By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Aug 30—Steve Apel edged Dennis Prunty to win the 60-lap super late model feature Sunday night at the Singer Super Speedway and regained the lead in the battle for the season championship by a mere five points with one night of racing remaining.
“Joe and the guys from Pathfinder helped me out all day and we were missing something but we finally found it, “Apel said from victory lane after scoring his fifth feature win of the season, “Dennis (Prunty) and I put on an awesome show for the fans and next week is going to be one heck of a show.”
Conrad Morgan led the opening laps with fellow front row starter Nick Wagner challenging alongside while Jamie Wallace, Brad Keith, and Ryan DeStefano followed. John DeAngelis, Tim Lampman, Dennis Prunty, and Steve Apel comprised the next group of cars as the field remained tightly bunched. Nick Wagner’s car slid sideways and came to a halt exiting turn two on lap six while he battled Morgan for the lead to produce the first caution flag of the race. Jamie Wallace lined up alongside Morgan for the restart and he used the inside groove to grab the lead as Morgan worked the high side. Keith and DeAngelis battled for third and contact between them on lap seven sent them skittering up the racetrack in turn one, taking Ryan DeStefano with them as the seas parted on the inside for Prunty and Apel and they advanced into third and fourth. Rob Braun had moved up to challenge for the top five but as he made his move to the outside, the rear bumper of his car clipped the nose of John DeAngelis which sent Braun spinning into turn three to draw the caution flag once again.
This time on the restart, Morgan retook the top spot using the inside lane as Wallace held his ground on the outside with Prunty and Apel also side by side directly behind them. Morgan cleared Wallace for the lead and with the inside opened up, Apel and Prunty dove their as both passed Wallace for second and third respectively. Apel then tracked down Morgan and was able to edge to the inside to take the lead on lap 16 as his move brought along the hard charging Prunty as well into second. A spin by Derek Kraus off turn four on lap 20 produced the third caution flag of the race with Apel leading Prunty, Wallace, Morgan, and DeAngelis. Apel used the outside lane to maintain the point over Prunty on the restart while Morgan held down third as Wallace and Dan Church raced door to door over fourth. A half spin by Dave McCardle off turn two on lap 26 drew another yellow flag and during the slow down, Jamie Wallace left the speedway with an apparent mechanical issue. Apel and Prunty renewed their battle for the lead as racing resumed and Church used the high line to snag third place away from Morgan. As the lead cars battled for position, the action heated up behind them as hard racing between Brad Keith and Derek Kraus concluded with Kraus riding the turn three wall as the caution flag waved again on lap 33.
Apel again chose the high side for the restart and as was the case earlier, he and Prunty continued their tussle for the lead. With ten laps to go, Prunty began to apply the pressure to Apel’s rear bumper and as the aggressiveness ratcheted up, he was able to move alongside Apel with the laps winding down. Apel and Prunty intensely raced door to door and were deadlocked together with two laps to go when Dan Church’s car spun in turn one after battling with Jeff Holtz bringing out the yellow flag again to set up a green-white-checkered finish. Prunty made a valiant effort to wrestle the lead away from Apel but Apel proved to be too strong and he drove under the checkered flag for the victory. Prunty finished second while Morgan was third. Ryan DeStefano and John DeAngelis rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Jeff Holtz finished sixth followed by Tim Lampman and Brad Keith in seventh and eighth while Nick Wagner and Dale Prunty rounded out the top ten.
Dale Prunty won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Lowell Bennett and Jerry Mueller. Derek Kraus finished fourth to transfer to the main event while Ricky Heinan was fifth. Chris Blawat, Mike Egan, and John DeAngelis were the winners of the super late model heat races and Dennis Prunty was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.399 seconds.
Jesse Bernhagen captured his first career Slinger Speedway late model feature in the 40-lap main event.
Brian Holtz took the lead at the drop of the green flag and led the beginning laps while Mike Meyerhofer moved into second just ahead of Steven Schulz. Meyerhofer pressured Holtz heavily for the lead, making numerous attempts on the inside. A few of those attempts resulted in some fender rubbing as Holtz tried to defend against the challenges and some of that contact cost both Holtz and Meyerhofer on lap 19 as Schulz drove by both of them to take the lead. Schulz maintained the lead in the mid stages of the race over Meyerhofer while Ryan Miles, Alex Prunty, and Mike Held sliced their way forward. Following lap 26 caution flag for a single car spin, Meyerhofer began to challenge Schulz for the lead, eventually taking the point on lap 29. Behind the leader, Miles, Prunty, and Held all worked their way into the second, third, and fourth positions while Jesse Bernhagen advanced into fifth. Miles, Held, and Prunty aggressively battled amongst each other and on lap 34 minor contact between Held and Miles, sent Miles up the track entering turn three allowing Prunty to fill the gap on the inside. Miles’s car kicked loose off turn four while Prunty was coming across off the bottom and with Held planted directly behind them contact between them sent Miles’ car hard into the outside wall while Prunty spun off the nose of Held in turn two producing a caution flag. Miles retired from the event with damage and Prunty and Held were sent to the rear of the field for the restart with Meyerhofer now leading over Bernhagen and Holtz. Bernhagen was able to use the outside line to build enough momentum to take the lead from Meyerhofer a few laps after racing resumed. Once out front, Bernhagen was not challenged and he drove to the victory followed by Meyerhofer and Holtz. Jordan DeVoy finished fourth and Dan Jung was fifth.
Brad Hetzel and Brian Holtz each won a late model heat race and Alex Prunty was the fastest qualifier at 12.268 seconds.
Jacob Schraufnagel scored his first Area Sportsman feature victory by winning the 30-lap feature in convincing fashion.
Schraufnagel built up a sizeable lead and never looked back as he took the checkered flag more than a straightaway ahead of Joe Shelby who finished second. Adam Bleskan crossed the finish line in third while Andy Welter and Nick Egan were fourth and fifth respectively.
Adam Bleskan won the Area Sportsman heat race and Nick Egan was awarded the fastest qualifier distinction after he and Andy Welter turned in identical 13.050 second times. Egan set the mark first which made him the fastest qualifier for the night.
Heather Stark led flag to flag to win the 25-lap Slinger Bee feature over Nick Schmidt and Tom Berens. E.J. Waldron took the checkered flag in fourth and Jared Deming was fifth.
Paul Reagles won the Slinger Bee semi-feature over T.J. Graczkowski and Jayden Buckley while Slinger Bee heat race victories were recorded by Tom Elsinger, Rick Schaefer, and Matt Rose. E.J. Waldron set a new track record in qualifying with a lap of 14.488 seconds.
Scott Roberts won the Spectator Eliminator races in his 1987 Camaro and Ryan Lovald closed the evening with a victory in the Figure 8 race.
This article was posted to the website on August 31st, 2015