BENNETT PREVAILS IN KFC/PEPSI CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP 80!

Al Graf PhotosAl Graf PhotosBy Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Aug. 23—Lowell Bennett kept his cool during a rough and tumble KFC/Pepsi Challenge Championship 80-lap super lat e model feature to capture his fifth victory of the season Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.

“What a fun night here, it looks like we got a little damage on the back of the car we didn’t even realize we had,” Bennett said after a race in which he inherited the top spot after leaders Al Schill and Dale Prunty tangled late in the event, “I was watching them and we were gaining on them every single lap there and I just didn’t want to see them get into that. It’s fun just to out-race these guys.”

Al Schill and Dave Feiler brought the field to the green flag with Feiler getting the early jump to lead the opening laps with Schill slotted behind him, just ahead of David Prunty in third. Schill pressured Feiler for a few laps before edging to the inside on lap seven to take the lead going into turn one. When Feiler quickly attempted to fill the minute gap between Schill and third place Prunty entering turn three, contact between himself and Prunty sent Feiler’s car spinning around to draw the first caution flag, resulting in both Feier and Prunty being sent to the rear of the field for the restart.

Schill led Randy Schuler and Dale Prunty as racing resumed with Dale Prunty immediately charging into second place using the inside lane as Gary LaMonte, Collin Bamke, and Rich Loch all took advantage of the inside lane to move into third through fifth respectively. The caution flag waved again on lap 17 for a two car incident involving Brad Dahmer and David Prunty in turn two with Schill maintaining his lead over Dale Prunty. Schill and Dale Prunty renewed their battle for the lead as the race went back to green as farther back Feiler began to work his way forward, pressuring Jon Reynolds Jr. for eighth. After a few taps on Reynolds bumper, Feiler muscled his way around on lap 28, sending Reynolds high on the track and as he tried to dive back in line, Reynolds cut across the front of Steve Apel, resulting in Reynolds spinning into turn one with the caution flag waving for the third time.

SLINGER 112SLINGER 112Once again Schill and Dale Prunty began to battle for the lead as racing resumed with Schill on the inside and Prunty in the high groove. The two put on a spectacular display for several laps as Prunty looked to have the advantage entering the corners but a loose condition off the turns allowed Schill to draw even down the straightaway. The driving clinic the two put on went awry in a hurry on lap 49 when Prunty dove back to the inside and contact between the two in turn four sent Schill spinning down the frontstretch, sending both to the rear of the field and handing the lead to Lowell Bennett with Collin Bamke and Feiler close behind. Bamke put up a valiant effort on the outside as racing resumed, but Bennett kept the lead while Dennis and David Prunty began to march forward, racing into fourth and fifth. The Prunty brothers were the drivers on the move in the later stages as they both passed Feiler for third by lap 65 and Dennis Prunty eased ahead of Bamke for second place. The final caution flag waved on lap 68 for an incident between Gary LaMonte and Rich Loch which also swept up Randy Schuler and Al Schill in turn four with Bennett leading Dennis Prunty, Bamke, and David Prunty.

SLINGER 112SLINGER 112Bennett was on his game for the restart and turned back the challenges of Dennis Prunty to hold the lead while David Prunty was able to pass Bamke for third. Bennett extended his lead over the final laps and drove to his fifth feature win of the season while Dennis Prunty finished second and David Prunty was third. Collin Bamke and Conrad Morgan rounded out the top five while Dave Feiler finished sixth ahead of Scott Schoeni and Dale Prunty. Jon Reynolds Jr. and Brad Dahmer were ninth and tenth respectively.

Chris Ratajczyk drove to the win in the 20-lap super late model semi-feature over Race McComb and Jerry Eckhardt. Ron Ragan and Nathan Matz were fourth and fifth. Dale Prunty was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Dennis Prunty was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap at 11.496 seconds.

SLINGER 112SLINGER 112Rob Braun patiently made the outside groove work to his advantage and he was rewarded with solid win in the 35-lap late model feature.

Ryan DeStefano and Dave McCardle occupied the front row at the start and the two battled fiercely for the lead with the rest of the field in tight formation behind them. The close racing among the bottle-necked field produced an accordion-like effect throughout the cars, resulting in Trevor Dassow spinning to the infield as the race remained under green. McCardle couldn’t keep his momentum in the high lane and he began to fall back as DeStefano took the lead with Braun and Chris Blawat racing into second and third. Braun went to work in the outside groove and while at first he briefly lost a spot to Blawat, he eventually began to build up momentum and slowly began to gain ground on DeStefano for the lead. Braun pulled alongside DeStef ano and with each lap began to slightly ease ahead until lap 19 when he was able to clear DeStefano for the lead. Once out front, Braun dove back to the inside as Blawat and DeStefano battled for second with Pat McIntee and Steve Apel joining the top five. A late caution flag on lap 28 for a spin by Bill Shavlik in turn two, tightened the field for the final laps but Braun hit his marks on the restart and kept the lead as DeStefano struggled in the high line, losing second place to Blawat and third to McIntee. Braun turned back all challenges and took the victory with Blawat on his rear bumper in second and McIntee right behind them in third. DeStefano was able to inch ahead of Apel at the finish line to prevail in an intense battle for the fourth position, leaving Apel to finish fifth.
DeStefano raced to the win in the late model fast dash while Blawat was the late model fastest qualifier with a time of 12.339 seconds.
Mark Kissinger took top honors in the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature to score his second main event win of the season.

SLINGER 112SLINGER 112Kissinger charged to the lead at the drop of the green flag while=2 0Jimmie Evans settled into second place with Brian Holtz and Bobby Giers racing for third ahead of Gregg Pawelski. Kissinger and Evans began to pull away from the rest of the field as Giers pressured Holtz heavily for third. The top four remained steady while Jeff Holtz, Dave Thomas, and Mike Borchardt Jr. all charged hard for the fifth spot. Kissinger continued to hold back challenges from Evans while the battle for third between Giers and Brian Holtz resulted in Holtz’s car kicking sideways exiting turn four on lap 26. By the time Holtz could regain control, he lost numerous positions as Jeff Holtz and Borchardt were able to charge by while Thomas was not as lucky, spinning to the infield while trying to avoid Brian Holtz’s car. Evans made a final charge in the closing laps but there was no catching Kissinger who drove to the checkered flag to score his second win of the season while Evans equaled his best performance of the season in second. Giers finished in third place while Jeff Holtz and Borchardt rounded out the top five.

SLINGER 112SLINGER 112Earlier in the evening, Giers was victorious in the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Borchardt circled the speedway in 12.778 seconds to nail down fast time for the division.

Ryan Farrell charged to his second feature win of the season by holding off Eric Lingford and Aaron Cain to win the 18-lap Thunderstock main event.
Shawn Fick led the opening three laps before Andy Welter took over the top spot when Fick exited the event with mechanical problems. Welter paced the event for another three laps before Farrell raced around him for the lead on lap six. With Farrell out front, Lingford, Rick Schaefer and Cain began to methodically work their way forward through the field, occupying second through fourth by lap ten. While Lingford could keep Farrell in his sights in the closing laps, he was unable to mount a challenge as Farrell drove under the checkered flag for the victory. Lingford finished a solid second while Cain crossed the finish line in third ahead of Schaefer and Welter who finished fourth and fifth respectively. Adam Peschek was the winner of the Thunderstock fast dash and Aaron Cain paced qualifying by turning in a time trial effort at 13.651 seconds.

Alex Prunty drove to the lead on lap eight and raced on to victory in the 16-lap Slinger Bee feature. Joe Lang finished in second place while Brandon Tackes, Mike Held, and Jeff Jagusch Jr. completed the top five finishers. Joe Lang set fast time for the Slinger=2 0Bees by touring the speedway in 15.393 seconds. Greg Toles was the winner of the first Speedway Guest Car event and Phil Melk took top honors in the second Speedway Guest Car race. Jesse Jorgensen won the Spectator Eliminator race in his Subaru and Justin Poenitsch rebounded from a vicious Slinger Slamfest crash the night before to capture the victory in the Figure 8 event.