By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., May 18—It had been a long time coming, since August of 2011 to be exact, but Lowell Bennett found his way back to victory lane at the Slinger Super Speedway in exciting fashion, edging Steve Apel to win the Alan Kulwicki Memorial 60-lap super late model feature Sunday night.
“That was a close one and I about had my tongue hanging out those last ten laps,” a jubilant Bennett stated afterwards, “but I’m sure he (Apel) was the same way too, it was just balls out racing.”
“Lowell Bennett always gives me a lane to race and we put on a show for the fans,” Apel said after coming up just a few feet short of the victory, “As soon as he moved to the outside I was pretty sure I could get to the bottom and get by but the car got a little too tight there at the end. I probably should have pushed a little harder, live and learn I guess.”
Rich Loch paced the opening laps while racing hard with fellow front row starter Austin Luedtke while Dennis Prunty, Lowell Bennett, and Steve Apel battled close behind. Loch and Prunty used the inside lane to ease their way around Luedtke by lap five just before the first caution flag waved when Braison Bennett’s car got loose off turn four and collected Dave McCardle’s machine in the process, sending both cars into the frontstretch wall. The car of Dale Prunty was also swept up in the incident as Loch led Dennis Prunty, Luedtke, and Apel for the restart. Loch maintained the lead as racing resumed while Prunty began to fade dramatically on the outside, losing several positions before coming to a stop in turn four with a flat tire on lap seven and drawing another caution flag. Loch once again held the point for the restart with Luedtke alongside in second while Bennett and Travis Dassow advanced into third and fourth as Apel was forced to back off to avoid Prunty’s ailing car. As the green flag waved, Loch and Luedtke staged another intense battle for the lead as they leaned on one another through the corners before Loch was able to again prevail from the inside groove. Bennett and Apel were also able to use the low line to race their way around Luedtke and into second and third respectively. The caution flag waved for a third time on lap ten when the car of Robert Maynor experienced a mechanical issue and glanced off the wall in turn two. Loch again chose the inside lane for the restart while Bennett took to the top groove and he used a strong run to the green flag to pull even with Loch as they entered turn one. The two stayed side by side through turn two and down the backstretch before slight door contact between them entering turn three allowed Bennett to squirt ahead and into the lead. Apel also used a strong outside lane run to overtake Loch for second a short time later while Luedtke held down the fourth spot just ahead of Mike Egan, Travis Dassow, and Michael Bilderback. All eyes were on the leaders over the final 40 laps as Apel continuously applied the pressure to Bennett, ducking to the inside numerous times as with each look Bennett used a strong outside run off the corners to turn back the challenges. On the final lap, Apel closed to Bennett’s back bumper and ran him hard into turn one but his inside look in turn two fell just short as Bennett powered off the corner with the lead. Apel used another run off turn four to move alongside as Bennett swung wide but Bennett was able to win the drag race to the checkered flag by less than a car length. Rich Loch finished third while Austin Luedtke and Conrad Morgan rounded out the top five. Mike Egan and John DeAngelis Jr. were sixth and seventh while Michael Bilderback, Rob Braun, and Travis Dassow completed the top ten finishers.
Dan Jung won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Dave McCardle and Braison Bennett. Dale Prunty and Tim Lampman completed the top five finishers. Super late model heat race wins were picked up by Braison Bennett, Chris Blawat, and Austin Luedtke. Michael Bilderback was the fastest qualifier after turning a lap in 11.332 seconds.
Wayne Freimund was the winner of the late model feature that ended prematurely at the halfway point due to a red flag situation for a severe crash that involved several of the front running cars.
Tyler Schley and Ricky Heinan contested the lead in the opening laps with Wayne Freimund, Ryan Miles, Dan Church, Alex Prunty, and Al Stippich racing for positions behind them. The caution flag waved on lap six when Tim Lange’s car got out of shape on the backstretch after some hard racing with Mike Held. Before Lange could correct the car, Kevin Knuese and Jake Vanoskey were collected in the incident. Schley and Freimund battled for the lead as racing resumed before Freimund was able to take the top spot from the outside on lap 11, just before the caution waved again on lap 13 as Schley looped around in turn four and Ricky Heinan found the wall in the scramble to avoid the incident. That left Freimund and Church lined up in the front row as the green flag reappeared and Freimund used the lower lane to maintain the lead while Miles also used the inside to take over second, dropping Church into a race for third with Stippich. The race came to an abrupt halt on lap 20 when Stippich experienced mechanical problems while racing with Church and the ensuing fluid on the track sent both Stippich and Church into the turn one wall. With nowhere to go and no control due to the oil on the racing surface, Alex Prunty also tagged the first turn wall and finally all three cars were slammed hard by the spinning car of Jerry Mueller. The incident brought out the red flag and due to time limit constraints the event was concluded with all cars not responsible for the fluid on the track being awarded their positions at the last completed lap. Freimund was declared the winner followed by Miles in second place ahead of Church, Jack Stern, and Alex Prunty. Jerry Mueller finished sixth and was taken to a local hospital for observation following the incident from which he was later released.
Late Model heat race wins were captured by Jake Vanoskey and Steven Schulz while Dan Church was the fastest qualifier at 12.535 seconds.
Mark Deporter was declared the winner of the Area Sportsman feature that also ended a lap early after a caution flag on the green-white-checkered restart.
Adam Peschek led the first seven laps before Brad Hetzel took over the top spot which he held until Deporter began to challenge him by lap 16. Deporter and Hetzel traded the lead with Deporter leading lap 17 before Hetzel retook the point a lap later. Hetzel held the lead for another six laps before Deporter was finally able to charge by on lap 25. A spin on the final lap, lined up the cars for a green-white-checkered finish with Deporter leading over Hetzel, Bill Prietzel, and Kyle Chwala. As racing resumed however, another caution flag brought the race to a conclusion with the order reverted to the last completed lap. Deporter was named the winner with Hetzel second ahead of Prietzel, Chwala, and John Daley. Following the event, Hetzel and Daley’s cars failed post race technical inspection.
Jason Dummer and Kyle Chwala each won Area Sportsman heat races while Bill Prietzel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 13.151 seconds.
Steve Dickson was the winner of the 25-lap Slinger Bee feature over Brandon Tackes and Dale Kiley-Schaefer. Nick Schmidt finished fourth and Heather Stark was fifth. Jayden Buckley won the 15-lap Slinger Bee semi-feature over Bill Ostovich Jr. and Isaac Daniel. Bill Ostovich Jr., Steve Zoromski, and Nick Schmidt all won Slinger Bee heat races and Steve Dickson was the fastest qualifier after circling the speedway in 14.712 seconds.
Russ Lorbiecki was the winner of the rollover contest and Ed Christ won the Spectator Eliminator races with his Mustang. Ron Schmitt was the winner of the Figure 8 race.
This article was posted to the website on May 19th, 2014