from Esh.

Tyler Reeser broke on the backstretch bringing out the yellow with 12 laps completed.

Rahmer streaked away again on the ensuing restart. He led by 1.279 seconds as he began lapping cars.

The yellow erased his lead with 20 laps completed when Brian Montieth’s engine blew.

Rahmer once again had the race under control as he pulled away from Shaffer and Smith. A good battle developed between Dewease, Esh and Brian Brown.

Rahmer took the white flag with a 3.430 lead, but Esh ran out of fuel and slowed in turn three ending his great run. This brought out the red flag allowing teams to refuel the cars with a green, white checkered finish.

Shaffer got a big run on the restart and was next to Rahmer in the corners. Rahmer stayed in the gas on the outside and powered back into the lead.

“Tim cut me a break on that last restart,” Rahmer said. “It means a lot to win this race.”

Rahmer beat Shaffer by .831. Smith, Brock Zearfoss and Dewease completed the top five. Lucas Wolfe raced from the back to sixth. Brown, Paul McMahan, Aaron Reutzel — in a back-up car from the rear — and Wagner rounded out the top 10.

One of the biggest stories of the night was the bad crash as the start of the first dash. Fiore started on the pole of the first dash. He moved up to get in front of Montieth as they raced toward the first turn, but didn’t have him cleared. He got over the left front of Montieth’s car and this turned Montieth sideways and Hodnett got into him. Reutzel then ran into Hodnett and they slammed the outside first turn wall and flipped. Montieth also flipped. No driver injuries were reported. Carson Macedo just made it thru the carnage.

Dewease set fast time over the 46-car field with a lap of 15.347. R. Smith, Reutzel, Brown, and Starks were the top five qualifiers. The eight-lap heart races were won by Esh, Reutzel, Kendall, Rahmer and Anthony Fiore.

Due to predicted rain, Port Royal has moved the start time up for tonight’s $51,000 to win Tuscarora 50. Practice laps will now begin at 5.