Slinger, Wis., June 23—Alex Prunty battled back from early setbacks to claim the inaugural Carl Wegner Memorial 75-lap Uptown super late model feature sponsored by Parker Store Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
Prunty, who found himself at the tail of the field following an early caution flag on lap four, sliced his way toward the front to be in position to take over the lead when early pacesetter Brad Keith experienced mechanical problems on lap 62. Prunty showed the way the remaining 13 laps to score his second feature victory of the season while Steve Apel and Grant Griesbach crossed the line in a photo finish for second with Apel taking the spot by just .0035 seconds.
“When we got to the track we were battling brake issues and this is a testament to how hard this team worked to correct the problem, “Prunty told the crowd afterwards, “I really wanted to win this for Carl (Wegner) as I won a championship with his LS (engine) and in 2012 he gave me an LS to keep me going so this is an emotional win for us and it means a lot.”
Steve Apel took the early lead as the caution flag waved quickly on lap four when slight door contact between Alex Prunty and Nick Wagner while racing for third resulted in Wagner’s car looping around. Both were sent to the tail of the field for the restart as Apel and Brad Keith raced side by side for the lead for many laps. Another caution flag waved on lap 16 when Josh Wallace tagged the turn four wall after experiencing a mechanical issue and when racing resumed, Apel and Keith renewed their battle for the lead. Keith was able to claim sole possession of the top spot on lap 26 and he began to pull away as farther back, Alex Prunty was making his charge toward the front. Prunty fought and won battles with Ryan DeStefano, Brad Mueller, Conrad Morgan, Grant Griesbach, and finally Steve Apel to set himself in second place behind Keith as the laps wound down. Keith suddenly slowed and pulled off the speedway on lap 62 and Prunty rocketed by into the lead while Apel and Griesbach raced hard for second place. Prunty raced to the victory while Apel and Griesbach took the checkered flag glued together for second with Apel taking the position by transponder decision.
“I ran with Brad Keith for the early lead for 20 or 30 laps and we never touched, then I raced with Grant (Griesbach) for another 15 or 20 laps there at the end and I don’t think we ever touched once.” Steve Apel following his close battle for second with Grant Griesbach, “He could’ve easily got into me and took me out but that’s not how we race. We were a little down this week but we will fix it and be back next week.”
“It was a good race and it was fun racing with Steve (Apel), “ Griesbach concurred, “ I could’ve moved him up a bit and I knew he might be the only guy that wouldn’t do it back t me. It was fun to put on a good show for the fans and I really wish we could’ve put our Wegner Automotive engine in victory lane tonight.”
A resurgent Conrad Morgan had one of his best races of the season as he raced near the front the entire race before taking the checkered flag in fourth just ahead of Brad Mueller in fifth. Casey Johnson drove Travis Dassow’s ride to a sixth place finish while Nick Wagner and Ryan DeStefano were seventh and eighth respectively. Tim Lampman and Bobby Kendall completed the top ten. 15-year old Kulwicki Driver Development Program Finalist Luke Fenhouse made his Slinger Speedway debut and looked impressive as he raced amongst the top five in the early going before mechanical issues forced him to retire from the event.
Lowell Bennett made a return to Slinger and won the 20-lap super late model semi-feature over R.J.Braun and Brad Kossow. Randy Schuler was fourth and Rich Bickle finished fifth. Nick Wagner won the super late model fast dash and Brad Keith was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.233 seconds.
After a string of runner-up results this season, Jack Stern finally broke through to capture his first feature win of the season in the 40-lap late model main event. Ryan Gutknecht finished a strong second and Ryan Craine completed an impressive run in third place. Jacob Nottestad battled back from early adversity to finish fourth and Jerry Mueller also overcame early problems to finish fifth. Tyler Hromadka and Jakob Hassler were the winners of the late model heat races and Tyler Schley set fast time at 12.106 seconds.
Bobby Gutknecht took the lead on lap 22 following a caution period and held off Ryan Gutkecht to win the 30-lap sportsman feature. Jay Kalbus finished third ahead of Mark Pluer who made his first Slinger appearance of the season and finished fourth. Andrew Meyerhofer, who led the first 21 laps, finished fifth. Sportsman heat races were won by Dale Lecus Jr. and Scott Shambeau while Ryan Gutknecht was the fastest qualifier at 12.608 seconds.
The dirt sport modified class made a special appearance and Braison Bennett won the 15-lap feature over Rick Kretschmann and Dale Cayemberg. Rick Kretschmann won the heat race and Braison Bennett was the fastest qualifier with lap of 13.270 seconds.
Joe DeStefano Jr. won the Bar Car race driving for Hanks and the Super X Racing team of Dale Kiley Schaefer and Jacob Scraufnagel won the Team Cruiser race. Ryan Lovald won his third straight Figure 8 race. During intermission Mikena Wantz was crowned the new Miss Slinger Speedway.