Apel Overcomes Mechanical Issues To Capture EH Wolf 75 At Slinger

Steve Apel SLM Feature WinnerSteve Apel SLM Feature WinnerLeaking Transmission Seals Couldn’t Derail Apel’s Efforts

Written By: Gregg Paul
Stock car racing can be an expensive sport. Even the simplest of parts can cost so much more that one might think. Yet amazingly enough, it always seems to be those simple parts that can cost you more than the money involved. Steve Apel had just that scenario as a leaking transmission gasket in qualifying proved to be only a temporary setback.

After two subpar qualifying laps, Apel rattled off his third lap to set fast time. A few minor adjustments before the feature, and Apel was well on his way to rattling off another victory. Apel got by leader Lowell Bennett on lap 48, before holding off Dennis Prunty to win the EH Wolf Memorial Day 75 at the Slinger Super Speedway.

“It was minor, only a gasket leak on the tranny,” said Apel. “The fluid was getting on the clutch and causing it to slip and luckily it went away on lap 3.”

The only other thing that would go away would be the view of the cars in Apel’s rear view mirror.

Mike Graczkowski and Lowell Bennett led the field to the green with Bennett taking over the top spot in turn one. The outside line was the fast line early, as Chris Blawat followed Bennett around Graczkowski. Blawat opened the door for Mike Egan to get by as well.

Apel showed his power early, as he quickly moved up from his seventh starting position, making his way up to fourth by lap 4.

Steve Apel Passes Lowell BennettSteve Apel Passes Lowell BennettBennett would stretch his lead to a half a straightaway as he clicked off lap 9, as Apel would duck to the inside of Egan to take over the third spot at the same time.

Hall of Famer Al Schill returned to action at Slinger with a brand new engine and after setting the second fastest time in qualifying set his sights on moving towards the front. Schill made his way into the top five on lap 12, showing signs of his prowess from days gone by.

Meanwhile back up front, Bennett would increase his lead to a full straightaway before encountering lapped traffic on lap 19. Bennett would struggle a bit to get around the lapped cars, and in the interim saw his lead dwindle.

Apel would use the high side of the banking to get around Blawat on lap 23, bringing Egan along into the third spot. Once Apel moved into second, he set his sights on Bennett and gradually erased Bennett’s huge advantage.

As Apel was catching Bennett, Dennis Prunty would get around Schill and Egan by lap 46.

A lap later Apel would catch Bennett and pass him on the inside of turn two. Apel would then start to stretch his lead, before traffic would allow Bennett to catch back up. Apel was able to pull Bennett off the corners, but Bennett would gain that back entering the turns. All that would change when the yellow would come out on lap 58 for two separate incidents.

Jake Vanoskey would spin in turn three, and almost instantaneously Tommy Hromadka would spin in turn one. One of the cars or perhaps someone all together differently, dropped fluid on the track requiring the safety crew to put oil dry in both ends of the track. Complicating matters was that the oil dry was placed in both the inside and outside grooves of turn one.

Braison Bennett LM Feature WinnerBraison Bennett LM Feature WinnerWhen racing resumed, Apel would get the jump on Bennett and resume his lead. Prunty, who seemingly prefers the outside lane, used that to his advantage to get around Bennett on lap 59. Schill would also get around Blawat for the fourth spot while the action up front became more heated on this hot evening.

Rookie Nick Wagner would bring out the yellow on lap 64 when he would spin in turn 3, bunching up the field once again.

Apel would get the jump on the restart, as Bennett would begin to bottom out and show some sparks in the corners. This allowed Prunty to challenge for the second spot. A challenge that wouldn’t last long, as Prunty would get around Bennett on lap 68.

As Prunty took over the second spot, Schill would work his way past Blawat to take over the fourth spot.

Apel would stretch his lead until flying under the twin checkers to capture the win by 1.34 seconds over Prunty.

“The first few laps the car was terrible,” said Apel. “The clutch was slipping really bad and I’d get in the gas and it moved all around. I’d baby it and I would miss my marks and I’m all over the place. It finally went away and so it must have got hot enough and burned all away. I was able to get going.”

Dennis Prunty’s second place finish was by his accounts, better than it seemed to be.

James Swan Sportsman Feature WinnerJames Swan Sportsman Feature Winner“I was trapped on the outside for a long time,” said Prunty. “You lose a lot of ground up there and I just couldn’t reel him in there at the end. I don’t know if the race went longer if I would’ve caught him or not. He looked pretty good up there. It was a good race and a lot of guys gave me room. It’s nice when you pressure someone they give you room and I like racing like that. It was really clean and the car came back without a scratch on it. It was a slick track but definitely a raceable track and you could run both lanes.”

Third Generation Driver Braison Bennett Captures First Career Late Model Win

Braison Bennett, son of Lowell Bennett, the seven time super late model track champion at the Slinger Super Speedway, scored his first career win in a Late Model, as he held off Ryan DeStefano in the 35 lap feature. Bennett was able to get the jump on several late race restarts to secure the win.

The 16 year old racer was almost speechless after taking the checkers.

“I still don’t know how I pulled that off,” said Bennett. “It’s amazing.”

It looked as Alex Prunty was going to make it two wins in a row, as he worked his way around Danny Church and pulled out to a straightaway lead. As Church was fading back, Bennett and DeStefano would get by as well, and start to chase down Prunty.

They would be aided by a yellow on lap 22 when Andy Welter spun in turn three.

Tyler Schley Thunderstock Feature WinnerTyler Schley Thunderstock Feature WinnerBennett would pull alongside Prunty for the restart and clear him for the lead off of turn two. That would be short lived, as just a lap later the yellow would fly again when Justin Poenitsch would spin in turn two.

Once again Bennett would get the jump on the restart and pull into the lead. While Prunty was on the outside, DeStefano would sneak underneath and take over the second spot. DeStefano closed in on Bennett, and perhaps Bennett began to feel the pressure. Coming off of turn four on lap 26, Bennett got sideways, but somehow managed to save it and keep his lead. DeStefano would look to the inside of Bennett, but his progress was temporarily halted when Brittiny Helmers would bring out the yellow on lap 27, as she spun in turn four.

Bennett would get another great restart and maintain the lead. Prunty quickly dove underneath DeStefano to get back into second, and opened the door for Dave McCardle to take over the third spot.

The yellow would fly again on lap 30 when Al Stippich spun in turn two.

Bennett continued his domination on the restarts and jumped back into the lead. Two laps later DeStefano would get around Prunty for the second spot, though Bennett was already stretching his lead.

Speedway Guest Car WinnerSpeedway Guest Car WinnerAdam Peschek would spin off of turn two as the leaders came to the white flag, but there was no yellow. Bennett would hold off DeStefano coming to the checkers, but Prunty was turned by Church in the middle of three and four. As Prunty came to a stop at the bottom of the turn, his car was nailed by Jerry Mueller, tearing off the front of Prunty’s car.

Despite his lack of experience, Bennett showed how strong he was on those many restarts.

“Before I got the restart the car was getting loose,” said Bennett. “During that restart the tires cooled down a bit and I was able to get a lot of grip coming out of turn four for the green.”

Considering the family legacy, Bennett was humbled by his accomplishment.

“It’s exciting as a third generation racer,” said Bennett. “My Grandpa and my dad are very successful in late model racing and it’s really important to them I know.”

Lowell Bennett was definitely showing he was a proud papa after the race.

“It can’t be much better than that,” said the elder Bennett. “I wish I could’ve followed him and met him down in Victory Lane, but we were a little short tonight.”

Lowell would finish third in the Super Late Model feature and was already taking crap from his son over that fact.

Bike Race WinnersBike Race Winners“It’s pretty awesome, especially since it’s only his second time in the car,” said Bennett. “He showed he’s got good skill and did very well. I’m very proud of him. It really even surprised me, because he came the first week and won the heat and he ran fourth. I thought it would be mid season before he even thought of pulling off a win. He played right with the big dogs. He pulled it off and it was no gift.”

Ryan DeStefano would say that he thought his lack or patience made it more difficult in his quest for the win.

“I don’t know if it was the tires, the track or what it was,” said DeStefano. “It was definitely hot, but the TNT Rescue car was awesome. It was a little tight in the beginning, but as the race went on, it just came in perfect. It’s patience, and I just think we’re lacking that a bit at the end of the race. Everyone wants to win and obviously that’s the goal, but we had a good car and we were there. We needed to be, but we came up a little short.”

Results of the EH Wolf and Sons Memorial Day 75
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 1 16A Steve Apel West Bend, Wi 80.00
2 7 42P Dennis Prunty Knowles , Wi 72.00
3 8 2B Lowell Bennett Neenah , Wi 67.00
4 2 714S Al Schill Franklin , Wi 50.00
5 5 26B Chris Blawat Palmyra , Wi 46.00
6 4 92M Conrad Morgan Waukesha , Wi 45.00
7 3 89E Mike Egan Slinger , Wi 43.00
8 6 99M Donavan Morgan Dousman, WI 40.00
9 9 12G Mike Graczkowski Jackson , Wi 38.00
10 11 98B Robert Braun Wales , Wi 36.00
11 14 75W Fred Winn Sussex , Wi 35.00
12 15 84V Jacob Vanoskey Hartford , Wi 34.00
13 17 61E Jerry Eckhardt Johnson Creek, Wi 33.00
14 12 38W Nick Wagner Hartford , Wi 32.00
15 13 3H Tommy Hromadka Brookfield , Wi 31.00
16 16 21F Corey Funk Slinger , Wi 30.00
17 10 29B Mike Borchardt, Jr Greenfield , Wi

Late Models - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 3 9B Braison Bennett Neenah , Wi 85.00
2 1 0D Ryan Destefano Hartland , Wi 72.00
3 5 9C Danny Church Williams Bay, Wi 63.00
4 7 87P Justin Poenitsch Richfield , Wi 56.00
5 8 49M Jerry Mueller Richfield , Wi 49.00
6 4 66M David Mc Cardle Menomonee Falls, Wi 45.00
7 6 7D John Deangelis Hubertus , Wi 41.00
8 12 66S Al Stippich Jackson , Wi 38.00
9 11 13B Brittiny Helmers Menomonee Falls, Wi 36.00
10 9 32W Andy Welter Cedarburg , Wi 34.00
11 2 11P Alex Prunty Lomira , Wi 32.00
12 10 66P Adam Peschek Oconomowoc , Wi

Midwest Sportsman - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 1 97S James Swan Genoa City, Wi 80.00
2 4 3H Brian Holtz Muskego , Wi 72.00
3 6 47J Kenneth Joosten Wonder Lake, Il 63.00
4 9 01B Carl Benn Menomonee Falls, Wi 56.00
5 3 101E Jimmie Evans St. Francis, Wi 49.00
6 2 89F Ryan Farrell East Troy, Wi 50.00
7 10 56W Dave Wastak Milwaukee , Wi 41.00
8 7 01G Ryan Gutknecht Oak Creek, Wi 38.00
9 5 26S Jack Stern Slinger , Wi 36.00
10 8 69B Jim Bentzler Hartford , Wi

Thunder Stocks - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 2 55S Tyler Schley Richfield , Wi 95.00
2 5 35D John Daley West Bend, Wi 72.00
3 3 3S Rick Schaefer Hartford , Wi 63.00
4 1 21K Tim Kreuser West Bend, Wi 56.00
5 7 13E Nick Egan Slinger , Wi 49.00
6 8 74S Joe Shelby Slinger , Wi 45.00
7 4 41H Brad Hetzel West Bend, Wi 41.00
8 6 86F Josh Fehrman Kewaskum , Wi 38.00

Slinger Bees - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 12 18O Jay Orr South Milwaukee, Wi 85.00
2 13 192S Kyle Stark Waterloo , Wi 72.00
3 11 2T Marty Tackes Newburg , Wi 63.00
4 18 25R Paul Reagles Colgate , Wi 56.00
5 8 01C Zachary Clarke Menomonee Falls, Wi 49.00
6 5 76O Bill Ostovich, Jr. Slinger , Wi 45.00
7 14 93S Nick Schmidt Oak Creek, Wi 41.00
8 6 22B Brandon Berens Iron Ridge, Wi 38.00
9 10 24T Brandon Tackes Newburg , Wi 36.00
10 7 17G Grant Griesbach Waukesha , Wi 34.00
11 15 26H Ricky Heinan Kewaskum , Wi 32.00
12 16 9G Kevin Gentry Genoa City, Wi 30.00
13 1 19B Misty Benn Menomonee Falls, Wi 29.00
14 14 12G Karl Gebhard Oconomowoc , Wi 28.00
15 3 06L Dave Lembke Hubertus , Wi 27.00
16 20 44M Nicole Mueller Muskego , Wi 26.00
17 19 5W Zack Welter Cedarburg , Wi 25.00
18 21 30B Zach Braun Slinger , Wi 25.00
19 2 4S Ryan Savage Belgium , Wi 25.00
20 4 43M Allen Maher, Jr. Milwaukee , Wi 25.00
21 17 98R Matthew Rose Grafton , Wi 25.00
22 9 02E Ethan Roskopf Menomonee Falls, Wi 25.00
23 22 55K Steven Kaufman Sussex , Wi

Figure 8s - Feature
Finish Start Car Driver Hometown Points
1 8 20B Shane Becker Hartford , Wi 100.00
2 3 11V Willy Van Camp Appleton , Wi 85.00
3 5 12K Craig Krueger Freedom , Wi 75.00
4 1 44M Joe Mueller Hartford , Wi 70.00
5 4 7F Josh Fisher Hartford , Wi 65.00
6 7 17B Rick Bruskiewicz Mayville , Wi 55.00
7 2 44L Ryan Lovald Muskego , Wi 55.00
8 6 9L Russ Lorbiecki Sussex , Wi 50.00