By Dan Margetta
This article was posted to the website on May 20th, 2009
By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., May 10-Defending track champion, Lowell Bennett drove to a flag-to-flag win in the Sonya's Rose Mother's Day 60-lap super late model feature Sunday afternoon at the Slinger Super Speedway.
"It's good for the fans here for us to put a good race on," Bennett told the crowd from victory lane. "This car was awfully good last year and even though we had an off week, last weekend, hopefully we can repeat as champions this year."
Bennett shared the front row with Fred Winn and jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag, bringing Mike Egan and Conrad Morgan along and into second and third respectively. Behind the top three, Winn battled for position with Brad Mueller and Jamie Wallace as Bennett extended his lead slightly. As Bennett continued to pull away, Morgan worked his way around Egan for second on lap eight while Wallace used the inside lane to challenge both Mueller and Winn. By lap 15, Wallace drove into fourth place and five laps later, managed to drive his way around Egan for third while Bennett continued to lead over Morgan. Bennett stretched his lead to almost a straightaway while Wallace caught Morgan and the two put on a tremendous side-by-side battle for second as the race neared the halfway mark. Wallace stuck to the inside groove as Morgan worked the top side and the door to door racing between them further enabled Bennett to extend his lead by lap 40. The inside line finally prevailed for Wallace on lap 42 and he took sole possession of second place, leaving Morgan to battle with Egan and a hard charging Dennis Prunty, who had advanced through the field into the top five. A tangle involving Race McComb, Brad Dahmer, and Winn in turn four produced the caution flag on lap 46, erasing Bennett's comfortable lead.
Bennett used the inside to surge ahead of Wallace on the restart while Prunty wheeled his car in the high groove and aggressively snatched third from Morgan. While Wallace could keep Bennett in sight, he was no match for the defending track champion as Bennett smoothly drove the final laps to capture the checkered flag ahead of Wallace and Prunty. Morgan crossed the finish line in fourth place while Egan completed the top five finishers. Collin Bamke finished in sixth place ahead of Al Schill and Randy Schuler while Brad Mueller and Steve Apel were ninth and tenth respectively.
Brad Dahmer won the 30-lap super late model feature over Chris Ratajczyk and Toby Rott. Jerry Eckhardt finished fourth and Cardell Potter was fifth. David Prunty took top honors in the Strange Brew super late model dash and Dennis Prunty was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.511 seconds.
It had been nearly 25 years since Jimmy Dragich last made a stop in victory lane at Slinger and Sunday afternoon, he paid a return visit after scoring the win in the late model main event, his first feature victory since 1984.
Dragich stormed to the lead at the start and held off challenges of Ryan DeStefano and Brad Keith while Corey Funk, James Swan, Trevor Dassow, and Chris Blawat raced close behind in a tight formation. Blawat and Dassow established themselves firmly in the top five by lap ten as Dragich continued to hold off DeStefano and Keith. Blawat maneuvered his way to third place by lap 15, just behind Dragich and DeStefano while Keith, Dassow, and Swan began to dispute fourth place. Keith's charge came to an end on lap 20 when he skidded sideways down the backstretch and into the infield after some assistance from behind and the event remained under green with Dragich leading over Blawat, DeStefano, Dassow, and Swan. The caution flag appeared on lap 24 after Steve Apel looped around in turn four and on the restart, Dragich had his hands full with a pack of cars behind him that included DeStefano, Dassow, Blawat, Swan, Apel, and Jake Vanoskey. As Dragich eased ahead, Dassow and DeStefano fought alongside each other for second, rubbing doors down the backstretch and allowing the tightly bunched field to close as the laps wound down. On lap 38, the aggressive racing for second swept up the cars of DeStefano and Vanoskey, causing them to spin entering turn three and by the time the dust settled, Dassow and Rob Braun were collected in the melee with the yellow flag flying. The race was declared complete on lap 38 with Dragich taking the win over Apel and Blawat. By rule, scoring reverted to the last completed lap minus the cars involved in the caution which were judged to be Vanoskey and DeStefano, and Dassow and Braun completed the top five finishers.
Corey Funk was the winner of the late model fast dash and Dave McCardle topped qualifying after touring the track in 12.210 seconds.
Mike Borchardt drove to the win in the 35-lap Midwest Sportsman feature over Dave Thomas and Bobby Giers.
Scott Shambeau led the opening laps over Giers, Borchardt, Tom Elsinger, and Mark Kissinger while Thomas began to move forward through the field. Giers moved up to challenge Shambeau for the top spot, pulling alongside on lap 11 while Borchardt, Thomas, and Kissinger raced close behind. After spending nearly six laps side by side with Shambeau, Giers finally took command of the race as Borchardt and Thomas closed in on Shambeau to battle for second. Borchardt and Thomas raced into second and third respectively by lap 20 and began to track down Giers for the lead. Borchardt ran down Giers and made the move for the lead on lap 23, bringing Thomas along with him to battle Giers for second while Shambeau and Kissinger raced in fourth and fifth. Thomas took over the second spot two laps later and set his sights on Borchardt. In the final laps, Borchardt's car began to get loose off the corners but it wasn't enough for Thomas to catch him as he drove to the checkered flag for the win. Thomas had to settle for second while Giers, Shambeau, and Kissinger rounded out the top five.
Borchardt also won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Dave Thomas was the fastest qualifier at 12.623 seconds.
Matt Pate won the 25-lap Sport Modified feature, holding off Ron Schmitt and Jon Kruschel for the victory.
Russ Moberly led at the start over Pate and Schmitt until a spin off turn two turned the lead over to Pate on lap five. Pate held the point over Kruschel and Schmitt while Bill Tandetzke and Eddie Bentfield battled over the fourth spot. The race was red flagged on lap 12 when Moberly, who rejoined the action, clipped the turn three wall with his right front wheel. The impact launched his car into the billboards which caused it to roll back onto the speedway and down into the infield on its roof. Moberly escaped serious injury in the mishap and the action was halted with Pate leading over Kruschel and Schmitt. As racing resumed, Pate maintained the lead while Schmitt managed to get around Kruschel for second place. Pate drove flawlessly the rest of the way to score the win over Schmitt and Kruschel. Tim Bell used a late charge to finish fourth while Eddie Bentfield held off Justin Okrulica for the fifth place.
Pate also was the winner of the Sport Modified fast dash and Bill Tandetzke led qualifying with a lap of 12.330 seconds.
Jerry Kulas Jr. scored his first victory of the season in the 20-lap Thunderstock feature, leading the entire distance and taking the checkered flag ahead of John Daley who out-dueled Eric Lingford for second. Aaron Cain and Rick Schaefer completed the top five finishers. Stephanie Losienecki topped the Thunderstock fast dash and Aaron Cain was the fastest qualifier at 13.493 seconds. Joe Lang won the 16-lap Slinger Bees feature over Jared Apel and Derek Hoerig. Carl Benn finished fourth and Brandon Tackes was fifth. Hoerig was the Slinger Bees fast qualifier at 15.918 seconds. James Bierenbaum was the winner of the Speedway Guest Car race and Shane Becker closed out the afternoon with a win in the Figure 8 event.
|Photos By Al Graf
lowell bennett on his way to feature win.