KAUKAUNA, WI – Former Red, White and Blue champion Steve Apel of Slinger fought off a race long challenge from Montello’s Bobby Kendall and cruised to victory in the White Race at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna Thursday.
The 60-lap Super Late Model feature wasn’t even one lap old when a melee ensued in turn four. Knowles Dennis Prunty spun, and several cars got collected in the mess. The driver who got the worst of it was Menominee, Michigan’s Dalton Zehr, who’s Tim Satorius owned machine was sidelined for the evening.
When racing resumed Freedom’s Brent Strelka assumed the lead with heavy pressure from “The Montello Missle” Bobby Kendall. Kendall wrestled the lead from Strelka on the third lap. Kendall pulled away to a three car length lead. Apel motored around Strelka to take second and began chasing down Kendall for the lead.
Apel caught Kendall by lap 15 and began pressuring the leader. Apel worked the low line with Kendall up high. The pair traded the lead for several laps. Apel took the lead away on lap 21. One circuit later a caution flew for a Pete Vandermolen spin in turn two. Apel kept the lead as Andy Monday began pressuring Kendall for second. But with 33 laps to go Apel and Kendall pulled away from the pack. By the halfway point Prunty had sliced his way back up to eighth by the halfway point. During the second half of the race Apel gradually built up his cushion to a seven car length lead over Kendall. At the checkers Apel’s margin of victory was well over two seconds over Kendall.
“I worked all day Wednesday and a half day today after racing the Slinger Nationals Tuesday,” Apel said in victory lane.“I can’t thank my pit crew enough because they had to get that car ready because it was the same one we raced Tuesday night. This track is awesome up here at WIR. We always love running up here. This is a pretty exciting night for us.”
Kendall placed second, followed by Monday, Maxwell Schultz and Casey Johnson.
Neenah’s Braison Bennett came out on top of a race long battle with Kaukauna’s Nathan Van Wychen. The third generation driver snatched the lead from Van Wychen with three circuits remaining to capture his first late model main of the season.
“I’m sure glad I was on the inside lane that time because my car was sort of tight,” Bennett said in victory lane. “I had a great race with Nathan (Van Wychen). He raced me clean and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. That’s the hardest I’ve had to race all season long and we finally got a “W” tonight.”
Van Wychen settled for second-place money, followed by current points leader Jesse Bernhagen, Mike Meyerhofer and Eddie Muenster.
Kaukauna’s Dave Meyerhofer became the seventh different winner in as many weeks in the super stock division. Trailing at the checkers were Randy Theimer of Kaukauna; Terry Van Roy of Darboy, Ariana Beatty of Little Chute and Jimmy Wilson of Kaukauna.
Menasha’s Jason Plutz grabbed the lead from Kylee Vandermoss on the final lap and hung on to win his fifth sport truck feature of the year. Vandermoss hung on for second place money. Dan Vixmer, Dom Sokolik and Marty Sokolik placed third through fifth, respectively.
Former sport truck racer Justin Fickel of Neenah picked up the learning curve quickly, winning the Sizzlin’ 4 feature, his first of the year.
Neenah’s Tom Spierowski and Appleton’s Pete Berken split the WIR quarter-mile Late Model features.
Mike Meyerhofer won the Figure 8 feature.
Next Thursday night, July 19 will be Kurz Industrial Solutions Vets Night. It will also be Round II of the Pavement Pounder sportmod series presented by The Winnegamie Home Builders Association (WHBA) of Winnebago and Outagamie County. Racing gets underway at 6:45 p.m. You can check frrc.us for more information or follow the club’s Facebook page.
SUPER LATE MODEL FEATURE – Steve Apel, Slinger; Bobby Kendall, Montello; Andy Monday, Appleton; Maxwell Schultz, Reedsville; Casey Johnson, Edgerton; Jeff Van Oudenhoven, Appleton; Brent Strelka, Freedom; Dennis Prunty, Knowles; Lowell Bennett, Neenah; Chad Butz, Green Bay; Sawyer Effertz, Darboy; Taylor Vandermoss, Appleton; Grant Griesbach, Pewaukee; Corey Manders, Hilbert; Randy Schuler, Mequon; Pete Vandermolen, Oshkosh; Brad Anthony, Suamico; Tim Springstroh, Freedom; Mickey Schallie, Darboy; Mike Reichenberger, Appleton; Robby Iverson, Escanaba, MI; Michael Anthony, Appleton; Kyle Calmes, Freedom; Dalton Zehr, Menominee, MI
-Wisconsin International Raceway Press Release
-Photo credit: Mark Allen