ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — If someone said central Pennsylvania would have temperatures in the 70s in February, no one would believe it—but that's what happened last Thursday.
Lincoln Speedway added a race to the Ice Breaker because of the weather, and it was the correct choice.
The track was able to get two of the three races in to open up a brand new season; the weeknight races on Thursday and Sunday afternoon. Saturday's original opener was cancelled because of weather.
“I’ve never been to an Ice Breaker this warm, that’s for sure. It’s exciting," said Tyler Ross, driver No. 75 Rick Lefever Motorsports.
The excitement of the Ice Breaker weekend at Lincoln Speedway was heard from the parking lots to the pits.
“It feels like it's May tonight," said Freddie Rahmer, driver of the No. 8 Eichelberger Racing. "Usually the beginning shows of the year here are a little tricky. The ground is frozen."
Well, that wasn’t the case like previous years. The ground wasn’t anywhere near frozen with temps in the 70s, and adding the Thursday opener flipped the script on the traditional day show to a regular night race to kick off the season.
Teams unloaded and showed off those vibrant new wraps.
It didn’t matter who your favorite driver was, if they were racing on opening day or not, fans flocked to have a good time and kick off the 2023 racing season in the Pigeon Hills.
I was a packed house at Lincoln. You could easily say standing room only left before the feature.
Tyler Ross lead the field to green. Just three laps in, Freddie Rahmer pulled the slider to take the lead.
With only one caution, it was heavy lap traffic for the leaders. Danny Dietrich and Justin Peck tried to catch Rahmer.
At the halfway mark, Peck nearly took Dietrich’s nose off. He squeezed into second after starting eight.
As much as Peck tried, traffic was just too thick to catch Rahmer as he won back-to-back Ice Breaker openers.
“We were lucky to start up front and that’s a big part of it," said Rahmer. "I knew lap traffic was going to be key and we made a couple nice moves and it worked out that they cleared."
Saturday was cancelled because of the weather, but Sunday was another gorgeous February afternoon.
The Rahmers combined have won the last three of four Ice Breaker openers. Can Freddie sweep or can Brandon Rahmer win and make it a clean brotherly sweep?
Thursday had 26 teams. Sunday had a few more with 29 teams. Billy Dietrich won the B-Main. Right after, Fred Putney added some high quality H2O (water) to the track.
Brandon Rahmer picked the pole to lead the field to the green flag. Dylan Norris stole the lead coming out of turn two, but the caution came out just before the leaders crossed the line for Riley Emig and Chase Dietz. So, it was a complete restart for the rest of the field.
Before the midway point, Peck was on the hunt for Brandon Rahmer. He cut to the inside and took the lead away to lead lap 14.
Drivers were racing all the way up on the wall, nearly making tire marks on the paint. The caution came out with three laps left; something Peck didn’t want to see.
“I looked to the board to see who was there and depending on who it was, what they were going to do, I knew I had to go down and block another slider," said Justin Peck, driver No. 13 Buch Motorsports.
The field was nose to tail but quickly split to find the moisture—something that's up for discussion because in the Lincoln Speedway rule book, drivers have to stay nose to tail through the turns.
On the restart, Anthony Macri didn’t have a tight enough entrance to turn one. Brent Marks took full advantage. He snuck his nose in, then drove Macri up the track and nearly into the wall. Marks moved his sights to Peck.
On the final lap, Marks grabbed the wall, coming out of turn two. That gave Peck enough space to get the second place monkey off his back to pick up his first Ice Breaker and first win on the season.
“We were in contention to win a couple of these already, this year (In Florida and Thursday night at Lincoln). Finally picked it up," said Peck. "I say finally even through it’s still February. Anytime you can race for $6,000 to win in Pennsylvania, in February, it’s pretty awesome, so hats off to Lincoln Speedway. They gave us a good track the last two times we’ve been here. It’s kind of nice. Like I said, it’s February. We’re racing in February so to have a win already at this point. The goal was to have ten wins last year. We got nine so missed out on that but the goal is 15 wins this year. So, hopefully we’ll get that done."
Lincoln will race Saturday with 410s and modifieds as Port Royal is set to host their opener on Sunday.