DENNIS PRUNTY CAPTURES PEPSI CHALLENGE ROUND ONE

Al Graf Photos - Prunty with sponsors and his daughter.Al Graf Photos - Prunty with sponsors and his daughter.By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., May 31-Dennis Prunty charged to his first super late model feature win, holding off Conrad Morgan to take top honors in the first round Pepsi Challenge 70-lap main event Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.

“Conrad’s an awesome driver, “Prunty stated, explaining his race long battle with the veteran Morgan. “I had a fast car tonight and everybody did a great job out there, my hat is off to them.”

Randy Schuler led the field at the start with Morgan alongside him and at the drop of the green flag, Morgan jumped out to the lead with Josh and Jamie Wallace falling in line behind him. Schuler occupied the fourth spot while Prunty eased into fifth place. As Morgan extended his lead, Jamie Wallace worked his way to second by lap ten as Prunty advanced all the way to third. Morgan continued to increase his lead by the time the leaders approached lapped traffic as Prunty passed Wallace for second on lap 15. Once into second place, Prunty began to eat away at Morgan’s lead, slowly closing the distance between them as the race reached the halfway mark. By lap 35, Prunty was on Morgan’s bumper and it appeared he was able to hold his car to the inside better than Morgan as they exited the turns. Prunty was able to get a nose to the inside of Morgan through turns three and four and he completed the pass for the lead by the time they both reached turn two on lap 36. Even though he had the lead, Prunty was unable to shake Morgan and the two raced nose to tail through traffic while Wallace began to close in the third spot. Behind the top three, Schuler maintained fourth place as Steve Apel entered the top five. Prunty and Morgan sliced their way through the traffic as Morgan remained glued behind Prunty’s car, however he was unable to make a serious challenge for the lead as Prunty drove under the checkered flag for the win.

midwest sportsmen fast time #29 mike borchardt.midwest sportsmen fast time #29 mike borchardt.Morgan, who was looking for his first win in almost six years, seemed disappointed with his second place run. “Boy, does that suck to lead that many laps and run that good to finish second,” Morgan stated from the pit area afterwards. “Dennis was just a little bit better than we were. I haven’t won a race in so long and I could almost taste that one.”

Jamie Wallace finished in third while Randy Schuler and Steve Apel rounded out the top five. Collin Bamke crossed the finish line in sixth place followed by Mike Egan and Lowell Bennett. Jon Reynolds Jr. and Scott Schoeni were ninth and tenth respectively. Earlier in the evening, Reynolds Jr. captured the win in the super late model Strange Brew fast dash while Prunty was the fastest qualifier after lapping the speedway in 11.604 seconds.

super lates dash winner jon reynolds.super lates dash winner jon reynolds.Trevor Dassow used a brilliant outside lane move in the closing laps to win the 35-lap late model feature.

Dan Jung led the opening laps over Rob Braun with Trevor Dassow in third just ahead of Brad Keith and Chris Blawat. Jung, Braun, and Dassow held their own in the top three spots while the battle between Blawat and Keith over fourth eventually ended with Keith sliding off the backstretch and into the infield as the race remained under green. Jake Vanoskey entered the top five as Jung and Braun raced for the lead with Dassow close behind. Braun was able to pull alongside Jung on lap 30 and the two raced door to door as they approached slower traffic. The leaders caught the traffic in a hurry and the caution flag flew after one of the lapped cars looped around after slight contact from Braun and he was placed to the rear of the field for the restart with Jung leading thunderstock fast time #5 aaron cain.thunderstock fast time #5 aaron cain.over Trevor Dassow, Blawat, Travis Dassow and Vanoskey. Jung chose the inside on the restart for the final four laps, leaving Trevor Dassow to line up in the upper groove. As racing resumed, Dassow worked the outside line and was able to keep even with Jung as the laps wound down. Dassow began to keep the momentum up on the high side and he was able to get a slight run as they headed for the checkered flag, taking the victory by less than a car length over Braun. Blawat finished third while Travis Dassow and Vanoskey rounded out the top five as the close racing at the finish resulted in the cars spinning past the finish line. Blawat was also the winner of the late model fast dash and Dave McCardle set fast time at 12.318 seconds.

lates dash #26 chris blawat battles with car #68 dan jung for the lead.lates dash #26 chris blawat battles with car #68 dan jung for the lead.Jay Shambeau and Tommy Elsinger battled throughout the Midwest Sportsman 30-lap feature before Shambeau edged ahead at the finish for the win.

Shambeau and Elsinger raced side by side for all 30-laps with Mark Kissinger and Eric Fransen who was driving Andy Haver’s car for the night tucked behind them in third and fourth, just ahead of Mike Graczkowski in fifth. Shambeau and Elsinger swapped the lead numerous times as neither could gain an advantage as the top five cars ran under a blanket. Shambeau was able to ease ahead slightly at the finish and took the close win just ahead of Elsinger while Kissinger edged Graczkowski for third, leaving Fransen to take the fifth spot. Jeff Holtz was the winner of the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Mike Borchardt toured the speedway in 12.740 seconds and was the division’s fastest qualifier.

thunderstock feature winner car #87 eric lingford.thunderstock feature winner car #87 eric lingford.Eric Lingford scored his first career feature victory in the 20-lap Thunderstock main event.

Jack Stern led the opening lap over Adam Peschek, Stephanie Losieniecki, and Lingford. Stern held the inside while Peschek worked the top before Peschek’s car kicked loose exiting turn four on the second lap, catching the car of Aaron Cain in the right front. The impact sent Cain’s car head-first into the frontstretch wall, collecting Peschek’s car as well as the caution flag flew. Stern led on the restart but Lingford was on the move, charging by Losieniecki for second and then taking to the outside to challenge Stern. Lingford moved into the lead on lap six as Losieniecki also moved around Stern to take second place. Lingford drove a solid race the rest of the way and took the checkered flag for the win ahead of Losiniecki. John Daley recovered from earlier contact to finish a strong third while Stern and Rick Schaefer completed the top five. Lingford also was the winner of the Thunderstock fast dash and Aaron Cain was the fastest qualifier at 13.493 seconds.

dennis prunty fast time super lates.dennis prunty fast time super lates.Alex Prunty drove to his first win in the 16-lap Slinger Bee feature, taking the checkered flag ahead of Joe Lang and Derek Hoerig. John DeAngelis and Mike Lange completed the top five finishers. DeAngelis also was the fastest qualifier at 15.946 seconds. Lyle DeWitz won the Speedway Guest Car event while the Spectator Eliminator races featured current Slinger Speedway drivers with Race McComb taking the win in his Chevy Monte Carlo. Shane Becker was the winner of the Figure 8 race.