By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 19—Lowell Bennett edged Steve Apel in a photo finish to win the 75-lap Prelude to the Nationals super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“We put a good run on there, “Bennett stated describing the late race battle for the win with Apel, “We touched a few times and we just had a good old fashioned battle. Hopefully the fans loved it.”
Conrad Morgan and Apel led the field to the green flag and Apel charged into the lead while Morgan battled Dale Prunty and Randy Schuler for second. The caution flag flew early on lap six for debris on the backstretch and on the restart, Apel was able to maintain his lead while Dale Prunty used the inside groove to take second from Morgan.
The yellow flag waved a lap later when Cardell Potter and Jeff Holtz spun in turn one and once again as racing resumed, Apel held onto the lead over Prunty as Jamie Wallace and Bennett entered the top five just before the caution flew again on lap 21 when Cardell Potter and Gary LaMonte tangled exiting turn four. Apel led over Prunty, Wallace, and Bennett on the restart and as Apel continued to lead, Bennett was able to work his way around Wallace for third. Five laps later, Bennett caught Prunty for second and again edged to the inside to take the spot while behind them Dennis Prunty and Morgan began to march forward, challenging for positions in the top five.
The race was slowed under the caution again on lap 48 after Aaron Katzenberg and Ron Ragan spun to the infield in an incident that also involved the car of Nathan Matz. Apel chose the inside lane for the restart, leaving Bennett to work the outside and as racing resumed, Bennett timed the start perfectly to charge by Apel and into the lead on lap 49. While Bennett and Apel raced for the lead, Jamie Wallace raced his way into third place while Dennis Prunty and Morgan disputed the fourth position. On lap 52, Apel was able to duck inside of Bennett to lead briefly, but Bennett battled back on the top side and the two raced door to door for several laps before Bennett retook the top spot on lap 56. Both Dennis Prunty and Morgan raced their way around Wallace for third and fourth respectively with Morgan glued to Prunty’s rear bumper. The leaders caught lapped traffic on lap 63 as all eyes in the crowd were focused on the intense battle between Prunty and Morgan over third. On lap 65, Morgan eased his nose to the inside of Prunty’s rear fender exiting turn two and as the two entered turn three, a slight touch sent Prunty’s car looping around with Prunty standing hard on the throttle to keep the car from hitting the wall.
The smoke cloud from Prunty’s wheels hampered vision for the cars behind and the ensuing gridlock sent Randy Schuler’s car hard into the wall with the caution flag flying. The final ten laps were all about Bennett and Apel who staged a thrilling side by side duel with Apel using the inside and Bennett working the top. The two were locked side by side as they took the white flag and remained that way through turns one and two and down the backstretch. The door to door duel for the win continued in turns three and four and in the final charge to the checkered flag, Bennett was able to nose ahead slightly to take the win by inches over Apel.
Conrad Morgan crossed the finish line in third place followed by Jamie Wallace and Jeff Holtz. Mike Egan finished in sixth while Burton Brown and Tommy Hromadka were seventh and eighth respectively. Dennis Prunty rebounded from his incident to finish in the ninth spot while Scott Schoeni rounded out the top ten. Collin Bamke was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Bennett took top time honors after touring the speedway in 11.540 seconds.
Chris Blawat drove to victory in the action-packed 35-lap late model feature, taking the checkered flag ahead of James Swan and Dan Heying.
Pat McIntee led the opening laps while Trevor Dassow battled Blawat for second just ahead of Ross Kenseth, Dave McCardle, and Heying. Dassow used the inside lane to take second place on lap six while at the same time, Kenseth established himself in the fourth slot, just behind Blawat. Dassow tracked down McIntee for the lead and again utilized the inner lane to take command of the race when McIntee’s car skated wide off the turns. Blawat also took advantage of McIntee being on the outside and took over the second position a lap later while Kenseth moved up to battle McIntee for third. The first caution flag appeared on lap 12 for a single car spin involving Josh Bauer in turn four with Dassow leading over Blawat, McIntee, and Kenseth. On the restart, Blawat was able to get the better jump and he launched into the lead over Dassow while Kenseth charged into third. As Blawat stretched his lead, the battle between Dassow and Kenseth for second began to heat up as Kenseth looked to the inside of Dassow. While racing side by side, the cars rubbed doors down the front straightaway before Kenseth slid in front of Dassow heading into turn one. Dassow used a cross-over move in the middle of the corner to get back to the inside of Kenseth, re-taking the position as the cars raced down the backstretch. With neither driver giving an inch, the fierce battle boiled over in turn three when the two tangled, taking both out of contention as the cars of Jake Vanoskey, McIntee, and Steve Schulz were swept up in the incident with the caution flag waving. Blawat once again maintained his lead as racing resumed, while James Swan worked his way into second place ahead of Dan Heying and Rob Braun. Blawat was solid in the final laps and drove to the victory over Swan and Heying. Braun finished in the fourth position while Rob Myers rounded out the top five. Earlier in the evening, Trevor Dassow won the late model fast dash and Ryan DeStefano was the fastest qualifier at 12.326 seconds.
Shambeau and Mark Kissinger battled for the early lead over Jimmie Evans, Brian Holtz, and Mike Borchardt Jr. in the opening laps before the caution flag waved on lap three after Andy Haver and Dave Thomas tangled, resulting in Haver’s car spinning on the frontstretch. Shambeau and Kissinger renewed their battle for the top spot as racing resumed while Borchardt advanced to fourth ahead of Austin Luedtke, Mike Lichtfield and Tom Elsinger. Minor door rubbing on the exit of turn four between Luedtke and Lichtfield briefly slowed both cars momentum on lap ten as directly behind them the cars of Mike Graczkowski and Jack Stern were unable to react in time and as they made contact, Graczkowski’s car spun to the inside on the frontstretch where it collided heavily with the car of Dave Thomas drawing the caution flag. As racing resumed, Shambeau and Kissinger were back at it in their fight for the lead, racing door to door for numerous laps with Kissinger barely leading on one lap while Shambeau would edge ahead on the next. While the leaders battled, Borchardt raced his way into third place around Evans with Elsinger racing close behind. Luedtke and Brian Holtz tangled on the front straightaway on lap 28 with Shambeau leading over Kissinger and Borchardt. With the time limit set for the event now expired, Shambeau was declared the winner with Kissinger and Borchardt finishing second and third respectively. Jimmie Evans and Tom Elsinger rounded out the top five. Mike Graczkowski won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Gregg Pawelski was the division’s fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.855 seconds.
Ron Schmitt took top honors in the 25-lap Sport Mod feature, leading flag to flag to score the win over Bill Tandetzke and Eddie Bentfield. Matt Pate finished in the fourth position while Justin Okruhlica took the checkered flag in fifth place. John Kruschel won the Sport Mod fast dash and Justin Okruhlica was the fastest qualifier at 12.448 seconds.
Eric Lingford held off Aaron Cain to win the 18-lap Thunderstock feature in a thrilling side by side finish. Lingford took the lead on lap 12 and then had to hold off a fast closing Cain in the final laps. With three laps to go, Cain made a hard charge for the lead and both cars made contact in turn two. While the cars briefly got out of shape, the drivers saved them and raced side by side for the lead in the final laps. As they approached the finish line, Lingford was able to edge ahead to score the victory by less than a car length over Cain. Bernie Leonard led early in the event and took the checkered flag in third place while Stephanie Losiniecki and Ryan Farrell rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Adam Peschek captured his first Slinger Speedway checkered flag by winning the Thunderstock fast dash and Aaron Cain was the fastest qualifier at 13.593 seconds.
Carl Benn won the Slinger Bees feature as he held off Brandon Tackes and Brandon Gumm. Nick Ostberg finished fourth and Katie DeStefano crossed the finish line in fifth. Brandon Tackes was the fastest qualifier at 16.148 seconds. Bill Ostovich was the winner of the Speedway Guest Car race and Luke Hilgendorf won the Spectator Eliminator race in his Subaru defeating Tom Busch in his Pontiac. Scott Goetzke closed the evening by winning the ten lap Figure 8 event.
This article was posted to the website on July 20th, 2009