By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., August 15—Mike Egan turned back a strong late race challenge from Brad Mueller to capture his first super late model feature victory in five years in the 60-lap second round of the KFC/Pepsi Challenge Series Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“Towards the end there, the car was getting looser and looser and I tell you, we ran it into the corners so hard I couldn’t believe it stuck and somehow I got ahead,” Egan stated from victory lane, “My spotter told me I really had to pedal because (Mueller) was coming and I was giving it all I had, I didn’t have anything left.”
Tommy Pecaro paced the opening laps before Scott Schoeni took command of the race by lap five, bringing Fred Winn along with him into second place as Pecaro fell into the clutches of Egan, Conrad Morgan, and Mueller in a scrape for third. The yellow flag waved on lap 12 for a tangle between Austin Luedtke and Tommy Hromadka in turn four and during the caution period, championship point leader Lowell Bennett exited the speedway with mechanical issues and retired from the event. Schoeni maintained the lead on the restart as Winn’s car washed wide in between turns one and two, enabling Egan to fill the gap and challenge Schoeni for the lead while Morgan, Pecaro, Steve Apel, and Mueller advanced forward as well. Egan began to pressure Schoeni for the lead, diving to the inside off turn two to take over the top spot on lap 19. With Egan out front, Schoeni began to have his hands full with Morgan, Mueller, and Apel as the three of them tracked him down in a battle for second. Just past the halfway mark, Morgan and Mueller worked their way around Schoeni on the inside to move into second and third respectively as Egan continued to lead. Behind the lead battle, Dennis Prunty and Jeremy Lepak found themselves in an intense struggle for the eighth spot as Prunty sliced in front of Lepak entering turn three and upon exiting turn four, the two found themselves side by side with Lepak on the inside and Prunty in the high line. After two laps of extremely hard racing with some minor door contact, Prunty found himself in the frontstretch wall when the gap between it and Lepak’s car narrowed off turn four, drawing another caution flag. Egan fired his car hard into the corner on the restart and it stuck on the inside line, enabling him to hang onto the lead as Mueller pulled alongside Morgan to hash out second. On lap 40, Mueller worked his way around Morgan into second place as Apel began to challenge Morgan for third as well. Mueller started to track down Egan for the lead, closing to Egan’s rear bumper as the laps wound down. Egan’s car slid loose off the corners in the final laps, enabling Mueller to momentarily poke the nose of his car inside Egan’s quarter panel on numerous occasions but each time Egan was able to prevail down the straightaways. A final charge by Mueller came up just short as Egan drove under the checkered flag for his first feature victory since 2005. Steve Apel held off Morgan for the third position while Jeremy Lepak finished fifth. Jeff Holtz and Scott Schoeni were sixth and seventh respectively while Randy Schuler, Steven Schultz, and Fred Winn rounded out the top ten. Earlier in the evening, Lowell Bennett won the super late model fast dash and Jeremy Lepak was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.437 seconds.
Blawat and Jake Vanoskey led the field to the green flag with Blawat taking the lead over Vanoskey, Mike Graczkowski, and Pat McIntee. Behind the top four, James Swan and Ryan DeStefano raced with Rob Braun over the fifth spot as the leaders raced nose to tail. A spin by Dan Wood in turn four produced the first caution flag on lap 11 with Blawat leading over Vanoskey, Graczkowski, McIntee, and Swan. Blawat maintained the lead on the restart while Graczkowski and Swan used the inside to advance to second and third place with Vanoskey sliding back in line in fourth, just ahead of Braun and DeStefano. Vanoskey’s car appeared to turn well on the inside and he eased underneath Swan for third place by lap 16 as Blawat led with Graczkowski planted on his rear bumper in second. Braun also worked the inside and pulled even with Swan over the fourth spot by lap 18 just before the caution flag waved again on lap 22 for a single car spin off turn four. Blawat chose the inside for the restart with Graczkowski on the high side and as racing resumed, Blawat pulled out to a lead as Vanoskey charged to the inside of Graczkowski for second. As Vanoskey tried to chase down Blawat for the lead, Swan tried to make the outside groove work and ran side by side with Graczkowski for third place. Graczkowski prevailed in that battle on lap 29 and three circuits later, the yellow flag flew again for a tangle between John DeAngelis and Pat McIntee in turn three, setting up a three lap dash to the finish. Blawat kept his car glued to the inside over the final three laps as Grackzowski battled his way by Vanoskey for second while Braun challenged Swan over fourth. Blawat held his ground in the final laps to score the win over Graczkowski, Vanoskey, Braun, and Swan. Ryan DeStefano won the late model fast dash following contact with Vanoskey on the final lap and Rob Braun set fast time for the division at 12.516 seconds.
Jack Stern and Dan Church swapped the lead in the opening laps as the field remained bunched tightly together with Gregg Pawelski, Chris Ratajczyk, Swan, Ryan Farrell, and Jimmy Evans all racing in close quarters behind the lead duo. The racing between them became even tighter on lap five when side contact between Evans and Ratajczyk resulted in Ratajczyk’s door becoming stuck in the side of Evan’s car just before Evan’s car looped around off turn two to produce a caution flag. As racing resumed, Church maintained the lead while Pawelski worked his way around Stern for second by lap 14 with both Swan and Farrell also managing to get by Stern to move into third and fourth respectively. A few laps later, Swan used the outside to pull even with Pawelski, taking the second spot on lap 18 just before the caution flag waved on lap 20 for a spin by Dave Obermeyer in turn four. Church chose the inside for the restart with Swan on the outside and Swan made the high line work, taking the lead down the backstretch on lap 20. Once out front, Swan could not be caught and he drove to the win over Church while Jay Shambeau used a late charge to finish third. Ryan Farrell finished fourth and Ratajczyk took the checkered flag in fifth. Earlier, Ryan Farrell won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Andy Haver was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.879 seconds.
Carl Benn and Chris Beine led the field to the green flag and Beine raced to the lead at the drop of the green flag, bringing Daley with him into second place ahead of Benn, Ken Schraufnagel, and Jake Larson. With Beine out front, Daley and Schraufnagel raced side by side for second, with Eric Lingford, Andy Welter and Al Stippich close behind. Daley was able to take sole possession of second place by lap seven and then took to the outside of Beine for the lead a lap later. Schraufnagel also worked the outside and used that line to take over second place by lap ten and a lap later the caution flag flew when Welter and Stippich tangled in turn three. Daley held onto the lead over Schraufnagel as racing resumed with Beine, Lingford, and Larson in third through fifth respectively. On lap 14, Schraufnagel’s car got loose out of turn two and he attempted to regain control of the car down the backstretch and into turn three before finally spinning around in turn four. Behind him, Beine had nowhere to go and ramped over Schraufnagel’s car, breaking an axle in the process as the yellow flag flew. Once again, Daley led on the restart, and as the green flag waved, he found himself facing challenges from Lingford and Larson. Lingford remained on Daley’s bumper in the closing laps, but Daley proved to be too tough and he drove to the victory. Lingford finished second while Larson, Stippich, and Rick Schaefer rounded out the top five. Eric Lingford won the Thunderstock fast dash and Al Stippich set fast time with 13.575 seconds.
Nick Wagner was the winner of the 20-lap Slinger Bee feature over Alex Prunty and Braison Bennett. Brandon Tackes and Tyler Schley rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth place respectively. Wagner also was the Slinger Bee fastest qualifier with a lap of 15.470 seconds. John Kulka won the Speedway Guest Car race and Shane Becker closed the evening with a win in the Figure 8 race.
This article was posted to the website on August 16th, 2010