Allow me to vent.
As many of you may know…I have long had the want/need/desire (however you want to phrase it) to help in preserving a little bit of the history of our sport. I guess when I think about it…this all goes back to the long debate over Frankie Schnieder’s career win total. Let it be known, that that figure will NEVER be found out. I saw that figure climb from a few hundred to what became…over the years, to be claimed over a thousand. Keep in mind that over these years…he was in the twilight of his career and not even winning..but I digress. Let’s just say I am seriously skeptical of the 1000 total.
No big secret….I am a Billy Pauch fan. Always have been…always will be and not one day has gone by that I have regretted it. Back in the mid 90’s, it was common held belief that he was approaching his 500th career win. I really didn’t have a clue, but honestly, I had the means to find out since I had a subscription to a certain weekly racing publication since back in 1973. With a lot of sitting down and doing the research…I was able to cobble together a complete list of Pauch’s wins and honestly, I don’t recall exactly how many he had at the time…but he was closing in on the 500 mark. It did allow a celebration of sorts when he did claim that monumental win which occurred at the running of the George Wingate Memorial race at the Bridgeport Speedway back on October 1st of 1996. I have since maintained the list to keep it current. Subsequently, I have compiled and/or been involved in the compilation of a number of career win lists of several other top name drivers in the Northeast..all in the name of preserving an accurate record of their careers. Besides Pauch…the lists of Doug Hoffman, Jimmy Horton, Kenny Brightbill, Duane Howard, Craig VonDohren, Matt Sheppard, Steve Paine and Danny Johnson have been completed.
To honor his stellar career and to help in celebrating his big win in the Williams Grove Speedways National Open in his last attempt before retiring from the sport…I decided to compile a complete career win list of Fred Rahmer. Although I had never been an avid fan of sprint car racing, I felt it was the right thing to do to help in closing out the driving career of such a talented driver.
So I set about putting in the time to compile the stats. I conferred with a few people that were purported to have some background and essential information to help in my double checking and cross checking of my research information to help in being completely accurate as to the six different items I list for each and every win I dig up. Of course, I went to Rahmer’s website which provides a base line to start with. It claimed, and still claims, that Fred has 420 sprint car wins to his credit and 99 stock car wins. Fred started his career on the Pennsylvania small block circuit consisting at the time of the Big Diamond Raceway, the Grandview Speedway and the Penn National Speedway.
I actually jumped ahead to his sprint car career before trying to ascertain his stock car stuff since there were some records and information that would be coming to me to help with the cross checking, but at the time were not available just yet. And to the Rahmer websites credit…it appeared that all 420 sprint car wins were valid. I came up with articles covering 417. Only three wins could not be verified in any creditable manner at the time and those three were purported to have occurred in Australia (one in each season during the ’95 ’96 and ’97 years). My research library consists of each week’s Area Auto Racing News. My Gater subscription didn’t kick in until much later. Area Auto didn’t have any coverage of these sprint car events and honestly, the Australia sprint car events occurred while AARN was on holiday break. I had hoped that their sprint car columnist, Bob Chorpenning, who usually did a bang-up job of sprint car coverage…offered little information about the goings on down there. What little he did mention was very sketchy at best. One tenet that myself (and others who do such win lists) have held firm to is that if a win cannot be verified by either an article covering the event…or at the very least…a mention by some creditable source…it can’t be added to the list. With this little rule we guide ourselves by…it prevents anyone from saying that our list is bogus. Anyone can point to any win on our lists and say “prove it” and we could. Now, if a win isn’t included on the lists, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened….just means that it couldn’t be verified. I had enough information provided to me that convinced me that the three wins did happen, but sans verification..I just couldn’t add them to the Rahmer win list. I made a note of this at the bottom of the list so that those looking over the list would be informed of those three and why they couldn’t be included in the actual run down of wins.
So – once the sprint car portion of his career was completed…I turned to the stock car portion of his career….the early years – 78 through 85 to be exact. By that time…my outside information was coming in, so I had other reference sources for fact checking.
The research into the early years of his career revealed that there was a discrepancy in the total that I was finding and those claimed (99) on Rahmer’s website. I had been in communications with the main characters in this deal…and it had been civil…though I sensed a little trepidation in their wording of their replies and such. It sent up a red flag in me. I had seen this type of reaction in the past and recognized it. I even went so far as to tell the main persons involved that should my requesting of any information to help me along in my compilation efforts become bothersome…to let me know and I would cease to contact them. I was never informed of being a bother. Not, that is..until I made it known that I found a discrepancy. I was told that there was information that would support the claim of 99 wins, but “I have no time to go dig it up now!”
Through my research…it appears that Fred Rahmer gathered stock car wins at five different tracks, those being Big Diamond, Grandview and Penn National. Indeed, they are the vast bulk of his stock car wins. However, Fred also copped two wins each at both the East Windsor Speedway and the Fulton Speedway. That’s it. And I actually had missed one of the Fulton wins. That win was rooted out when I was alerted to an observant fan who ended up with the win list in his possession. I offer out my lists for free to anyone who requests them for two reasons and this is one of them. The more fans that follow the particular driver who the lists cover..the more the possibility that one of them will remember a win that isn’t included. With the Rahmer list…I think this is the first time this has ever happened, but it proves that the theory and system works.
I came up with a total of 88 stock car wins – a difference of eleven from the Rahmer website. I always leave open the possibility that other wins exist out there and I welcome input on any information that may raise the total wins of any driver I or others have done lists for. And honestly, the search for more Rahmer wins goes on. I and Program Dynamic’s program producer and owner Steve Barrick have spent countless times on the phone trying in vain to think of anywhere where there may be other wins. Steve has a vast database of information covering winner’s lists of various tracks. We find nothing. The search will continue, but at this point…it’s a “cold case” to use detective vernacular. Pretty much time to put that list to bed…to submit it to history and let those who view it decide for themselves. I have had many race fans contact me and provide words of encouragement and pats on the back for the work that I provide to the sport. I do it because I care to try to document some history…so that facts aren’t lost over time….so that facts aren’t twisted and give a false reading as to what really happened. I have had many ask me to continue this kind of work. I plan on it. They tell me my work is sincerely appreciated and needed. Never in the sixteen or seventeen years that I have been doing this work, have I seen such a flagrant lack of appreciation for my work as I have with this latest effort from the individuals surrounding it and their particular fans. It’s their business to choose to validate it or not…I will press on with trying to preserve a little slice of our sports history.
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