By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 10—Following a daring nearly three-wide pass for the lead on lap 32, 67 year old Al Schill scored one for the veteran racers by capturing his first super late model feature win in three years in the 65-lap main event on the 65th Anniversary Reunion Night Sunday at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“I didn’t notice it, “Schill calmly stated from victory lane after being asked about the perceived three-wide racing up front, “but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. ‘Sometimes if you wait, it will hurt you so you’ve got to take the chance,” Schill continued describing his decision on making the move for the lead, “in all the years I’ve been racing, more times than one it helped me.”
Mike Graczkowski and Conrad Morgan paced the field to the green flag but side contact in turn three up front, sent Graczkowski’s car spinning on the opening lap and as the field scattered, Graczkowski’s car was drilled by the car of Corey Funk, producing a caution flag before a single lap could be completed which resulted in a complete restart of the event. With both Graczkowski’s and Funk’s cars damaged too severely to continue, Mike Egan moved to the point with Morgan alongside as the race got underway for a second time. Egan led the first two laps by barely nipping Morgan at the line as the two ran side by side before Egan prevailed on the inside on lap three. Morgan fell in line behind Egan as Chris Blawat battled alongside Lowell Bennett for third with Al Schill, Steve Apel, and Rich Loch following.
Blawat tried numerous times to look under Morgan for second but each time, Morgan prevailed off the corners and moved to the inside line, eventually breaking Blawat’s momentum enough to allow Bennett to charge around for third on the high side as Egan continued to lead. With Egan maintaining the top spot, it was Bennett’s turn to pressure Morgan for second while Schill went to work on Blawat for third, taking the position with a slight nudge between turns three and four. Before Blawat could recover, Steve Apel raced by on the inside to grab fourth place as Blawat slotted into fifth. Morgan left the inside open slightly off turn two and Bennett took advantage of the opportunity, moving the nose of his car up to Morgan’s door as they entered turn three and then continuing to sweep around for second place upon the exit of turn four. Schill tried the same move on the following circuit but this time Morgan was able to block the charge in the fourth turn and keep third while Egan continued to show the way over Bennett. Behind Schill, Apel held the fifth spot as both Rich Loch and Dennis Prunty tried to close in just before the caution flag appeared on lap 17 when Tom Hromadka experienced engine issues and dropped to the infield.
Egan and Bennett lined up side by side at the front of the field for the restart with Morgan and Schill flanking them and as racing resumed, Bennett worked the outside to remain even with Egan and actually edging ahead to lead some laps at the stripe. Behind the lead battle, Morgan slipped slightly on the inside in turn four which allowed Schill to race into third place from the outside, bringing Blawat with him also on the outside and into fourth as Morgan fell to fifth just ahead of Apel and Prunty. Bennett finally powered by Egan from the outside to claim sole possession of the top spot on lap 23 as Blawat and Schill raced side by side for third. Blawat used the inside groove to take the third position from Schill and the leaders all ran single file for two more laps before Schill returned the favor to Blawat and retook the third spot with a similar inside line pass. With the leaders back in single file formation, a spin by Race McComb in turn two drew the caution flag for the third time on lap 31 with Bennett leading Egan, Schill, Blawat, Morgan, Apel, and Prunty. Bennett and Egan raced door to door at the front for a lap after the green flag appeared when Schill decided it was time to make his move. With Bennett and Egan side by side, Schill edged the nose of his car to the inside of Bennett off turn two and the three charged toward turn three with Schill on the inside up to Bennett’s door and Egan to the outside just off Bennett’s bumper.
Wisely assessing the situation and realizing Schill was coming through on the far inside, Egan allowed Bennett room to drift toward the outside and all three exited turn four with Schill in the lead followed by Bennett and Egan. Behind the leaders, Morgan, Prunty, and Apel had Blawat caught on the outside and each of them passed Blawat to the inside in the fourth through seventh spots respectively. Prunty was the driver on the move in the second half as he first dove to the inside to get around Morgan in fourth and then worked the outside a few laps later to pass Egan for third to set his sights on Schill and Bennett out front. Prunty caught Bennett for second as the laps wound down and quickly edged to the inside in a bid for second but Bennett held strong in the top lane and the two battled side by side as Schill gradually eased ahead in the lead. Prunty was able to take over second place on the final lap but Schill was too far out front to be challenged and he drove to the victory with Prunty finishing second just ahead of Bennett in third. Blawat wrapped up a strong run in fourth while early leader Egan completed the top five finishers in fifth. Morgan took the checkered flag in sixth ahead of Apel in seventh while Jake Vanoskey, Fred Winn, and Nick Wagner rounded out the top ten in eighth through tenth respectively.
Mike Egan won the super late model fast dash while Conrad Morgan took the win in the super late model heat race over Jake Vanoskey and Jerry Eckhardt. Mike Graczkowski and Race McComb rounded out the top five finishers in the heat race. Al Schill was the fastest qualifier for the second week in a row with a lap of 11.576 seconds.
Ryan DeStefano scored his first feature win of the season in the 35-lap late model main event, turning back a challenge by Alex Prunty at the finish.
Dan Church and Alex Prunty swapped the lead in the opening laps as the raced alongside each other before Church claimed the lead for himself using the inside lane. Prunty began to fade slightly in the high line as Ryan DeStefano worked his way around for second in the inner groove. Prunty fell in line in third just ahead of Dave McCardle while Justin Poenitsch and Andy Welter raced for fifth. DeStefano was able to close quickly on Church as they entered the corners but Church’s line off the turns enabled him to keep the lead despite DeStefano’s numerous challenges. Behind the top three, Poenitsch raced into fourth place by passing McCardle to the inside as the leaders up front continued to race in single file formation. On lap 19, DeStefano charged wide off turn two and looked to be making an outside groove bid for the lead but as he entered turn three, he quickly dove to the bottom groove and was able to pull alongside Church for the lead. With the preferred inside lane, DeStefano was able to grab the lead and Prunty filled the opening on the inside to take over second as Church moved back in line in third. Prunty made many attempts to challenge DeStefano for the lead on the outside but each time he would come up short while behind the lead duo, Poenitsch charged around Church for third place. With little success with his outside lane bids for the top spot, Prunty moved to DeStefano’s rear bumper looking for a way to route to the inside as the laps clicked away. On the final lap, DeStefano held tightly to the inside line and a final look to the outside in a bid for the win by Prunty came up short as DeStefano raced under the checkered flag for the victory. Prunty finished a close second followed by Poenitsch in third, completing his best race of the season to date. Dave McCardle finished in fourth and Andy Welter crossed the stripe in fifth.
Dave McCardle won the late model fast dash and Al Stippich took top honors in the late model heat race over Andy Welter and Justin Poenitsch. Adam Peschek finished fourth and Brittiny Helmers was fifth. Alex Prunty was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap at 12.461 seconds.
Ryan Farrell held off James Swan to win the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature.
Jimmie Evans and Eric Lingford led the field to the green flag and they raced door to door for the lead with Evans hugging the inside line and Lingford hanging with him on the outside. As Evans and Lingford battled side by side at the front, Kenny Joosten, James Swan, and Ryan Farrell all raced intensely for positions directly behind them. The caution flag waved on lap 16 as Carl Benn spun off turn two and collected Jack Stern in the process and Evans and Lingford again lined up alongside each other for the restart. As racing resumed, Joosten experienced mechanical problems and left the speedway as Evans and Lingford remained side by side for the lead with Farrell and Swan also racing in two-by-two formation directly behind them. Lingford’s car swung loose from the outside in turn four which forced Swan to check up as Farrell pounced to the inside lane to charge by Lingford for second as Evans eased ahead in the lead. Swan also got by Lingford on the inside for third and both he and Farrell began to quickly stalk Evans for the lead. Farrell moved to the outside and built up enough speed to race by Evans for the lead and a few laps later Swan also took to the top line to make his way around Evans and into second. In the closing laps, Lingford developed mechanical issues and exited the event as Swan tried to track down Farrell for the lead. Farrell proved to be too strong in the closing laps and he turned back Swan’s challenges and drove to the victory. Evans finished a strong third while Jack Stern and Carl Benn rebounded from their earlier incident to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Eric Lingford won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Jack Stern was the winner of the Midwest Sportsman heat race over Carl Benn and Eric Lingford. Dave Wastak and Dennis Eichorst rounded out the top five. James Swan was the fastest qualifier after touring the speedway in 12.825 seconds.
Tyler Schley held off a fast closing Brad Hetzel to capture his second feature win of the season in the 20-lap Thunderstock main event. Joe Shelby finished third followed by Ken Schraufnagel and John Daley. Tyler Schley also was the winner of the Thunderstock fast dash while Rick Schaefer scored the win in the Thunderstock heat race over Tim Kreuser and Joe Shelby. Nick Egan finished fourth in the heat race and Tyler Schley was fifth. Brad Hetzel set fast time for the Thunderstocks with a lap of 13.766 seconds.
Nick Schmidt overcame a penalty for jumping the start of the Slinger Bees feature and drove to a convincing win over Grant Griesbach and Jacob Schraufnagel. Kyle Stark charged from the rear of the field in the final three laps to finish fourth while Brandon Tackes was fifth. Kyle Stark was the winner of the Slinger Bees fast heat over Nick Schmidt and Marty Tackes. Brandon Berens was fourth and Brandon Tackes was fifth. Ryan Savage won the Slinger Bees regular heat over Dave Lembke and Ethan Roskopf. Nicole Mueller and Willis Fick were fourth and fifth respectively. The regular heat race was red flagged on the opening lap when a hard crash between Matthew Rose, Bill Ostovich Jr. and Dave Wickstrum resulted in Ostovich’s car slowly rolling over in the third turn. All drivers emerged from the incident without serious injury.
Nick Enders drove his Mustang to the win in the Spectator Eliminator races and Willy Van Camp closed out the evening with a win in the Figure 8 race.
This article was posted to the website on June 11th, 2012