DILLSBURG, Pa. – Freddie Rahmer has finalized a deal to join Rich Eichelberger’s new 410 sprint car team beginning at the start of the 2022 season.
Having driven his family-owned No. 51 for much of his racing career, the Salfordville, Pa., native will shift his driving talents at the conclusion of this year to Eichelberger’s No. 8, a car that’s been around since the 1970s but never full-time at the 410 level.
Eichelberger, 71, has raced a number of open-wheel dirt cars in the last 50 years and still races super sportsman at BAPS Motor Speedway. He’s long wanted to take on the 410 ranks as a car owner and just needed the right personnel to make it happen.
Eichelberger’s relationship with the Rahmers is a longstanding one, but the idea didn’t start to materialize until a conversation with engine builder Don Ott.
Enjoying his semi-retired life and good fortune from running a prominent construction company since 1967, Eichelberger approached Ott in April wanting to elevate his sprint car program.
Ott suggested Eichelberger reach out to the Rahmers and everything fell into place from there. The groundwork of the deal was formed in June and once some sponsorship aligned, the deal was finalized last Sunday.
“Just really excited someone like Rich would give me the opportunity,” Rahmer said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “Just really excited for everything. He’s a really good guy. You surround yourself with good people, and I’m not worried about that one bit. I think we can really grow together and do a lot of good things together. I’m excited, really.”
“If you want to win and be successful, you surround yourself with the best people you can and you let them do their job,” Eichelberger said. “And that’s the way we’re going to approach this 410 racing. … Freddie Jr. was at the time of my list.
“We have a lot in common,” Eichelberger said of his relationship with the Rahmers. “We have a love for racing, a passion for it. We work hard at it. Even the way we got into it. We, [Fred Rahmer and I], both started from nothing. Nobody gave us anything. We didn’t have fathers that paid for everything. We’ve had to build it ourselves. Fred and Deb have raised their kids right. All of them.”
As far as schedule, Rahmer and Eichelberger plan to run for track championships at Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedways.
Rahmer is the reigning champion at both venues and is in position to win his fourth and fifth overall track titles in Central Pennsylvania as the second half of the year continues to unfold.
It’s an opportunity Rahmer couldn’t pass up. Although he adheres to a full-time job as a stainless steel fabricator at Jacob Schmidt & Son in Harleysville, Pa., joining Eichelberger’s new 410 team, which will be based in Dillsburg, Pa., creates opportunity for Rahmer.
Not only will Rahmer chase titles and the overall 410 title in Central Pennsylvania, but he can now be creative with his No. 51 family car and explore races in areas he wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Rahmer envisions a full slate in Central Pennsylvania in the Eichelberger No. 8 and 20-25 specialty shows in his own No. 51.
“I think it’s really going to work out well,” Rahmer said. “I think it’s perfect timing, too, for a lot of different reasons.”
Fred Rahmer, Freddie’s Hall of Fame father, will have a large hand in the operation that has ties to his illustrious racing career.
Eichelberger’s cars are painted candy apple red with metallic, gold numbering for a reason
“I loved [longtime car owner] Al Hamilton,” Eichelberger said. “It’s my little way of honoring him,” He did it right. If I can do anything like he did, it’ll be a good thing.”
Eichelberger says 60 to 70 percent of resources are already assembled. If he acquires everything needed before the end of the year, and if subsequent test sessions go well, it’s possible Eichelberger and Rahmer can run some races before their official launch next year.
“I’d like to get him comfortable in a Maxim Chassis because he’s running Triple X now, but here’s the deal about that: he’s in contention for some track championships,” Eichelberger said. “I want him to keep his head focused on his dad’s operation for now. … I do not want a distraction in this deal. I want him to win those championships.”
“He knows what to do,” Eichelberger said. “He’s a winner.”