By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 10—Erasing his late race demons from a year ago, Kyle Busch muscled past Dave Feiler following a restart with 26 laps to go and drove to his first victory in the Miller Lite Nationals 200-lap super late model main event Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“The restarts were tricky and I didn’t know whether I wanted the bottom or the top as neither one of them was working for me for the first two laps but then my car would really come in,” Busch stated from victory lane after playing cat-and-mouse games with Feiler on several late race restarts before sweeping into the lead for good as racing resumed on lap 174.
Feiler proved to be Busch’s toughest challenger as each swapped the lead as the field returned to green flag racing following caution periods late in the race with Feiler getting the best of the NASCAR star with an inside move for the lead on lap 139. Busch remained planted on Feiler’s rear bumper and raced directly in his tire tracks, often times peeking the nose of his car to the inside of Feiler’s right rear fender. Feiler was able to withstand Busch’s challenges and when the leaders approached the lapped the machine of Al Schill, contact with Schill’s car sent him spinning to draw the final yellow flag on lap 174. Feiler lined up on the inside, leaving Busch with the high groove and as they charged to the green flag, Busch ran wide off turn four to get a strong run into the first turn. Busch then used the momentum he gained to quickly diamond-cut hard to the left in the middle of the turn, scraping Feiler’s rear bumper enough to allow him to squeeze by on the inside for the lead.
“That last restart, I got into one a little bit behind Feiler, “ Busch continued, “and he slid up the track a little bit and I kind of came down and diamonded it and I got into him just enough and got him loose and kept my momentum going. I knew if I lifted I wouldn’t have a shot to clear him. I just did what I needed to do there and it was the winning move.”
“When I got out front I had clean race track and I could concentrate on what I was wanting to do,” Busch said after pulling away to a 2.171 second victory over Feiler. “It really worked for me. My car was better out front and it was overheating all night so clean air was a lot better.”
“I’m just bummed out,” Feiler said after leading twice for a total of 36 laps and working extremely hard to finish second. “The motor wasn’t running and it was shutting off half straightaway on both ends. The crew prepared an incredible car and it could get through the middle of the corners unreal but with the motor shutting off I tried to just roll through the corner and just didn’t have enough. I think if I could’ve kept the motor running I think I could’ve stuck it in there and really rolled through and work it on the bottom but I came up a little bit short. That’s the way it goes and we’ve got to stick with second but I’m a little bit bummed out. This would have been a sweet win.”
“That was the hottest it’s been for me for a long time,” Lepak told the crowd afterwards. “The cautions were just killing me as it just kept getting hotter and hotter in the car and once you get the heat in there, you can never get it back out. The handling was just awesome in our car but in the last five laps it started cutting out and I couldn’t get it to go down the straightaway.”
Jeff Holtz turned in one of his strongest performances to date to take the checkered flag with a very respectable fourth place result while Becca Kasten finished an impressive fifth after leading the first 36 laps of the race. Ross Kenseth raced among the top five for most of the race before winding up with a sixth place finish while Kelly Bires, Lowell Bennett, and Brad Mueller were seventh through ninth respectively as the final cars on the lead lap. Dennis Prunty rounded out the top ten after rebounding from a flat tire suffered while tangling with Eric Fransen while battling for a top five position.
Fransen was among the early front-runners who experienced problems as his night ended on lap 138 after suffering damage during the incident with Prunty and two-time weekly feature winner Steve Apel exited the race on lap 56 after losing a power-steering belt while running second.
Chris Blawat won the 25-lap super late model qualifying race over Tommy Pecaro and Randy Schuler while Rich Loch and Al Schill completed the top five finishers. Kyle Busch was the fastest qualifier after blistering the speedway in 11.355 seconds.
John DeAngelis Jr. took top honors in the 40-lap late model feature to capture his first career main event win on the biggest night of the season.
Dave McCardle led the opening laps as DeAngelis battled with Alex Prunty for second with Ryan DeStefano and James Swan following in their tire tracks. DeAngelis worked his way around Prunty and set his sights on McCardle as DeStefano and Swan both were also able to race by Prunty on the inside. DeAngelis had his car hooked up on the inside and a few laps later, he turned under McCardle in a bid for the lead off turn four. DeAngelis made the move work as he charged into the top spot as DeStefano filled the gap on the inside to pull even with McCardle for second. DeStefano was also able to make the inside work and he raced into second with Swan following into third. Swan began to challenge DeStefano for second as DeAngelis began to ease away slightly out front. Swan was able to secure second a few laps later and quickly closed on DeAngelis before attempting a pass for the lead on the high side. Swan pulled even with DeAngelis and the two raced side by side with Swan able to gain a slight advantage on the outside. DeAngelis remained tough on the inside and he battled back to retake command of the race from the inside as DeStefano advanced to move alongside Swan for second. DeStefano completed the pass on Swan for second but was unable to catch DeAngelis who raced under the checkered flag to secure the win, leaving DeStefano to settle for second. Swan finished third while Dave McCardle crossed the stripe in third. Jake Vanoskey and Wayne Freimund completed the top five finishers after Alex Prunty and Ryan Miles spun on the final circuit. Ryan DeStefano was the late model fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.452 seconds.
This article was posted to the website on July 11th, 2011