By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Aug. 7—After leaving the familiar blue #40 car at home this week, Jeremy Lepak promptly drove the red one to victory lane after passing Dennis Prunty on the outside with seven laps to go in the 60-lap super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway to notch his fifth main event win of the season.
“It’s unbelievable to bring out a totally different race car and be this good,” Lepak said afterwards, “It was just unbelievable and scary fast.” “The blue car doesn’t like the outside,” Lepak continued, “but with this one here, I was a little nervous about going up there and trying it but when I went up there I couldn’t believe the grip I had with this car and I don’t have that with the blue car. That definitely was a key to the win.”
Dennis Prunty charged to the lead from the pole position at the drop of the green flag bringing Lowell Bennett and Steve Apel along with him in the inside groove as outside front row starter Jerry Eckhardt slotted in line in fourth place just ahead of Rob Braun, Jon Reynolds Jr., Randy Schuler, Lepak, and Mike Egan who all raced in a tight pack for fifth. After a few circuits, Reynolds and Lepak prevailed on the inside over Braun and Schuler in the high line as the front four raced nose to tail. Prunty maintained the lead despite heavy pressure from Bennett who looked both high and low for any kind of an opening to get by as Apel closed in on both of them from third. Behind the top three, Lepak cleared the battle for fifth place and quickly ran down Eckhardt in fourth. Even though the front three continued to race nose to tail, Bennetts attempts to pass Prunty coupled with Apel’s numerous looks to get around Bennett disrupted their rhythm which allowed Lepak to narrow the distance between himself and the leaders.
Lepak latched onto Apel’s rear bumper and after a few laps, used the high line to move into third while Bennett continued to pressure Prunty for the lead. After coming up short in his inside bids for the lead, Bennett moved to the outside which proved costly as Lepak filled the hole in the bottom lane to pass him for second with Apel following close behind to battle Bennett for third. Prunty and Lepak were able to surge ahead slightly as Bennett and Apel raced door to door over third but their advantage was quickly erased when Apel took the spot from Bennett just before the leaders encountered lapped traffic. The top four once again line up nose to tail as they weaved their way by the lapped cars with Prunty showing the way over Lepak, Apel, and Bennett. The intensity began to increase as the laps wound down and on lap 53, Lepak made his move, taking to the outside to drive by Prunty for the lead. Two laps later, Bennett dove to the inside of Apel in a bid for third entering turn three and contact between the cars resulted in Apel spinning wildly in turn four before coming to rest directly in front of Bennett as the two cars stopped on the speedway. Both were sent to the rear of the field for the restart with Lepak leading over Prunty while Mike Egan, Chris Blawat, and Randy Schuler occupied the third through fifth positions respectively. Lepak charged to the lead as racing resumed while Egan pulled alongside Prunty for second and Jon Reynolds moved into third as Blawat’s car broke loose in turn three, scattering the cars of Schuler and Rob Braun as Bennett advanced by them as they both fought to regain control. The race remained green with Lepak extending his lead while Egan worked his way around Prunty for second. Lepak drove the final lap unchallenged to score the victory while behind him, contact between Prunty and Egan send Egan’s car sliding to the infield as Prunty drove by to finish second. Chris Blawat recovered from his earlier slide to edge Reynolds for third while Bennett rounded out the top five.
Dennis Prunty and Jerry Eckhardt took top honors in each of the super late model 15-lap qualifying races while Prunty also was victorious in the super late model fast dash. Jeremy Lepak was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap at 11.458 seconds.
John DeAngelis raced from third to first on the final lap of a wild 35-lap late model main event to capture his second feature win of the season.
Brad Keith and Ryan DeStefano paced the field to the green flag with Keith taking the early lead just ahead of DeStefano, John DeAngelis and Alex Prunty. Prunty was able to get a fender alongside DeAngelis entering turn three to grab the third spot with DeAngelis sliding in line just ahead of Jerry Mueller in fifth. Keith began to extend his lead as Prunty closed on DeStefano for second. When he was unable to get by on the inside of DeStefano, Prunty looked to the top side in a bid for second which allowed DeAngelis to move in from fourth. After Prunty made another outside bid on DeStefano for second on lap 13, DeAngelis tried to fill the gap left to the inside and slight contact between the cars sent Prunty sliding sideways as he lost ground while regaining control of his car. As the laps clicked off, Keith’s lead began to shrink as both DeStefano and DeAngelis moved in.
As the leaders were just about to take the white flag, a spin by Prunty brought out the caution flag, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Keith and DeStefano charged side by side into turn one on the restart and they remained that way entering the final lap with DeAngelis right behind them in third. Keith and DeStefano rubbed fenders down the frontstretch and into turn one on the final circuit and by the time they were able to straighten their cars out, DeAngelis charged by both of them on the inside off turn two and into the lead. DeAngelis then drove to the checkered flag to capture the win while Keith recovered enough to finish second. Jerry Mueller was third and Dave McCardle was fourth while DeStefano fell to fifth after the last lap fireworks.
Ryan DeStefano won the 15-lap late model qualifying race as well as the late model fast dash while Dave McCardle was the fastest qualifier at 12.405 seconds.
Jimmie Evans shaded James Swan by inches in a photo finish to win the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature.
Evans led the field to the green flag over Jay Shambeau and Brian Holtz while Andy Haver and James Swan quickly sliced their way through the field. Haver and Swan worked to the inside of Shambeau for second and third respectively while Evans continued to lead just before the caution waved for a spin down the frontstretch by Ken Calhoun. As the race went back under the green flag, Evans hugged the inside lane while Haver challenged on the outside while Swan fended off Holtz for third. After several laps of racing side by side with Evans, Haver’s car began to fade a bit on the high line and Swan passed by on the inside for second. Haver remained tough on the outside though and after a few laps he was able to retake second from Swan, clearing him to move to the inside as Swan now looked to the outside for a way around. As Swan and Haver disputed second, Evans continued to lead and the lead trio approached lapped traffic. The traffic turned out to be detrimental to Haver as the lapped machines held the inside and he found himself picked by the traffic as Swan and Holtz charged by on the outside. Swan kept the momentum up on the top side and quickly pulled alongside Evans. Evans and Swan ran the final laps door to door with Evans on the inside and Swan using the high lane. As they exited turn four on the final lap, Evans was able to just barely win the drag race to the checkered flag to capture the win by inches over Swan. Brian Holtz finished third while Andy Haver and Jay Shambeau rounded out the top five.
Scott Shambeau was the winner of the 15-lap Midwest Sportsman qualifying race and Jimmie Evans won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash. Andy Haver circled the speedway in 12.870 seconds to nail down fast time honors for the division.
Carl Benn led flag to flag to score a convincing win in the 18-lap Thunderstock feature over Nathan Fick while Ken Schraufnagel edged Al Stippich for third. Brad Hetzel finished a strong fifth after starting from the rear of the field. John Daley won the 10-lap Thunderstock qualifying race and Nathan Fick won the Thunderstock fast dash. Brad Hetzel topped time trials for the Thunderstock division with a lap of 13.628 seconds. Nick Wagner took top honors in the 18-lap Slinger Bee feature over Steve Dickson and Brandon Tackes. Shane Westphal and Braison Bennett rounded out the top five finishers. Shane Westphal also won the Slinger Bee qualifying race while Allen Maher Jr. topped the Slinger Bee fast dash. Nick Wagner set fast time once again after touring the speedway in 15.317 seconds. Al Roberts won the Spectator Eliminator events in his 1972 Chevy truck and Willy Van Camp won the Figure 8 race. The special Celebrity Race was won by Bill Michaels over Todd Behling in a close finish.
This article was posted to the website on August 8th, 2011