by Gregg Paul
Dennis Prunty has made the outside lane work for him at the Slinger Super Speedway in the past. He admits to liking the outside lane, yet would pick the inside lane if given the choice. Two weeks ago at the Slinger Nationals, he was forced to take the outside lane despite thinking he should have had a choice. As much as he likes the outside, the outcome wasn’t to liking, as he spun his tires on a late race restart and had to settle for second.
This time he was forced to the outside lane again, and he made the most of it by passing Lowell Bennett on lap 40 and holding on to capture his fifth feature win of the year in the Harley Davidson 60. The pass for the lead was set up as Conrad Morgan tried to make it three wide coming off of turn four, and Prunty holding his line and winning the drag race into turn one.
“That was pretty crazy and I didn’t even know we were three wide, thanks for telling me Spotter, Holy Crap” said a surprised Prunty in Victory Lane. “The outside lane was working for me in one and two and was a little tough for me getting through 3 and 4, but you know we ran hard and we ran clean and it was a good race.”
A good race that started off with Josh Wallace and Fred Winn sharing the front row. The drop of the green flag saw Wallace get off to the early lead with Winn settling for second. Meanwhile Lowell Bennett and Conrad Morgan ran side by side for third and fourth.
The race’s first caution would fly on lap 3 as Steve Apel appeared to come down on Brad Keith before clearing him and the contact caused both cars to spin in turn three. Collin Bamke was also involved and all three cars suffered damage with Keith being the only one unable to continue.
The green flag would fly once again, however it didn’t last long as just two laps later Bamke would bring out another yellow with a spin in turn 1. His car apparently suffered more damage in the first incident than first thought and it contributed to the spin.
Once racing resumed, Josh Wallace once again assumed control getting the jump. Conrad Morgan got around Fred Winn for second and set his sights on Wallace for the lead. Shortly after this restart, Wallace’s car began to bottom out in the turns, yet he was somehow able to hold on to his lead. Unfortunately that lead would evaporate as something broke on Wallace’s car and he dropped off the pace. The yellow would come out on lap 19 as Wallace’s car came to rest at the pit entrance in turn two.
This gave the lead to Conrad Morgan, albeit it was a brief one. On the subsequent restart, Lowell Bennett would challenge for the lead running side by side with Morgan for several laps, while Dennis Prunty stalked in third place. Once Bennett was able to clear Morgan, he was able to stretch out his lead to several car lengths. Prunty was able to get around Morgan on the high side on lap 26 setting up yet another fierce battle with season long nemesis Bennett.
Bennett’s lead would grow to six car lengths, but Prunty began to slowly reel him in. Prunty would be aided by another yellow on lap 35, this time for a spin by Fred Winn.
This would set up yet another showdown between the two leading combatants at Slinger this year.
When the green flag flew again, Bennett and Prunty ran hard side by side for several laps. Both drivers would trade the official lead at the stripe, but were never separated by more than a bumper. This would go on for several laps until lap 45. Bennett would get loose in turns three and four, allowing Morgan the chance to go three wide for the lead. Morgan didn’t push the issue hard enough, and Prunty drove it deeper into turn one and eventually cleared Bennett to take control of the lead. From there Prunty was able to hold off both Bennett and Morgan, and capture his fifth win of the season.
“It took me a long time to get it,” said Prunty. “I worked hard up there. The outside usually works. It all depends on the track conditions and your tires and how much rubber is on the track. At the Nationals with 200 laps there is so much rubber up there on the outside. On a normal night like tonight, a 60 lap race, the outside is pretty good.”
Did the three wide maneuver have an impact on the outcome?
“I never knew that happened,” explained Prunty. “I had no idea. My brother said ‘Stay high’ I looked in my little mirror saw nobody inside me other than Lowell and said ‘That was close.’ I had no idea that happened.”
While Bennett may have lost out on the opportunity for another win, he was just happy to be a part of a great battle.
“Second place! What’s wrong with that,” said Bennett. “That’s what the fans come to see. I got free down there and I don’t know if I hit something or what, but the car was tight the whole night. That one lap it just got free on me and it kind of cost me running side by side there with Dennis. It was fun battle and he put on a heck of a good battle. We never touched and it was a lot of fun. I like racing like that. Just flat out racing, best guy wins. You get done, shake hands, and we do it again next week.”
Conrad Morgan ran a strong third, while Tommy Hromadka scored a season high fourth place finish. Mike Egan would round out the top five.
ASA Midwest Tour regular Brandon Hill took the checkers in the Super Late Model semi feature holding off Scott Schoeni. Mike Held and Jerry Eckhardt finished in third and fourth respectively, as all four would transfer to the main event. Terry Patnode finished in fifth.
Mike Graczkowski brought home the win in the Late Model division with a comfortable victory over Jacob Vanoskey and Chris Blawat. Wayne Freimund and John DeAngelis completed the top five. Graczkowski, as his surname would imply ran a Polish Victory Lap.
Graczkowski jumped out to the lead from the outside of the front row, as he got past Ryan DeStefano. While Graczkowski would stretch out his lead, DeStefano would be involved in a couple of altercations. DeStefano was battling alongside Brad Dahmer, when Jacob Vanoskey tried to go three wide into turn three. DeStefano backed off, not liking being the meat in this sandwich. However, as the cars dove into turn one, it appeared that DeStefano wanted to send a message and drove hard into the bumper of Vanoskey spinning him into Dahmer and bringing out the yellow.
DeStefano was sent to the rear, while both Dahmer and Vanoskey were allowed to get their spots back.
The race was slowed again by the hard impact head on into the turn four wall when Pat McIntee was turned by the loose car of Brad Dahmer. McIntee would be ok, but his car was done for the night.
Mike Lange held off James Swan in an epic battle to win the Mid-American Sportsman feature. Lange started from the pole and led flag to flag, despite some last lap theatrics by Swan.
While Swan was stuck in traffic mid pack, Lange was able to get out to a sizable half straightaway lead. However, the veteran Swan began to reel in Lange and make his presence known. Swan was all over Lange’s bumper, but was unable to get past. With four laps to go, Swan bumped Lange’s car and got him sideways coming off of turn two, but allowed Lange to catch the car before wrecking it.
“We were lucky enough to gather it back up,” explained Lange. “I wasn’t going to give him the inside lane. It was going to be the outside if he was going to take me. He’s an excellent competitor and that’s why he’s a multi time champion.”
Swan was gracious in defeat when describing his attempt to loosen up Lange.
“I wanted to move him but didn’t want to spin him out at the same time,” said Swan.
Andy Welter took top honors in the Thunderstock division, holding off John Daley and Al Stippich for the win. Adam Peschek and Ken Schraufnagle rounded out the top five.
Mark Johler notched his third win of the season in the 4 cylinder Slinger Bees division. Johler made a daring move around Brandon Tackes and the lapped car of Erica Knutson to take the lead and cruise to the easy victory. Tackes would hold onto second place, while Nick Wagner came home in third. Fast qualifier Alex Prunty finished in fourth, while Dave Schmidt would wind up in fifth.
Brandon Gumm cruised to an easy victory in the Slinger Bees semi feature. Gumm beat Alexis Strobel to the checkers by a half a straightaway. Joe Shelby would finish in third with Jeremy Esser and Roman Blank completing your top five.
Jake Boldig took the checkers in the Wisconsin Sport Trucks feature. Boldig tired the patented outside/inside move to get around Dylan Ihde for the win. Todd Kostichka wound up in third, while Jeff Looker finished in fourth. Pete Zarnoth came home in fifth.
Marty Catalence won the Speedway Guest car feature.
Sean Bokath bested the field in the Spectator Eliminators.
Shane “The Shark” Becker took home his third Figure 8 feature win of the season in holding off Scott Goetzke. Justin Poenitsch would wind up in third, while Rick Bruskiewicz finished in fourth. Brandon Wolf rounded out the top five.
This article was posted to the website on July 26th, 2010