Slinger, Wis., April 29, 2012—Recovering from a miscue with 20-laps remaining that sent him back to third, Dennis Prunty tracked down first Chris Blawat and then Jeff Holtz to capture the win in the season opening Miller Lite 130 super late model feature Sunday afternoon at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“I almost hit the wall twice…that’s crazy” Prunty stated from victory lane after nearly losing control of his machine in turn two late in the going, “I thought I snapped an axle and just lifted and thought ‘we’re done’.” “And about three laps later the car was still going and we came right back for it, we found a new groove and away we went, “Prunty continued describing the recovery and the way he hunted down Holtz for the lead, taking command of the race on lap 119.
“It just kept getting looser and looser, “Holtz told the crowd afterwards, somewhat disappointed with the runner-up finish after leading a majority of the event, “I was trying my damnedest and I’m surprised he (Prunty) came back and passed me like that. We had a fast car but just didn’t have any tires left there at the end… it was fun racing out there today.”
Randy Schuler and Chris Blawat led the field to the green flag and the pair swapped the lead in the beginning laps as Mike Graczkowski, Mike Egan, and Josh Wallace settled into the top five just before a spin by Jake Vanoskey in turn four brought out the first caution flag on lap three. Schuler and Blawat continued their side by side battle as racing resumed while Egan moved into third, leaving Graczkowski to battle with Jeff Holtz and Lowell Bennett for the fifth spot. Blawat was able to use the outside to clear Schuler for the lead on lap 11 as a slight bobble combined with a minor tap from behind loosened Schuler up, allowing Egan to pull alongside in a battle for second just ahead of Holtz, Graczkowski, and Bennett. Holtz and Bennett also used the outside lane to clear both Graczkowski and Schuler to move into fourth and fifth place as behind them Conrad Morgan, Eric Fransen, Dennis Prunty, and Steve Apel all used the outer groove to advance forward. The caution flag appeared a few laps later for a minor spin by Nick Wagner in turn four with Blawat leading over Egan, Holtz, Bennett, and Morgan. Blawat and Egan led the field in two by two formation for the next three laps as the green flag waved before Blawat prevailed in the inside lane, bringing Holtz along with him around Egan and into second. Egan fell back in line ahead of Morgan as Steve Apel challenged Bennett over fifth place. Behind the top five, Eric Fransen edged ahead of Dennis Prunty for seventh but their momentum was broken when they closed on the side by side battle between Apel and Bennett in the middle of the corner resulting in Prunty tapping Fransen’s bumper, sending him looping around as the caution waved, placing both drivers at the rear of the field for the restart. Blawat edged ahead from the inside as racing resumed while Egan filled the inside opening to race alongside Holtz for second with Bennett and Morgan right in their tire tracks. Holtz used the outside to power around Egan for second as Morgan also worked the top line to draw even with Egan for third as Apel joined the battle racing to the high side of Bennett in fourth. Morgan and Apel both worked the outside groove to race around Egan and into third and fourth respectively as deeper in the field, Fransen and Prunty sliced their way back towards the front. While attempting to pass Corey Funk, Fransen’s right front climbed over Funk’s left rear as they entered turn three and both cars sailed into the fence to bring out another caution, ending both of their afternoons. Blawat and Holtz battled alongside each other for the lead following the restart with Morgan and Apel racing side by side behind them for third before the yellow flag waved again a few laps later for a tangle between Chris Ratajczyk and Graczkowski in turn four. This time, Holtz was ready on the outside and as racing resumed, he used a strong run into turn one to take the lead from Blawat on the exit of turn two as Apel edged to the inside of Morgan for third, while Morgan fell to fifth as Egan also worked his way by on the inside. With Holtz edging away, Apel pressured Blawat for second, taking the spot with an inside pass a few laps later and with Blawat moved to the high groove, Egan ducked to the low side in an effort to grab third. As Egan and Blawat exited turn two, their cars came together on the backstretch as Blawat spun across Egan’s nose and into the infield as the caution waved with both drivers sent to the rear of the field for the restart. Holtz and Apel led the field back to green and Apel used a good run on the outside to grab the top spot from Holtz with Bennett close behind while Prunty used the outside lane to move into fourth ahead of Morgan. A lap later, Prunty used the inside line to pass Bennett for third as Apel maintained his lead over Holtz, just before the field was slowed for another time as the result of a tangle between Ratajczyk and Vanoskey in turn four on lap 50. Back to green, the top three remained unchanged as Apel led Holtz and Prunty, but behind them Morgan’s car began to develop problems and he slowed as almost simultaneously, Bennett’s car also came to a stop, drawing another caution flag and allowing Blawat and Rob Braun to enter the top five. Apel led the charge toward the halfway mark as Prunty eased around Holtz for second using the inside lane and the field entered the scheduled break at lap 65 with Apel leading Prunty, Holtz, Blawat, and Braun. As the field took the green flag to begin the second half of the race, the yellow waved again before a lap could be completed as an incident between Ratajczyk and Nick Wagner resulted in Wagner’s car nosing hard into the backstretch wall. As racing resumed, Prunty worked the top lane to make his way around Apel for the lead with Holtz, Blawat, and Braun racing close behind. Apel’s car began to drift a bit in the corners, allowing both Holtz and Blawat to pass by on the inside while Prunty continued to lead. Holtz began to track down Prunty for the lead, pulling alongside a few laps later, but his bid was thwarted when cars racing farther back tangled directly in front of the leaders, producing a caution flag as the lead cars escaped the close call with little damage. Prunty maintained the lead over Holtz and Blawat on the restart and pulled away to a few car lengths advantage. Suddenly with about 20 laps to go, Prunty’s car kicked severely loose exiting turn two and both Holtz and Blawat raced by, dropping Prunty to third as he tried to recover. Prunty got his car straight and immediately charged around Blawat for second and set his sights on Holtz who enjoyed a comfortable lead with the laps winding down. The handling began to fade on Holtz’s car as the tires wore down and Prunty quickly closed the gap between himself and the leader. Working the high lane, Prunty caught Holtz and made the outside pass for the lead on Holtz on lap 119.
For Prunty, it was smooth sailing from there and he scored his first Slinger super late model feature win since 2010 as Holtz was forced to settle for second place. Chris Blawat turned in his best super late model performance to date, finishing a strong third. Josh Wallace took the checkered flag in fourth and Brad Kieth scored his career best super late model feature finish in fifth. Jake Vanoskey finished in sixth and Mike Egan was seventh ahead of Rob Braun and Race McComb in eighth and ninth. Steve Apel retired from the event with three laps to go and finishing tenth.
Dennis Prunty also won the super late model fast heat over Chris Blawat and Jeff Holtz while Jake Vanoskey was the winner of the regular super late model heat over Dan Jung and Corey Funk. Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.356 seconds.
Alex Prunty opened the 2012 season with a win in the 35-lap late model feature over Ryan DeStefano and Dan Church while Pat McIntee and Al Stippich rounded out the top five. Jerry Mueller won the late model fast dash while Braison Bennett captured the win in the late model heat race over Andy Welter and Dan Church. Alex Prunty was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap of 12.319 seconds.
James Swan was the winner of the Midwest sportsman feature when Dave Thomas became caught up in lapped traffic while battling Swan for the lead with four laps to go. Ryan Farrell finished second ahead of Kenny Joosten and Jack Stern. Jay Shambeau finished fifth. Dave Thomas was the winner of the Midwest sportsman fast dash and Ryan Gutknecht won the heat race over Eric Lingford and Jay Shambeau. Ryan Farrell was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.439 seconds.
John Daley won the Thunderstock feature over Brad Hetzel and Ken Schraufnagel while Jerry Kulas and Joe Shelby rounded out the top five. Tyler Schley won the Thunderstock fast dash and Brad Hetzel scored the win in the Thunderstock heat race over Josh Fehrman and Joe Shelby. John Daley was the afternoon’s fastest qualifier at 13.950 seconds.
Nick Schmidt won the Slinger Bee feature, finishing ahead of Ryan Savage and Davey Pennel. Dave Lembke and Misty Benn were fourth and fifth respectively. Slinger Bee heat race wins were picked up by Nick Schmidt, Jason Dull, and Corey Romanesko. Davey Pennel was the fastest qualifier at 15.420 seconds.
Willie Van Camp was the winner of the Figure 8 event.
This article was posted to the website on April 29th, 2012