Night number two of the Icebreaker 2008: The Sunshine Showdown at North Florida Speedway had some of the greatest sprint car drivers in the country battling for $5000 on the fast 4/10 mile in Lake City, FL. There were 31 winged 410 sprint cars putting on a show for the North Florida crowd - most of whom had never experienced these 800+ horsepower war machines.
Heat race action was packed with excitement with wins going to Bob Felmlee, Paul McMahan, Ryan Myers, and Dustin Morgan. The top five finishers of each heat receive points toward the season championship, making each position critical when the checkered flag falls. Danny Smith won the O’Reilly Dash as there was plenty of bumping and banging going on through the pack. In 2008, the O’Reilly Dash points will count toward the season points totals. With 2007’s championship coming down to a two point margin on the final night of the season, every point is critical throughout the year.
The redraw for the top six spots, the new fan involvement portion of the program, put the PA Posse in great position to strike sending Lucas Wolfe to the pole position with Fast Freddie Rahmer to his outside. Randy Hannagan would start from the inside of the second row with Lance Dewease to his outside. The 2007 All Star champion, Greg Wilson, would line up inside of row three next to 2007 All Star runner up, Danny Smith.
Brock Mayes won the B-main event over Brian Paulus, tony Bruce Jr., and Casey Shuman who snuck in by virtue of a spinning Geoff Dodge who had the final transfer spot all but locked up.
After a short break to work the track to break up the rubber seal put down during the heats and B-main, the drivers were anxious to get strapped in and on the hammer to put the cap on the two night event. The North Florida Speedway track crew did a fantastic job getting the track back in shape so the fans would see the great side by side action that the All Stars are famous for.
Fast Freddie Rahmer took the initial green flag and showed the fans why he is the King of the PA Posse by holding off fellow Central PA star Lucas Wolfe for 30 laps. Wolfe made several challenges when Rahmer hit lapped traffic, but the veteran showed the kid the faster way around the speedway dodging in and out of back markers. The Posse tri-fecta was completed by Lance Dewease chasing down the leaders.
Danny Smith rode Deweases’ rear bumper as an early caution flew for Casey Shuman. On the restart, Wolfe got under Rahmer and spent the next several laps trying to get to the front, but Rahmer pulled away. Into heavy traffic for the remainder of the race, Rahmer was followed by Wolfe, Dewease, Smith, and Brandon Martin who got by Randy Hannagan in the late stages of the 30 lapper.
Wolfe made one last charge with 5 laps to go, but Rahmer had too much under his right foot and pulled ahead of the field, leaving the battles for position to the middle of the pack. The top three spots were dominated by Posse regulars, while the next three were held by All Star contenders. Round #2 of the Sunshine Showdown goes to Central PA, though it should be noted that Rahmer is also an All Star member who will compete in many of the events in 2008 as he has in past years and Dewease will compete full time on the All Star tour in 2008.
The Comp Cams Hard Charger award went to the previous night's winner, Sam Haefertepe Jr. for his run from mid-pack to nearly cracking the Top 10.
The All Stars move on to Volusia Speedway on Tuesday Feb. 5th, Wednesday Feb. 6th, and Thursday Feb. 7th. The series officials and drivers thank the staff at North Florida Speedway for their hospitality and also the fans for braving the cool weather to join us in kicking off the 2008 racing season.
SATURDAY: North Florida Speedway (2-2-08) All Star Circuit of Champions