BENNETT BACK IN VICTORY LANE WITH FIFTH FEATURE WIN OF THE YEAR!

By Dan Margetta (Al Graf Photos)
Slinger, Wis., August 8— Lowell Bennett prevailed in an intense battle with Steve Apel and drove away to his fifth victory of the season in the 60-lap super late model feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.

“I tell you what, he (Apel) was really strong, “Bennett described racing with Apel for the lead, “I saw him get loose a couple times and that’s how I got in there on the inside of him. Hats off to him, he ran me hard and that’s fun racing, I just love racing like that.”

Josh Wallace and Mike Egan used the inner groove to quickly grab the top two spots at the drop of the green flag while Brad Keith occupied the outside lane just ahead of Apel, Conrad Morgan, and Bennett. The caution flag flew early on lap three as Tommy Hromadka, Brad Dahmer, and Mike Held tangled in the third turn as Wallace chose the inside lane for the restart, leaving Egan to take the outside. As racing resumed, Wallace and Egan raced door to door for the lead as Apel and Morgan advanced to third and fourth respectively on the inside while Keith remained caught on the outside, battling for fifth with Jeff Holtz and Bennett. Holtz and Bennett were able to work their way around Keith by lap five and a lap later, the field was slowed under the caution flag again when Keith’s car spun in turn four while racing with Fred Winn, sending both cars to the rear of the field for the restart. Wallace maintained the lead on the restart using the inside lane and Apel was glued in his tire tracks, using the inner groove to grab second from Egan while Holtz, Bennett, and Morgan all worked to keep Egan in the high lane. Apel made several attempts to look to the inside as his car appeared to turn better off the corners than Wallace’s machine and the persistence paid off as Apel moved alongside for the lead on lap 14.

Once again, the battle for the lead heated up as Apel and Wallace raced alongside each other for several laps with neither able to gain an advantage until a small slip by Wallace on lap 31 enabled Apel to clear him for the lead as Holtz, Bennett, and Morgan all closed in. Bennett began to march forward first by passing Holtz for third place by lap 33 and then ducking to the inside of Wallace off turn two to take over the second spot by lap 35 while Morgan also worked his way around Holtz for third. Apel’s lead began to shrink as the leaders sliced through lapped traffic with Bennett methodically closing the gap between him and the leader. Bennett caught Apel on lap 40 and one circuit later, was able to edge to the inside in a bid for the top spot. Apel held his ground on the outside and both he and Bennett began a torrid race for the lead, which featured the two cars rubbing together a few times at the start-finish line but remaining side by side as neither driver was able to gain any significant advantage. Again, lapped traffic came into play but both Apel and Bennett remained door to door even as they simultaneously passed slower cars. Finally, entering turn one on lap 51, Bennett cut to the bottom while Apel’s car stayed just a bit high and it was enough for Bennett to take sole possession of the lead exiting turn two. Once out front, Bennett began to drive away as Apel’s car slid loose in turn two with seven laps to go but he was able to maintain control and hold onto second place. Bennett drove to his fifth feature victory of the season while Apel capped off another strong performance by finishing second while Morgan held off Holtz and Egan to round out the top five finishers. Josh Wallace took the checkered flag in sixth ahead of Al Schill, who transferred from the semi-feature and finished seventh. Austin Luedtke, Scott Schoeni, and Fred Winn completed the top ten.

Al Schill won the 25-lap super late model semi-feature over Brandon Hill and Randy Schuler. Scott Schoeni finished fourth and Ronnie Ragan was fifth. The super late model fast dash was won by Mike Egan and Lowell Bennett set fast time with a lap of 11.524 seconds.

Rob Braun held off Wayne Freimund to win the 35-lap late model main event, using the outside lane to complete a late-race pass for the lead.
Jon Reynolds Jr. paced the opening laps over Freimund and Braun as Jake Vanoskey and Ryan DeStefano battled over fourth with Brad Dahmer and Chris Blawat. Reynolds held the point until lap 13 when his car suddenly washed wide in turn one, allowing Freimund to duck underneath him for the lead. Braun and Vanoskey also charged by on the inside as Reynolds eventually faded with handling issues. Braun began to pressure Freimund for the lead heavily as it appeared his car was quicker in the corners but not fast enough to complete an outside pass of Freimund for the lead. Vanoskey remained in third place within striking distance of the leaders as behind him Blawat and Dahmer fought side by side for fifth place. On lap 30, it appeared Blawat’s car bobbled slightly in turn two and as he tried to catch it, the car became hooked with Dahmer’s machine, turning both up towards the wall in turn two where Dahmer pounded the concrete hard to bring out the caution flag. Freimund chose the inside lane for the restart, leaving Braun the high side and as racing resumed, Braun kept the momentum up on the top groove and raced alongside Freimund for the lead. A lap later, Freimund’s car kicked loose slightly in turn four and Braun was able to secure the lead. Braun drove to the victory over Freimund and Vanoskey while Pat McIntee edged Mike Graczkowski at the stripe to finish fourth. Braun also was the winner of the late model fast dash and Jake Vanoskey was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.539 seconds.

Jeff Holtz won the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman main event, holding off his brother Brian Holtz at the finish to score the victory.

Brian Holtz led the early laps as Jack Stern, Dan Church, Jeff Holtz, and Andy Haver all scrambled for position behind him. As Brian Holtz held the point, Stern became trapped on the outside and Church, Haver, and Jeff Holtz all passed by, dropping Stern to the fifth spot. Church’s car sailed off turn four and into the infield as the result of contact with Haver’s bumper and the caution waved on lap five with both Church and Haver relegated to the rear of the field for the restart with Brian Holtz leading over Jeff Holtz, Stern, Jimmie Evans, and Jay Shambeau. As racing resumed, Jeff Holtz was able to get a run on the outside and he charged around Brian Holtz, taking the lead as they exited turn two while behind them Stern and Shambeau moved into third and fourth while Evans, Gregg Pawelski, and Haver all battled for fifth. Shambeau worked his way around Stern to take third while Jeff Holtz continued to show the way over Brian Holtz just before the final caution flag waved on lap 27 for a spin by Ryan Gutknecht on the backstretch. Jeff Holtz was on his marks as the green flag appeared and he immediately charged ahead of Brian Holtz to maintain the lead while Shambeau had his hands full with Haver over third as Evans and Pawelski battled for fifth. Jeff Holtz led the final laps and scored the victory over Brian Holtz while Shambeau held off Haver for third place with Evans edging Pawelski for the fifth spot at the finish. Jack Stern captured his first victory of the season by winning the Midwest sportsman fast dash and Andy Haver set fast time at 12.903 seconds.

Al Stippich edged Ken Scraufnagel to win the 18-lap Thunderstock feature event.

Adam Peschek led the opening lap over Schraufnagel and Stippich as the caution flag waved at the completion of lap one when Andy Welter and Rick Schaefer tangled in turn three. On the restart, Schraufnagel used the outside lane to work his way into the lead, bringing Stippich along with him as Eric Lingford and Ryan Farrell battled with Peschek for third. Lingford worked the outside and began to march forward, advancing to third by lap nine while Schraufnagel held off Stippich out front. Stippich moved alongside Schraufnagel on lap ten and the two raced side by side for the top spot as Lingford began to close in from third. Stippich appeared to have an advantage entering the corners while Schraufnagel had the better run on the inside upon the exit of the turns while Lingford ran both of them down, racing on the rear bumpers of the leaders as the white flag waved. Stippich was able to convert a strong run into turn three to an advantage off turn four and he captured the win at the stripe edging Schraufnagel by less than a car length with Lingford finishing third in their tire tracks. Ryan Farrell took the checkered flag in fourth place while Adam Peschek finished fifth. Andy Welter won the Thunderstock fast dash and Eric Lingford was the fastest qualifier at 13.696 seconds.

Alex Prunty won the 20-lap Slinger Bee feature over Nick Wagner while Braison Bennett rebounded from a run-in with Dan Prunty earlier in the race to finish third. Brandon Tackes and Tyler Schley rounded out the top five finishers. Jim Lund made his debut at Slinger a good one as he drove to victory in the 16-lap Slinger Bee semi-feature over Ryan Lovald and Joe Shelby. Alexis Strobel and Josh Fehrman were fourth and fifth respectively. Nick Wagner set fast time at 15.656 seconds. Richie Watson was the winner of the Speedway Guest Car event and Scott Goetzke closed the evening with win in the 10-lap Figure 8 race.