Bitner Bests Field in Series Return to New Egypt

Bitner Bests Field in Series Return to New Egypt

Nick Fillman USAC ECSC

New Egypt, NJ, August 8th, 2020.

“Mr. Twister” Mark Bitner of Trenton, New Jersey was able to hold off a hard charging Christopher Allen in the late stages of the Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series return to the New Egypt Speedway for his second career victory.

Bitner is no stranger to the New Egypt Speedway as he has accumulated a number of victories at the New Jersey speedway in a variety of different cars. From modifieds, to 305 sprint cars, 360 winged sprint cars, and now the USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, Bitner has been able to grace victory lane on numerous occasions.

The evening for Mark Bitner started off with pulling the number 15 pill. Bitner’s car number being number 15, it was a sign of things to come. Bitner would start on the pole of his heat race event and go on to grab the victory over Christopher Allen. By virtue of his finishing position Bitner would be in the redraw, where he pulled the number one pill.

The start of the feature event featured Mark Bitner on the pole with Kyle Lick in the second spot making his first start of the 2020 season. The green flag flew with Bitner jumping out to the early race lead, until JR Berry spun in turns three and four.

On the complete restart, Bitner again was able to maintain the race lead with Lick moving into second, and an absolute hornets nest behind the front two cars. Steven Drevicki, and Christopher Allen found the high side of the speedway immediately and began to make their bid for the top three positions. For a number of early laps, Kyle Lick, Christopher Allen, and Ryan Watt would run three wide for the runner up spot, with Billy Pauch Jr making it an occasional four car battle.

By lap five, Bitner held a steady lead with Kyle Lick in second, and Christopher Allen virtually glued to the back bumper of the Lick entry. With an intermission track prep featuring lots of water being applied to the surface, the speedway was lightning quick. Bitner would begin to encounter lapped traffic around lap eight, at the same time, Christopher Allen would work his way around the number eight car of Kyle Lick and try to reel in the leader.

As the field battled on, Christopher Allen slowly, but surely caught Mark Bitner in traffic, and was in the same corner as the leader Bitner by the half way point. On Lap 18, Bitner and Allen were nose to tail for the race lead with Allen, railing the high side of the speedway trying to make a move around Mark Bitner.

Allen would end up being side by side with Mark Bitner a number of occasions between laps 18-23 as the duo battled through the back half of the field, until a caution flew on lap 23 for a stopped David Swanson.

The ensuing Green, White, Checkered restart saw Bitner hold his composure despite the best efforts of Allen on the high and low side of the speedway in his attempts to pass Bitner for the win and steal the victory. But in the end, Mark Bitner held strong and collected his second career USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series victory.

Christopher Allen ended up in the runner up spot for the second straight event. Allen continues to be a model of consistency on the series trail in 2020, and the teams first win of the season will come any week. Allen continues to chip away at the points lead of defending series champion Steven Drevicki, in what is shaping up to be a spectacular battle for the title in 2020.

Ryan Watt collected the feature win last time out when the series was in action at the Georgetown Speedway on July 24th. Watt parked the Tim Hogue 39 car in victory lane in his first ever non-winged sprint car start. Watt made his second start on Saturday night and again looked like a seasoned veteran. Watt made gains on the lead duo of Mark Bitner and Christopher Allen in lapped traffic before the caution flag flew on lap 23. Look for 2015 USAC National Series Champion, Robert Ballou to be behind the controls of the Hogue 39 this Sunday at the Selinsgrove Speedway.

Frenchtown, New Jersey’s Billy Pauch Jr made his debut behind the wheel of the Gallagher 5G entry on Saturday at New Egypt. The multi time modified track champion at New Egypt is no stranger to non-winged competition between ARDC and USAC midget, USAC National Tour Starts, USAC Speedstr, and 600 micro sprint starts Pauch has plenty of experience. Pauch Jr collected the heat win, and drove from his sixth place starting spot to a solid top three finish. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver Brady Bacon will be behind the wheel of the Gallagher 5G tomorrow at the Selinsgrove Speedway.

Rounding out the top 5 and yet again continuing his streak of never finishing outside of the top five in a USAC East Coast event was Steven Drevicki. In the heat race, Drevicki battled from 7th place to finish third behind Kyle Lick and earn his way into the redraw. Drevicki was among some of the earliest drivers to venture to the high side of the speedway to make moves. At the conclusion of Saturdays feature event, Drevicki earned a hard fought top five effort.

24 Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Cars entered the pit area at the New Egypt Speedway on Saturday night. 19 of the cars being 360 powered vehicles, and 5 coming from the NEWS Crate wingless sprints that are run as a weekly series at the speedway. Defending track champion Rich Mellor was one of two crate entries to make the feature and finished in the 11th position.

Next up for the Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series is their maiden voyage to the Selisgrove Speedway Sunday August 9th. The Series will be along side the stars and the cars of the USAC Silver Crown series in a traditional sprint car series double header, sure to please any USAC Racing Fan.

New Egypt Speedway Results:

Heat 1 (5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 7 Alex Yankowski, 2. 33B Bill Unglert, 3. 39 Ryan Watt, 4. 117 David Swanson, 5. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 6. 5z Zack Burd, 7. 74jr JR Berry, 8 Larry Drake (DNS).

Heat 2 (5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 15 Mark Bitner, 2. 71 Chris Allen, 3. 02 Rich Mellor, 4. 3H Heidi Hedin, 5. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 6. 73 JR Ed Aikin, 7. 67 Jason Cherry, 8. 6 Steve Kyzer.

Heat 3 (5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 5G Billy Pauch Jr, 2. 8L Kyle Lick, 3. 19 Steven Drevicki, 4. 5Q Ryan Quackenbush, 5. 91 Mick D’Agostino, 6. 00 Ken Nealis, 7. 44 Gary Huston, 8. 96 Lee Kauffman.

B Main (5 Qualify): 1. 73jr Ed Aikin, 2. 5Z Zack Burd, 3. 74jr JR Berry, 4. 96 Lee Kauffman, 5. 00 Ken Nealis, 6. 67 Jason Cherry, 7. 6 Steve Kyzer, 8. 8 Larry Drake

A Main (25 Laps) 1. 15 Mark Bitner, 2. 71 Christopher Allen 3. 39 Ryan Watt, 4. 5G Billy Pauch Jr, 5. 19 Steven Drevicki, 6. 8L Kyle Lick, 7. 5Q Ryan Quackenbush, 8. 7 Alex Yankowski, 9. 33B Bill Unglert, 10. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 11. 02 Rich Mellor, 12. 91 Mick D’Agostino, 13. 73jr Ed Aikin, 14. 74jr JR Berry, 15. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 16. 5Z Zack Burd, 17. 117 David Swanson, 18. 3H Heidi Hedin, 19. 96 Lee Kauffman, 20. 00 Ken Nealis.

Lap Leaders: Mark Bitner 1-25

Hard Charger: Ryan Quackenbush 12th to 7th.

Article Credit: Nick Fillman