APEL SCORES FIRST FEATURE WIN IN THRILLING BEHLING RACING EQUIPMENT SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP 75

By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., Sept. 13—Steve Apel held off Dave Feiler on a green-white-checkered finish set up when the leaders were involved in an incident in the final laps to capture his first career super late model feature victory Sunday afternoon in a thrilling Behling Racing Equipment Season Championship 75 at the Slinger Super Speedway.

Apel worked his way forward from the twelfth starting position to race in the top five by lap 20 and found himself in the lead after Lowell Bennett and Dennis Prunty tangled in turn one while battling intensely for the lead with two laps to go. Apel drove perfectly over the final two laps and held off a hard charging Dave Feiler at the finish to score the victory.

“I really didn’t want to win it that way with the two leaders taking each other out,” an obviously happy Apel stated while shaking from excitement in victory lane, “But I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Tommy Hromadka and Rich Loch paced the field to the green flag and Loch launched into the lead at the start over Mike Egan and Randy Schuler. The caution flag waved early on as spins by Cardell Potter, Jon Reynolds Jr., and Hromadka on laps seven, ten, and thirteen respectively slowed the field with Loch leading over Schuler, Egan, Dennis Prunty, and Jamie Wallace. As racing resumed, Schuler went to work on Loch for the lead while Dennis Prunty made his way around Egan for third as Dale Prunty entered the top five with Steve Apel and Dave Feiler close behind. Schuler applied heavy pressure to Loch for the lead as it appeared his car was quicker off the corners while Loch held the inside line. The yellow flag appeared again on lap 17 after contact among the leaders resulted in Loch’s machine spinning off turn four, handing the lead to Dennis Prunty over Egan and Dale Prunty as both Schuler and Loch restarted the race from the rear of the field. Dennis Prunty maintained the lead as the green flag appeared while Dale Prunty and Apel raced into second and third place as Brad Dahmer and Lowell Bennett entered the top five. Apel charged into second place on lap 24 while Bennett advanced to third place by lap 30. Bennett was the car on the move and four laps later he powered by Apel for second while Dennis Prunty continued to lead. Another slowdown under caution occurred on lap 37 when Wallace’s car came to a halt in turn three after showing smoke.

Prunty chose the inside for the restart, leaving Bennett the outside lane and the high line worked for Bennett as he was able to get a tremendous run off turn two to take the lead shortly after racing resumed. Bennett and Prunty raced nose to tail for the next several laps while Dahmer and Feiler advanced to fourth and fifth behind Apel, who held a solid grip on the third position. Bennett and Prunty caught lapped traffic on lap 63 and Prunty closed the gap between himself and the leader, eventually moving to the inside of Bennett on lap 67. Bennett and Prunty raced door to door with Bennett and the high side and Prunty down low with each making slight door contact on the exit of the turns. The duo remained in their tight side by side formation even as they weaved their way around lapped cars, at times briefly racing three wide with the slower cars. As they entered turn one side by side with two laps to go, Prunty’s back end kicked ever so loose and the side to side contact with Bennett sent Bennett’s car spinning around in turn two, drawing the caution flag. Both Bennett and Prunty were sent to the rear of the field for the restart and when Prunty expressed his displeasure in the ruling by cutting donuts on the speedway logo in the infield, he was sent off the racetrack. Apel led the field to the green flag over Feiler, Dahmer, and Mike Egan and the super late model rookie looked like a seasoned veteran as he kept Feiler at bay. Apel took the checkered flag for the victory while Feiler finished second ahead of Dahmer and Egan. Eddie May crossed the finish line in fifth place while Conrad Morgan and Schuler were sixth and seventh respectively. Dale Prunty, Lowell Bennett and Rich Loch rounded out the top ten finishers.

Scott Schoeni was the winner of the 30-lap super late model semi-feature, scoring the victory ahead of Josh Wallace and Brad Keith. Nathan Matz and Michael Gunderson were fourth and fifth respectively. Jamie Wallace won the super late model fast dash and Lowell Bennett was the fastest qualifier after turning a lap of 11.502 seconds. Bennett also was crowned the 2009 super late model track champion, his sixth career title.

Jake Vanoskey drove to the victory in the 35-lap late model main event over Chris Blawat and Ryan DeStefano.

Vanoskey and Dave McCardle swapped the lead during the opening laps with McCardle leading the first lap and Vanoskey edging ahead for the next four. Behind the top two, Ryan DeStefano, Pat McIntee, and Blawat all battled for the third spot as the yellow flag appeared on lap five for a spin by Bill Shavlik. Vanoskey maintained the lead on the restart while McCardle and DeStefano raced side by side for second with DeStefano taking the position on lap 11 while Blawat edged closer in third, ahead of Trevor Dassow who raced his way to fourth. James Swan worked his way through traffic to enter the top five on lap 14 as Vanoskey’s lead began to grow while Blawat and DeStefano disputed the second position. Vanoskey held a sizeable advantage by lap 25 as Blawat and DeStefano remained door to door for second. Vanoskey drove to the convincing victory while Blawat held off DeStefano at the finish for second. Dassow and Swan completed the top five finishers. Pat McIntee was the winner of the late model fast dash and James Swan set fast time at 12.483 seconds. Blawat’s second place finish secured the 2009 late model track championship.

Gregg Pawelski took home top honors in the 30-lap Midwest Sportsman feature.

Brian Holtz paced the opening laps over Mike Lang, Mike Borchardt Jr., and Jimmie Evans. While Holtz led over Lang and Borchardt, Pawelski entered the top five on lap two and advanced to fourth on lap nine when Evans slid high in turn two. Holtz maintained the lead while Borchardt took over second place on lap eleven as Lang, Pawelski, and Austin Luedtke held down the rest of the top five positions. Borchardt appeared to be ready to challenge Holtz for the lead when suddenly his car snapped around and slammed the turn one wall on lap 13, drawing the caution flag. Holtz and Pawelski battled for the lead on the restart with Pawelski taking command on lap 25 by using the inside lane. Lang also used the inside to grab second place on lap 26 and Jay Shambeau and Luedtke followed into third and fourth a lap later. Lang’s car kicked sideways on lap 27 and both Shambeau and Luedtke were able to pass him for second and third. Pawelski held the lead all the way to the checkered flag, taking the victory over Shambeau and Luedtke. Lang and Holtz rounded out the top five. Austin Luedtke won the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and Pawelski was the fastest qualifier at 12.912 seconds. Despite his incident in the main event, Mike Borchardt Jr. was crowned the 2009 track champion in the Midwest Sportsman division.

Justin Okruhlica was the winner of the 15-lap Sport Mod feature.

Ron Schmitt led the first lap before Brad Dahmer raced to the lead while Okruhlica advanced to second place by lap four. Okruhlica caught Dahmer for the lead and the two raced door to door for several laps before Dahmer’s car looped around in turn four as Okruhlica continued on. Okruhlica raced to the win from there, taking the checkered flag ahead of Cardell Potter and Schmitt. Eddie Bentfield and Dahmer completed the top five finishers. Dahmer was the winner of the Sport Mod fast dash and Okruhlica set fast time with a lap of 12.088 seconds.

Ryan Farrell held off a late charge from Eric Lingford to win the 18-lap Thunderstock feature.

Farrell took the lead at the drop of the green flag and Lingford worked his way to second place by lap seven just before the caution flag appeared when Adam Peschek spun in turn two and was struck hard in the back by the car of Jim Bentzler. Farrell and Lingford renewed their battle for the lead as racing resumed before the caution flag waved again three laps later when Andy Welter experienced problems and stopped along the frontstretch wall shortly after moving into the third spot. Once again Farrell and Lingford raced hard for the lead during the closing laps with Lingford leading one lap briefly before Farrell edged back ahead. At the stripe, Farrel took the victory over Lingford while Dan Wood, Aaron Cain, and Al Stippich were third through fifth respectively. Andy Welter won the Thunderstock fast dash and Al Stippich was the fastest qualifier at 13.729 seconds.

Joe Lang was the winner of the 16-lap Slinger Bee feature over Carl Benn and Brandon Tackes. Mark Johler and Alex Prunty rounded out the top five. Prunty was also the fastest qualifier at 15.644 seconds. Jay Oelke won the Speedway Guest car event and the Spectator Eliminator race was won by Robert Coffee in his Camaro. Mark Ritger drove to his first Figure 8 feature win of the season to close out the afternoon.