MECHANICSBURG - A little more than a month ago, after a win in the Jack Gunn Memorial at Williams Grove Speedway, Fred Rahmer said he would retire on the spot if he won the 51st annual National Open.
Fast forward to Saturday night, and whether or not he really thought he would have to make that decision, it's clear now he will: Rahmer put an exclamation point on his Hall of Fame career as his 90th career Williams Grove win came in the National Open.
The win was worth $50,000 in a sprinter owned by Rob Sell. It was Rahmer's 28th career start in the Open and his previous best finishes were a trio of runner-ups.
Not any more - Fast Freddie won the big one now.
"It's just unbelievable," Rahmer said. "All the great owners I've been with. The guys we race against weekly that make you good enough to be able to get lucky enough to win this thing."
Rahmer's car was near perfect as he rolled through the middle and bottom. After an early race duel with Steve Buckwalter, Rahmer was never challenged again after taking the lead on lap 14.
"My boy (Fred Rahmer Jr.) and 'Moon' (Byers, his mechanic) and all the guys are the ones that did it," Rahmer said. "Moon and this whole team turned my whole deal around. They had me dead and buried ... not quite so dead. The one thing I learned from the last couple of years is the people you're with can beat you way easier than the people you race against. These people are working with me and made all the difference in the world."
The sprint car community will have to wait until mid-week to find out Rahmer's decision. He is leading the Williams Grove point standings with two races left and $20,000 on the line. If Rahmer is to contend for the title - which would be his second this year; he already won Lincoln - he would have to show up and race. Greg Hodnett trails Rahmer by only a handful of points going into the final weeks.
"My whole career, I've never been able to win this race, and I said if I could win it in this situation, I'd be like Lynn Paxton," Rahmer said. "I will probably take until Wednesday to figure out what I want to do. I want to talk to my wife and everybody involved. Maybe I'll get Stevie Smith to finish the year out."
Buckwalter started on the pole after winning the dash with Rahmer to his outside. Rahmer got the jump, but Buckwalter took the lead away.
He led until lap eight when he jumped the cushion trying to lap a car. Rahmer led lap nine, but Buckwalter got by again.
Following a lap 13 restart, Rahmer turned up the wick and drove by off turn four and into the lead. The red flag was displayed for a fuel stop with 15 laps to go. Rahmer drove away and sliced through traffic to score a 3.41-second win.
World of Outlaws point leader Daryn Pittman came up to second and Lance Dewease was third. Paul McMahan and Craig Dollansky rounded out the top five.
In the top 10 were Buckwalter, Hodnett, David Gravel, Joey Saldana and Donny Schatz.
For the second straight night, Saldana set fast time over the 62-car field with a lap of 17.192 seconds. The eight-lap heat races were won by Rahmer, Sammy Swindell, David Gravel, Rodney Westhafer and Logan Schuchart.
Kerry Madsen won the D-main, Justin Henderson won the C-main and Greg Hodnett won the B-main.
SELINSGROVE - In a rare late-season race at Selinsgrove Speedway on Sunday evening, it was Logan Schuchart of Hanover and Rick Lafferty of Pennington, N.J., winning the twin 20-lap sprint cars features.
Schuchart led all 20 laps of the first race to earn $2,500. He beat Chad Layton, Brock Zearfoss, Steve Buckwalter and Port Royal champion Blane Heimbach.
New York's Justin Barger led the first 19 laps of the second 20-lap feature. The only caution flag flew with one lap to go and Rick Lafferty would drive by Barger in the first turn on the restart and steal the win. Heimbach, Schuchart and Jacob Allen completed the top five.