Slinger, Wis., Aug. 31—Steve Apel led the final 38 laps to win the Bruce Mueller Memorial 100 super late model Labor Day Weekend feature Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway and in the process wrapped up his second consecutive super late model track championship.
Michael Bilderback led the opening laps Ryan DeStefano, Tim Lampman, and Rob Braun while Steve Apel, Conrad Morgan, and John DeAngelis raced for position behind them. The inside lane prevailed in the early going as Braun and Apel used it to work their way into second and third respectively behind Bilderback who edged away slightly out front. Braun and Apel soon tracked down Bilderback and the top three raced nose to tail until Braun looked to the inside in a bid for the lead off turn four. However, by the time the leaders exited turn two, Braun’s car became extremely loose and as he regained control, Bilderback slipped away out front as those behind him including Braun, Apel, and Morgan regrouped. Apel worked the high side to pass Braun for second just before the first caution flag of the race waved on lap 26 when the field bunched up in turn four and Rich Loch’s car looped around after contact with Chris Blawat. Bilderback chose the outside lane for the restart and with Apel in the low groove, the two staged a side by side duel for the lead as racing resumed while Morgan and Braun were joined by Dennis Prunty who worked his way into the top five. Prunty then used the high lane to bypass Braun to take fourth as he joined Morgan in closing the gap to Bilderback and Apel who were still racing door to door for the lead. Bilderback and Apel traded the lead with each completed lap until the second caution flag appeared on lap 40 for a spin by Lampman in turn four. Bilderback again chose the outside for the restart and Apel was able to edge him for the lead as racing resumed for one lap before an incident involving Kelsey Bauer in turn one put the field back under the yellow flag. This time Apel chose the outside for the restart and he was able to charge past Bilderback for the lead as the green flag waved.
Dennis Prunty also used the high land to advance into second and Conrad Morgan did likewise to take over third. Prunty then began to pressure Apel for the top spot, making numerous looks to the inside with Morgan sitting directly behind them also looking for a way forward. Prunty’s persistence in the low groove paid off a few laps later as he passed Apel for the lead, bringing Morgan along with him into second. The lead battle stabilized up front for a bit before John DeAngelis cut a tire in turn four and slammed hard into the retaining wall on lap 62 bringing out the red flag as his flaming car came to rest in the infield. DeAngelis quickly exited the car uninjured as the track clean up began. Prunty chose the outside lane for the restart and a quick burst by Morgan down the backstretch on the pace lap forced Prunty to accelerate quicker on the restart as the two were nearly even as they took the green flag. However, when they exited turn two, Morgan, not realizing Prunty was at his rear quarter, moved up the track resulting in both cars collecting the wall hard and drawing another red flag. Apel inherited the lead for the restart and he chose the outside groove, leaving Travis Dassow the inside lane in second. As the green flag waved, Apel worked the high side well and maintained the lead over Dassow while Bilderback held third place ahead of Braun and Lowell Bennett. Dassow tried numerous times to unseat Apel for the top spot over the final laps but was unable to make a serious charge as Apel drove under the checkered flag for the victory and at the same time clinched the super late model track championship. Dassow was forced to settle for a runner up finish for the second consecutive week while Bilderback completed a strong run in third. Lowell Bennett worked his way forward from deep in the field to finish fourth while Rob Braun took the checkered flag in fifth, but later did not pass post race technical inspection.
Nick Wagner won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Randy Schuler and Rich Loch and they along with fourth place finisher Kelsey Bauer advanced to the main event. Super late model heat races were won by Randy Schuler, Lowell Bennett, and Steve Apel while Conrad Morgan was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 11.323 seconds.
– Slinger Super Speedway Press Release
Photo Credit: Bob Schneider Jr.