Slinger, Wisconsin (May 26, 2013)—After years of trying, Rob Braun scored his first career super late model feature win Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway capturing the E.H. Wolf Memorial Day Fireworks 75. Defending track champion Dennis Prunty took the runner-up spot over Casey Johnson.
The win, however, did not come without controversy.
Jeff Holtz and Johnson started from the front row and at the drop of the green raced side-by-side for the first nine laps. While the duo sorted out the front position, Brad Mueller, Conrad Morgan and Lowell Bennett lined up nose to tail behind the leaders. Mueller got Holtz hung out in the outside lane, advancing to the second spot while Braun had quickly advanced to the fourth position. On lap 22, Braun drove to the outside of Holtz to take third and under Mueller on lap 31 for second, setting his sights on Johnson.
At the half-way mark Braun had worked past Johnson for the top spot.
On lap 50, Johnson, who was under the assault of Mueller, surrendered the second spot to the three-time Slinger champion. However, ahead of him Braun had opened up a half-straightaway lead. Conrad Morgan’s spin in turn two, on lap 53, brought out the event’s first caution, eliminating Braun’s massive lead.
Brad Mueller lined up on the outside of row one for the restart and got a tremendous jump on Braun. But Mueller’s night quickly came to a halt after being deposited to the infield off of Braun’s front bumper as the pair charged off of turn two. In the incident, Braun momentarily slowed allowing Johnson and Prunty to get by. Braun gathered his momentum and began to reel in the leaders. With 15 laps to go Braun went under Prunty and set his sights on Johnson, who was making his first super late model feature start at Slinger Speedway. With just four laps to go, Braun made contact with Johnson, sending the leader up the hill. Johnson didn’t spin but Braun was able to sneak by and race to the checkers.
“I didn’t want to get into Casey there,” said Braun, exiting his car to a chorus of boos. “He almost drove me up to the wall twice before that.”
Dave Feiler and Holtz completed the top five behind Braun, Prunty and Johnson.
“I’m running my first super late model race here and I was just trying to hang on,” said Johnson. “Rob’s got all the experience here.”
Dale Prunty captured the super late model semi-feature over Dave McCardle and Mike Graczkowski. Dale Prunty, Dennis Prunty and Mueller took heat wins. Steve Apel was the division’s fast qualifier with a time of 11.451 seconds (78.596 mph).
Mike Lichtfeld scored his first late model win of the season in their 40-lap main event.
Pole sitter Steven Schulz got the jump over front row mate Danny Church and paced the field in the early going. Behind them Adam Peschek and John DeAngelis race side-by-side while Ryan Farrell and Alex Prunty did the same. Prunty cracked the top five by muscling past DeAngelis on lap nine. Behind Schulz, Farrell made a charge past Peschek and moved alongside his teammate Church in a battle for second.
Alex Prunty and Peschek brought out the first caution for their part in a lap 16 spin in turn two. Schulz and Farrell thrilled the crowd on the restart as the pair raced door to door for the lead for six laps before Farrell took command. Farrell had the race in hand when he slowed with a mechanical woe on lap 36. His troubles stacked the field behind him, scattering Schulz, Justin Poenitsch and Braison Bennett. Farrell was forced to retire, handing the lead to Lichtfeld.
Lichtfeld pulled away over the final four laps. Jerry Mueller finished second after starting tenth. Last week’s feature winner Ryan DeStefano finished third with Brad Dahmer and DeAngelis completing the top five.
Braison Bennett and Lichtfeld scored late model heat wins. Defending track champion Alex Prunty was the fast qualifier with a time of 12.510 seconds (71.942 mph).
After starting seventh, Brad Keith dove to the inside of leader Kenny Joosten with five laps to go, took the point, and cruised to the checkers in the Midwest sportsman headliner. Joosten, the division point leader, settled for second with Eric Lingford, Brian Holtz and Jay Shambeau completing the top five.
Jack Stern and Chris Story went to victory lane in heat race competition while Dave Thomas was the night’s fast qualifier with a time of 12.763 seconds (70.516 mph).
Jim Tate, Jr and Doug Bennett swapped the lead on two occasions, early in the 30 lap area sportsman main before Tate took control. Tate survived two restarts and scored the win. Kody Hubred made a late race pass of Kyle Chwala to claim the runner-up spot. Brad Hetzel finished fourth with Bennett fifth.
Ken Schraufnagel and Chwala scored area sportsman heat wins while Tate was the division’s fast qualifier with a time of 13.044 seconds (68.997 mph).
Nick Schmidt captured a heat win to go along with his triumph in the 25 lap Slinger bee feature. Marty Tackes; Jake Schraufnagel; point leader Steve Dickson and Brian Hillringhouse chased Schmidt across the stripe.
Dale Kiley-Schaefer took the Slinger bee semi-feature win over Andrew Gartzke and CJ Corallini. Paul Reagles and Gartzke were also victorious in heat race action. Brandon Tackes established a new track qualifying record with a time of 14.680 seconds (61.308 mph).
Joe Mueller took the evening’s final checkered flag by capturing the Figure-8 feature.
At intermission, the near-capacity crowd was introduced to Keaton, a Lowell Bennet fan, originally from Oshkosh, who has terminal cancer. In a mid-afternoon development, long-time fan Bob Schneider donated a quarter-panel from Brad Mueller’s first super late model (and a former Robbie Reiser mount). The item was auctioned off and raised $3000 for Keaton and his family. Tim Keith of Keith’s Marina was the generous bidder.
Racing action at the Slinger Super Speedway resumes June 2nd with round 1 of the Pepsi Challenge Series. Gates Open at 4:00 p.m. with qualifying at 5:00 and racing at 6:30.
This article was posted to the website on May 27th, 2013