By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 15—Dennis Prunty survived a torrid battle with Steve Apel and then held off Jeff Holtz to capture his fourth super late model feature victory of the season in the YP.Com Yellow Pages 50 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
Rob Braun and Jeff Holtz paced the field to the green flag with Holtz getting the jump from the outside lane to pace the early laps as the caution flag quickly waved on lap three for debris on the racetrack. Holtz chose the inside line for the restart and immediately charged to the front as Braun struggled on the outside, allowing Dennis Prunty to slip underneath him for second. Conrad Morgan and Steve Apel also made their way around Braun on the inside as up front, Prunty began to pressure Holtz for the lead by using the high lane to pull alongside.
Prunty and Holtz raced door to door for several laps before Prunty was able to build up momentum on the high side and use it off turn two to clear Holtz on the high side for the lead on lap ten. As Prunty and Holtz battled up front, Apel made his way into third, leaving Morgan in a three-way battle over fourth with Mike Graczkowski and Mike Egan. Graczkowski was able to close to Morgan’s rear bumper entering turn three and then loosen him up enough off turn four to claim the fourth position and open the door on the inside for Egan to take over fifth. Prunty began to stretch out his advantage as the race neared its halfway point as Apel quickly closed on Holtz and like Prunty earlier, used the outside lane to grab second place. Prunty’s advantage began to gradually evaporate as he approached lapped traffic and Apel began to fill up his mirrors just as they caught the lapped machines. With the slower cars fighting for position directly in front of the leaders, Nick Wagner looped his machine in turn four to bring out the caution flag on lap 26 with Prunty leading over Apel, Holtz, Graczkowski, and Egan. Prunty chose the inside for the restart leaving Apel the high line as racing resumed and the top two drivers in the point standings showcased their rivalry by putting on an intense side by side display that featured a hard-nosed door handle to door handle battle for the top spot over the next nine circuits before Prunty prevailed on lap 35 when Apel slipped slightly off upon the exit of turn two. In the split second it took Apel to catch his car, Holtz was already by on the inside for second as Prunty scooted away out front. Behind the top three, Mike Egan and Lowell Bennett advanced from the pack and tried to track down the leaders from fourth and fifth respectively. Egan caught Apel for third and looked briefly to the inside in turn three on lap 45 and as Apel tried to defend the position, Egan muscled his way by to take the spot while Holtz tried to track down Prunty for the lead. Prunty proved to be too strong in the closing laps as he drove to the victory over Holtz and Egan while Bennett worked his way around Apel to claim fourth place at the finish, leaving Apel to settle for fifth. Conrad Morgan finished sixth while Mike Graczkowski rounded out a strong run with a seventh place result. Fred Winn finished eighth and Jerry Eckhardt and Nick Wagner rounded out the top ten.
Mike Graczkowski won the first 12-lap super late model heat race over Rob Braun and Jeff Holtz while Jerry Eckhardt took top honors in the second 12-lap super late model heat race over Chris Blawat and Jake Vanoskey. Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap of 11.504 seconds despite having problems with a vibration in the car.
Alex Prunty drove to victory lane for the second consecutive week in the 35-lap late model feature after taking advantage of the outside groove to lead the final 15 laps en route to the victory over Braison Bennett.
Dan Church and Braison Bennett shared the front row at the start of the event and they raced side by side for the lead in the opening laps as Jon DeAngelis, Ryan DeStefano, and Alex Prunty raced for position behind them. Church prevailed from the inside on lap four and took command of the race, leaving Bennett to battle with DeAngelis for second as Prunty and DeStefano looked on from fourth and fifth respectively. Bennett maintained the second position and began to close on Church for another bid at the lead as behind them, Prunty took to the outside to pass DeAngelis for third. Bennett tried to turn under Church a few times for the lead, but each time his car would get loose off the corners, allowing Prunty and DeAngelis to close while Al Stippich moved into the top five after working his way by DeStefano. Seeing the inside moves were not going to work, Bennett took to the outside lane and drove past Church to lead lap 16.
However, upon entering turn one, the back of Bennett’s car swung around and he nearly spun as he chased the car all the way through turn two. By the time Bennett recovered, both Prunty and DeAngelis charged by into second and third while Church continued to lead out front. Prunty tracked down Church for the lead and wasted no time in moving to the high lane, driving around Church for the lead on lap 20. Prunty began to streak away from the pack as Church held DeAngelis and Bennett at bay while Stippich and DeStefano closed in. With Prunty comfortably out front over Church, Bennett dipped to the inside and passed DeAngelis for third, setting up an intense battle over fourth when Stippich tried to close the gap on the inside and moved alongside DeAngelis. Stippich eventually took over the position with DeAngelis caught on the high side but it was DeStefano who took advantage of the hard racing between them, as he passed both Stippich and DeAngelis with a strong head of steam on the inside just before the caution waved on lap 33 as Church experienced engine problems and retired from the race in a cloud of smoke. Prunty and Bennett lined up side by side for the final two lap shootout and while Bennett held tough in the high lane for a lap, he couldn’t catch Prunty who drove to the victory. Bennett barely edged DeStefano for second while Stippich and DeAngelis completed the top five finishers.
Braison Bennett won the late model fast dash and Alex Prunty was the division’s fastest qualifier after circling the speedway in 12.519 seconds.
James Swan captured his seventh Midwest Sportsman 35-lap feature victory of the season as he out-dueled Ryan Farrell and Dave Thomas for the victory. Jack Stern crossed the finish line in fourth place while Jay Shambeau finished fifth. Jack Stern took top honors in the Midwest Sportsman fast dash while James Swan turned in a lap of 12.766 seconds to nail down fast time honors in the division.
John Daley drove to the victory in the 20-lap Thunderstock feature, taking the checkered flag ahead of Brad Hetzel and Tyler Schley while Ken Schraufnagel finished in the fourth positon. In earlier action, Schraufnagel charged from third to the lead on the final lap to score the victory in the Thunderstock fast dash while he also set fast time for the Thunderstocks with a lap of 13.715 seconds.
Ricky Heinan scored his first career feature victory in the 20-lap Slinger Bees main event as he held off point leader Nick Schmidt for the win. Grant Griesbach took the checkered flag in third place followed by Brandon Tackes and Paul Reagles. Brandon Tackes won the first ten lap Slinger Bees heat race over Ricky Heinan and Paul Reagles while Ryan Savage took top honors in the second Slinger Bees heat race over Nick Ostberg and Ethan Roskopf. Ricky Heinan also was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap of 15.049 seconds. Taylor Shellinger was the winner of the Spectator Eliminator events and Shane Becker charged to the win in the Figure 8 event to close the evening.
This article was posted to the website on July 15th, 2012