Local auto racing: Fred Rahmer too good to write off in 2013

Don’t sleep on Fred Rahmer.


It’s easy to write off an aging veteran in racing. You are only as good as your last lap, your last race — or in this case, last season — and statistics are hard to refute in this game.


Rahmer had one of his worst seasons as a Sprint Car driver. He had two wins in 79 starts with the Chad and Jenn Clemens-owned team and towards the end of the season, the two parties went their separate ways.


It’s led to questions about Rahmer’s ability. At age 54 and after a couple of hard crashes over the last few years, speculation is that one of central Pennsylvania’s best drivers had lost it.


Don’t believe it.


Be careful when categorizing Rahmer as washed up. He isn’t your typical war horse with too many battles under his belt who has enjoyed a successful run. There is still plenty of fight.


Rahmer will try to prove his naysayers wrong next season behind the wheel of the Rob Sell No. 20s. His crew chief will be Moon Byers, bringing back a combination that had a great deal of success flying Al Hamilton colors.

“It was just one of those things where one deal was over, and I was lucky enough to have someone good enough to give me another one,” Rahmer said by phone Monday.


“My goal is to race as long as I’m competitive and having fun. I wasn’t having fun, and that is no one’s fault but my own.


“That means winning. When you run good, you have fun. When you don’t run good, you’re not having fun. I’m going to get prepared as much as I can over the winter and put myself in position to win.”


Rahmer still has the tools to get it done.


The Salfordville ace has always been a talented racer. He is a hard worker with an unmatched tenacity and a renewed motivation to get back on top of the Pennsylvania Sprint Car scene.


“People have been questioning my ability since 1996,” said Rahmer, who will debut with his new team Nov. 10 at Susquehanna Speedway Park. “Obviously, I don’t hear anything. I don’t go on the Internet, I don’t get racing papers.


“I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m good or that I should have had a better year. I was in a situation that wasn’t right for me, and I changed it. Nothing against Chad and Jenn, they gave me a good car. It just didn’t work.

“It’s only the second time I changed rides. I’m looking forward to getting back to racing next year. If we don’t run good, it won’t be because we don’t have the right equipment.”


It will be on Rahmer and Byers.


But there is no pressure. Rahmer likes the idea of running the ship and being responsible for the success and failure of a team. He thrives under those circumstances and plans to do so again.


“You are kidding yourself when you make excuses,” Rahmer said. “I always liked being the lead dog when I’m in a deal. I sort of stopped doing that, and I had to get back to it.


“It’s about hard work and being with the right people. I think I’m smarter now, and I need to get myself in physical shape and get prepared for next season.”


There are going to be critics and people that have doubt. Not Rahmer. He is making a clean start with one goal in mind: winning.


“There are a lot of good race car drivers today,” Rahmer said, “but I’ve run against a lot of good drivers and I don’t see why I can’t win as many races as I always did.


“I want to go out to win as many races as I can, that is my goal. When I quit, it’s going to be on my terms.”

Article courtesy of Jeremy Elliott