Slinger, Wis., Aug. 21— Lowell Bennett survived an intense Pomp’s Fan Appreciation Night 70-lap super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway to capture his first main event victory of the season.
“It’s been such a long time and this team of mine has tried so hard,” Bennett told the crowd from victory lane after recovering from an earlier incident that sent him to the back of the field before driving to the win, “Tonight I just counted it out and said ‘there’s no way we’re going to get back up there’ and attrition took its toll and we had a pretty good race car.” “I think it’s got to do with this old race suit,” Bennett continued, explaining why he donned an old driving suit for the evening, “I forgot my race suit at home and dug this one out of the closet from the nineties and maybe I ought to wear this next week.”
Mike Egan and Terry Patnode paced the field to the green flag with Tommy Hromadka and Jake Vanoskey directly behind them and the event got off to a rough start as Egan spun off turn two while racing with Hromadka on the opening lap, stacking up the field behind him resulting in an aborted start and damaging the cars of Mike Graczkowski and Dennis Prunty. The second attempt at the start was much better and this time Egan took the early lead over Patnode and Hromadka while Steve Apel charged into fourth just ahead of Vanoskey in fifth. Patnode became caught in the upper groove as Hromadka and Apel both raced by on the inside while Egan continued to lead. Apel ducked to the inside of Hromadka for second two laps later while further back, Jon Reynolds Jr., Bennett, and Eric Fransen all began to move forward, working the inside line. Apel quickly reeled in Egan and turned under him in turn two for the lead as Hromadka, Reynolds, and Bennett lined up nose to tail in their tire tracks. Reynolds and Bennett were both able to pass Hromadka on the inside but as they began to race each other, their cars came together in turn four, sending both drivers scattering toward the infield and drawing the caution flag on lap 18. Both Reynolds and Bennett were sent to the rear of the field for the restart with Apel leading Egan, Hromadka, Fransen, and Patnode. Apel maintained the lead as racing resumed as Egan settled into second while Fransen utilized the high lane to take third from Hromadka and Patnode began to feel pressure from Jeremy Lepak and Conrad Morgan for fifth. Lepak and Morgan hooked up to drive around Patnode and Hromadka on the outside and then both worked their way by Fransen to move into third and fourth respectively a few circuits later. As the event neared the halfway point, Lepak charged into second place, racing past Egan in the high groove as Morgan looked for a way around Egan on the inside.
On lap 38, Morgan edged to the inside of Egan down the front straight and got his front fender up to Egan’s door as they raced out of turn two, but slight side contact between the two in the middle of the backstretch sent Morgan’s car sliding into the infield grass to bring out the caution flag. Apel chose the inside for the restart as Lepak lined up alongside and as the green flag waved, Apel was able to get the jump into turn one to keep the lead as Lepak tucked in behind him while Egan and Fransen raced side by side for third and Dennis Prunty and Lowell Bennett recovered from their earlier incidents to hold the fifth and sixth positions. With Lepak making numerous looks to the inside of Apel for the lead, Fransen worked the top groove to take third from Egan and Prunty and Bennett also used the outside lane to get by Egan as well. With Lepak continuing to pressure Apel out front with Fransen lurking behind, Bennett was able to get to the inside of Prunty for the fourth spot and Egan filled the gap on the inside to battle Prunty for fifth. Lepak abandoned his attempts on the inside and went to the top groove to pull alongside Apel for the lead on lap 45 and after two laps of door to door racing for the lead, Lepak powered ahead for the top spot on lap 47. The action began to heat up in the battle for fifth two laps later as Egan got a run on the inside of Prunty off turn four and contact between the cars sent Prunty looping around across the track on the frontstretch where he was drilled heavily by the oncoming car of Reynolds as the caution flag waved for a third time. Both drivers exited their cars without serious injuries and Prunty candidly showed his displeasure with Egan as the field circled under yellow. Lepak chose the inside for the restart and as racing resumed, Apel held his ground up top as the leaders raced into turn three side by side.
They remained glued together through turn four where the intense battle erupted with Apel’s car spinning around and clipping the rear of Lepak’s machine before coming to rest on the apron where it was hit broadside by the sliding car of Steven Schulz with the caution lights illuminated once again. While Lepak was able to continue on, the hit to the rear of his car jarred some suspension pieces loose and they dragged along the race track behind him and he was forced to relinquish the lead and head to the pits to have the situation fixed. Eric Fransen became the new leader over Bennett, Hromadka, and Rob Braun as Lepak returned to the speedway and joined the tail of the field just before the green flag waved. As racing resumed, Bennett powered by Fransen on the high side to grab the lead on lap 50 as Lepak rapidly sliced his way through the field, picking off cars and positions with each lap. Lepak was up to third by lap 59 and began to narrow the gap between himself and Fransen in second as Bennett edged away slightly in the lead. Lepak caught Fransen in the closing laps and the tussle for second became the best battle on the speedway as Bennett remained comfortably out front. Bennett drove to the victory while Lepak shot by Fransen on the outside on the final circuit to claim second place at the finish, leaving Fransen with third while Rob Braun and Mike Egan rounded out the top five. Frank Nitzke finished in sixth place and Tommy Pecaro took the checkered flag in seventh. Terry Patnode, Mike Graczkowski, and Tommy Hromadka completed the top ten finishers.
Eric Fransen won the first super late model Qualifying Race over Chris Blawat and Jon Reynolds Jr. while Jerry Eckhardt took top honors in the second super late model qualifying race over Jake Vanoskey and Tommy Hromadka. Lowell Bennett was the fastest qualifier after touring the speedway in 11.479 seconds.
Alex Prunty drove to his first career late model feature victory in the 35-lap main event.
Wayne Freimund and John DeAngelis led the field to the green flag and Freimund wasted little time in charging to the lead as DeAngelis battled alongside Ryan DeStefano for second with James Swan and Alex Prunty looking on close behind them. The inside lane prevailed and DeStefano, Swan, and Prunty all were able to race by DeAngelis as he looked to get back to the bottom groove. Soon after getting past DeAngelis, Swan looked to pass to the inside of DeStefano for second but contact between the cars sent DeStefano spinning around in turn three to draw the caution flag. Swan joined DeStefano at the rear of the field for the restart with Freimund leading over DeAngelis, Prunty, and Chris Ratajczyk. DeAngelis tried to use the outside on the restart to grab the lead exiting turn two, but Freimund carried him to the wall off the corner and scooted away when contact between the cars slowed DeAngelis and allowed Prunty to move alongside for second. Prunty took over second place off turn four, leaving DeAngelis to race with Chris Ratajczyk for third while further back, Swan and DeStefano raced nose to tail and began to advance their way forward in a hurry. Prunty ran consistent laps to close in on Freimund for the lead before taking the top spot with an inside move off turn two on lap 21. Once out front, Prunty began to slowly ease away in the lead while Swan tracked down Freimund and took over second place with an inside pass in the closing laps. Swan began to close in on Prunty for the lead as the laps began to click off, but was unable to mount a serious challenge as Prunty drove under the checkered flag for his first career late model feature victory. Swan finished in second place just ahead of Freimund in third while DeStefano and Ratajczyk rounded out the top five.
Dan Church held off James Swan in a thrilling finish to win the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature.
Kenny Joosten led the opening laps over Jay Shambeau and Brett Widdis while Church, Swan, Ryan Farrell, and Andy Haver all worked their way forward from back in the field. Joosten held a comfortable lead over Shambeau as Church, Swan, Farrell, and Haver closed in on the battle for second. Shambeau spun around on lap 25 to draw the caution flag and Joosten led over Church, Farrell, Swan, and Haver for the restart. Church and Swan were able to race by Joosten on the restart as behind them Haver and Farrell battled intensely over fourth. Once he lost the lead, Joosten experienced mechanical issues and slowed, collecting Jack Stern and Jay Shambeau in an incident as they tried to go around him side by side on lap 28, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Church held the inside for the final laps but Swan raced hard on the high side and the two ran door to door for the lead as the white flag waved with Ryan Farrell directly behind them. Church led into turn three on the final lap but Swan was able to get a tremendous run off turn four as they drag raced to the checkered flag. Church won the dash to the finish by less than a car length over Swan who had to settle for second while Farrell finished a close third. Brett Widdis and Andy Haver were fourth and fifth respectively. Earlier, Jay Shambeau won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and James Swan set fast time at 12.834 seconds.
Brad Hetzel held off John Daley to win the 18-lap Thunderstock feature while Andy Welter finished third. Nate Fick and Chris Beine rounded out the top five. Adam Peschek won the Thunderstock qualifying race over Chris Beine and Carl Benn while Nate Fick won the fast dash. Brad Hetzel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 31.607 seconds.
Nick Wagner edged Steve Dickson to win the 18-lap Slinger Bee feature in an exciting finish. Jason Dull and Mark Johler finished third and fourth respectively while Brittiny Helmers took the checkered flag in fifth. Braison Bennett and James Lund each were winners of Slinger Bee heat races while Jason Dull won the fast dash. Nick Wagner was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 15.347 seconds. Pat Fischer won the Westbury Bank Speedway Guest Car race and Al Roberts drove his Chevy pick-up truck to the win in the Spectator Eliminator event. Scott Goetzke won the Figure 8 race to complete the evening’s program.
This article was posted to the website on August 22nd, 2011