Big Wins for Bittenbender & LaBagh At Reading Fair's Nostalgia Nationals

Date: 8/7/2013 6:53:00 PM



The Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society (RFRHS)

Presenting Auto Racing Events at the Reading Fair in Bern Township, PA


Media Contact:

Barry Angstadt

610-781-0408 or email:


Big Wins for Bittenbender & LaBagh At Reading Fair's Nostalgia Nationals




Bern Township, PA -  Carl Bittenbender entered the 2013 racing season as a driver with a race-ready Slingshot machine, but no race track on which to compete.

  He'd been a weekly racer at the Dunn Hill 2 Speedway, where the management suddenly and unexpectedly shut down its operation just as the new campaign was about to begin.

  Bittenbender has been picking and choosing select events for the Slingshots this season, and made up for the disappointment of losing his home track, at least somewhat, by turning the Reading Fair's Nostalgia Nationals into his own personal playground on Monday, August 5.

  The driver from Ransom, Pa. finished first and third in his two qualifying heat races, then won the Cash Dash. And then he topped off his evening's work by dusting off some of the best All Star Slingshot talent in the northeast, romping to victory in the 40-lap Nostalgia Nationals presented by the Chester Perfetto Insurance Agency of Wyomissing.

  Due to his impressive finishes in the dual heat race format, Bittenbender earned the right to start on the pole of the A-Main in the Ninth Annual Nostalgia Nationals promoted by the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society (RFRHS). He led every lap, deftly navigating his way under and around some heavy lapped traffic during long stretches of green flag action.

  Alex Shoffstall and Matt Massone swapped the runner-up position a couple of times, with Llewelyn's Shoffstall eventually securing the spot for good with seven circuits remaining.

  Only four yellow flags slowed the pace of the event that awarded points toward the Slingshots' Speedweek Series, along with their National, Mid-Atlantic Gold, and Mid-Atlantic Silver Regional Tours.

  The first caution appeared on the opening lap, forcing a complete restart. Yellow flag number two flew with six laps scored, and the third caution period occurred with 22 revolutions complete. The fourth and final yellow waved on the restart; the race then ran the remaining 18 laps to its conclusion.

  With Bittenbender cruising out front and Shoffstall dueling with Massone for second, some entertaining and intense competition also took place from sixth through eleventh positions for much of the 40-lap affair.

  Simon Egan picked his way to sixth at the end after carefully and patiently holding off Cody Kline, then working past Brett Bieber and Danny Buccafusca in the final ten circuits.

  At the same time, Mark Sensenig and Kyle Rohner were slugging it out for the tenth spot, with Sensenig finally winning that battle.

  Bittenbender smoothly guided his Anthracite Auto No. 51 to the lucrative victory, crossing the stripe by a healthy margin of 2.382-seconds over Shoffstall. Massone, Steve Yankowski (running as a teammate to Bittenbender), and John Bockhorn completed the top five.

  Egan, Buccafusca, B. Bieber, Kline, and Sensenig finished sixth through tenth.

  The biggest movers of the race were Chris Kurtz, who got into the A-Main as a provisional, and Kyle Rohner. Kurtz, from Stroudsburg, sliced his way from 26th on the starting grid to a 16th-place finish.

  Rohner gained nine positions, finishing 11th after taking the initial green in 20th.

  Middletown, NY driver Jared LaBagh captured the National Tour race for the Junior Slingshots.

  LaBagh snatched the lead away from Fleetwood's Dylan Swinehart as the pair headed for the white flag, after Swinehart lost some momentum while dealing with lapped traffic. LaBagh seized the opportunity to blast around Swinehart on the high side as they accelerated off turn four. Driving his Poor Man's Pond No. 38 flawlessly over the final lap, LaBagh claimed the victory with Swinehart settling for second.

  Ryan Quackenbush, Kassidy Kreitz, and Dakota Kohler made up the top five when the race ended.

  Both LaBagh and Swinehart were dueling for runner-up honors for much of the race, as 2012 winner Dylan Hoch looked as though he would easily repeat his Junior Slingshot victory of one year ago at the Reading Fair.

  The Mertztown pilot grabbed the top spot on the second trip around the oval, then dashed out to a commanding lead over his pursuers. Unfortunately for Hoch, an encounter with an infield marker left him with a flat tire, forcing the young charger to slow suddenly and pull off the track with only three laps to go.

Nostalgia Nationals Notes...

  Good, solid fields in both the All Star (36) and Junior (14) Slingshot divisions on Monday.

  Heart break for both Ryan Raidline and Joe Nemeth, who planted themselves in qualifying positions during the All Star B-Main, only to suffer mechanical issues that knocked them out before the checkered flag.

  Winning heat races for the All Star Slingers (four heats in each round of qualifying) were Steve Yankowski, Danny Buccafusca, Greg Zellman, Carl Bittenbender, Kurt Bettler, Mark Sensenig, John Bockhorn, and Joe Howey.

  Louden Reimert won the C-Main and Joe Bodenschatz copped the B-Main victory.

  Junior Slingshot heat race triumphs went to Dylan Hoch, Damon Paul, Dillon Steuer, and Dylan Swinehart (two heats in each round of qualifying for the Juniors).

  Many sponsors make the racing events possible at the Reading Fair, including the Chester Perfetto Agency, Inc., Kutztown Auto Company, Heeby's Surplus, Ed Pados Jr. and Steve Pados, A.R.M. Automotive, Bill's Speed & Sport Collectibles, Bimbo Bakeries, Blue Rock Campground, Bob Miller & Thunder On The Hill, Braucher Farms, Christina's Family Restaurant, Christman's Meat Market, Cornerstone Auto, Elks Lodge 115 of BPOE, Heffner Printing, Houston's Radiator & Automotive Repair, Joe's Garage, Mammana's Automotive, Martocci Automotive, Mary Adam, Mibest Collectibles, Mogel Fire Protection, Mt. Pleasant Fire Company, Murante Auto Repair, R&F International Muffler & Brake, Ralph's Radiator & Auto, Randy's Engine Repair, Reagle Dodge, Rockland Signs, S&S Speedway, Steve Griffith, Swavely's Lawn & Turf Care, Inc., Tony's Auto Repair, V&M Towing, Vogel's Graphics, Weaver's Auto Body Shop, Weidner Creative Services, Winner's Circle Awards, and George Lewis.

  Adding manpower and/or equipment and supplies to the speedway were M.J. Electric, Morgan Rail, Mike Grim's Truck Wreck Specialists, Shellhammer's Speedway, and the Reading Fair Board of Directors.

  The Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society wishes to thank all of their sponsors; without their efforts, the Nostalgia Nationals and other racing events at the Reading Fair would not be possible.

Reading Fair Race Results:

Nostalgia Nationals for All Star Slingshots, 40 laps: 1.Carl Bittenbender, 2.Alex Shoffstall, 3.Matt Massone, 4.Steve Yankowski, 5.John Bockhorn, 6.Simon Egan, 7.Danny Buccafusca, 8.Brett Bieber, 9.Cody Kline, 10.Mark Sensenig, 11.Kyle Rohner, 12.Kurt Bettler, 13.Greg Zellman, 14.Travis Bieber, 15.Joe Howey, 16.Chris Kurtz, 17.Mike McLaughlin, 18.Henry Anderson Jr., 19.BJ Antonio, 20.Louden Reimert, 21.Shannon Smith, 22.Rick Conrad, 23.Kyle Gruber, 24.Matt Mertz, 25.Joe Bodenschatz, 26.Larry Raifsnider.

DNQ: Joe Nemeth, Ryan Raidline, David Kreis, Demetrios Drellos, Don Schmidt, Simon Whitnell, Matt Miller, Dalton Maynard, Dakota Barlet, Dillon Emmons.

Junior Slingshot National Tour Race, 20 laps: 1.Jared LaBagh, 2.Dylan Swinehart, 3.Ryan Quackenbush, 4.Kassidy Kreitz, 5.Dakota Kohler, 6.Amber Britto, 7.Bobby Flood, 8.Daniel Morgiewicz, 9.Alex Yankowski, 10.Damon Paul, 11.Andrew Kreis, 12.Aaron Danks, 13.Dillon Steuer, 14.Dylan Hoch.

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