CAREER FIRST: Reimert Takes Coalcracker plus Podium Quotes – DTD Exclusive

By Ken Bruce

Louden Reimert has slowly been establishing himself as a driver to watch on the NJ/PA modified circuit. The Oley, Pa., native finally broke the ice last year, posting wins at both of his weekly tracks, Big Diamond Speedway and New Egypt Speedway. This season, Reimert has once again visited victory lane at both tracks and posted a top-five finish in the season-ending point standings. 

In Sunday’s running of the Coalcracker 72, Reimert, driving the Doug Flurer No. 16, led all but one lap to take his first major modified win of his career. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work by Louden and his crew to get the young driver his first crown jewel.

“We have been working hard all year to get a win like this,” said a happy Reimert, who was still soaking in what had just happened. “It just means a lot that tonight all the pieces finally fell together, and we were able to come home with the win. I am more happy for my guys; they do their job every week, and some weeks I feel like I don’t hold up my end of the deal and am not good enough. So, I am just so happy that I got this win for them. The wins come a lot easier when you have guys behind you that want to win as badly as the driver does, and that’s definitely my crew.”

Starting from the pole, Reimert had the best seat in the house when the race started and immediately bolted to the lead. A lap 15 restart saw newly crowned Big Diamond track champion Brett Kressley use the outside lane to get around Reimert for the lead. However, Reimert was not to be denied, and on the next restart on lap 16, he used a bold inside move to get back by Kressley for the top spot and was never to be headed again.

“The top was tricky coming off of turn four on the restarts,” explained Reimert. “I was surprised that he (Kressley) started out there, actually. I just went into turn one as hard as I could and was able to slide him and get back to the lead. Once out front, I ran the top mid-race and was trying to get past a lapped car, and he was running the bottom, and I couldn’t get by him, so once I did get by him, I moved down to the inside and just rode it out to the end.”

Towards the end of the 72-lap race, second-place runner Ryan Godown was starting to gain on Reimert, but the young driver at that point was trying to conserve his car in case he needed it for a run to the checkered flag.

“The last 10 laps or so, I was just trying to save and conserve,” cited Reimert. “I wanted to keep my right rear tire from exploding and ending my race, but it all worked out. The strategy played a big part in this race, and the track did pretty much what we expected it to, which played in our favor, and I am just happy everything worked out.”

As much as Reimert was excited for himself and his crew, he had a hard time holding back the emotions when it came to talking about his dad, Shawn Reimert, and what winning this race meant to them as father and son.

“Winning this for my dad means the world to me,” said Reimert as he got choked up with the question. “My dad is my best friend; it has always been that way. We both work really hard at this, and we work very well together, and I think that’s the key to a lot of the good runs we’ve had lately. Without him, I probably wouldn’t be driving a racecar. Family is everything in this sport, and you see it all through the pits.”

Godown Returns to Big Diamond and Finishes Second: Ryan Godown is no stranger to Big Diamond Speedway; the 2016 track champion and three-time winner of the Coalcracker 72 has had much success at the Minersville, Pa., dirt oval. It has been a few years since Godown has called Big Diamond his Friday night home, but the Ringoes, N.J., driver makes it a point to try and get to Big Diamond a couple times a year.

This Sunday, Godown was back in search of the $15,000 Coalcracker payday. A strong second-place finish in his heat race put Godown into the redraw, where he drew the seventh starting spot. The Ringoes Rocket was strong from the drop of the green, moving up and eventually settling into the second spot, which is where he took the checkered flag. 

“Listen, the car was good all night,” said Godown, standing next to the team’s hauler after the race. “We took good notes the last time we were here. We were good in the heat, and that is so important here because, to have a good chance at winning, you have to get into the redraw. This track tends to change so much that you have to guess what way to go, and tonight we did a good job with that. We probably just tightened up the car, maybe 20%, too much.”

Godown, who races with Reimert weekly at New Egypt Speedway, had high praise for the young driver who beat him to the checkered flag.

“All in all, we are happy with the finish,” mentioned Godown. “Louden (Reimert) has been good here all year. I have watched the videos from here, and he really deserves it. Those guys work their tail off, they have a good program, and they are all nice guys. We talk to them all the time at New Egypt, and I take my hat off to them guys. I knew when he drew the pole that we were in trouble. Out of everybody to pick the pole, I was hoping he wouldn’t, but he was good, and I am happy that he was able to get the win.”

With the top going away toward the latter part of the race, Godown knew he was in trouble at that point as far as getting the win.

“Once we got to second, I was trying to keep the top clean in (turns) three and four, but I didn’t feel like I was getting any help out there,” explained Godown. “Then it started to get dirty up top, so I moved down, and once it started to take rubber, I knew we just had to wait for lapped traffic and hope Louden would make a mistake. The lapped cars were brutal tonight; they got the move-over flag and stayed where they were. After the leader gets by you, I don’t understand why you just don’t move over and get out of the way because, basically, your race is over at that point. But granted, if I’d gotten to Louden, with it being one lane at that point, I wasn’t going to be able to pass him at the end.”

After not running at Big Diamond regularly for the past few years, Godown and his R&M Motorsports team made a visit a few weeks ago to race in the Prelude to the Coalcracker, and even though the night didn’t go as planned, they did manage to get some good notes for when they returned for the Coalcracker.

“Running the Prelude (to the Coalcracker) race absolutely helped us with how we ran tonight,” cited Godown. “I can honestly tell you that without coming to the prelude and sucking that night, there was no way we would have finished second tonight. We were able to take those notes from that night and make the adjustments we needed, and that’s what this team is all about. We turned the whole program around by racing here that night, and it made us better. We bought a different car tonight, and it paid off for us.”

“I love racing here; I just don’t think the fans like me here,” joked Godown. “Hey, listen, when you are getting booed, that must mean we are doing good.”

Bad Draw Hinders Howard, Who Finishes Third: There is no doubt that Duane Howard and the Getz Motorsports No. 15G team had one of the fastest cars in Sunday’s Coalcracker 72. A bad draw saw Howard starting in 11th, and once the field got strung out during the mid portion of the race, Howard was a man on a mission, passing cars at a fast clip. With no yellows to bunch up the field and help Howard, he was able to drive up to the third spot, which is where he ended up after the 72-lap feature. 

“We were good tonight,” said a disappointed Howard after the race. “We might have had the best racecar on the track, but the pill draw sort of just made it very difficult for us tonight. But the car was super fast, and I was happy I could race to the front. The car was so fast through the middle of one and two, I could get it to rotate so good, but we just ran out of time.”

Hoping for a late race caution was Howard’s only hope, but the Oley, Pa., driver wasn’t so sure that would’ve been a good thing with what he was feeling on the car late.

“We had a little contact with a lapped car there at the end, and we had a tire going down,” explained Howard. “I was hoping for a yellow, but with the tire going down, that might not have been a good thing as the tire might have gone all the way flat under yellow.

“It’s a shame, we had such a good car, but starting spots are so crucial. I say it every time we go to a big race: that one guy will be happy at the end, and tonight that was Louden (Reimert). He picked good for the heat, good for the feature, and great for them; they work hard as well, but I would’ve liked our chances if we started further up. As a team, we did everything we could and just ran out of time and track.”

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