Over the course of his racing career, Midwest Super Late Model racer Steve Apel has made a lot of memories that he’ll never forget. But it’s hard to imagine that he’s ever or will ever experience as memorable of a week as he did last week.
In the span of just seven days, Apel won two races at Slinger Speedway, the Red, White and Blue Championship at Wisconsin International Raceway and became a new dad.
“It was a week I’ll never forget,” Steve Apel told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It was so special in so many ways.”
To kick off his week Apel picked up his fourth win of the season at Slinger Super Speedway (WI) Sunday night.
“We figured if she went into labor I would leave and not race,” says Apel, “So I was on edge the entire week knowing I could get that call at any moment.”
Luckily for Apel the call came after his Sunday victory at Slinger and was followed by a few off days from racing.
Steve and wife Liz welcomed Cameron Michael Apel to the world on Monday, weighing in at six pounds and six ounces, and made the trip home with their new bundle of joy Wednesday afternoon.
Apel then turned right around and headed to Wisconsin International Raceway Thursday night for the final race of the Red, White and Blue Series. Victorious in the first two of the three race series, Apel brought home an eighth-place finish to claim the 44th annual Red, White and Blue State Championship by 11 points over Lowell Bennett.
“Winning the RWB championship is something I never thought would be possible,” says Apel. “I’ve never been able to run anywhere but Slinger due to funding. This year with the support of the KDDP we were able to venture out and try new tracks. I went into the feature with a positive attitude knowing everything happens for a reason.”
Not only did Apel hoist the RWB trophy Thursday night, but he gave four day old Cameron his first taste of Victory Lane.
“Having Cameron with us in VL was such a great experience,” says Apel. “It’s something I will never forget.”
And if that wasn’t enough excitement for the Apel family, Steve bookended his week with a photo finish win at Slinger Super Speedway. Apel held off Dennis Prunty to win by .004 seconds and make his second straight trip to Slinger Victory Lane, this time, again, with son Camden.
“The race with Prunty was a lot of fun,” says Apel. “We had a really good car all race long. I think saving the tires until the end was the biggest difference. I think it was the first time all year Prunty got passed, he’s been on a roll the last month or so.”
The battle between Prunty and Apel has lasted all year long. The two have traded victories and the point lead for months. After two straight wins, Apel currently leads Prunty by 18 points with three races remaining.
“Prunty and I have had our fair share of battles. It always seems we find each other at the end of the race,” says Apel. “It’s shaping up to be an awesome battle for the championship.”
While Apel hopes to continue his winning ways, he also gets used to his new life as a father, but says he doesn’t expect that to change anything once he puts that race helmet on.
“Having a child hasn’t changed how I approach racing,” says Apel. “It just makes me manage my time better.”
That probably means a few less late nights at the race shop as he continues to fight for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) title. Apel currently sits third in the standings, where the winner will receive a check for just over $54,000 at the end of the year.
“We will need to have a strong end of the year to be able to contend for the overall winner,” says Apel, “But believe there’s still hope to catch Ty Majeski.”
Majeski currently leads the standings with 614 points, Reagan May sits second with 515 and Apel third with 500.
-Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor - Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo Credit: Steve Apel Facebook Page