By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 4—Race fans in attendance at the Slinger Super Speedway Sunday night were treated to an All-American type finish as underdog Jeff Holtz drove to his first career super late model feature victory in the Keith’s Marina Firecracker 85 Independence Day Special.
“It took a long time and I’ve raced here for a lot of years but this is great,” Holtz told the crowd from victory lane, “I’m just so happy right now, I’m at a loss for words.”
Mike Egan and Dennis Prunty paced the field to the green flag with Prunty quickly launching to the lead from the outside at the completion of lap one. Egan settled into line in second behind Prunty with Conrad Morgan, Steve Apel, and Jon Reynolds Jr. scrambling for position behind them. By lap ten, Apel was able to work his way to third behind Prunty and Egan while fast qualifier Jeremy Lepak and Holtz maneuvered on the inside lane to advance into the top five. Lepak was on the move in the early laps, first passing Apel for third and then charging around Egan for second place by lap 20. Lepak began to shorten the distance between himself and Prunty for the lead and by lap 35 was planted on Prunty’s rear bumper as they worked lapped traffic. Lepak eased the nose of his car to the edge of Prunty’s bumper exiting turn two on lap 37 and when Prunty defended the position entering turn three, contact between the two sent Prunty’s car looping around in turn four to draw the caution flag. Both Prunty and Lepak were placed at the rear of the field for the restart as Egan inherited the lead over Holtz, Eric Fransen, Apel, and Lowell Bennett. Egan and Holtz battled side by side for the lead as racing resumed before Holtz was able power ahead on the outside off turn two on lap 41 as Fransen and Bennett moved into third and fourth place respectively. Holtz began to pull away out front while Fransen also used the high groove to get around Egan for second as Bennett moved up to challenge Egan along with Reynolds. Fransen began to chip away slightly at Holtz’s lead while Bennett advanced to third by lap 55. Holtz laid down some consistent laps in the late stages and hit his marks as Fransen was unable to move close enough to challenge as the laps wound down. Holtz maintained his lead and drove to a five car length victory over Fransen to score his first career super late model feature win. Bennett finished a strong third while Reynolds and Egan rounded up the top five. Lepak and Prunty continued their earlier battle through the field with Lepak edging Prunty for sixth at the line while David Prunty, Tommy Hromadka, and Randy Schuler completed the top ten finishers.
Chris Ratajczyk won the 25-lap super late model semi-feature over Collin Bamke and Josh Wallace. Fred Winn was fourth and Steven Schultz finished fifth. Conrad Morgan won the super late model fast dash and Jeremy Lepak turned in the fastest lap in qualifying at 11.414 seconds.
Defending track champion Chris Blawat scored his first feature win of the season by taking top honors in the 35-lap late model main event.
Ryan DeStefano led the opening laps as Blawat , Mike Graczkowski, and Rob Braun followed close behind just before the caution waved on lap four when Bill Shavlik got sideways in turn two and collected John DeAngelis and Andy Haver with DeAngelis’ car sandwiched between Shavlik’s and Haver’s. All cars with the exception of Haver were able to continue as racing resumed with DeStefano leading over Blawat and Graczkowski. After a few laps of door to door racing for the lead, Blawat was able to edge ahead on the outside to take command of the event on lap six while Rob Braun worked his way by Graczkowski for third as Pat McIntee moved in. McIntee began to knock down positions in the middle stages, charging by Graczkowski and Braun to get third place as Blawat continued to lead over DeStefano. McIntee caught DeStefano and closed to his rear bumper in turn four, however when he tried to turn to the inside exiting the turn, a rear tire appeared to go down which sent him spinning across the front straight with the caution flag waving. Blawat maintained his lead over Braun on the restart as DeStefano battled for third with Jake Vanoskey and Mike Graczkowski. Blawat held off all challenges and drove to the win over Braun with Vanoskey edging DeStefano for third with Graczkowski and Wayne Freimund finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Mike Graczkowski won the late model fast dash and Steven Schultz was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.645 seconds.
Pawelski led the opening laps with Haver and Swan following close behind and just ahead of Jimmie Evans and Jack Stern. Swan used the outside land to get around Haver and then took to the bottom groove to pass Pawelski for the lead on lap 14. Once out front, Swan could not be caught and he drove to the win over Pawelski with Haver finishing in third. Jimmie Evans took the checkered flag in fourth place while Mike Lange crossed the finish line in fifth. Earlier in the evening, Jimmie Evans won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and James Swan set fast time at 12.754 seconds.
The Thunderstock 18-lap feature ended with a spectacular finish in which Eric Lingford took the apparent win over Al Stippich and Ryan Farrell. All three drivers charged three-wide for the lead on the final lap with Stippich sandwiched between Lingford on the inside and Farrell on the outside. The three-wide formation was maintained through turn two and as they approached turn three, Farrell was forced to back off slightly on the outside as Stippich and Lingford split a lapped car while charging for the win. Upon the exit of turn four, Lingford edged Stippich for the win with Farrell directly behind them. However, following the event, the cars of both Lingford and Farrell failed post-race technical inspection and were disqualified, leaving the event without a winner. Stippich was credited with second place while Andy Welter and John Daley were fourth and fifth respectively.
Erik Long was the winner of the Slinger Bees feature over Brandon Tackes and Alex Prunty. Nick Wagner was fourth and Braison Bennett finished fifth. Tyler Schley won the Slinger Bees semi-feature over Erica Knutson, Brandon Gumm, Joe Shelby, and Josh Fehrman. Jason Hennes won the Speedway Guest Car event and Luke Hilgendorf won the Spectator Eliminator race. Mike Meyerhofer was the winner of the Figure 8 event.
This article was posted to the website on July 5th, 2010