PORT ROYAL, Pa. — After finishing ninth in the super late model feature at Port Royal last weekend, while Andrew Yoder and his family were on their way home the unthinkable happened.
“We’ve been doing it for 10 years, doing the late model thing and you never think anything like this would happen," said Andrew Yoder after his trailer went up in flames on their way home from the Speed Palace.
The family didn’t see any smoke while driving down the road, but someone else did. Thanks to the quick reaction of somebody going the opposite direction and noticing smoke coming from their trailer, Yoder was able to be flagged down after the driver called ahead to another person.
Yoder expressed, “As soon as we heard fire, we all kind of jumped out. My wife grabbed the kid, and we saw they got out. My dad and I ran back to the trailer to see what was going on and saw smoke. We decided to open the doors to see what was going on and realized it was kind of too far gone. So, we decided to jump in, pop the straps and try to get it yanked out."
With the fire growing, Yoder and his dad not only got the car out but tried to move away from surrounding homes.
“By the driver doing that, he potentially saved a trailer fire from turning into a structure fire. That was one thing the driver did that was beneficial, or it could have been a totally different story," said Jocab Wagner, the Chief of Fremont Fire Department.
It would've been a different story if they were never flagged down. The trailer was a total loss, including everything that was inside, from tools, a four-wheeler, merchandise and racing safety gear.
“I think we got the car out just in time, where we got, what little flames were on the car, out, before it started to melt the fuel lines that come up to the carburetor. None of them are marked, none of them are melted," said Yoder.
Within hours, word spread through the racing community. A GoFundMe started, and people stopped by the shop with food, donations and even a trailer with all of the tools they lost, so that the team was able to get back on their feet.
“I’m grateful for it. It’s an even cooler thing that it’s most of the people that I race against," said Yoder.
And exactly a week after the fire, Yoder Nation was back at the Speed Palace; the team never thought it was going to be possible when the fire happened a week ago.
But, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of competitors, fans and friends supporting the team during a difficult time. With battle scars on the car; burn marks on the roof decals, the team has a solid top-ten finish on Saturday night.
Port Royal Results
The "dare devil" swapped leads with the legend Lance Dewease multiple times in the final ten laps.
Coming to two sticks in the air, Devon Borden got a crazy run on the high side to get past Dewease for the feature win.
In the super later model feature, Gregg Satterlee wired the field for the non-stop feature win and Logan Spahr won the 305 feature.
In the Pigeon Hills, it's been a long time coming for Kyle Moody. He snapped a three-year drought finding victory lane at Lincoln for the first time since 2019. He moved from eighth to the win.
Right after that, Cody Hartlaub picked up the 358 feature.
Williams Grove Opener 5.0
Finally, on Friday night, Williams Grove was able to open the season, and what a show it was.
First, TJ Stutts set a new track record to kick off the new season. In the feature, it was a three-car battle for the lead. All-Star driver Zeb Wise from third to steal the lead from Anthony Macri.
They swapped sliders until Wise stole the lead on the final lap for his first career Grove win and wasn't ever supposed to be in town this week, but the All-Stars Spring Nationals at Attica.
It was another first in the 358 feature, Cody Fletcher parked the Fletcher Farms car in the Grove's victory lane for the first time in his career.
It's been a few decades since that car has been in victory lane at the paperclip.