MYERSTOWN, Pa. – Building 24 at The Works in Wyomissing, Pa., was the site of Saturday night’s Speedway Entertainment Awards Gala, as 2013 National Champions Freddie Rahmer Jr. (Sunoco USAC SpeedSTR’s), Brett Bieber (All Star Slingshots), and Jared LaBagh (Junior Slingshots) were honored by Rich Tobias, his staff and a crowd of 205 attendees.
Rahmer Jr., the son of the recently retired 410 Sprint Car star Fred Rahmer, captured the Insinger Race Fuel/Sunoco USAC National SpeedSTR title on the strength of a single tour victory – on Aug. 14 at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztown, Pa. – and consistency. The teenager from Salfordville, Pa. never finished lower than fifth in last season’s National Tour events.
Rahmer Jr. becomes the second straight teenager to hold the National title, following Canadian sensation Maxime Plante, who notched the 2012 crown and finished runner-up to Freddie in 2013 National Tour points.
“My dad gives me as much advice as he can, but a lot of it is just the feel of the car and me adapting to the track as quickly as I can,” said Freddie Jr. as he explained his ability to learn the nuances of each speedway that made up the National SpeedSTR circuit.
Rahmer Jr. earned more than $12,000 in SpeedSTR prize money last season, and he was also recognized for winning the American Region Championship, in addition to his National title, during Saturday’s banquet.
Plante out-pointed Billy Pauch Jr. for second place in the National standings, with dirt Modified veterans Kenny Brightbill and Jeff Strunk completing the top five.
Billy Pauch Jr., who didn’t even have a steady SpeedSTR ride at the start of the campaign, received the Driver of the Year Award at the banquet. The Frenchtown, N.J., throttle-jockey won more than $20,000 in SpeedSTR prize money throughout the season, almost captured the point title at the Action Track USA, and swept the Fall Jamboree weekend in November at Path Valley.
The Oley Jet, Brett Bieber, became the first driver to record more than one National All Star Slingshot Championship when he won his second consecutive title in 2012. To further enforce his stature as one of the best to ever buckle into a Slinger, Bieber ran his championship streak to three in a row in the ’13 season.
The young accountant utilized a pair of National Tour victories, including the first Lebanon Valley 100 at Linda’s Speedway in September, to register his third straight National title. Bieber was also honored as the 2013 All Star Slingshot Driver of the Year at Saturday’s Awards Gala.
“That 100-lap win at Linda’s really put us in good position to win it again, but we still couldn’t fall out of the two races at Path Valley during the Fall Jamboree,” noted Bieber as he accepted his hardware and point money at the banquet. “While the wins were important, it’s really the preparation and garage time that are keys to winning these National Championships. When Louden put the heat on us at Path Valley, we knew we had to finish that final race to lock up the title.”
Bieber was referring to another wheelman from the Oley Valley in Pennsylvania’s Berks County, third generation racer Louden Reimert. The middle school student scored three triumphs on the National Slingshot Tour, including the Spring Spectacular at Shellhammer’s Speedway and a sweep of Path Valley’s Fall Jamboree events. Reimert’s incredible season not only saw him finish a close second in National points, but also earn the All Star Slingshot Rookie of the Year honors.
Alex Schoffstall, Cody Kline, and Mark Sensenig finished in positions three, four, and five in National Slinger points.
Middletown, N.Y., resident Jared LaBagh was crowned as the Junior Slingshot National Champion after a four-win season on the Junior National Tour. LaBagh also captured the All Star Slinger Championship at the Accord Speedway.
Dylan Hoch, Damon Paul, Dakota Kohler, and Kassidy Kreitz rounded out the top five in Junior National points.
Paul, from Stony Point, N.Y., was named Junior Slingshot Rookie of the Year while LaBagh was saluted as the Junior Slingshot Driver of the Year.
Speedway Entertainment paid out $15, 680 in point money to its touring divisions at Saturday’s banquet.