APEL NETS THIRD FEATURE WIN OF THE SEASON IN YP.COM 60

By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 23—The two most successful super late model drivers of the season to date, battled it out for the win in the YP.com 60 lap super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway with Steve Apel besting James Swan to capture his third feature victory of the year.

“We had a mishap last week and the guys really stuck it out this week and put in the time in the shop and made some changes,” Apel told the crowd from victory lane, “And in the long run, that’s what did it.” “If it wouldn’t have been (James) Swan, I probably would’ve went to the outside,” Apel continued explaining how he used the inside groove to turn back the challenges of Swan, “My car is good on the outside but I knew Swan would be fast.”

“I got more than I thought I did,” Swan stated afterwards describing his attempt at using the outside lane in the final laps, “I didn’t think I had much and I was lucky to be third, fourth, or fifth, so I’m really happy with second.”

Lowell Bennett led the opening laps from the pole and brought Conrad Morgan along with him and into second while outside front row starter, Dan Jung battled with Jeff Holtz, Michael Bilderback, and Apel over third. Holtz, Apel, and Bilderback all worked their way under Jung for the third through fifth spots while Bennett maintained his lead over Morgan. Morgan had difficulty keeping his car down off the corners and both Holtz and Apel took advantage of that by sweeping by into second and third respectively in the inside lane. While Bennett continued to show the way, Apel and Holtz formed a side by side battle over second as the caution flag waved on lap 15 when Dale Prunty spun around in turn four while racing with Dave McCardle. Holtz took the outside lane and lined up alongside Bennett for the restart and as racing resumed, launched into the lead with a strong run to the green flag. Conrad Morgan also took to the top lane and raced his way into second, edging Bennett for the position while Apel and Bilderback fought over fourth just before the caution waved again on lap 18 after Nick Wagner’s car turned around after contact with Dan Jung. This time Holtz chose the inside lane for the restart and he was able to outgun Morgan at the restart to maintain the lead while behind them, Apel went to work on Bennett for third while James Swan moved around Bilderback to enter the top five. Apel completed the pass for third and then swept around Morgan for second with an inside move a few laps later. Apel rapidly closed in on Holtz for the lead as the event neared the halfway mark and after numerous attempts at finding an opening on the inside, he jumped to the high lane and completed the pass for the lead on lap 31. Once out front, Apel began to increase his lead as Holtz dropped back a bit as Morgan ducked his way by on the inside for second with Swan knocking on the door in fourth. Nick Wagner looped his car directly in front of the leaders on lap 51, sending the front runners scattering as the caution flag waved with nine laps to go and Apel leading over Morgan, Holtz, Swan, and Michael Bilderback. Morgan chose the high lane for the restart and made an attempt at the lead as the green flag waved. Apel proved to be too strong however and as Morgan’s outside lane bid fell short, he attempted to slide to the inside gap behind the leader as they entered turn three, but that space was occupied by the nose of Holtz’s third place car and Morgan’s car swapped ends, stacking up the field behind them with the caution waving once again. The incident moved Swan up to second place behind the leader, Apel while Bennett advanced to third place after Bilderback left the speedway during the caution period. Swan tried his hand at the outside for the restart and was able to hold his ground for a lap before moving to the inside behind Apel as racing resumed. Behind the top two, Bennett secured third place as Rob Braun and Chris Blawat raced door to door over fourth. Apel pulled away in the closing laps and drove to his third feature victory of the season while Swan settled for second place at the checkered flag. Bennett crossed the line in third followed by Rob Braun and Chris Blawat who rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Jeff Holtz finished in sixth place and Brad Keith was seventh while Conrad Morgan raced up to eighth at the finish. Mike Egan and Dale Prunty rounded out the top ten finishers.

Corey Funk was the winner of the 20-lap super late model semi-feature over Mike Graczkowski and Tommy Hromadka while Jake Vanoskey and Nick Ostberg were fourth and fifth respectively. Mike Strupp, Dale Prunty, and Michae Bilderback all recorded super late model heat race victories while Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap at 11.506 seconds.

Dan Church took top honors in the 40-lap late model main event for his second feature victory of the season.

Jerry Mueller led the beginning laps over Braison Bennett while Dan Church, Steve Schulz, Mike Lichtfeld, and Alex Prunty jockeyed for position behind the top two. Bennett tried the top lane to take the lead from Mueller and when Mueller’s car bobbled and kicked loose off turn four, Bennett moved alongside in the high lane while Church ducked underneath to set up a momentarily three wide situation for the lead down the frontstretch. Church backed off entering turn one, leaving Mueller and Bennett side by side for the lead and when Mueller’s car notched loose once again off turn four, Bennett took over the lead. Alex Prunty joined the leaders and within a few laps, took to the outside lane to pass Mueller for second, a move Church copied a few circuits later to take third. Prunty started to track down Bennett for the lead but wisps of smoke began to appear from behind his car. Prunty’s car began to leak transmission fluid on the track which caused Adam Peschek to spin in turn two and draw the caution flag. During the caution period, Prunty headed to the pits leaving Bennett leading over Church, Mueller, Ryan DeStefano, and Ryan Farrell. Church was able to parlay a strong outside run to the lead on the restart as contact between the top runners jumbled up the front of the field with Church leading over Bennett, Mueller, DeStefano, and Farrell. Destefano was able to pass Mueller for third and as the handling on Mueller’s car began to fade, Farrell and Mike Lichtfeld began to pressure him over fourth. Mueller’s car began to wander up the track off the corners which resulted in his car spinning in front of the field after an intense battle with Farrell and Lichtfeld. Mueller was sent to the pits to correct his handling issues and as racing resumed, Church raced to the lead while DeStefano and Bennett battled for second. Church drove to the win while DeStefano edged Bennett in a photo finish for second. Mike Lichtfeld finished fourth and Justin Poenitsch was fifth.

Adam Peschek and Jerry Mueller each captured victories in late model heat races while Alex Prunty set fast time at 12.758 seconds.

Kody Hubred was the winner of the 30-lap Area Sporstman feature event, taking command of the race in the closing laps.

Mark Fogel set the pace early while Hubred and Kyle Chwala advanced their way forward through the field. Fogel held the top spot until lap 27 when Hubred drove by to take the lead and Chwala followed suit a few laps later to take second. Hubred drove to the victory while Chwala finished second ahead of Fogel in third while Nick Egan and Joe Shelby rounded out the top five.

John Daley won the first Area Sportsman heat race over Rick Coppernoll while Tyler Schley captured the win in the second heat race over Kody Hubred. Kyle Chwala was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 13.370 seconds.

Nick Schmidt won the 25-lap Slinger Bee feature over Brandon Tackes and Jacob Schraufnagel. Steve Dickson finished fourth and Grant Griesbach finished fifth. Griesbach was the winner of the 15-lap Slinger Bee semi-feature over Justin Thomas and Nicole Mueller. Slinger Bee heat race wins were recorded by Justin Thomas, Marty Tackes, and Gary Stark. Gary Stark was also the fast qualifier with a lap of 15.125 seconds.

Ron Schmitt scored his second Figure 8 feature win in a row while the school bus Figure 8 race was won by Jack Sutherland.