By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 24—Mike Egan raced around Jeremy Lepak with ten laps to go and drove to victory in the 75-lap Pepsi Challenge Series Round Two super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway for his first main event win of the season.
“I was thinking that we’re going to be second and it would be a great race in the Pepsi Challenge deal and all of a sudden we came out of turn two and Jeremy’s (Lepak) car wiggled and I don’t know what happened but I went by,” Egan stated describing the winning pass on lap 65, “then it was like…Holy Toledo!”
Jon Reynolds Jr. led the opening laps as Egan and Lepak battled alongside each other for second just ahead of Conrad Morgan and Lowell Bennett who also raced side by side for third. Egan’s car didn’t work well in the high lane and he fell back to fifth as Lepak, Bennett, and Morgan all were able to pass by on the inside. Once the leaders settled down single file, Lepak quickly closed to Reynolds’ bumper for the lead and eventually squeezed to the inside off turn two to take the lead through turns three and four. This time it was Reynolds who was caught on the outside and he lost spots to Bennett, Morgan, and Egan before being able to dart back to the inside groove. Behind the leaders, Steve Apel and Tommy Pecaro were racing hard for position, with Apel charging hard into turn one and Pecaro attempting to defend his line. Apel’s nose made slight contact with Pecaro’s left rear which got Pecaro’s car out of shape and while Apel appeared to lift slightly, it was enough to send Pecaro’s machine around and into the infield as the race remained under green.
The top five remained static through lap 18 when the caution flag waved after Greg Emmer spun in turn two and was hit broadside by the car of Mike Graczkowski. Both cars suffered severe damage and were retired from the event as Lepak led Bennett, Morgan, Egan, Reynolds, and Jeff Holtz for the restart. Also during the caution period, Apel was sent to the rear of the field for his involvement in Pecaro’s earlier spin. As racing resumed Lepak continued to lead and Bennett found himself struggling on the outside as Morgan, Reynolds, and Egan all tried to get by while behind them Jeff Holtz, Chris Blawat, and Brad Dahmer all battled for sixth. Blawat experienced mechanical problems on lap 25 which necessitated a caution after fluid from his car leaked onto the racetrack leaving Lepak leading Morgan, Bennett, and Reynolds for the restart. As the field circled under the yellow flag, the extracurricular activities between Pecaro and Apel weren’t over as Apel’s car was deposited in the infield courtesy of Pecaro’s front bumper, earning Pecaro a black flag from the event. Lepak chose the inside lane which placed Morgan on the outside and as the green flag waved, Morgan’s car experienced a miss and didn’t come up to speed creating a traffic jam behind him. In the ensuing chaos, Jerry Eckhardt’s car clipped Steve Apel in the right side, tearing it off and sending Apel’s car airborne momentarily as the yellow flag continued to be displayed. Morgan fell to the rear of the field for the resart and as racing resumed, Lepak picked up right where he left off, driving away in the lead as Bennett, Egan, and Jeff Holtz followed. The best battle on the speedway was well behind the leaders as Jerry Eckhardt, Greg Pawelski, and Steven Schulz staged a three car fight near the back of the top ten. On lap 41, Pawelski made a run down the backstretch to try to get to the inside of Eckhardt, who quickly shut the door entering turn three. The resulting nose-to-tail contact between them washed Eckhardt’s car wide in the middle of the corner and as he tried to regain control, Pawelski pulled alongside with Eckhardt’s front end peeling back Pawelski’s right side with Schulz just squeaking by Eckhardt’s disabled car as the caution waved for the final time with 34 laps to go. Once again Lepak launched to the lead on the restart, bringing Egan along with him from the inside lane into second and dropping Bennett back to battle with Holtz for third. Lepak pulled away to a comfortable lead and seemed poised to cruise to victory when suddenly his lap times began falling off late in the race, allowing Egan to draw closer. By lap 65 Egan was square on Lepak’s rear bumper as it became definitely clear Lepak’s car had developed a tire problem. Egan charged around Lepak on the outside to take command as Bennett, Holtz, and Morgan all closed on Lepak’s ailing car. Egan was spot-on the final ten laps and he drove to his first super late model feature victory of the season while Bennett finished in second just ahead of Holtz and Morgan. Brad Dahmer finished fifth while Lepak crossed the finish line in sixth. Steven Schulz was seventh while Jerry Eckhardt, Jon Reynolds Jr. and Gregg Pawelski rounded out the top ten. In earlier super late model action, Jeremy Lepak was the winner of the fast dash and Steve Apel topped qualifying after touring the speedway in 11.515 seconds.
Brad Dahmer scored the victory in the 35-lap late model feature by holding off a hard charging Brad Keith at the finish line.
Dahmer and Dave McCardle led the field to the green flag with Dahmer edging out front as Pat McIntee, Wayne Freimund, and Alex Prunty battled behind the lead duo. Dahmer maintained the lead with McCardle right behind him as Freimund went to work on McIntee for third by lap eight. Two laps later, contact between Freimund and McIntee sent McIntee’s car spinning off turn two and into the infield as the race remained under the green flag. Dahmer and McCardle’s comfortable advantage at the front of the field was erased on lap 18 when the yellow flag appeared for a spin by Braison Bennett in turn four. During the caution period, Freimund was also sent to the rear of the field for his involvement in the lap ten incident with McIntee leaving Dahmer to lead McCardle, Prunty, Keith, and Rob Myers for the restart. As racing resumed, Dahmer held the point with McCardle and Prunty close behind applying pressure for the lead. McCardle tried to turn under Dahmer entering turn two, getting the nose of his car up to Dahmer’s rear wheels but couldn’t complete the pass as he ran out of real estate upon exiting the corner as the two cars made minor contact, sending McCardle’s machine to the right. Unfortunately, Prunty’s nose was just to the right of McCardle’s car and the resulting contact hooked McCardle’s car hard into the turn three wall producing a caution flag. Dahmer chose the inside for the restart and promptly resumed his place as the leader when the green flag waved while behind him Brad Keith and Wayne Freimund used the inside line to move into second and third place respectively, dropping Prunty back to fourth. Keith remained glued to Dahmer’s rear bumper in the closing laps, even getting Dahmer out of shape slightly in turn two late in the race. On the final lap, Keith remained pressed against Dahmer’s rear bumper down the backstretch and into turns three and four, but his charge off turn four came up about a half car length short as Dahmer scored the victory. Keith had to settle for a close second while Wayne Freimund was third just ahead of Alex Prunty and Rob Myers in fourth and fifth respectively. Earlier, Brad Keith took top honors in the late model fast dash and Alex Prunty clocked in his career first fast time for the division with a lap of 12.460 seconds.
Ryan Farrell scored a rare clean sweep in the Midwest Sportsman division by setting fast time and winning the fast dash before finishing it off with a win in the 30-lap main event.
Jack Stern and Brian Holtz raced door to door for the lead in the opening laps while Jay Shambeau, Farrell, and James Swan all followed in third through fifth respectively. Stern held the inside and Holtz worked the high line as they continued to run side by side out front with Shambeau and Farrell lined up two by two behind them just ahead of Swan as Jimmie Evans moved up to join the battle. The intense fight for the lead erupted on lap six as Stern and Holtz got together entering turn one causing both cars to spin in front of the field. As the field scattered, a few cars spun to avoid but no significant contact was made which moved Farrell to the lead over Shambeau and Swan. Farrell raced to the lead as racing resumed, leaving Shambeau to battle with Swan and Evans for second. Swan took sole possession of second and began to track down Farrell while Shambeau raced with Evans over third. Swan began to slowly close in on the lead but it appeared he would run out of laps until the yellow flag flew on lap 20 for debris on the track. As the race went back to green, Farrell kept his car along the bottom of the speedway as Swan, Shambeau, and Evans all closed in to challenge. Shambeau worked his way to the inside of Swan and as the two of them fought for second, Farrell edged ahead and raced to the win. Shambeau was able to nip Swan for second at the line while Brian Holtz and Jimmie Evans completed the top five. Farrell also won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and set fast time at 12.709 seconds to complete the clean sweep.
John Daley edged Ken Schraufnagel in a close finish to win the 20-lap Thunderstock feature.
John Daley led at the start with Schraufnagel and Brad Hetzel pressuring him for the lead while Al Stippich and Andy Welter began to slice their way forward from deep in the field. The yellow flag waved on lap five when Nick Ostsberg lost a rear wheel on the frontstretch with Daley leading Hetzel, Schraufnagel, and Carl Benn. Daley continued to lead on the restart as Schraufnagel moved to second while further back Stippich and Tyler Schley battled side by side. Stippich and Schley’s cars came together in turn one and both of them spun around on lap nine as the race remained green while both righted their cars and continued on. Schraufnagel closed on Daley as they approached lapped traffic late in the race. Schraufnagel was able to move alongside Daley as they charged to the checkered flag and it was Daley who scored the win at the stripe by less than a car length. Andy Welter finished third while Carl Benn and Nathan Fick completed the top five finishers. Daley also won the Thunderstock fast dash and Andy Welter was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 13.637 seconds.
Nick Wagner won the 18-lap Slinger Bee feature over Braison Bennett and Shane Westphal. Allen Maher Jr. and Brandon Tackes rounded out the top five. Erica Knutson won the 10-lap Slinger Bee semi-feature over Alexis Strobel and Misty Benn. Zachary Clarke and Brandon Berres were fourth and fifth respectively. Shane Westphal won the Slinger Bee fast dash and Nick Wagner set fast time at 15.322 seconds. Larry Schmidt was the winner of the Westbury Bank Speedway Guest car race and Willy Van Camp topped a wild 11-car Figure 8 race to close out the evening.
This article was posted to the website on July 25th, 2011