By Dan Margetta
On the appropriately named Madhouse Night, the 18th Annual Bob Fish Buick GMC Alan Kulwicki Memorial featured a “madhouse” finish as Dennis Prunty and Lowell Bennett swapped both paint and the lead over the final laps before Prunty edged ahead with an outside charge at the finish to score the victory.
“If you’re going to win a race, this is definitely the one to do it,” Prunty said following the intense, spirited duel for the win with Bennett, “I thought he bumped me a little bit which is fine, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m pretty sure I bumped him a little bit.” “That’s fun racing,“ Prunty continued, “when neither one of us can give an inch but we both know we can race hard against each other, that’s fun.”
“He ran a heck of a race and I’ll tell you what, these fans saw some racing tonight, “ Bennett stated afterwards, “That’s what the fans come here to see, that side by side racing at the finish and that was fun.”
Steve Apel led the opening laps over Scott Schoeni, Conrad Morgan, and Al Schill before Schoeni ducked to the inside to take the lead on lap six. Schoeni continued to pace the field over Apel and Morgan while Bennett worked his way into the top five by lap 11, making his way around Schill to move into fourth. With Schoeni still out front, Morgan used an inside maneuver off turn two on lap 21 to race around Apel and into second, bringing Bennett along with him into third a lap later. Morgan began to slowly track down Schoeni for the lead as Bennett and Schill lined up directly behind him while further back, Mike Egan, Dennis Prunty, and Apel raced hard for the fifth spot. Morgan was able to turn under Schoeni for the lead as they raced down the frontstretch on lap 32 and shortly thereafter Schill inched his way by Bennett for third just before the caution flag waved on lap 37 as a fire erupted underneath the car of Brad Dahmer, the result of a power steering line issue. Morgan kept the point as racing resumed as Schill immediately began to battle Schoeni for second with Bennett and Egan running side by side with Prunty and Apel behind them. Schill’s car appeared to be loose off the corners while Schoeni tried to hold his ground and the resulting side contact ended with Schill’s car sliding to the infield, producing the caution flag on lap 41 as track officials relegated both drivers to the rear of the field for the restart. Morgan led Egan, Prunty, Bennett, and Apel on the restart while Jeff Holtz, Josh Wallace, Austin Luedtke, and Brad Keith followed as the green flag waved again. Prunty cut to the inside of Egan off turn four on lap 42 to take second place just before the caution flew again three laps later when Holtz and Keith tangled in turn four, collecting Luedtke in the process.
As racing resumed, Prunty pressured Morgan for the lead, charging to the outside down the backstretch on lap 45 to take command of the race, leaving Morgan to battle with Bennett and Apel for second. Morgan’s car also began to kick loose exiting the corners and as he tried to catch it off turn four a lap later, slight contact to the rear corner of his car, got it out of shape resulting in him spinning wildly into turn one with the caution lights illuminated once again. Prunty and Bennett lined up side by side for the restart and Bennett was hooked up on the outside as he shot around Prunty in the upper groove in turn two to take the lead with Apel and Egan close behind. Bennett was unable to shake Prunty in the closing laps as Prunty began to close to Bennett’s rear bumper. With six laps to go, Prunty muscled his way around Bennett on the inside in a bid for the lead, clearing Bennett’s front nose to take the point a lap later. With three laps to go, Bennett returned the favor, loosening Prunty’s car with a bumper tap to open the door for an inside lane bid for the lead. Prunty kept his foot in the gas on the outside and the two charged door to door nearly even as they took the white flag. On the final lap, Prunty was able to get an outside charge exiting turn two which was just enough to hold back Bennett as Prunty crossed the finish line under the checkered flag, waving his arm out the window as he scored the win. Steve Apel finished a close third while Mike Egan and Josh Wallace completed the top five finishers. Steven Schultz completed a strong run with a sixth place finish just ahead of visiting North Carolina “Madhouse” Reality TV driver Jonathan “Jon Boy” Brown who finished a respectable seventh. Tom Hromadka, Al Schill, and Conrad Morgan rounded out the top ten while North Carolina’s Chris “The Show Stopper” Fleming, another “Madhouse” Reality TV driver, took the checkered flag in eleventh.
“I did like this place before the races and now I love this place, “Jonathan Brown told the fans at the conclusion of the main event, “It’s a good thing we didn’t have about ten more laps because we were going to get Dennis (Prunty).”
Cardell Potter won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature to transfer into the main event along with Jonathan Brown and Chris Fleming who finished in second and third place respectively. Ron Ragan and Jerry Eckhardt completed the top five. Conrad Morgan was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Lowell Bennett was the fastest qualifier after turning a lap of 11.389 seconds.
Bill Shavlik and Wayne Freimund paced the field to the green flag with Freimund taking the early lead as Shavlik settled into second just ahead of Dave McCardle, Chris Blawat, and Pat McIntee. The caution flag waved on lap eight as Jake Vanoskey experienced a brake problem entering turn one and bounced hard off the concrete before coming to rest in turn two. Freimund maintained the top spot on the restart as McCardle and Blawat battled for second while Shavlik and Mike Graczkowski remained close behind them. McCardle and Blawat tangled in turn three a lap later, slowing the event under the yellow flag with Freimund still leading over Graczkowski, Shavlik, and Dahmer, who had advanced to fourth. While Freimund continued to hold off Graczkowski for the lead, Dahmer raced into third place, taking McIntee with him as Shavlik looped to the infield just as the caution appeared for Dan Wood, who spun in turn three and tagged the wall with the left side of his car. As racing resumed, Freimund held off Dahmer’s charge for five laps before surrendering the point on lap 20 as McIntee, Ryan DeStefano, and Graczkowski all began to close in on the leaders. With Dahmer now out front, McIntee charged his way into second place on lap 30, closing slightly on the leader when the final caution flag of the event waved on lap 31 when Kelsey Bauer spun and tapped the frontstretch wall. Dahmer was up to the challenge for the remaining four laps and he sped away on the restart, holding the lead while Freimund quickly pressured McIntee for second. Dahmer drove to the victory while Freimund held off McIntee for second place as Graczkowski and Rob Braun rounded out the top five finishers.
Dave McCardle was the winner of the late model fast dash and Ryan DeStefano set fast time at 12.570 seconds. DeStefano’s quick time was equally matched by Chris Blawat who also turned in a lap of 12.570 seconds, however, DeStefano set the mark first and was therefore awarded the fast qualifier honors.
Jay Shambeau had to pedal his car hard on the outside groove on the final lap of the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature and the move paid off with a solid win over James Swan and Mike Lang.
Shambeau took the lead at the beginning of the race and maintained the point for the first fifteen circuits while Mike Lang, Gregg Pawelski, and Swan all tried to close in. Swan took to the outside line on lap 18 and after sweeping into third place, continued the high lane charge to grab second by lap 21. Swan moved alongside Shambeau on lap 23 and after a few laps of side by side racing, Swan emerged with the lead on lap 25. A late caution flag for a spin on lap 27 set up a three lap dash for the finish with Swan leading over Shambeau, Lang, and Pawelski. Swan grabbed the lead as racing resumed, but Shambeau would not be denied, using the outside groove to move alongside Swan on the final lap. Shambeau was able to launch his way by Swan as they exited turn two, holding the outside line through the final turns to take the victory. Swan finished a close second followed by Mike Lang, Gregg Pawelski, and Scott Shambeau.
Brian Holtz was the winner of the Midwest Sportsman dash while Swan took top honors in qualifying with a lap of 12.642 seconds.
Ken Schraufnagel took the lead on lap 12 and went on to win the 18-lap Thunderstock feature over Andy Welter and Rick Schaefer.
Schaefer paced the opening five laps before Schraufnagel caught him, moving alongside for the lead on lap nine. Schraufnagel was able to nose ahead slightly on lap 11 before finally clearing Schaefer for the lead on lap 12. The race was slowed under the caution flag on lap 14 when Eric Lingford and Ryan Farrell tangled while battling for third. Schraufnagel took the restart as the leader and spent the final four laps turning back a late charge by Andy Welter to score the win. Welter finished in second place while Schaefer, Adam Peschek and Jake Larson rounded out the top five. Al Stippich scored the win in the Thunderstock fast dash and Eric Lingford was the fastest qualifier at 13.605 seconds.
Mark Johler came from deep in the field to pass Alex Prunty on the final lap to win the 18-lap Slinger Bees feature. Prunty held on to finish second while Nick Wagner was third with Joe Lang and Eric Long crossing the finish line in fourth and fifth place respectively. Joe Lang was also the fastest qualifier at 15.807 seconds. Liz Peterson was the winner of the Westbury Bank Speedway Guest Cars while the Spectator Eliminator events were left without a winner following a crash in the finals combined with a disqualification. Willy Van Camp was the winner of the Figure 8 event.
This article was posted to the website on May 17th, 2010