MORGAN ENDS LONG DROUGHT WITH VICTORY IN THE PEPSI CHALLENGE ROUND 2

Dave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyDave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyBy Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 5—It’s been awhile, but Conrad Morgan proved he still knows where victory lane is at the Slinger Super Speedway after using a determined drive through lapped traffic to take the lead with two laps to go and score his first super late model feature win in six years Sunday night in the 60-lap second round of the Pepsi Challenge Series.

“I’m not going to do a back flip,” the noticeably excited veteran kidded with the crowd afterwards, “Thank God. I really wanted to dedicate a race to my dad and there has been so many people that passed away since I won the race last time, I was really hoping I was going to win one before this. We’ve got a good car here, it’s been good for two or three weeks and hopefully it’s going to be good for another month or so.”

Dave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyDave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanySteve Apel took the lead at the drop of the green flag while Brad Dahmer, Jamie Wallace, and Morgan fell into line in his tire tracks. Apel’s advantage began to grow slightly over Dahmer as Morgan and Wallace battled for third with Morgan eventually taking the position with an inside move into turn one while behind them, Collin Bamke and Brad Mueller raced for fifth. As the leaders approached lapped cars, Apel’s lead started to shrink with both Dahmer and Morgan closing to his bumper amidst the heavy traffic. Morgan made a quick duck to the inside of both Dahmer and Apel on lap 40 but soon found himself picked by slower cars, losing spots in the process as both Wallace and Mueller charged by. After regrouping, Morgan set out to regain the lost track position, using both the inside and outside grooves to work his way first around Mueller and then Wallace for third place by lap 50. With the leaders once again in traffic, Morgan swung by Dahmer for second place by lap 55 and looked to close the near straightaway advantage Apel enjoyed in the lead with just five laps to go. Apel’s car appeared loose off the corners and Morgan was quickly on his bumper before darting to the outside in a bid for the lead with two laps to go, making the move stick to take the lead upon the exit of turn two. Once out front, Morgan would not be denied his first victory in six years as he drove to the win over Apel who finished a strong second.

Dave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyDave Olson - Speed Graphics Company“The car was getting really loose off,” Apel stated afterwards, “The lapped traffic helped and I gave it everything I’ve got but just fell a little bit short at the end.”

Brad Dahmer took the checkered flag in third place with Jamie Wallace finishing in fourth. Dennis Prunty clicked off positions late in the race to come home fifth ahead of Brad Mueller and Collin Bamke in sixth and seventh respectively. Lowell Bennett, Mike Egan, and Dale Prunty rounded out the top ten finishers.

Bennett was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Jon Reynolds Jr. was the fastest qualifier after completing a lap around the speedway in 11.633 seconds.

Dave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyDave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyJake Vanoskey drove to his first career late model feature win in the 35-lap main event, turning back challenges from Chris Blawat and Steven Schulz in the process.

Vanoskey and Schulz paced the field at the start with Vanoskey taking the early lead while Schulz battled with Chris Blawat for second. Vanoskey extended his lead while Schulz and Blawat raced side by side with Schulz in the outer groove and Blawat using the inside line. The low side eventually prevailed as Blawat grabbed second with Schulz falling into line behind him ahead of Ryan DeStefano, Dave McCardle, and Trevor Dassow. Schulz went back to work on Blawat for second on the inside, taking the spot on lap 20 with Vanoskey maintaining his lead. As the leaders came upon lapped traffic, Schulz erased the gap between himself and Vanoskey, making numerous attempts to take the top spot. After trying to dive to the inside for a few laps, Schulz looked to the top and despite being able to edge alongside in the center of the corners, Vanoskey was able to pull away on the exit and keep the lead. As the laps wound down, Blawat was able to track both Vanoskey and Schulz down to make it a three car race for the lead. As Vanoskey continued to lead, Blawat took advantage of Schulz’s strategy of using the outer groove, sneaking to the inside to take second place in the final laps. There was no catching Vanoskey in the closing laps and he drove to the win over Blawat and Schulz while DeStefano and Dassow were fourth and fifth respectively. Earlier, Blawat was the winner of the late model fast dash and Dassow set fast time at 12.419 seconds.

Dave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyDave Olson - Speed Graphics CompanyAnother first time winner was in victory lane following the Midwest Sportsman feature as Mark Kissinger scored his first career feature victory in the 30-lap main event.

Kissinger took the lead at the start over Gregg Pawelski, Jimme Evans, and Dave Thomas while Mike Borchardt and Austin Luedtke followed. Thomas worked his way into third place by lap six but two laps later, he exited the speedway with mechanical problems as Kissinger continued to hold the top spot over Pawelski. Kissinger and Pawelski began to gap the field as Borchardt and Evans raced for the third spot while Mike Graczkowski and Bobby Giers battled with Luedtke over fifth. Kissinger and Pawelski ran nose to tail throughout the middle stages while Borchardt eventually worked his way to third place and began to close on the leaders. Pawelski began to close slightly on Kissinger in the corners and tried to keep the momentum up for a run at the lead off the turns. Pawelski could only get to Kissinger’s bumper and as they approached a slower car with two laps to go, Kissinger was able to edge in front of Pawelski in the top lane. Kissinger would not be challenged on the final lap and he drove to his first career victory with Pawelski in his tire tracks. Borchardt finished a strong third while Bobby Giers and Mike Graczkowski rounded out the top five. Austin Luedke was the winner of the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Mike Graczkowski set fast time at 12.905 seconds.

Matt Pate won the 20-lap Sport Mod feature, taking the lead by lap five and driving to the win over Russ Moberly who turned in one of his best runs of the season to finish second. Justin Okruhlica took the checkered flag in third while John Kruschel and Bill Prietzel rounded out the top five. Prietzel was also the winner of the fast dash and Pate was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.531 seconds.

Eric Lingford edged Andy Welter at the stripe to win the thrilling 18-lap Thunderstock feature while Aaron Cain finished a close third. Stephanie Losiniecki took the checkered flag in fourth place just ahead of Al Stippich in fifth. Bernie Leonard led the first ten laps before hard racing amongst the leaders resulted in his car sliding into the backstretch grass. Welter took over the point from there and held it until the final laps, when Lingford was able to nip him at the line for the win. Welter also won the Thunderstock fast dash and Cain timed in the fastest at 13.750 seconds.

Jon DeAngelis was the winner of the 16-lap Slinger Bee feature, crossing the stripe ahead of Joe Lang and Brandon Tackes. Erik Long and Carl Benn were fourth and fifth respectively. Erik Long set fast time for the Slinger Bees at 15.906 seconds. Jake Franklin won the Speedway Guest Car event and Wayne Ennis was the winner of the Spectator Eliminator races. Dustin Ostberg won the rollover contest and Scott Goetzke was the winner of the Figure 8 event.