By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Sept. 1—Proving he is never to be counted out, Dennis Prunty won the 100-lap super late model feature with a thrilling and controversial last lap pass on Austin Luedtke while Steve Apel claimed the 2013 super late model track championship Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
Luedtke, who earlier wrestled the lead away from Prunty by running the outside lane, led at the white flag with a firm grip on the inside groove as Prunty set just outside his right quarter panel in the high lane while Apel also remained a factor racing close behind in third. Luedtke cleared Prunty exiting turn two but as the leaders entered turn three, Prunty dove hard into the corner, deep enough to get alongside Luedtke and when the cars touched wheels, Luedtke shot high on the speedway as Prunty drove off turn four for the victory. The impact cost Luedtke as Apel also drove under him to finish second and claim the 2013 Slinger Speedway super late model track championship while Luedtke was forced to settle for third.
“You open the door, I’m coming in,” Prunty told the extremely vocal crowd from victory lane as a mixed crescendo of cheers and cat calls rained down on the speedway. “I saw he stayed high and thought, I’ll drive her in hard,” Prunty continued, “We may have bounced tires but it was all good. I called Chuck Norris this morning and he said ‘do not take second and we’ll deal with the consequences.’”
“I don’t have anything to say but we had that one in the bag,” a disappointed Luedtke stated after sprinting to victory lane to confront Prunty about the finish. “I thought me and Dennis (Prunty) were over our differences and we were going to have a good cordial relationship when we were racing side by side,” Luedtke continued after being denied his first career Slinger super late model feature win, “He gave it back to us on the last lap and let’s just say the feud has started again and we’ll see who comes out on top next time. That finish is something I’ll remember.”
“We did what we had to do to win the championship,” Apel told the enthusiastic crowd from the front stretch after battling hard and leading laps prior to settling into a strong second place finish. “It got pretty rough out there for a while and we’re here to put on a show for the crowd, “Apel continued, “If that wasn’t a show then I don’t know what is.”
Mike Egan drove a strong race in his #44 Tundra Super Late Model Series ride as he advanced through the field to finish fourth while Brad Mueller also raced with the lead pack throughout the event before crossing the finish line in fifth. Conrad Morgan rebounded from an earlier spin down the front straightaway while racing with Luedtke to finish a respectable sixth while Tim Lampman completed one of his best runs of the season in seventh. Lowell Bennett, Jeff Holtz, and Chris Blawat rounded out the top ten finishers.
Davey Pennel was the winner of the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Jeff Way and Corey Funk and they along with fourth place finisher Nick Wagner transferred to the main event. Jeff Way, Rich Loch, and Dennis Prunty all claimed super late model heat race wins while Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap at 11.465 seconds.
Jeff Holtz claimed top honors in the 40-lap late model feature, leading flag to flag and turning back numerous challenges en route to victory.
Holtz quickly raced to the lead at the start as Adam Peschek slotted into second ahead of Ryan Farrell, Jack Stern, and Braison Bennett. Behind them, Ryan DeStefano, Mike Lichtfeld, and Alex Prunty all battled for position as Holtz began to extend his lead. The inside groove was the place to be and Stern began to fade back on the high side as Peschek closed to Holtz’s rear bumper as the leaders approached lapped traffic. Bobby Parker’s machine stalled entering turn three to draw the caution flag on lap 23 with Holtz leading over Peschek, Farrell, and Bennett. As the field accelerated for the restart, Peschek tried to get a strong run from the outer groove and in the process, lost control of his car off turn four, spinning in front of the field as they charged into turn one. The resulting melee damaged the cars of Farrell and Bennett as they along with Peschek retired from the event, leaving Holtz to lead over Lichtfeld, DeStefano, and Prunty. As racing resumed, Holtz remained out front as Lichtfeld and DeStefano settled into second and third despite driving cars that sustained damage in the previous incident. With Holtz continuing to lead, Lichtfeld and DeStefano took to the bottom lane as behind them Prunty and John DeAngelis worked the top lane and began to advance forward. A spin by Brittiny Helmers off turn four produced another caution flag with ten laps to go as Holtz led Lichtfeld, Prunty, and DeStefano. As Holtz chose the inside lane for the restart, Prunty took advantage of the restart cone and chose the outside lane as the others remained in the low groove. Prunty made a bid for the lead on the outside as racing resumed then settled into second behind Holtz as Lichtfeld tried to hold off DeStefano and DeAngelis. Holtz would not be denied over the final laps and he drove to the victory with Prunty following in second. Lichtfeld finished third just ahead of DeStefano and DeAngelis in fourth and fifth respectively.
Justin Poenitsch and Jeff Holtz each scored late model heat race wins and Braison Bennett was the fastest qualifier at 12.489 seconds.
Brad Hetzel led flag to flag to win the 30-lap Area Sportsman feature, taking the checkered flag ahead of Mark Fogel and Jason Thoma who charged from the last starting spot to finish third. Kyle Chwala and Kody Hubred were fourth and fifth respectively. Following the event, Fogel’s car failed post-race technical inspection and he was disqualified.
Jason Thoma won the first Area Sportsman heat race over Bill Prietzel and Mark Fogel won the second heat race ahead of Brad Hetzel. Due to earlier rains that delayed the start of the racing program, no Area Sportsman qualifying was completed.
Grant Griesbach scored his first feature victory of the season in the 25-lap Slinger Bees main event as the 11 year old held off defending track champion Nick Schmidt for the victory. Brandon Tackes finished a strong third while Jacob Schraufnagel and Dale Kiley-Schaefer rounded out the top five.
The 15-lap Slinger Bees semi-feature was won by Dave Schmidt over Evan Beattie and Ryan Savage. Carl Benn and Carol Ostovich were fourth and fifth respectively. Slinger Bees heat race wins were recorded by Dave Schmidt, Heather Stark, and Jacob Schraufnagel. Once again due to earlier rain showers, no Slinger Bees qualifying was conducted.
Willy Van Camp closed out the evening with a win in the Figure 8 race over Scott Goetzke and Shane Becker.
This article was posted to the website on September 2nd, 2013