By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 8— Alex Prunty claimed top honors in the King of the Highbanks 60-lap late model feature while Mike Egan held off Dennis Prunty to score his first super late model feature victory of the season in the Netwurx 50 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“This feels good, “Prunty exclaimed from victory lane after turning back a strong challenge from Zack Riddle before taking the win over Gregg Pawelski and John DeAngelis Jr., “Zack Riddle had one of the fastest cars out there and I gave him the outside…he didn’t want the outside but he wasn’t getting the inside from me.”
Al Stippich led the opening circuits of the 60-lap late model feature while the rest of the field raced in two-by-two formation behind him with Ryan DeStefano, Dan Church, Gregg Pawelski, and Braison Bennett rounding out the top five. Behind them, Alex Prunty, Zack Riddle, and John DeAngelis battled for sixth all within striking distance of the lead. With Stippich still out front, the inside lane advanced forward as Church and Bennett found themselves caught on the outside as DeStefano, Pawelski, Prunty, DeAngelis, and Riddle all passed by on the inside. DeStefano made a bid for the lead to the inside of Stippich on lap eight and took the top spot a lap later while Prunty challenged for Stippich for second, moving alongside just before the caution flag flew for Nick Wendt’s car which slowed after a minor tangle with Rich Hinerichsen on lap ten.
DeStefano chose the inside lane for the restart and as racing resumed, maintained the lead while Stippich held tough on the outside for two laps before Prunty and DeAngelis were able to race to the inside to take second and third respectively as Stippich lost ground on the high side. Bennett and Riddle also moved into fourth and fifth as Stippich looked for room on the inside with Pawelski caught on the outside as well directly behind him. Meanwhile, up front, Prunty made a quick bid for the lead on the inside of DeStefano and when that move was blocked, took to the top side to draw even with DeStefano for the top spot. Prunty and DeStefano raced door to door for the lead for three laps before Prunty was able to power ahead off turn four on lap 19 while DeAngelis and Riddle worked their way into third and fourth with Bennett holding off Stippich for fifth.
As Prunty continued to lead over DeStefano, Riddle was able to sneak the nose of this car under DeAngelis’ left rear fender and edge into third place just before the second caution flag waved on lap 26 for a tangle in turn four involving Adam Peschek and Rob Myers. Prunty was able to power to the lead over DeStefano and Riddle on the restart as Bennett and DeAngelis raced over fourth place with Pawelski and Andy Wendt close behind. Bennett and Pawelski both worked the low line to pass DeAngelis who finally found an opening down low to slot in sixth just ahead of Wendt with Prunty still leading over DeStefano. As Prunty began to ease away slightly, Riddle was able to turn to the inside of DeStefano to take second which opened the door for Bennett to move into third as DeStefano found himself in a side by side battle with Pawelski over fourth. Pawelski eventually took the fourth position a few laps later as the leaders settled down in single file order with Prunty enjoying a comfortable margin over Riddle, Bennett, Pawelski, and DeStefano. Stippich momentarily lost control of his car off turn four on lap 50 and slid toward the infield which drew the caution flag when he attempted to rejoin the race in turn one, erasing Prunty’s advantage over Riddle and Bennett. Prunty used the inside lane to pull ahead of Riddle for the lead on the restart but Riddle remained in Prunty’s tire tracks, making Prunty aware of his presence with a few taps on the left rear corner of Prunty’s bumper. Pawelski held the third spot as the caution waved once again on lap 51 when Bennett spun in turn four while racing over fourth with DeStefano, relegating both cars to the rear for the restart and moving Andy Wendt and DeAngelis into the top five. Riddle worked the outside and kept even with Prunty for a few laps after the race went back to green but Prunty proved to be too strong on the inside as he once again drove to the lead. Pawelski and DeAngelis took advantage of Riddle’s plight on the outside and both drove around in the low groove to move into second and third, leaving Riddle to battle with Wendt and Mike Lichtfield over fourth. Prunty turned back all challenges in the final laps and he drove to the victory over Pawelski and DeAngelis while Lichtfield muscled his way past Riddle in the closing circuits to finish fourth.
Nick Wendt won the late model semi-feature over John Baumeister and Adam Peschek while Rich Hinerichsen and Andy Wendt rounded out the top five. Mike Lichtfield and Nick Wendt each scored late model heat race victories while Ryan DeStefano won the late model fast dash. Zack Riddle was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.401 seconds.
“That was awesome, “ an excited Mike Egan stated from victory lane after a hard fought battle for the win in the 50-lap super late model feature, “Conrad Morgan and I battled for fifteen laps side by side and I think we touched one time and that was it and then I saw that big orange #42 (Dennis Prunty) behind me and he told me earlier he was going to wreck me if I parked in the corners, so I figured I had better not.”
Conrad Morgan and Rob Braun led the field to the green flag and they traded the lead in the opening laps with Morgan on the inside and Braun working well on the outside as Mike Egan, Dennis Prunty and Lowell Bennett followed behind them. Morgan eventually worked the low line to pull ahead out front as Egan and Braun staged a side by side battle for second while Bennett took over fourth ahead of Prunty and Dan Jung. While Braun ran well on the high side, he couldn’t sustain the momentum as Egan, Bennett, and Prunty used the low groove to get by, leaving Braun to race with Steve Apel who advanced forward to join the top five. Pete Wiedmeyer and Nick Wagner made contact on the frontstretch and Wiedmeyer’s right front wheel climbed over Wagner’s left rear tire and rode up to Wagner’s door as the cars entered turn one stuck together. Both cars made contact with the turn one wall with Wagner backing into the fence and Wiedmeyer hitting the concrete nearly head on as the caution flag waved on lap 21. Morgan chose the low side for the restart, leaving Egan to the outside and as the green waved, Egan was able to get a strong run off the corners to remain even with Morgan as they battled for the lead. Egan and Morgan raced door to door for the top spot, trading the lead for several laps as Bennett, Prunty, and Apel followed, waiting for the top two to make a mistake. Egan was finally able to power ahead of Morgan as they entered turn three, clearing him just enough to drop to the inside to take the lead on lap 35 just before the caution flag waved for a second time a lap later when Rob Braun and Chris Blawat tangled in turn three while racing for position. This time Egan chose the low side for the restart leaving Morgan to the outside and as racing resumed, Egan charged to the point, leaving Morgan to battle with Prunty who filled the gap on the inside in a bid for second. Behind them, Apel and Bennett fought over fourth with both cars getting sideways momentarily after Apel was tagged slightly by the car behind him. Prunty began to chase Egan for the lead while Apel recovered to track down Morgan for third with Bennett close behind. Prunty could get to Egan’s bumper but was unable to make a serious charge for the lead as Egan drove to his first super late model feature win of the season. Prunty settled for second place at the finish while Apel took the checkered flag in third just ahead of Bennett and Morgan in fourth and fifth respectively. Dan Jung finished sixth and Fred Winn was seventh while Mike Graczkowski, Jerry Eckhardt, and Chris Ratajczyk rounded out the top ten finishers.
Mike Egan also won the super late model fast dash while Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.483 seconds.
James Swan took the lead on lap seven and went on to capture his sixth feature win of the season in the Midwest Sportsman 30-lap main event. Ryan Farrell drove the car normally piloted by Carl Benn to a second place finish while Kyle Chwala finished third in his first trip to the speedway this season. Jay Shambeau and Jack Stern crossed the finish line in fourth and fifth respectively. Ryan Farrell won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and James Swan topped all qualifiers after touring the speedway in 13.044 seconds.
Brad Hetzel edged Nick Egan in a photo finish to win the 20-lap Thunderstock feature, making the charge for the lead in the final corner of the final lap. John Daley finished third followed by Tyler Schley and Tim Kreuser. John Daley was the winner of the Thunderstock fast dash and Brad Hetzel set fast time at 13.663 seconds.
Steve Dickson was the winner of the 20-lap Slinger Bee feature over Nick Schmidt and Grant Griesebach. Ricky Heinan took the checkered flag in fourth and Brandon Tackes was fifth. Nick Schmidt was the winner of the first Slinger Bee heat over Steve Dickson and Grant Griesebach while Paul Reagles and Ricky Heinan were fourth and fifth respectively. Dave Schmidt won the second Slinger Bee heat over Ryan Savage and Ethan Roskopf. Zack Welter was fourth and Dave Lembke finished fifth. Steve Dickson was the fastest qualifier at 15.188 seconds. Scott Goetzke was the winner of the Figure 8 race to close the evening.
Next Sunday July 15th AT&T The Real Yellow Pages presents the YP.com night at the races. A 50 lap Super Late Model Feature will highlight the evening. Super Late Models will be joined by Late Models, Midwest Sportsman, Thunderstock, Slinger Bee's and the Wild and Crazy Figure 8's. Gates open at 4 pm, qualifying is at 4:45 with opening ceremonies at 6:30 and racing to follow.
This article was posted to the website on July 9th, 2012