By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 19--—Matt Kenseth outdueled Erik Jones in a green, white, checkered finish to win his record seventh SuperSeal Slinger Nationals presented by Miller Lite title.
After the NASCAR teammates took the final restart side by side, Jones slipped Kenseth a bit high off the second turn and gained the advantage heading down the back straightaway as he led the at the white flag. However, a solid rap in the left rear corner from Kenseth in between turns one and two upset Jones’ car enough to allow Kenseth to complete the last lap pass and take the victory. Jones regained control of his car in time to edge Travis Dassow for second place. Brad Mueller and Steve Apel rounded out the top five.
“I don’t like winning races like that,” an apologetic Kenseth told the crowd from victory lane, “to be honest with you, the first time he (Jones) caught me for the lead I got moved two or three times and got bumped into from behind so on the last lap I figured the roles were reversed so I kind of just returned the favor.”
“Erik’s a great race car driver,” Kenseth continued, “We were having a heck of a battle out there, I wish I could’ve got by him on that final restart there and got by him clean and drove away to the win.”
“I didn’t think there was that much contact on the first restart but the next time by there was a lot of contact,” a disappointed Erik Jones stated afterward, “It’s unfortunate because I thought we had the race but it is what it is.”
“I don’t know how we didn’t wreck,” Jones continued, “We’ll just move on and try again.”
“I thought we were getting lucky there at the end when they started beating and banging on each other, “ third place finisher Travis Dassow told the supportive crowd, “I thought we were going to get a shot at it,”
The 200-lap main event got off to a strange start as pole-sitter Chris Blawat dropped out of the event with mechanical trouble on the pace laps and then Jon Reynolds Jr. erupted an engine on lap five to draw an early caution flag with Ty Majewski leading over Kenseth. Majeski and Kenseth battled fiercely for the lead on the restart as Kenseth pressed hard from the outside lane and Majeski refused to give up ground from the inside resulting in both of them spinning in front of the field on lap seven for the second caution flag of the race. Erik Jones inherited the lead as Kenseth and Majeski went to the rear of the field and he set the pace through the next caution flag on lap 17 when ninth place, Alex Prunty broke a right front spindle and came to rest in the pit exit. Jones maintained the lead as racing resumed as Dennis Prunty and Steve Apel sliced their way through the field and into second and third respectively. Farther back, Majeski and Kenseth also began to pick their way forward as the stopped car of Dalton Zehr in turn four produced another caution flag on lap 52 with Jones leading over Dennis Prunty and Apel. Dennis Prunty took his turn at challenging for the lead on the restart as both he and Jones battled door to door for the top spot as racing resumed. Prunty used the outer groove while Jones kept to the bottom and the two made contact exiting turn four as both cars slid sideways before both drivers gathered up their rides as the scattering field necessitated a caution flag. Prunty jumped into the lead on the restart and paced the next 22 laps as Majeski and Kenseth continued to advance forward. Majeski tracked down Prunty for the lead on lap 76 and he locked onto the top spot through the halfway break on lap 101. Steve Apel also moved forward nicely in the first half and he found himself in second place at the half while Kenseth, Prunty, and Dassow rounded out the top five.
Majeski was the dominant driver in the second half of the race as he set the pace over Jones, Kenseth, Prunty, and Dassow . As the laps clicked by, Majeski’s lead started to shrink and Jones caught him, taking over the lead on lap 151 just before Majeski’s night ended when his rear tire went flat and he spun in turn three on lap 153 with Jones leading Kenseth and Prunty. Jones and Kenseth swapped the lead as the green flag appeared with Kenseth retaking the lead on lap 157. Jones kept Kenseth in his sights as Brad Mueller’s car came in and he methodically pick off positions to advance to third. The caution flag waved on lap 191 when Ryan DeStefano had an issue and left debris on the speedway with Kenseth leading Jones and Brad Mueller who appeared to have the fastest car on the speedway at that time. Kenseth and Jones continued their lead battle on the restart as Mueller found himself in a tussle with Travis Dassow and Steve Apel for third. Kenseth and Jones disputed the lead in the closing laps and Kenseth appeared to be on his way to victory when Jon DeAngelis Jr. and Dennis Prunty tangled in turn four just before the white flag was displayed. DeAngelis took responsibility for the incident and Prunty was allowed to keep his fifth position as racing resumed. Jones was able to wrestle the lead away from Kenseth as the white flag was displayed but then lost the top spot when he was rooted out of the way by Kenseth on the final lap.
Alex Prunty won the 30-lap super late model qualifying race over Dennis Prunty as they along with James Swan and Rob Braun raced their way into the main event. Jamie Wallace finished fifth in the qualifying race but then won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature to secure his spot in the main event. Casey Johnson finished second and claimed the final transfer spot to the main event while Natalie Decker , Ryan DeStefano, and Ryan Farrell completed the top five finishers in the super late model semi-feature. Eric Jones was the fastest qualifier of the 36 car field after turning in a lap at 11.221 seconds.
Ryan Farrell led flag to flag to win the 35-lap late model feature over Mike Held, Ryan Gutknecht, Steven Schulz, and Scott Ascher. Chester Ace won the Midwest Truck Series feature over Mike Meyerhofer and Todd Corvo. Kevin Knuese and Nick Egan rounded out the top five finishers.
This article was posted to the website on July 20th, 2016