By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., June 24—Steve Apel steered clear of the early incidents that plagued the Keith’s Marina 75 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway to capture his second super late model feature victory of the season, taking the checkered flag ahead of Rich Bickle.
“Everyone on this team is just awesome, “Apel told the crowd from victory lane after dedicating the win to his father who returned to the track after being away due to health reasons, “The car was on a rail tonight and I’m just the lucky one behind the wheel.”
Rob Braun and Jeff Holtz brought the field to the green flag and Lowell Bennett’s car immediately slowed from the outside of the second row and as Bennett drifted high in turns one and two, Dennis Prunty and Donavan Morgan ducked to the inside in possible anticipation of Bennett leaving the race track. That set up a three-wide situation in turn two and contact between Prunty and Bennett, sent Bennett’s car hard into the concrete at the exit of turn two right side first. The event was stopped under the red flag as safety personnel tended to Bennett who exited his car under his own power but entered the ambulance with a possible shoulder injury.
After the clean-up, the race was restarted with Braun and Holtz remaining out front but after only a single lap was completed, Dennis Prunty’s car spun wildly out of fourth place and sailed into the turn one wall, making hard contact with both the left rear and the left front as Dan Jung’s car pulled into the infield with a fluid leak. Again as racing resumed, Braun and Holtz led the field with Mike Egan and Steve Apel behind them and Holtz jumped out to the early lead but just as the second lap was in the books, Conrad Morgan’s car broke loose in turn one and as he caught the car, he made contact with Donavan Morgan who was racing to his outside. Donavan Morgan’s car veered to the right and climbed the turn two wall with the right side of his car before coming to rest in turn two with the caution flag waving again.
The race finally achieved a clean restart and Holtz established himself as the leader while Mike Egan and Rob Braun battled side by side for second ahead of Steve Apel, Dale Prunty, and Brad Keith. Egan took the second spot with an inside move as Apel and Prunty followed along to take third and fourth respectively as Braun found himself caught on the outside until he could get back to the low groove in fifth. Apel quickly made his way around Egan for second and traced down Holtz for the lead, racing on his bumper by lap 13. Two laps later, Apel took to the outside lane to pull even with Holtz and after two determined laps, Apel powered to the lead off turn two as Holtz fell into line in second ahead of Egan, Prunty, and Keith. With the lead cars stabilized, Rich Bickle was the man on the move, slicing his way forward from the back of the field to advance within sight of the top five. Egan drifted high in turns three and four which opened the door for Dale Prunty to drive by on the inside for third place as Keith filled the gap and raced Egan over fourth. Egan and Keith raced door to door for several laps before Egan took a high line out of turn four while Keith’s tail end twitched loose momentarily and as Egan swung down from the high groove and Keith corrected up from the loose condition, the cars made door contact just past the start-finish line. The contact knocked Keith’s car out of shape slightly as Egan tried to gain momentum on the outside and as the cars exited turn two, they once again made slight door contact which this time was enough to propel Egan ahead as they entered turn three. The battle ended quickly however as Egan’s car went around in turn four following contact with Keith’s bumper and with the caution flag waving on lap 47, both cars were sent to the rear of the field for the restart. Apel led the field back to green as Holtz immediately dropped in line behind him while Prunty tried to fend off Bickle for third as Braun and Rich Loch raced for fifth. Bickle worked his way to the inside of Prunty in turn three and after several laps of side by side racing, took the third position, setting his sights on Holtz in second as Apel began to drive away out front. The caution waved for another time a few circuits later when Braun found himself against the turn one wall on lap 53. Apel maintained his lead on the restart with Holtz and Bickle once again following in his tire tracks as Egan used the inside to take fourth from Prunty. Bickle caught Holtz for second and after a few looks to the inside, Bickle took to the high line and used it to drive around Holtz and into second as Prunty retook the fourth spot from Egan. As Bickle began to try to erase Apel’s comfortable lead, Prunty edged to the inside of Holtz and drove into third place. In the final laps, Apel proved to be too strong and Bickle was unable to pose a challenge as Apel drove to his second feature win of the season. Bickle finished a strong second while Dale Prunty took the checkered flag with a solid third place result. Holtz and Egan rounded out the top five while Brad Keith was sixth ahead of Chris Blawat in seventh. Rich Loch finished eighth while Randy Schuler and Jerry Eckhardt rounded out the top ten finishers.
James Swan was the winner of the 35-lap super late model semi-feature over Dan Jung and Randy Schuler. Jerry Eckhardt finished fourth and Jake Vanoskey was fifth. Mike Egan was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Steve Apel set fast time at 11.380 seconds.
Alex Prunty took the lead on lap 23 and drove to the victory in the 40-lap late model main event.
Jerry Mueller charged out to the early lead as Pat McIntee and David McCardle raced for second with Jon DeAngelis and Alex Prunty side by side behind them. McCardle drifted slightly on the outside which allowed McIntee, DeAngelis, and Dan Church to get by as Ryan DeStefano pulled alongside McCardle. As DeStefano and McCardle entered turn three side by side, they closed quickly on Church’s car and when DeStefano tried to avoid hitting Church’s car, he moved up which sent McCardle’s car hard into the wall to draw a caution flag. DeStefano restarted from the rear of the field as Mueller and McIntee led the field back to the green flag. The outside lane was not the place to be for McIntee and both DeAngelis and Prunty worked their way by on the inside for second and third respectively while Mueller maintained the lead.
Al Stippich also tried to race to the inside of McIntee and as they raced for position, both cars spun in turn one and the caution flag waved for a second time. Mueller held the lead on the restart as Prunty worked the inside line to take second place away from DeAngelis, who kept the third position by fending off DeStefano and Justin Poenitsch. With Mueller leading, DeStefano used the inside line to pass DeAngelis for third, bringing Braison Bennett along with him into fourth, moving DeAngelis to fifth. DeStefano then went to work on Prunty for second place but as they closed in on Mueller for the lead, Prunty took to the outside lane and made a bid for the top spot. Prunty was able to take the lead from the outside and when contact between Mueller and DeStefano briefly held up the field, Prunty opened up a sizeable lead. Prunty went unchallenged the rest of the way and captured the victory while Mueller held off DeStefano for second as Braison Bennett and Al Stippich rounded out the top five.
Jerry Mueller was the winner of the late model fast dash and Alex Prunty was the fastest qualifier at 12.468 seconds.
James Swan was the winner of the 35-lap Midwest sportsman feature after taking the lead late in the event.
Jimmie Evans and Jack Stern swapped the lead in the opening laps as they raced side by side with Swan and Ryan Farrell close behind them. The field remained tightly bunched in a pack until Stern spun around in turn four on lap 30 with Evans leading over Farrell and Swan. Evans maintained the lead as racing resumed while Swan was able to get around Farrell for second place just before the caution flag waved again on lap 32 when Stern stalled in turn one. Swan proved to be too strong on the outside for Evans on the restart and he powered by Evans for the lead upon exiting turn two. Swan then eased away to score the win while Evans crossed the stripe in second ahead of Farrell, Brad Keith, and Brian Holtz.
Jimmie Evans won the Midwest sportsman fast dash and James Swan was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.931 seconds.
Tyler Schley led all 20 laps to win the Thunderstock main event as he held off John Daley at the finish. Ken Schraufnagel took the checkered flag in third place while Joe Shelby and Rich Schaefer rounded out the top five. Rick Schaefer edged Nick Egan in a photo finish to win the Thunderstock heat race. Ken Schraufnagel was third followed by Joe Shelby and Tyler Schley. Tyler Schley also was the fastest qualifier at 13.723 seconds.
Steve Dickson won the Slinger Bee feature in a spirited battle with Nick Schmidt. Brandon Tackes finished third ahead of Marty Tackes and Jacob Schraufnagel. The race was stopped momentarily after the first lap when a multi-car accident left Zach Braun’s car upside down in turn one. Brandon Tackes and Jacob Schraufnagel each won Slinger Bee heat races while Steve Dickson was the fastest qualifier at 15.300 seconds. Ryan Crane was the winner of the Spectator Eliminator events with his Mitsubishi EVO and Shane Becker won the Figure 8 race.
This article was posted to the website on June 25th, 2012