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Eckert, Strawser, Rahmer win at Speedway

October 11, 1998|By MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

Most race car drivers would agree with driver Gerry Strawser's statement that "starting position makes a big difference."

But at the Hagerstown Speedway on Sunday, that held true for only two of the three races in the Big Fall Classic.

The exception was the 35-lap late model feature when Rick Eckert earned his second victory of the season.

Eckert started sixth but quickly moved into third. During a caution after lap 4, Doug Burkholder, running in second, had to pit with a flat tire. Eckert shot by leader Andy Anderson on the restart and held on for the last laps.

Eckert's strongest challenge came from 1998 track champion Rodney Franklin, who was attempting to set a Speedway record with 16 wins in a season. Franklin could do no better than second, with Nathan Durboraw third, Anderson fourth and Larry Wright fifth.

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Strawser began on the inside pole and never was seriously threatened in the 30-lap super sportsman feature. The four yellow flags in the race were the only reasons that he did not run away with it.

The final caution came on lap 29 and made the race a one-lap shootout between Strawser and Tom Haxall, who had been running in second since the second lap.

Strawser had the fastest draw and outshot Haxall at the drop of the green flag for his first career victory.

"I don't know what to say," Strawser said in Victory Lane. "The guys did a good job with the car. All I had to do was drive it. This is one I won't forget."

The biggest losers were Rich Eichelberger and Ken Carberry, who were running in the top five the entire race until they hooked up and created that last caution, finishing far back in the field.

In the super sprint feature, Fred Rahmer also earned a flag-to-flag victory, his 33rd win of the year.

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