By Ernie Saxton / October 26, 2023 / Column, Ernie Saxton

Freddie Rahmer of Salfordville earned the 2023 Williams Grove Speedway Lawrence Chevrolet 410 Sprint Car track title last Saturday night with his runs in the Champion Oil National Open and National Open Preliminary make-up race, both sanctioned by the World of Outlaws. 

The hard-fought track crown was the third of young Rahmer’s career at Williams Grove but a career first for car owner and veteran driver Rich Eichelberger of Dillsburg and his No. 8.

Rahmer took previous crowns aboard his father’s No. 51 sprinter in 2017 and in 2020.

Just like last season, Rahmer fought with Danny Dietrich for the title and laurels in a championship chase that again, just like last season, came down to the final races and laps of the year.

But where it was Dietrich coming out on top last year, it was 27-year-old Rahmer in the 2023 edition.

Rahmer competed in all 20 shows at Williams Grove during the year, ending the season with an average feature finish of 6.8.

To his credit were a pair of wins, on May 19 and June 2, along with a trio of runner-ups and third-place finishes plus two sixths, two sevenths, one eighth, one ninth, and two tenth-place finishes.

Team wrenches Matt Stover and Harold Lieb have been named recipients of the Davey Brown Sr. Mechanic of the Year Award.   

Freddie Rahmer now joins a list of other three-time track champions including Todd Shaffer, Lynn Paxton, Smokey Snellbaker, George Speck, and Tommy Hinnershitz.

The top five in the points following Rahmer and second place Dietrich were Devon Borden, TJ Stutts, and defending champion Lance Dewease. 

Special awards for the 2023 season within the 410 sprint ranks were also recently announced.

Earning Rookie of the Year honors was Cameron Smith, who ended up 10th in season points.

Justin Whittall earned the Sportsmanship Award. 

And Troy Wagaman Jr. was voted Most Improved Driver of the 2023 season by virtue of earning his first two Williams Grove wins ever after being named the pilot of the Mike Heffner No. 27 machine.

Wagaman ended the year seventh in the speedway point standings. 

Danny Dietrich did earn the 2023 Hoosier Diamond Series crown at Williams Grove Speedway aboard Gary Kauffman’s No. 48.

It is Dietrich’s first crown in the Williams Grove series that dates to 1999.

Keep up to date on all the latest speedway news and information by visiting the oval’s official website located at and by following the track on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The management of Big Diamond and Grandview Speedways have together reached a decision on the topic of the left side pan hard bar suspension for 358 Modified and 602 Sportsman race teams that compete weekly at both raceways.

The Rogers Family who promote and operate Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa. and Jake Smulley who promotes and operates Big Diamond Speedway in Forestville, Pa. have recently held conversations between the two Speedways regarding what has become a hot topic in local auto racing – the left side pan hard bar suspension that has become a common and popular set-up for Modified & Sportsman teams over the last couple of seasons.

Both Speedways have thoroughly discussed the topic and have decided to phase out the left-side suspension set-up, by allowing racers to use the left-side suspension for one more season in 2024 before all race teams must return to the previous standard right-side suspension set-up to begin the 2025 race season.

As was the case in the gradual switching of the Sportsman class from open motors to the GM 602 engines, the gradual phase-out is being done as a consideration to race teams that have already begun preparing their equipment for the upcoming 2024 racing season.

Grandview Speedway competition director Brad Missimer stated that “We wanted to be fair to all competitors about making a switch. We needed to give them some advance notice and time to prepare since a lot of race teams are already preparing for next season. We realize that this suspension set-up needs to go eventually.”

Bob Wilber's “The Lost Manuscript” Released Tuesday Has Already Reached Best-Seller Status Bob Wilber’s third book since his retirement from the sports PR and management world was officially released Tuesday by Palmetto Publishing.

During its presale period (prior to actual release) The Lost Manuscript rocketed up to the top levels of Amazon’s offerings, ranking as high as the top 1% of all books on sale at the retail giant, while absolutely dominating the “Motorsports” category, ranking No. 1 during its presale, earning a “Top Seller” badge on the platform.

 The book may be new to the market, but in terms of its full life as a written piece it is now 22 years old. In 2001, while working for Del Worsham and the Checker, Schuck’s, and Kragen Funny Car team as the organization's manager and PR rep, Wilber kept a complete daily diary throughout the season. At the end of the campaign, he printed out one single copy and within a few months he had misplaced it and lost track of it.

 22 years later, in May of 2023, Wilber and his wife stumbled onto the lone tattered copy while preparing for a garage sale. After five months of diligent editing and “cleaning” to bring it up to date in terms of software and operating systems, the book is now for sale and ready to ship. The title The Lost Manuscript is obviously fitting.

 “It was so long ago it’s hard to even remember doing it, much less losing it,” Wilber said from his home in Minnesota. “It’s not like I was fretting over losing it for all these years. I never really had a plan to do anything with it, so I just put it away and put it out of my mind. And then we found it hiding in plain sight in our utility room here at home. The second I saw it, I knew we had to get this out there.

 "NHRA fans are so dedicated. They have memories like steel traps, so I had an inkling they’d love this. The diary follows the CSK team day-to-day, throughout the year, in real-time as it all happened, both on the track and behind the scenes. So many details, which the average fan never knows about, are written about in this diary. It’s a time capsule, or a time machine, or whatever you want to call a total trip back to 2001 and how an underdog Nitro Funny Car team found its footing and took it to the next level. I’m thrilled with it, and the sales reaction during the presale period blew my mind completely. I never dreamt I’d ever sell anything I’ve written in such stunning numbers. I don’t write for the royalties. There aren’t enough of those for that to be your goal. I write for me, for the reward of it, and for anyone who might enjoy what I put together. If the reviews by readers are anything like the presale numbers, I’ll be one very proud author.”

 The Lost Manuscript is available now on Amazon:

 Wilber’s previous works include his autobiography Bats, Balls & Burnouts and his critically acclaimed How Far? a work of historical fiction in the sports realm. Both are also available on Amazon.

Ernie... I just finished your article about NASCAR Sponsorship declining and had to make a few comments.   First of all, around here sponsorships for almost all sports are less than they used to be, from Pro to High School to Junior sports.  NASCAR races, despite what some broadcasters claim on the air, are NOT "selling out" ...unless the tracks are selling fewer tickets than they have seats, on purpose.  Other sports seem to be involved in the same thing as few TV sports fill the stands as they did twenty years ago.  Local, "small-time" sports do better...sometimes. 

 When I was still doing race announcing and publicity, we all thought TV was stealing ticket buyers, and it probably was.  But you couldn't help but notice that speedways that ran tight, exciting "shows" were still being packed.  So TV wasn't the ONLY culprit.  Today, computers (and their various "offspring") ARE a problem for both local speedways and NASCAR, as well as sports of any other type.

Why would you travel for an hour (or a lot more), pay too much to park, pay even more for a ticket, to sit in open grandstands, often in heat, dust, and so on, pay too much for drinks, and snacks, and then struggle to get out of the stands after the "show" was over, get out of a jammed parking lot, and then drive all the way home, or to a costly motel, dirty and tired?   Especially when you could see it all on your TV or computer at home for "free" and in comfort? 

 Now, local speedways have the advantage of few having Live TV coverage, but they still have most of the other disadvantages.   On the other hand, today's young folks didn't "grow up" with cars, especially race cars.  (They are also not getting the decent education that our generations got in that they know no History, can't tell where they are going because of no Geography, can't count change at a store or fast food place, and use a random scribble as a signature (actually this is not a "legal" signature as it is not duplicated.)

 But let's get back to NASCAR.   I believe they are WAY "overloaded" in many ways:  The NASCAR season is far longer than it should be.  The races are far longer than they need to be.   (There is no need for "Endurance" races when everyone in the field can do the distance, after all, this is not 1970 anymore!)   And most of the speedways are WAY too big for people in the stands to see the whole race.  Are sponsors going to rush to NASCAR when they provide hours of cars just going around and around and around?

 I think Tony Stewart and the company are "onto something" with the SRX Series.  Run a series of good events, that don't cost gigantic prices for tickets, parking, snacks, and such.   And run it all in a realistic amount of time.  (After all, most successful racing promoters use variations of this formula.)   As an old saying from show business goes: "Send 'em home wanting more." 

 If folks start getting excited about something, the people with the big money always notice.  In other words, if you provide a good product, sooner or later business will want to try to get "a piece of the action!"  And for you, the cash register goes "Cha-Ching!"

 Terry "Stumpy" Stone

Thunder on the Hill Series promoter shared this with us.

The words iconic and legendary say it all when I reflect on the history of Glenn and Bonita Hyneman and the 126 Racing Team. 

I’m fortunate,  that my time in racing offered me the opportunity to watch all the years of the  126 movement.   As a race official in some capacity, and at different tracks in the area, I have personally seen the impact this team had on local racing.  Glenn and Bonita always pushed the envelope to be a better team always in the case of a win, and in turn, they elevated their competitors both on the track and in the pits.   It goes without saying, that they made race tracks, organizations, and officials step up their game as well.

I could recall many stories between Team 126 and myself over the years, but I will hold those thoughts for another day. 

Instead, we extend our sincere appreciation to this team for their support and commitment over the many, many years.  Local racing is better today thanks to the participation of Glenn and Bonita Hyneman, and I feel that I am better at what I do in racing thanks to Glenn.   It’s hard to imagine walking the pits on race night and not seeing the familiar #126 and the team actively preparing the car for action.   I’ll miss those off-the-record comments exchanged between Glenn and me as well as the joyous hugs from Bonita after a good run or a visit to victory lane.

Glenn, Bonita, and the 126 Team have been a staple at Thunder on the Hill.  They are the only car owners that have won both a modified and 410 sprint car Thunder on the Hill Title as well as feature wins in both classes. As car owners, Glenn and Bonita were Thunder on the Hill winners in more than thirty of the thirty-four-year run of Thunder on the Hill.   Again, we say thank you and this legacy will live on forever.

Since that first Thunder on the Hill event at Grandview Speedway in August of 1990, when Steve Smith took the inaugural win, one-hundred and fifty-two Thunder events were presented distributing in excess of 5.6 million dollars.

Looking to 2024, Tuesday night, June 11 the Jesse Hockett Classic will return with Thunder on the Hill once again hosting the opening event of the USAC Non-wing Sprint National Tour.    This popular double-header will find the NASCAR Modifieds sharing the program with race time set for 7:30 PM.

Always a popular event, Tuesday night, July 2 will host the Hodnett Cup, the $ 10,000-to-win Pennsylvania 410 Sprint Speed Week Series event as it returns to Grandview Speedway.    The NASCAR Modifieds will once again be on this race card.  Rico will be looking for the “hat trick” in 2024.

Although the date is not confirmed as yet, we did get the nod that the High Limit 410 Sprints will also be back on the Hill in 2024.    Rico Abreu won the first-ever High Limit Sprint event in the Northeast at Grandview on July 26 and in addition, won the 2022 Thunder on the Hill Speed Week event.

Also returning in 2024 is the Balls to the Wall 50 for Modifieds and the 602 Sportsman will also be on the program with both divisions taking part in the unique Invert Race format.   The date for this event will be confirmed shortly.

Check out our website and visit Facebook to stay up to date on all coming Thunder on the Hill Racing Series news.

We extend our appreciation to the many sponsors who helped present this popular series.    We salute our long-time Series Sponsor NAPA Auto Parts as well as Associate Sponsors Levan Machine & Truck Equipment, HVAC Distributors, Pioneer Pole Buildings, Rich Mar Florist and GT Radiator Repairs.   We’re looking to their return in 2024.

NASCAR driver-turned-politician Austin Theriault announced Monday that he is entering the Republican primary seeking an opportunity to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in what is expected to be one of the country’s most competitive 2024 House races.

Theriault, who made his announcement on radio shows, said he would “come in with fire” to confront issues like inflation, illegal border crossings and dying small towns. “Regular hardworking folks are getting held down by out-of-touch, out-of-state elites who are clueless about how hard it is to make a living in Maine,” he said.

The 29-year-old freshman state lawmaker from Fort Kent formally filed his paperwork Monday, joining mortgage broker Robert Cross, of Dedham and another first-term lawmaker, Michael Soboleski, of Phillips, in the primary contest.

Theriault would be a strong candidate to challenge Golden in what is expected to be one of the most competitive House races nationally, said Savannah Viar of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Theriault has had conversations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the chair of NRCC, but the committee doesn’t get involved in primaries.

Golden said he’s not worrying himself about the primary field.

“That primary is more than eight months away so I’m not very focused on the individual horse race other than to say I’ll face one of them eventually in the fall of 2024. Until then my focus remains on my family and on the work the people of Maine’s Second District elected me to do,” Golden said Monday in a statement.

The rural, sprawling 2nd Congressional District has become a hotly contested seat as the region has become a conservative bastion in liberal New England. Former President Donald Trump won the district in 2020, giving him an electoral vote in Maine.

Golden has won three times, twice defeating former GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin thanks to ranked voting. The voting system is designed to ensure the winner collects a majority of the vote by allowing additional voting rounds in which lower-ranked candidates are eliminated and votes are reallocated. It was upheld in federal court after Poliquin sued after his 2018 defeat.

Theriault isn’t the only race car driver to try his hand at politics in New England. Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott has for decades been a regular at the Thunder Road track, but his racing career didn’t reach the same heights as Theriault.

Theriault launched his career at the local speedway and worked his way to NASCAR’s top level before being injured in a crash at 2019 race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. He has since stepped back from driving, and he consults and mentors other drivers.

INDYCAR has announced a 17-race schedule for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, which will take the world’s most competitive motorsport series into several fan-favorite markets, including a much-anticipated return to the Milwaukee Mile.

The schedule is also highlighted by two Saturday night races, a new and unique made-for-TV exhibition in Southern California, a global entertainment destination as the new host city for the season finale, and 12 NBC broadcast network showcases bolstered by the rising popularity of live streaming on Peacock.

Milwaukee Mile lands on the INDYCAR SERIES schedule for the first time since 2015. With the return set for Labor Day weekend, the iconic facility began hosting INDYCAR SERIES racing in 1939 and has featured wins by legendary drivers such as Rodger Ward (seven), Michael Andretti (five), Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva, Paul Tracy, Al Unser and Bobby Unser (four each).

The fabled 1-mile oval in West Allis, Wisconsin, also will showcase the NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing with a doubleheader weekend for the first time in the track’s history, providing two crucial races during the homestretch of the 2024 championship.

“There is such a great tradition and history of INDYCAR racing at the Milwaukee Mile, and we are excited to build on that legacy with a Labor Day weekend NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader beginning in 2024,” said Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corporation. “We appreciate all the loyal and passionate INDYCAR fans in Milwaukee and across the state of Wisconsin, and thanks to our partnership with the Wisconsin State Fair Park, we can’t wait to return to the Mile next season.”

The 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens Sunday, March 10 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the 20th Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. North America’s premier open-wheel series will crisscross the United States, including a stop for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26, before all roads lead to Nashville for an unforgettable championship finale Sunday, Sept. 15 down the heart of the city’s entertainment district and honky tonk row, where the 2024 champion will be crowned for the first time.

“The upward trajectory of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is reflected through the 2024 schedule,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “With stops at the premier and global entertainment districts, classic American road courses, and thrilling, high-speed ovals, the 2024 season will be exhilarating and highly competitive from beginning to end.

“The growth of INDYCAR is palpable. Combined with the efforts of our teams and partners, the 2024 championship will be the perfect showcase for our drivers as we continue to build on our reach and popularity.”

For the sixth consecutive season, NBC Sports will be the exclusive home for INDYCAR coverage in the United States. NBC will provide network coverage 12 times during the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. It is the first time in 20 years the INDYCAR SERIES schedule has featured three consecutive years of double-digit events on network television.

Peacock remains the streaming home of INDYCAR. In a first for the streaming destination, Peacock will be the exclusive home of two races in a season – Toronto for the third year in a row and Milwaukee (Race 1) for the first time. In addition to the exclusive races, Peacock will once again simulate all races airing on TV and will be the home to all practices, qualifying, and INDY NXT by Firestone races.

The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season proved to be NBC Sports’ most-watched INDYCAR SERIES season on record, averaging a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.32 million viewers. It also marked the third consecutive year of viewership growth across NBC Sports platforms, including a record audience streaming the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Peacock.

The Road to Indianapolis

Two street circuits and two road courses will entertain NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans and set the stage for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. After the 2024 season opens Sunday, March 10 for the 14th time on the sun-splashed Streets of St. Petersburg, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to The Thermal Club for the first $1 Million Challenge Sunday, March 24.

Serving as an Open Test and a non-points NBC showcase, the event will take place at the world-class facility located just outside of Palm Springs, California – a short drive from Los Angeles and the world’s top entertainment market. The $1 Million Challenge weekend format will include a qualifying session and two heat races. With members of The Thermal Club embedded with race teams and drivers, the top six finishers from the two heat races will advance to a showcase of stars, where they’ll compete for a $1 million prize.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule resumes Sunday, April 21 on the palm tree-lined Streets of Long Beach, with a telecast on USA Network. It will be the 40th time the INDYCAR SERIES has raced on the iconic Southern California streets, in the shadows of Hollywood.

The series’ next five events will be featured on NBC broadcast television and Peacock.

Barber Motorsports Park will host the INDYCAR SERIES for the 14th time, with the Sunday, April 28 race marking the final NTT INDYCAR SERIES event before moving into the traditional Month of May calendar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. May at IMS begins with a race on the road course Saturday, May 11 before attention shifts to the famed 2.5-mile oval for two days of qualifying Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19 building toward the 108th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the world’s largest single-day sporting event – on Sunday, May 26.

Ticket sales for the “500” are at a pace exceeding 2023, when well over 300,000 attended the largest single-day sporting event in the world. It was the second-largest Indy 500 crowd in more than two decades.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will feature an adrenaline-filled stretch of action on five consecutive weekends leading into the months of June and July. It begins with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Sunday, June 2 on USA Network, with racing on the 1.7-mile downtown street circuit for the second straight year. The new layout on the city’s vibrant and challenging streets featured as much passing as any street circuit in 2023.

The intense competition continues a week later on NBC and Peacock at historic Road America on Sunday, June 9. The newly repaved, picturesque circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, witnessed the most on-track passing for an INDYCAR SERIES race at the facility in 2023.

The 2024 season continues on Sunday, June 23 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on USA Network. Known for its iconic and breathtaking Corkscrew turn complex, the Northern California facility will host an INDYCAR SERIES race in June for the first time in 21 years.

The summer heat is turned up in July with four races in three weeks – beginning with three consecutive broadcast showcases on NBC and Peacock.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will continue the country’s Fourth of July celebration by hosting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, July 7 on NBC. Mid-Ohio matches Long Beach as it hosts INDYCAR SERIES racing for the 40th year in 2024.

The annual Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, again on NBC. The 2024 edition will include the return of a Saturday night race to the jam-packed weekend. With support from Hy-Vee, the weekend combines exhilarating, wheel-to-wheel action with world-class music at the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”

The final race before the Summer Olympics break takes the NTT INDYCAR SERIES back to the Streets of Toronto on Sunday, July 21. Peacock again will provide exclusive coverage of the fan-favorite event as the INDYCAR SERIES races around Exhibition Place and Princes’ Gates for the 38th time in Canada’s largest city.

The 2024 season finishes with a flurry as it features five races – including three on ovals – in five weeks. Beginning on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES homestretch races out of the gates Saturday night, Aug. 17 on USA Network. The expected start time will take the brash and bold INDYCAR SERIES stars under the lights on the 1.25-mile track.

A week later on USA Network, INDYCAR returns to the West Coast and races Sunday, Aug. 25 at Portland International Raceway for the 30th time. In 2023, races at both WWT Raceway and PIR featured the most on-track passes on record at those facilities.

The new Labor Day weekend doubleheader at the Milwaukee Mile will air on Peacock on Saturday Aug. 31 and USA Network on Sunday, Sept. 1 before the spotlight shifts to the Streets of Nashville for the season finale Sunday, Sept. 15 on NBC and Peacock.

The new 2.17-mile, seven-turn circuit in Nashville still incorporates the iconic Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge but adds views of the Country Music Hall of Fame and world-famous honky tonk row. For the first time, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be crowned and celebrated as part of the marquee Big Machine Music City Grand Prix weekend, which will include a massive Broadway street party that only Nashville can throw.

As previously announced, the 2024 season awards ceremony will also take place in the Music City, on Monday, Sept. 16 at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

“2023 was a record-breaking season for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “For the first time, 27 starters competed at each event, and on-track passing records were broken at six racetracks. INDYCAR remains the most diverse and competitive championship in motorsports. We cannot wait to see how the 2024 season plays out beginning on the Streets of St. Pete.”

The INDYCAR Radio Network again will provide audio coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES sessions via SiriusXM Channel 160 and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

Start times for the 2024 events will be announced at a later date.

Motorsports publisher Coastal 181 is proud to announce the release of “The Prommer Offy: A History of an Iconic Sprint Car,” by Alan F. Gross.

Fifteen years ago, Alan Gross had a hunch that the battle-worn and unidentified Sprint Car he bought at an online auction was something special, and he was right.

The mid-1950s to the dawn of the ’70s will forever be known for the ferociously competitive open-wheel racing on dirt half-mile ovals across the country, featuring beautifully stylized Sprint Cars, the country’s finest wheelmen at the helm. Dressed in t-shirts, with cardboard often taped to their arms and shoulders to ward off flying dirt and rocks, drivers would attempt to outbrave each other in what was likely one of racing’s most dramatic eras—and certainly the most lethal, with steeds built for speed not safety. Was this car one of those?

His purchase brought no known provenance or any records, but the original Hiram Hillegass chassis and body panels were intact. Noting its unusual oval-shaped tubing, Gross wondered if this could possibly be one of four famous Hillegass builds still unaccounted for, and he set out to solve the mystery: determine which car he now owned, restore it to its original condition, and document its history in a book. Through painstaking research, he established that he was the famous Pfrommer Offy, made legendary by Tommy Hinnershitz, who swept the 1959 USAC title with it.

The book details, year by year, the continuous and violent racing the machine endured between 1954 and 1972—it seems miraculous that anything was left of the car. For a series of car owners, fully 30 drivers ran it, 15 of whom were Indy veterans, eight inductees into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Along with Hinnershitz, other notables included Don Branson, Jud Larson, Ron Lux, Mike Nazaruk, Dick Rathmann, and Bob Tattersall.

Finishing up a meticulous restoration this year, Gross returned the car to its original robin’s egg blue and red livery, proudly wearing #1 denoting the 1959 championship.

The book, 150 pages with color and black and white photography throughout, is available for $34.95 plus $7 shipping online at or by calling toll-free 877-907-8181. The website is updated daily with over 1,500 other motorsports books and DVDs, as well as thousands of photos and racing commentary.