By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Sept. 12—Dennis Prunty drove to his seventh super late model feature win of the season in the 80-lap Pepsi Challenge Season Championship main event Sunday afternoon at the Slinger Super Speedway while Lowell Bennett was crowned the super late model track champion for the seventh time in his career.
“Oh yeah! ”Prunty exclaimed from victory lane, “That’s seven! It was a great battle and I’ll tell you what, I took that outside lane and just put in on cruise control from there on out.”
Brad Dahmer and Austin Luedtke began the race from the front row and traded the lead in the opening laps before Dahmer edged ahead on lap three. Mike Egan used the inside line to take over second place from Luedtke two laps later while behind them Dennis Prunty and Steve Apel over the fourth and fifth spots. A spin by Mike Gunderson on lap nine produced the caution flag with Dahmer leading over Egan, Luedtke, Apel, and Prunty. As racing resumed, Egan wrestled the lead away from Dahmer using the high side as Luedtke began to pressure Dahmer for second. A few laps later, Luedtke was able to work his way to the inside of Dahmer and took the second spot, bringing Prunty along with him into third. As Dahmer tried to get back to the low line, the nose of Conrad Morgan’s car was there and the incidental contact between them momentarily slowed the field as Morgan took the spot while Dahmer tried to regroup on the high side with Apel directly behind him.
With Egan out front, Prunty advanced to challenge Luedtke for second, taking the position with an outside pass on lap 19 while behind them, Morgan held off the challenges of Lowell Bennett and Tommy Pecaro over fourth place. As Prunty chased Egan for the lead, Luedtke’s car began to wash up slightly in the corners and both Morgan and Bennett were able to pass him for position and into third and fourth respectively using the inside groove. As the leaders approached lapped traffic, Prunty closed to Egan’s bumper and the two race nose to tail around the lapped cars. As they raced around the car of Tanner Berryhill, Egan made his way by, but as Prunty went to the outside to pass, Berryhill’s car raced wide out of the second turn and made brief contact with Prunty’s left front, causing Prunty’s car to knick the backstretch wall. Prunty gathered the car back up and upon entering turn three, Berryhill’s car looped around, the recipient of Prunty’s frustration from the backstretch contact as the caution flag waved.
Egan lined up on the inside for the restart, but it was the outside line that proved to be beneficial to Prunty as he charged to the lead off turn two just after the green flag appeared. Apel also began to work the outside and he raced side by side with Bennett for third place as Randy Schuler entered the top five. Apel’s car kicked loose in turn four two laps later, allowing Bennett to take the third spot and Schuler to also get around for the fourth position. Prunty put some distance between himself and Egan as the laps began to click away. With five laps to go, the final yellow flag of the event flew when Berryhill spun in turn four after minor door contact while being lapped by Prunty. Prunty went to the outside for the restart which set up the final five lap dash to the finish, leaving Egan the inside as racing resumed. Egan tried valiantly to take the lead, but Prunty proved to be too strong on the outside and he drove to his seventh super late model feature win of the season. Egan finised second and claimed the Pepsi Challenge three round championship by a mere four points over Prunty while Bennett finished third and wrapped up his seventh track championship.
“My car was just awesome and then on that restart it just got so tight,” Egan explained afterwards, “I knew Dennis (Prunty) was going to take the high side and I was like ‘C’mon take the low side, but he’s a good racer and he deserved to win.”
“We had just a phenomenal year, “Bennett said after finishing third and winning his seventh track championship. “We really appreciate coming here and I told the guys, next week they’ll probably be sitting in the lazy boy watching football games, I said a bad day at Slinger is better than a good day in the lazy boy.”
Steve Apel finished fourth and Randy Schuler took the checkered flag in fifth. Jerry Eckhardt had one of his strongest runs of the season with a sixth place finish while Brad Dahmer, Tommy Pecaro, Austin Luedtke, and Dale Prunty rounded out the top ten finishers.
Mike Gunderson captured his first Slinger victory of the year in the 25-lap super late model qualifying race over Tommy Hromadka and Tanner Berryhill. Race McComb and Ron Ragan rounded out the top five. Tommy Pecaro was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Conrad Morgan was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.495 seconds.
Wayne Freimund scored an exciting win with a late stages pass in the eventful 35-lap late model main event.
Steven Schultz and Chris Blawat swapped the top spot in the opening laps with Dave McCardle, Pat McIntee, Rob Braun, and John DeAngelis racing in formation behind them. A spin by DeAngelis in turn four produced the caution flag on lap four as Schultz led over Blawat and McCardle. Schultz and Blawat renewed their battle for the top spot as racing resumed but McCardle had his car hooked on the inside and soon joined the fight for the lead. Two laps after racing resumed, McCardle dove to the inside of Blawat entering turn three and then upon the exit of turn four, he was able to move to the inside of Schultz to take command of the race. McCardle continued to lead as Schultz and Blawat raced side by side for second with Braun, Jake Vanoskey, and McIntee following. Farther back the cars of Jesse Bernhagen and Rusty Hansen tangled in turn two while racing for position and the caution waved on lap 20. Schultz was able to clear McCardle momentarily off turn two on the restart to take the lead but a nudge from McCardle in turn four opened the door for McCardle to retake the top spot and bring Braun along with him into second. Two laps later, the caution flew again when Braun’s car spun on the frontstretch while racing with Schultz for second. Schultz and Braun lined up for the restart at the rear of the field as McCardle now led over Blawat, Wayne Freimund, and Dan Lensing as racing resumed. McCardle and Blawat remained door to door for the lead and both cars slid sideways as they entered turn one with each driver able to save their cars and continue on. In turn three and four, McCardle and Blawat again slid sideways in synchronicity but this time as they maintained control, a gap opened up on the inside which Freimund promptly filled, making a nearly three wide pass for the lead on lap 29. Freimund and Blawat then raced side by side for the lead as McCardle faded slightly, allowing Pat McIntee to join the lead battle on the final lap. Blawat’s car bobbled in turn two, allowing McIntee to take second as Freimund raced under the checkered flag for the win. McIntee finished in second ahead of Blawat and Dan Lensing. Rob Braun finished fifth and was crowned the late model track champion. Earlier, Blawat was the winner of the late model fast dash and Braun set fast time at 12.558 seconds.
Mike Lange took top honors in the 35-lap Midwest sportsman feature over Scott Shambeau and Jay Shambeau.
Adam Berge led the opening laps over Scott Shambeau, Mike Lange, Chris Storey and Andy Haver before contact between Storey and Haver drew the first caution flag on lap eight. Shambeau used the restart to claim the top spot and bring Lange with him into second as Berge battled with James Swan and Brad Keith for third. Shambeau and Lange pulled away from the field by lap 18 but their advantage was erased when Jimmie Evans and James Swan’s cars came together in turn four, sending Swan around and into the car of Ryan Farrell to produce the caution flag. As racing resumed, Shambeau and Lange began an intense side by side battle for the lead that lasted several laps before Lange prevailed by lap 24. A spin by Brian Holtz on lap 29 drew another caution flag, setting up a six lap sprint to the finish. Lange brought the field to the final green with Shambeau alongside and the two raced door to door in the closing laps. Shambeau took a look to the outside of Lange for the lead on the final lap and then ducked to the inside in turn three but the move came up just short at the finish line as Lange charged to the win. Scott Shambeau finished second while Jay Shambeau was third while Andy Haver rebounded from the earlier incident to finish fourth. Brad Keith was fifth. Despite not finishing the race, James Swan was crowned the Midwest sportsman track champion. Swan was the winner of the Midwest sportsman fast dash and Haver set fast time at 12.811 seconds.
The Thundertock feature event which was won by John Daley was highlighted by the battle between Eric Lingford and Al Stippich for the track championship as the two entered the event only a point apart, meaning the championship would go to the driver who finished the main event the highest.
Nathan Fick led the beginning laps over Rick Schaefer as Lingford found himself trapped behind the car of Ken Schraufnagel with Stippich just ahead. After a near three-wide pass in turn one, Lingford cleared Schraufnagel’s car and raced side by side with Stippich as Fick continued to lead over Schaefer, Jake Larson, John Daley, and Carl Benn. Lingford and Stippich both passed Benn for position as ahead of them, Larson ducked to the inside of Schaefer for second. Larson took second place, leaving Schaefer and Daley side by side with Lingford and Stippich door to door behind them. Schaefer’s car slowed slightly entering turn three and was struck from behind by Lingford, sending Schaefer’s car spinning up the track as the yellow waved with Fick leading over Larson and Daley. Lingford was sent to the rear of the field as Fick set the pace for the restart. Fick was able to keep his lead as racing resumed while Daley advanced into second place with Larson, Stippich, and Schraufnagel racing over fourth with Lingford charging from the rear of the field. Daley went around Fick on the outside for the lead as Schraufnagel moved to second as Lingford made his way back to the top five. Daley drove to the checkered flag for the win over Schraufnagel while Lingford caught Stippich and Fick on the final lap. Stippich was able to use the outside line to beat Fick to the line for third while Lingford finished in fifth in their tire tracks. Stippich’s third place finish was enough to earn him the track championship over Lingford while Daley celebrated his win. Earlier, Ken Schraufnagel won the Thunderstock fast dash and Al Stippich set fast time at 13.544 seconds.
Nick Wagner won the Slinger Bees feature over David Prunty and Alex Prunty. Shane Westphal and Brandon Tackes finished in fourth and fifth respectively. Alex Prunty was crowned the Slinger Bee track champion. Erica Knutson won the Slinger Bee qualifying race over Marty Tackes and David Prunty while the Slinger Bee fast dash was won by Alex Prunty. Nick Wagner was the fastest qualifier at 15.464 seconds. Darren Woerfel won the Speedway Guest Car race and Luke Hilgendorf drove his Subaru to the win in the Spectator Eliminator races. Scott Goetzke won the Figure 8 race and was crowned the track champion.
This article was posted to the website on September 13th, 2010