APEL MAKES 4TH TRIP TO VICTORY LANE IN KEITH’S MARINA 75

By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 30—Steve Apel drove to his fourth super late model feature victory of the season by outdueling defending track champion Dennis Prunty in the Keith’s Marina 75 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.

Apel took the lead near the halfway mark after Prunty chose the outside lane on a restart and never looked back.

“It looked like his (Prunty) car was bottoming out in the middle of turns three and four and looked a little tight,” Apel stated from victory lane as he described the winning pass. “I wasn’t too surprised and I figured he would be tough to pass on the inside,” Apel continued when asked about Prunty’s outside lane choice, “On the start he kind of laid back and all of a sudden he went by me and I was like ‘Holy Cow’ and we put on a great show for the fans.”

“We were bottoming out bad, “Prunty said after his runner-up finish, “I knew if I was on the inside, I would have bounced right into him and I don’t need to cause any controversy.”

Michael Bilderback and Dave McCardle swapped the lead in the opening laps before Bilderback eased out front from the inner groove, bringing Conrad Morgan and Dennis Prunty along with him into second and third respectively. McCardle began to fade on the outside and contact between himself and Casey Johnson off turn four twitched both cars loose and gridlocked Nick Wagner and Fred Winn behind them. As McCardle and Johnson righted their cars, Wagner’s and Winn’s machines locked together in turn two to bring out the caution on lap eight. Morgan chose the outside lane for the restart and held his ground with Bilderback for several laps at the front of the field while Dale Prunty and Steve Apel joined the top five. Morgan’s persistence in the top lane paid off as he cleared Bilderback for the lead and Dennis Prunty followed with a similar move to gain second a few circuits later. Morgan ducked to the bottom lane with the lead but Prunty remained on the outside and drew even for the top spot while Apel also worked the outside, racing directly in Prunty’s tire tracks. Prunty completed the pass on Morgan for the lead just before the caution flag flew for a second time when Rob Braun spun into turn one on lap 18. Prunty again chose the outside lane for the restart and maintained the lead after turning back some serious inside line challenges from Morgan. Apel also worked top lane behind Prunty and after a few laps, swept around Morgan to move into second, just behind the leader, Prunty. Prunty and Apel worked their way through traffic while Michael Bilderback began to challenge Morgan for third. Behind the top five, Casey Johnson, James Swan and Dave McCardle battled over sixth and Johnson took the position when Swan and McCardle briefly touched in turn three, twitching McCardle’s car out of shape. Before McCardle could gather the car in, Swan’s right front ramped over McCardle’s left rear tire and the two cars came to a halt on the frontstretch to draw the caution flag on lap 33. Prunty chose the outside for the restart and was able to get a sweeping run to the green flag to briefly lead into the first turn with Apel right next to him on the inside. Prunty and Apel raced side by side down the back straight and into turn three but when Prunty’s car bottomed out it slid wide off turn four and Apel charged into the lead. Once out front, Apel pulled away to a comfortable lead over Prunty while behind them Michael Bilderback and Casey Johnson staged an intense battle for third. Apel charged to his fourth win of the season while Prunty finished second as Bilderback barely held off Johnson for third. Dale Prunty finished in fifth place.

Mike Egan won the 20-lap super late model semi-feature over Jerry Eckhardt and Brad Dahmer. Race McComb and Corey Funk rounded out the top five. Super late model heat race wins went to Mike Egan, Jeff Holtz, and Dennis Prunty while Steve Apel blistered the speedway in 11.373 seconds to nail down fast time honors.

Braison Bennett used the high groove to win the eventful 40-lap late model feature that was slowed four times by caution flags. Bennett passed both Alex Prunty and Ryan DeStefano from the outside lane and drove to his first feature victory of the season. Mike Lichtfeld also utilized the high lane as he sliced his way through the field to finish second while DeStefano held off Prunty for third in a door grinding finish. Justin Poenitsch took the checkered flag in fifth.

Steven Schulz and Adam Peschek each scored wins in late model heat races while Ryan DeStefano was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.614 seconds.

Jack Stern captured the victory in the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature event, holding off Ryan Gutknecht and Brian Holtz at the finish. Brad Keith and Chris Storey rounded out the top five finishers in fourth and fifth respectively. Cody Erdman scored his first career sportsman race win in the first Midwest Sportsman heat race while Jack Stern won the second heat race. Ryan Gutknecht was the fastest qualifier at 12.941 seconds.

Chris Beine took the checkered flag first in the Area Sportsman 30-lap feature over Brad Hetzel and Kyle Chwala. Adam Bleskan was fourth and Joe De Cubellis was fifth. Following the event Beine’s car failed post race technical inspection and he was disqualified. Area Sportsman heat race victories were recorded by Adam Bleskan and Ken Schraufnagel and Kyle Chwala set fast time after lapping the speedway in 13.341 seconds.

Nick Schmidt drove to the victory in the Slinger Bee feature event, taking the checkered flag in front of a fast-closing Grant Griesbach. Dale Kiley-Schaefer finished a strong third after leading early while Brandon Tackes and Marty Tackes rounded out the top five finishers. Dale Kiley-Schaefer won the first Slinger Bee heat race and Marty Tackes was the winner of the second Slinger Bee heat. Nick Schmidt was the fastest qualifier at 15.203 seconds.

Al Roberts won the Spectator Eliminator event in his pick-up truck and Joe Mueller closed the evening with a win in the Figure 8 event.