Jeff Holtz Super Late Model Feature Winner with Sponsor Tim Keith (far left) of Keith's MarinaBy Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 4—Race fans in attendance at the Slinger Super Speedway Sunday night were treated to an All-American type finish as underdog Jeff Holtz drove to his first career super late model feature victory in the Keith’s Marina Firecracker 85 Independence Day Special.
“It took a long time and I’ve raced here for a lot of years but this is great,” Holtz told the crowd from victory lane, “I’m just so happy right now, I’m at a loss for words.”
Mike Egan and Dennis Prunty paced the field to the green flag with Prunty quickly launching to the lead from the outside at the completion of lap one. Egan settled into line in second behind Prunty with Conrad Morgan, Steve Apel, and Jon Reynolds Jr. scrambling for position behind them. By lap ten, Apel was able to work his way to third behind Prunty and Egan while fast qualifier Jeremy Lepak and Holtz maneuvered on the inside lane to advance into the top five. Lepak was on the move in the early laps, first passing Apel for third and then charging around Egan for second place by lap 20. Lepak began to shorten the distance between himself and Prunty for the lead and by lap 35 was planted on Prunty’s rear bumper as they worked lapped traffic. Lepak eased the nose of his car to the edge of Prunty’s bumper exiting turn two on lap 37 and when Prunty defended the position entering turn three, contact between the two sent Prunty’s car looping around in turn four to draw the caution flag. Both Prunty and Lepak were placed at the rear of the field for the restart as Egan inherited the lead over Holtz, Eric Fransen, Apel, and Lowell Bennett. Egan and Holtz battled side by side for the lead as racing resumed before Holtz was able power ahead on the outside off turn two on lap 41 as Fransen and Bennett moved into third and fourth place respectively. Holtz began to pull away out front while Fransen also used the high groove to get around Egan for second as Bennett moved up to challenge Egan along with Reynolds. Fransen began to chip away slightly at Holtz’s lead while Bennett advanced to third by lap 55. Holtz laid down some consistent laps in the late stages and hit his marks as Fransen was unable to move close enough to challenge as the laps wound down. Holtz maintained his lead and drove to a five car length victory over Fransen to score his first career super late model feature win. Bennett finished a strong third while Reynolds and Egan rounded up the top five. Lepak and Prunty continued their earlier battle through the field with Lepak edging Prunty for sixth at the line while David Prunty, Tommy Hromadka, and Randy Schuler completed the top ten finishers.