By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., August 22—teve Apel won the Pomp’s Tire Fan Appreciation 65 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway in a wild finish after tangling with Dennis Prunty while they raced to the checkered flag, triggering a mulit-car incident that left the finish in doubt until officials sorted out the melee.
A late caution involving Mike Egan and Conrad Morgan on lap 62 set up the crazy conclusion as Prunty led Apel for the final three lap dash toward the finish. Prunty chose the inside lane for the restart and with Apel alongside, racing resumed with Prunty holding a slight advantage for the lead. A lap later, Apel made a brilliant move to turn under Prunty exiting turn two to take the inside line, leaving Prunty up high as they battled side by side to the white flag. On the final lap, Apel defended his line, using a sizeable amount of racetrack exiting turn two and halfway down the backstretch, the cars made right front wheel to left rear wheel contact which sent Prunty’s car spinning across the nose of Apel’s car as they entered turn three.
Prunty’s car came back up the racetrack and as Apel went high to avoid it, he collided with third place Scott Schoeni, tearing off Schoeni’s front fender and sending his car skating high into turn four. Apel and Schoeni continued on toward the checkered flag with Apel crossing the stripe merely inches ahead of Schoeni. Behind them, cars stacked up in the turn as Jeremy Lepak took to the grass to pass both Austin Luedtke and Terry Patnode and beat them to the flag for third while Prunty righted his car and drove across the line in sixth place. Track officials huddled at the start-finish line to sort out the situation and figure out the official winner and after several minutes it was determined that since no caution flag was thrown, the transponder scoring of how the cars crossed under the checkered flag would be the official order of finish, making Apel the winner in a photo finish of .004 seconds over Schoeni. Lepak, Luedtke, and Patnode rounded out the top five while Prunty was credited with a sixth place finish.
“That’s just racing, that’s what I’ve been told by him (Prunty),” Apel stated from victory lane, celebrating a win that appeared even more improbable after breaking a rocker arm in practice that resulted in the team totally rebuilding the engine before qualifying. “I don’t know (about the final lap),” Apel continued, “That last restart was tough, he got me on the inside and then I got back on the inside of him…that’s just racing I guess.”
“I was pretty much minding my own business as our car worked pretty good on the outside, “ Schoeni stated after his second place finish, “I saw the 16 (Apel) and the 42 (Prunty) get together a little bit, I went on the outside of them and wound up ahead of everybody. We almost got him…it was close.”
A disappointed Prunty left the speedway without comment after finishing sixth and gaining championship points on Lowell Bennett who finished 17th after retiring from the event early with mechanical problems. Mike Egan finished in seventh place while Conrad Morgan, Mike Held and Tommy Pecaro rounded out the top ten finishers.
Tommy Hromadka won the 12-lap super late model qualifying race that determined starting positions behind the invert in the feature. Terry Patnode was second ahead of Scott Schoeni, Chris Ratajczyk, and Mike Held. Dennis Prunty was the winner of the super late model fast dash while Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.556 seconds.
Jake Vanoskey led flag to flag en route to the win in the 35-lap late model feature over Mike Graczkowski and Dave McCardle. Pat McIntee took the checkered flag in fourth while Rob Braun held off James Swan for fifth. Vanoskey also won the late model fast dash while Rob Braun was the fastest qualifier after circling the speedway in 12.558 seconds.
Gregg Pawelski led the opening laps while Jack Stern and Evans raced for second while Dan Church held the fourth spot. Ryan Farrell, Jay Shambeau and Andy Haver battled for fifth as Pawelski continued to lead over Stern and Evans. Mike Lang and James Swan moved up to join the fight for fifth along with Farrell, Haver, and Shambeau. Farrell, Haver, and Lang went to the top side to advance ahead of Shambeau while Swan ran the inside behind Shambeau as the two lost positions when Jeff Holtz went by on the outside as well. Evans worked his way around Stern for second place and began to track down Pawelski for the win. Pawelski’s advantage began to shrink as he approached lapped traffic and Evans closed to his bumper by lap 17. One lap later, Evans ducked inside of Pawelski in turns three and four and then was able to move high and squeeze between Pawelski and the lapped car to take the lead entering turn one. One out front, Evans was able to drive to the victory, taking the checkered flag for his first feature win of the season ahead of Pawelski and Church while Stern and Farrell rounded out the top five. James Swan was the winner of the Midwest sportsman fast dash and Andy Haver set fast time at 12.898 seconds.
Carl Benn and Andy Welter led the field to the green flag and Welter drove into the lead while Lingford worked the outside to grab second, leaving Benn to battle with Bernie Leonard and Jake Larson for third. By the seventh lap, Lingford was on Welter’s tail and began to challenge for the lead while Al Stippich advanced to take third. Lingford moved alongside Welter using the upper groove and the two ran door to door with Stippich immediately behind Welter on his rear bumper as farther back, John Daley cleared himself from traffic and began to march forward. Lingford made the top lane work and he cleared Welter for the lead while Stippich went to work on Welter for second. Stippich’s race came to a conclusion on lap 11 when he suddenly lost the right rear wheel on his car and looped around exiting turn four to produce the caution flag. Lingford hit his marks on the restart and he charged into the lead as racing resumed with Welter settling into second. Behind the lead duo, Jake Larson wrestled with a loose race car as John Daley took advantage of the situation and advanced into third place. Lingford drove to the victory to add to his season long points lead while Welter edged Daley for second in a close finish at the stripe. Larson drove to a fourth place finish and Adam Peschek finished in the fifth spot. Lingford also won the Thunderstock fast dash and Stippich set fast time at 13.732 seconds.
Nick Wagner won the 20-lap Slinger Bees feature that got off to a tough start when Tyler Schley hit the turn one wall hard on the opening lap. Wagner battled Braison Bennett throughout the event before holding off Bennett for the win. Leo Bujak finished third while Alex Prunty and Mark Johler rounded out the top five. Schley won the first Slinger Bee heat race over Brandon Tackes and Russ Lorbiecki while Erica Knutson scored her first Slinger Bee win in the second heat race over Carl Gebhard and Dustin Oostberg. Mark Johler won the Slinger Bees fast dash and Nick Wagner toured the speedway in 15.586 seconds.
Greg Kaczmarek won the Speedway Guest Car race and track chaplain Jim Zierke was the winner of the “Faster Pastor” race. Rick Bruskiewicz capped off the evening with a win in the Figure 8 event.
This article was posted to the website on August 23rd, 2010