Bennett, Blawat, Borchardt, Goetzke, Cain, Lang
Written by: Gregg Paul
(Slinger, WI) January 9, 2009 - The 2009 Slinger Super Speedway awards banquet was held on January 9th at the Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford, Wisconsin. Fellow drivers, crews, fans, and track staff all turned out to honor the champions of each division for the 2009 season. An early cocktail party followed by a catered dinner by Leroy Meats of Horicon, set the stage for the night’s festivities.
Jim Tretow, Speed Channel pit reporter and host of the Racing Round Up radio show was the master of ceremonies and got the evening underway by thanking all the sponsors and staff who make all the great racing action at the track possible. This was followed by a brief statement from Jim Seidl, the track’s Director of Competition. “Sid”, as he is affectionately known, echoed the sentiments of thanks and congratulations and addressed the subject of more clear and concise rules for the 2010 season.
The first awards handed out on the evening went to the Slinger Bees division. Joe Lang captured his first track championship in this division. Lang’s four feature wins and thirteen top five finishes paved the way to the title.
Rounding out the top five in points were, John DeAngelis, Carl Benn, Brandon Tackes, and Alex Prunty. Rookie of the Year honors went to John DeAngelis, who took the checkers on three occasions and had seven top five finishes en route to his second place standings in the final points.
Both Joe Lang and John DeAngelis paid tribute to the late Nate Strobel, a fellow competitor, who passed away tragically just a few weeks prior to the banquet.
Next up on the docket was the Thunderstock division. Aaron Cain, whose main job is a high school physics teacher, certainly schooled the competition during the 2009 season. Cain’s five feature wins and dominating 17 out of 18 poles taught valuable lessons to the rest of the field.
Eric Lingford finished second in points and also captured the Rookie of the Year title. Lingford’s five feature wins and fourteen top five finishes kept him in the hunt all season long. If not for the consistency of Aaron Cain, Lingford might just have well earned the championship himself.
Stefanie Losiniecki, the only woman in the division not only captured her first feature win but her consistent performance week in and week out led her to finish third in points. Rick Schaefer and Andy Welter rounded out the top five.
The Figure 8 Division was next in line and Scott Goetzke picked up the hardware for capturing the championship. Goetzke’s six feature wins and thirteen top three finishes cemented his claim to the title.
Shane “The Shark” Becker finished second in points with his three feature wins and twelve top three finishes. Willy Van Camp finished third in points despite missing the first three events of the season. Fan favorite Justin Poenitsch and Rick Bruskiewicz rounded out the top five.
The Midwest Sportsman division had their turn accepting the accolades. This division, bred from the Mid-American Stock Car Series saw Mike Borchardt collect the trophy as the 2009 Track Champion. Borchardt, decked out in a full tuxedo, accepted his award by taking home five feature wins and twelve top five finishes.
Dave Thomas wound up second in points with Jay Shambeau in third. Gregg Pawelske, the 2009 Rookie of the Year finished in fourth with Jimmie Evans rounding out the top five.
The Late Model division saw Chris Blawat capture his first track championship at Slinger. Blawat’s three feature wins and fifteen top five finishes vaulted him to the title. Dave McCardle finished a strong second in points with Ryan DeStefano winding up in third. Trevor Dassow finished fourth in points with Jacob Vanoskey completing the top five.
Finally it was on to the feature event of the evening. The crown jewel of the Slinger Super Speedway, the Super Late Model division. In an era where racing seems to have gone to the youngsters, the 2009 season showed the older generation still has what it takes to get the job done. Six time track champion Conrad Morgan returned to victory lane not once, but twice during the 2009 campaign. Five time champion and now Wisconsin Short Track Racing Hall of fame member Al Schill at age 64 returned to victory lane. Yet in the end it was the relative youngster “Lightning” Lowell Bennett at age 51 capturing his sixth Super Late Model track championship at Slinger. Bennett’s six feature wins and nine top five finishes drove him to the title, tying him with Conrad Morgan for the most track championships at Slinger.
Dennis Prunty ran a close second to Bennett for the title, but fell just a tad bit short. Prunty’s two feature wins and eleven top five finishes led him to second place in the points. Perhaps one of the highlights of the season happened on June 28th when Dennis and his two brothers, Dale and David, finished 1-2-3 in the feature with Dale narrowly beating Dennis and David to the checkers.
Conrad Morgan returned to past glory by capturing two feature wins and nine top five finishes en route to a third place finish in the points. Jamie Wallace, who despite missing two events, came home fourth in points with Rookie of the Year Steve Apel rounding out the top five.
Also featured in the awards ceremony was Dennis Prunty taking top honors in the Pepsi Challenge Series. The three race series saw Prunty edge Conrad Morgan for the title by a mere thirteen points with Lowell Bennett coming in third. Each driver took home a feature win, but Prunty’s two poles and three top five finishes gave him the title.
There were a couple of notable highlights to the evening’s festivities. First, the aforementioned tribute to the late Nate Strobel. A young man tragically taken at way too early of an age. He will be missed by many
Second, the always controversial Dennis Prunty, who feared not being able to speak at the banquet, but actually made it to the microphone twice. Dennis, never shy of hogging the spotlight got a laugh out of the crowd not once but twice in accepting his awards from Miss Slinger, Ashley Hoffman. Instead of the traditional handshake, Dennis twice swooped in and gave Miss Slinger a passionate embrace and kiss drawing cheers from the crowd.
Lastly, there was Lowell Bennett and his “gifts” to Conrad Morgan. Morgan is one of a handful of drivers running and experimental corn based fuel. One of Morgan’s wins found him leading Bennett for all 65 laps. It seems that Bennett had another issue with Morgan other than his inability to make the pass.
“In that 65 lap race following Conrad, that fuel smells like a urinal cake,” joked Bennett. Bennett then proceeded to present a deodorizer, a jar of corn, and an Al Gore approved catalytic converter to Morgan, as the crowd howled with laughter.
Morgan, graciously accepted the gifts and retorted to Bennett, “Every time I step on the gas I think of that odor,” said Morgan. As he held up the catalytic converter, Morgan joked, “I can tell you Lowell, this weighs more than my whole motor.”
With that comment the curtain rang down on the awards presentation of the banquet. The rest of the evening was filled with pictures, dancing, perhaps a few adult beverages, and a lot of reminiscing on how great the 2009 racing season was at the Slinger Super Speedway. We can only hope that the 2010 racing season will be just as exciting.
This article was posted to the website on January 19th, 2010