By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 8—Using the outside groove, Lowell Bennett took the lead late in the 60-lap super late model main event Sunday on Reunion Night at the Slinger Super Speedway and held off defending track champion for his second feature victory of the season.
“I tell you what, that guy (Apel) is an awesome race car driver and that is so much fun,” an excited Bennett stated from victory lane after outdueling Apel over the final ten laps, “When we were waiting for that cone to come out (on the final restart), I thought, ‘C’mon take the bottom’ because I knew I could run him on the top.”
Mike Egan shot out to the early lead from his outside front row starting position while pole-sitter Tim Lampmann and Conrad Morgan raced with Dale Prunty and Austin Luedtke for second. Apel and Bennett followed directly behind the lead group as the field remained tightly bunched in the early going. Egan stretched his lead slightly as Lampmann and Morgan battled side by side with the back end of Lampmann’s car washing out off the turns as Morgan remained next to him on the outside. Morgan grabbed second place a lap later as Lampmann’s car slowed suddenly in turn three after experiencing a broken hub allowing Luedtke, Apel, and Bennett to go by while Dale Prunty lost several spots as the result of being caught behind Lampmann’s slowing machine. Apel and Bennett quickly went to work using the inside lane and caught up to Morgan who was also closing on Egan for the lead. Apel ducked to the inside of Morgan for second by lap 20 and made a run at Egan for the lead down the backstretch. Egan attempted to close the door on Apel in turn three and he cleared Apel’s nose all the way to the rear bumper cover and a miniscule scuff in the middle of the turn washed Egan’s car wide which opened the door for Apel to race to the lead off turn four. Bennett took advantage of the inside opening and drove around both Morgan and Egan to take over second place. With Apel setting the pace over Bennett, Egan’s car began to fade as Morgan, Rich Loch, Austin Luedtke, and Rob Braun all eventually made their way by while further back the best battle on the speedway was between Dennis Prunty and Ryan DeStefano who raced intensely for eighth. After several laps of side by side racing between the two, DeStefano was able to finally get to the inside of Dennis Prunty off turn four on lap 47 while Dale Prunty who was behind them, made a charge forward on the outside. The result was a momentary three wide situation on the frontstretch with DeStefano on the inside, Dennis Prunty in the middle, and Dale Prunty on the outside. Dennis Prunty lifted from the middle before they hit turn one, averting a collision but then contact with the rear of DeStefano’s car sent it spinning off turn two to draw the caution flag. Dennis Prunty and DeStefano went to the rear of the field for the restart as Apel chose the inside lane, leaving Bennett to start alongside in the upper groove. For two laps, Apel and Bennett raced side by side for the lead before Bennett was able to power ahead off turn two on lap 49 while Luedtke and Morgan battled for third. Apel continued to pressure Bennett over the final ten circuits, making numerous attempts to pass on the inside and drawing alongside the veteran on the white flag lap. As the two raced for the win side by side with Bennett on the outside and Apel using the inner groove, Bennett was able to win the drag race off turn four to the checkered flag, crossing the stripe about a half car length ahead of Apel. Austin Luedtke edged Conrad Morgan for third while Rob Braun rounded out the top five. Rich Loch finished sixth ahead of Dale Prunty and Mike Egan in seventh and eighth respectively. Braison Bennett and Dennis Prunty rounded out the top ten finishers.
Braison Bennett won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Chris Blawat and Dave McCardle. Fred Winn finished fourth and Jerry Eckhardt was fifth. Super late model heat races were won by Braison Bennett, Dennis Prunty, and Conrad Morgan while Rob Braun was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.350 seconds.
Alex Prunty scored his second late model feature victory of the season in the 40-lap main event after a late battle with Ryan Miles.
“We’ve got the car working on the outside and are starting to figure things out and I’m happy,” stated Prunty from victory lane.
Ryan Zielski and Tim Lange paced the field to the green flag and battled side by side while Mike Held, Wayne Freimund, and Ryan Miles followed in their tracks. Held looked to the inside of the leaders entering turn one on lap four and the three wide situation that was created bottle-necked the field resulting in Lange’s car coming to a stop in turn three to produce the caution flag. Zielski also received damage from the incident and retired from the event while Held was shown the black flag for creating the three wide situation. Freimund took over the lead for the restart with Jack Stern, Ricky Heinan, and Miles following. Freimund and Heinan battled for the lead for a few laps before Heinan took over the point from the outside. Heinan began to stretch his lead as Alex Prunty began to work his way through the field, entering the top five just before the caution flew for a second time for a spin by Brittney Helmers in turn two. As racing resumed, Heinan held the point over Miles, Freimund, and Prunty and after a few laps of battling, Miles was able to wrestle the lead away from Heinan. A spin by Grant Griesbach in turn four on lap 27 produced the final caution flag of the event with Miles leading over Prunty, who worked his way up to second ahead of Heinan and Freimund. Miles and Prunty raced alongside each other on the restart and remained glued together for a few laps, rubbing doors in the process. Prunty eventually prevailed to take the lead as he drove to his second feature win of the season. Miles finished a strong second while Freimund and Heinan crossed the line in third and fourth respectively. Dan Church rebounded after suffering damage in the lap four incident and drove his way to a fifth place finish.
Kyle Smith and Mike Held were the winners of the late model heat races while Dan Church was the fastest qualifier after circling the speedway in 12.518 seconds.
Andy Welter turned back numerous challenges to win a very exciting 30-lap Area Sportsman feature.
Welter was pressured from all sides on the final lap as Steven Sauer, Ken Schraufnagel, and Kyle Chwala were all closing in. Chwala made a charge on the outside around Schraufnagel in turn one and then dove inside of Sauer in turn two to mount a serious challenge to Welter for the lead. Welter held his ground however, through turns three and four as he drove to the victory over Chwala and Sauer. Schraufnagel finished in fourth while Adam Cartwright finished a strong fifth.
Area Sportsman heat race wins were collected by Andy Welter and Ken Schraufnagel while Kyle Chwala set fast time at 13.253 seconds.
Carl Benn drove to a dominating win in the 25-lap Slinger Bee feature taking the checkered flag by over a half lap ahead of Heather Stark and Steve Dickson. Paul Reagles and Jacob Schraufnagel rounded out the top five.
The Slinger Bee semi-feature was won by Rick Schaefer over Tristan Dorzok and Nicole Mueller while Slinger Bee heat races were won by Dale Kiley-Schaefer, Steve Zoromski, and Nick Schmidt. Jacob Schraufnagel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 14.875 seconds.
Jim Schmittinger won the Spectator Eliminator events with his Hemi powered Jeep and then accepted the bonus challenge to face Al Roberts and his pick-up truck. Roberts won the challenge and the bonus money will roll over for another week as Schmittinger developed a brake fire on his Jeep.
Ryan Lovald closed out the evening with a victory in the Figure 8 event over Shane Becker and Joe Mueller.
This article was posted to the website on June 9th, 2014