Shane Butler Wins Don Rhem Memorial at East Bay Raceway Park
Story by Chris Fozillo
Photos by Fozzy Photos and Mike Horne and Twisted Chassis Photography:
Don Rehm Memorial
As always, the Don Rehm Memorial race delivers on its promise of great racing with a solid filed of cars. And this year was no different with 21 entrants, mostly form Florida but from as far away as New Hampshire. On this evening a champion was crowned, there were multiple roll overs, and we witnessed some fantastic racing.
With only needing to start the feature to become champion it appeared a foregone conclusion that Tyler Clem would be this years champion. Clems crew brought him as solid piece as usual and they won their heat race, made the show, and secured Clems first sprint car championship.
Heat races were won by Tyler Clem, AJ Green and Brandon Grubaugh. Grubaugh checked out to almost a straight away lead for a dominant win.
The feature kicked off with the typical 4 wide salute to the fans that we all love so much. However this one is always a little different, and more special. Jennifer Butler, daughter of Don Rehm, led the field during the salute in her father’s last car. A beautifully restored sprint car, yellow with red accents. Jennifer wears Rehms old open face helmet while driving the car. This beautiful car at the head of the field of 4 wide cars is a sight to behold and a highlight of the evening as proven by the enormous smile on Jennifer’s face while in the car.
With the drop of the green flag, Shane Butler quickly and decisively went to the head of the pack with Justin Webster and AJ Green giving chase. Webster and Green eventually had contact taking both out of the race for the night.
The next caution was for a scary roll over when a car went over a competitor’s right rear. The car went airborne and flipped violently until slamming into the wall just past the exit gate in turn one. I have left the drivers name out as I am unaware of their injuries at this time. There are unconfirmed reports that the driver is ok with minor injuries. I hope this to be true.
Resumption of the race produced a good green flag run with Butler solidly in the lead and Brandon Grubaugh in a fierce battle for second with new champion Tyler Clem. The pair battled for many laps with the good, hard, clean racing you would expect from the veteran drivers. With Butler pulling away, the fight for second was the show.
The last caution was for a lazy roll over by Troy Thompson who was ok after crawling out of the car.
Shane Butler took off on the re start and never looked back, winning the memorial race for the second time. After a challenging year that did not garner a win until November, Butler finished the year with two big wins, showcasing his talent by getting one in the winged car on asphalt and on without the wing on dirt.
Tyler Clem won the battle for second with Brandon Grubaugh coming home third.
I did not know Don Rehm and have only met his wife on a few occasions. But I have to believe he would be proud of his daughters an wife for continuing to run the series and for the race in his honor that has become a must see race in the state.
Tyler Clem Video from Recoil Racing Video:
Race Video from Dirtdobber Video: