By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., August 1—Dennis Prunty took advantage of a late caution flag when Lowell Bennett’s engine expired and held off Conrad Morgan in a photo finish to win the Kwik Trip 60 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“I guess Lowell Bennett blew an engine and I ran the outside of the 16 car (Steve Apel) for a long time and then I had to start on the inside of Conrad Morgan, “Prunty said, reviewing the exciting race from victory lane, “man his car has got some horsepower and it was tough holding him off, I drove my ass off.”
Bennett appeared to have the race in hand as the laps wound down, setting sail to a commanding lead over Apel, Prunty, and Morgan when suddenly his car came to an abrupt stop in turn one with eleven laps to go, belching smoke and flames as the power plant appeared to come unglued. With the current track point leader sent to the pits, Apel took over the top spot for the restart, choosing the inside lane to take the green flag with Prunty lined up to his outside. Apel and Prunty headed into turn one nearly even as racing resumed and the two raced door to door for the lead with neither able to gain any advantage while behind them Scott Schoeni and Conrad Morgan staged their own battle for third. Prunty edged ahead slightly on the outside entering turn one on lap 56 while Apel’s car slid loose as he entered the corner and looped around in turn two to produce the caution flag with just four laps remaining, setting up a shoot-out to the finish between Prunty, Morgan, Schoeni, and Egan. Prunty chose the inside lane for the restart but as the field came up to speed, Morgan held his ground on the outside and once again an intense side by side battle for the lead ensued, this time between Prunty and Morgan. The two took the white flag in a dead heat and Prunty held a minute advantage on the exit of turn two, however Morgan shot ahead by a few inches as they entered turn three. Prunty was able to get a bit of a run exiting turn four which was enough to just spurt ahead at the stripe to take the win by less than a car length over Morgan.
“With five laps to go when I was on the outside of Dennis (Prunty), I thought I could beat him, “Morgan stated after coming up just a half car-length short of the victory, “I think our car was as good as anybody’s at the end, it’s just a little bit rougher to try beat somebody like from the outside with five laps left.”
Mike Egan took the checkered flag in third place and had a front row seat for the spectacular finish as the battle for the win played out in his windshield.
“I’ve got to tell you, they were going at it,” Egan said afterwards, “I’ve never seen two guys race so hard in my whole life.”
Scott Schoeni completed a strong run by finishing fourth after transferring into the main event through the semi-feature and advancing his way to the top five while Randy Schuler, also transferred from the semi-feature, crossed the stripe in fifth. Brad Dahmer and Josh Wallace were sixth and seventh respectively while Fred Winn, Terry Patnode, and Steve Apel rounded out the top ten finishers.
Bennett’s evening ended prematurely with a twelfth place finish after leading 43 laps and dominating the first half of the event and that coupled with Prunty’s sixth feature victory of the season leaves Bennett with a 66 point lead over Prunty in the battle for the track championship.
Scott Schoeni won the 25-lap super late model semi-feature over Randy Schuler and Terry Patnode. Nathan Matz and Ronnie Ragan completed the top five. Mike Egan was the winner of the super late model fast dash while Dennis Prunty was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.526 seconds.
Chris Blawat drove to victory in the late model main event, scoring the win over Rob Braun and Jake Vanoskey.
Wayne Freimund and John DeAngelis led the field to the green flag and Freimund grabbed the early lead as the inside lane advanced, bringing Ryan DeStefano and Rob Braun into second and third place respectively. Behind the top three, Chris Blawat began to move forward, taking over fifth place from Brad Dahmer by lap five and then diving to the inside of Jake Vanoskey to race into fourth place on lap eight. Freimund was able to extend his lead as DeStefano had his hands full with Braun and Blawat trying to defend second place. Freimund’s lead grew to nearly a straightaway as Braun and Blawat swapped positions behind DeStefano just before the caution flag waved on lap 20 for a spin involving John Beinlich in turn two. Freimund took the inside line for the restart while DeStefano lined up on the outside and after an aborted start, the field was once again slowed under caution as on the second attempt, DeStefano’s car appeared to break loose as the leaders came up to speed, making contact with Freimund’s car as the lead machines became hooked on top of each other as they slid to the infield. Blawat took over the lead over Braun as racing resumed and he was able to edge ahead as the green flag waved. Braun tried to run down Blawat in the closing laps but his bid came up short as Blawat drove to the win. Braun settled for second at the finish while Jake Vanoskey, John DeAngelis, and Mike Graczkowski completed the top five finishers.
Ryan Farrell made his debut in a second Dan Church machine and the move paid off nicely as he drove to his first career Midwest Sportsman feature win in just his second night of competition in the division.
Jack Stern paced the early laps while Brian Holtz, Chris Ratajczyk, and Scott Shambeau battled behind him. Behind the top three, Farrell and Jimmie Evans entered the top five in fourth and fifth place respectively. Shambeau spun entering turn one on lap six and as he slid up the speedway, he was clipped by the car of Tom Elsinger as Dan Church and Bill Prietzel became swept up in the incident with Church’s car receiving most of the damage. Stern led on the restart but was immediately pressured for the lead by Ratajczyk who ducked to the inside on lap nine to take the top spot as Stern battled back on the outside. Behind the lead duo, Farrell remained planted behind Ratajczyk as Gregg Pawelski and Jimmy Evans raced with Holtz for fifth. The inside line was the preferred groove as Ratajczyk took sole possession of the lead while Farrell and Pawelski passed Stern for second and third place. Farrell made numerous attempts to the inside of Ratajczyk in a bid for the lead, but each time Ratajczyk was able to shut the door and maintain the top spot. Farrell edged the nose of his car to the inside of Ratajczyk’s rear fender down the backstretch on lap 19 and he muscled his way by for the lead. Ratajczyk immediately pulled to Farrell’s rear bumper, tagging it twice in an attempt to retake the lead position. Farrell was able to fend off Ratajczyk’s challenges and in the closing laps he pulled away slightly to score his first career Midwest Sportsman feature win. Ratajczyk finished in second place while Pawelski took the checkered flag in third ahead of Stern and Jay Shambeau in fourth and fifth respectively.
Eric Lingford took top honors in the 18-lap Thunderstock main event, scoring the win in a thrilling finish over Ken Schraufnagel and John Daley.
Schraufnagel took the lead at the drop of the green flag as Al Stippich, Rick Schaefer and John Daley raced in close quarters behind him. By lap three, Schraufnagel continued to lead while Stippich moved into second place as Lingford used an inside charge to take over third while Schaefer and Daley battled over fourth. As Schraufnagel maintained his lead, Lingford and Stippich raced side by side with Daley in their tire tracks and when Lingford bobbled momentarily on lap eight, Daley pounced on the opportunity as they raced three wide for second. Behind Schraufnagel, the situation shook out with Stippich in second place ahead of Lingford and Daley. The leaders ran nose to tail over the next four laps when suddenly Stippich’s car ground to a halt as the right front wheel came loose, drawing a caution flag. Lingford used the outside lane to challenge for the lead on the restart and he took command of the race with an outside move on lap 15. Once out front, Lingford could not be caught as Schraufnagel and Daley battled intensely for second. Lingford drove to the win as Daley and Scraufnagel banged doors in turn four coming to the checkered flag with Schraufnagel getting the spot at the stripe. Daley finished in third while Andy Welter and Nathan Fick were fourth and fifth respectively. Rick Schaefer won the Thunderstock fast dash and Lingford was the fastest qualifier at 13.785 seconds.
Nick Wagner held off Braison Bennett and Alex Prunty in a nearly three-wide finish to win the Slinger Bee feature. Brandon Tackes crossed the finish line in fourth while Russ Lorbiecki finished fifth. Brian Hillringhouse won the Slinger Bee semi-feature over Joe Shelby and Joe DeStefano Sr. Ryan Lovald was fourth and Joe Paulman was fifth. Alex Prunty set fast time in the Slinger Bee division with a lap of 15.715 seconds. Cris Harmen was the winner of the Spectator Eliminator races and Al Roberts won the Westbury Bank Speedway Guest Car event. Scott Goetzke won the Figure 8 race.
For the second consecutive year, Bill Michaels from WTMJ radio won the Kwik Trip Celebrity race after WBWI’s Fuzz Martin spun out in turn three while attempting to lap WTMJ-TV’s Lance Allan with a straightaway lead. Michaels held off Dave Kallmann of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for the win while Martin battled back to finish third. Lance Allan took the checkered flag in fourth place while Nick Dettmann of the West Bend Daily News was fifth.
This article was posted to the website on August 2nd, 2010