By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 5—Jeremy Lepak held off a hard charging Steve Apel to win the Ewald Automotive 70-lap super late model main event Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway to capture his second feature win of the season.
“That’s why you never give up,” Lepak told the crowd from victory lane after Apel closed to his rear bumper in the final laps, “After we got past the lapped cars I think I used up my right front (tire) running the outside trying to get around those guys and he (Apel) put the hammer down and did the only thing he could which was to get up on my bumper and hope I screwed up, but I think my experience paid off right there and I didn’t panic.”
“I knew Lepak was there and I was watching him in the mirror the whole race, “Apel explained following his runner-up finish, “I knew he had a fast car and once I bobbled a little bit and he got underneath me, I gave him the inside and I figured I would try to save my tires for the end and just jump in behind him and follow him, I’m not sure if I would have beat him but we were there and that’s all that matters. Maybe one of these times I can get him”
Mike Graczkowski and Rob Braun paced the field to the green flag as the field raced the opening laps in two-by-two formation with Graczkowski edging Braun at the stripe for the lead. Graczkowski was able to use the inside groove to clear Braun for sole possession of the lead on lap five as Lowell Bennett moved up to challenge Braun for second while Fred Winn and Dennis Prunty battled over fourth place just ahead of Apel, Jon Reynolds Jr., and Lepak. Reynolds’ car momentarily broke loose in turn two on lap ten, and the slight slow-down sandwiched Conrad Morgan between Reynolds and Randy Schuler which sent Morgan’s machine spinning into the grass entering turn three as the race remained green. As the leaders raced by Morgan’s car, Bennett quickly closed on Graczkowski and used the momentum to duck to the inside lane to take command of the race a lap later as Braun also took advantage of the inside opportunity to grab second. With Graczkowski caught in the outside, Apel and Lepak both swept by on the inside and into third and fourth place respectively. Graczkowski’s car looped around in turn four on lap 20 and as the field scattered to avoid him, the ensuing gridlock resulted in Reynolds’ car also turning around exiting turn four as the caution flag waved. Graczkowski was able to continue but Reynolds was sidelined for the night as Bennett led Braun, Apel, Lepak, and Winn for the restart. Bennett maintained the lead over Braun and Apel as racing resumed while contact between Winn and Lepak entering turn one slowed the field behind them as all kept their cars under control and continued on. A lap later, Dave Feiler suddenly slowed exiting turn four and when his car stalled in the racing groove on the backstretch, the caution flag appeared again, this time with Braun edging out Bennett for the lead. Braun chose the inside groove for the restart and made it stick at the drop of the green as Apel worked his way to the inside of Bennett for second while Lepak held off Winn and Dennis Prunty in fourth. Braun tried to protect the inside and with Apel directly behind him, the accordion-like outcome, sent Braun’s car wide, opening the door for Apel to race to the lead on lap 23 while Bennett and Lepak also charged around Braun on the inside. Braun settled into a battle over fourth with Winn and the two cars became tangled on the frontstretch on lap 29, drawing the caution flag as they slid together towards the infield, allowing Mike Egan and Prunty to race by. On the restart, Apel lined up to the inside as the leader with Bennett to his outside and with a split second later start, the inside line advanced with Apel maintaining the lead and Lepak glued behind him to take second, dropping Bennett to third ahead of Egan and Prunty. Lepak was able to turn under Apel exiting turn two on lap 36 and on the next go-around, established himself as the leader with an inside pass around Apel. Once out front, Lepak was able to stretch his lead to a four car-length advantage which quickly disappeared when the leaders caught lapped traffic. In the closing laps, Apel narrowed the gap and planted himself on Lepak’s bumper but was unable to complete the pass as Lepak drove under the checkered flag for the win. Bennett finished in third place while Egan and Prunty rounded out the top five. Chris Blawat finished in sixth ahead of Randy Schuler and Tommy Hromadka while Brad Keith and Brad Dahmer completed the top ten finishers. Earlier, Jon Reynolds Jr. won the super late model fast dash and Jeremy Lepak was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.631 seconds.
Wayne Freimund survived a tough battle with Dave McCardle to win the 35-lap late model feature.
McCardle led the opening laps as he along with Pat McIntee and Freimund staged a three-car breakaway up front as pole-sitter Bill Shavlik battled with Gregg Pawelski, Jerry Mueller, and Brad Dahmer over fourth. Mueller and Dahmer both were able to charge to the inside of Pawelski for position as Jake Vanoskey also used the inside to get around Pawelski while the front three remained unchanged. Shavlik’s car spun around in turn four on lap twelve and while the field stacked up behind him, no cars sustained major damage as the caution flag waved with McCardle still leading over McIntee and Freimund. The inside lane was the place to be on the restart as Freimund used it to pass McIntee for second place, right behind McCardle. Vanoskey also used the inside to pass McIntee for third place as Alex Prunty advanced into the fifth spot. With Freimund dogging McCardle for the lead, Prunty dipped to the inside of McIntee to take fourth place a few laps later. Freimund continued to hound McCardle for the lead and after a few aggressive looks to the inside, Freimund took to the outside lane pulling alongside for the lead. Freimund and McCardle raced door to door for several laps with Freimund hanging tough on the high side as Vanoskey closed in from third. After making progress with each lap, Freimund was finally able to edge ahead of McCardle for the lead with less than ten circuits remaining. Once out front, Freimund stretched his advantage and drove to the win as McCardle, Vanoskey, and Prunty crossed the finish line nose to tail in second, third, and fourth respectively. Pat McIntee finished fifth. Dave McCardle also won the late model fast dash and Brad Dahmer set fast time at 12.585 seconds.
Dan Church broke James Swan’s season-long winning streak in the Midwest Sportsman feature as he turned back Swan’s challenges to win the 35-lap main event.
Jimmie Evans led the opening four laps before Jake Stern passed by on the outside to take the lead as Church charged into third place with Swan also advancing forward from deep in the field. Stern paced the race for the next ten circuits before Church drove into the lead from the inside lane. Swan continued his charge through the field and was closing in on the leaders from third place when Church took command of the race. A few laps later, with Church remaining out front, Swan swept by Stern and into second, closing fast on the top spot. In the final laps, Swan caught Church but his rapid rise through the field left his car kicking loose in the corners. Church continuously turned back Swan’s challenges and when Swan’s car washed loose off turn two on the white flag lap, Church drove to his first feature win of the season, becoming the first driver other than Swan to score a main event win this year. Swan finished in second ahead of Stern, Evans, and Jeff Holtz. Jack Stern won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and James Swan was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.834 seconds.
Adam Peschek captured his first career feature win in the 20-lap Thunderstock main event, edging Andy Welter in a thrilling finish.
Chris Beine paced the first lap before giving way to Peschek after experiencing mechanical problems on lap two. Peschek appeared to be on his way to a relatively comfortable win with a sizeable advantage over Andy Welter, Ken Scraufnagel, John Daley, and Al Stippich when the caution flag waved with just three laps to go when Nick Egan’s car hit the turn four wall and lost a wheel. Peschek chose the inside lane for the restart with Welter alongside and as racing resumed the two remained nearly even as they raced door to door. On the final lap, Welter was able to get the advantage entering turn three but Peschek’s run off turn four was enough to nip Welter at the line for the win. Stippich charged to third place in the final laps while Schraufnagel and Daley rounded out the top five. Ken Schraufnagel won the Thunderstock fast dash and Andy Welter set fast time at 13.663 seconds.
Nick Wagner won the 18-lap Slinger Bee feature, advancing from deep in the field to score the win over Brandon Tackes who charged to second place after also starting at the rear of the field. Allen Maher Jr. finished third while Dustin Ostberg and Marty Tackes rounded out the top five. Brian Strane won the Slinger Bee fast dash and Nick Wagner was the fastest qualifier after circling the speedway in 15.528 seconds. Mark Schmidt was the winner of the Westbury Bank Speedway Guest Car race and Willie Van Camp capped off the night with a win in the thrilling Amber Inn Figure 8 event. Ashley Hoffmann was crowned Miss Slinger Speedway after ten contestants competed for the title.
This article was posted to the website on June 6th, 2011