Slinger, Wis., May 17—Scoring your first career super late model feature victory is always a memorable moment, but when you do it driving a car #7 in the Alan Kulwicki Memorial at the Slinger Super Speedway, it becomes even more special.
John DeAngelis Jr. did just that Sunday night as he held off a stout field to capture that elusive first win Sunday night in the 60-lap super late model main event, the 22nd edition of the Alan Kulwicki Memorial, held each year in honor of the late 1992 NASCAR Champion.
“I don’t even know what to say right now,” an obviously excited DeAngelis beamed from victory lane, “It was seriously amazing to drive the Alan Kulwicki #7 on a Polish Victory Lap. I didn’t think it would come on this night but it did!”
Chris Blawat paced the opening laps from his outside front row starting position as Tim Lampman and DeAngelis also used the outside groove to move into second and third ahead of pole sitter Nick Wagner. DeAngelis then drove to the inside lane and completed a pass of Lampman for second as Blawat continued to lead. Behind the top three, Ryan DeStefano, Rob Braun, Rich Loch, Mike Egan, Dennis Prunty, and Steve Apel all worked the high line as they advanced forward lined up nose to tail. On lap 12, DeAngelis looked to the outside of Blawat and grabbed the lead on lap later while behind them Braun worked to the inside of DeStefano for position which opened the door for Loch, Prunty, and Apel to get by. While the mid-pack jostling for position was occurring, DeAngelis began to stretch his lead as Lampman caught Blawat for second and took the spot with an inside move. Blawat developed a problem which appeared to be a tire going down soon thereafter and he faded quickly as the field began to rapidly pass by with DeAngelis still leading over Lampman. Braun advanced his way into third place while Prunty and Apel both were able to get by Loch to snag fourth and fifth respectively and the three of them began to close in on Lampman for second by lap 28. Braun was the first to run down Lampman and he charged to the inside to complete the pass for second as Prunty and Apel soon followed while DeAngelis enjoyed a fairly sizeable lead. Prunty and Apel closed to Braun’s bumper for second and Prunty was able to edge alongside Braun in the low groove with Apel directly in their tracks. As the side by side battle with Braun and Prunty approached lapped traffic in the inside lane, Braun used the traffic as a pick for Prunty and when Apel tried to fill the gap on the outside, Prunty muscled his way to the top, forcing Apel wide as they both drove around the lapped car. Just one lap later, the first caution flag waved on lap 49 when contact between Apel and Prunty resulted in Prunty looping around off turn two and both were sent to the rear of the field for the restart with DeAngelis leading over Braun, Lampman, Loch, and Lowell Bennett. DeAngelis chose the inside lane for the restart and was able to outgun Braun for the lead as racing resumed while Bennett and Loch raced door to door for third with Dale Prunty advancing to challenge Lampman for fifth just ahead of Brad Keith. A tangle between Keith and Lampman on lap 52 in turn four drew the second caution flag of the event setting up an eight lap sprint to the finish with DeAngelis leading Braun, Loch, and Bennett. Once again DeAngelis was able to power ahead on the restart and he kept the lead over Braun while Loch and Bennett renewed their side by side battle for third. DeAngelis could not be beat over the final laps and drove the victory ahead of Braun while Bennett edged Loch for third at the stripe. Dale Prunty battled from deep in the field to finish fifth while Mike Egan was sixth. Conrad Morgan finished seventh while Steve Apel, Dennis Prunty, and Ryan DeStefano rounded out the top ten.
Al Schill returned to the highbanks for the first time in nearly a year and he won the 30-lap super late model semi-feature over Josh Wallace, and Dan Church. Kelsey Bauer-Dassow finished fourth to advance to the main event while Braison Bennett was fifth. Super late model heat race victories were recorded by Jeff Holtz, Lowell Bennett, and Dennis Prunty. Prunty also set fast time with a lap of 11.378 seconds.
Alex Prunty drove to victory in the 40-lap late model feature event, leading the final 23 laps to take the checkered flag.
Tyler Schley and Kyle Chwala brought the field to the green flag and Schley drove to the early lead from the inside groove as Ricky Heinan, Brian Holtz, and Alex Prunty battled behind the lead duo. Chwala applied heavy pressure to Schley for the lead, trying both the inside and outside grooves to get by which allowed Heinan and Prunty to close in. As the leaders worked lapped traffic, Schley was able to maintain his slight lead over Chwala while Prunty was able to use the traffic to get around Heinan for third. After numerous attempts to take the lead from the outside, Chwala’s car lost traction on lap 15 and he spun off turn two and the caution flag waved as Tyler Hromadka’s car spun as well. Schley chose the inside lane for the restart while second place Prunty went to the outside with Heinan and Mike Held lined up in order behind them. Schley was able to hold onto the lead for a single circuit as racing resumed before Prunty powered by on the outside, bringing Held along with him. Heinan also was able to advance around Schley in the waning laps for third, leaving Schley to race with Jordan DeVoy over fourth. Prunty was able to keep Held at bay and he drove to the victory, leaving Held to settle for second. Heinan took the checkered flag in third while an incident between Schley and DeVoy coming to the checkered flag in which DeVoy’s car spun off turn four was under review at the time of this article. DeVoy was scored fourth and Al Stippich fifth with the official results pending.
Late model heat races were won by Grant Griesebach who held off Joe Bongiorno for his first victory in the division and Jerry Mueller who muscled his way around Kyle Chwala on the final lap. Alex Prunty was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 12.203 seconds.
Andy Welter passed early leader Scott Hoeft on lap three and drove to the victory in the 25-lap Area Sportsman feature. Nick Egan and Adam Peschek both charged from the rear of the field to finish second and third respectively while Joe Shelby and Adam Bleskan rounded out the top five finishers.
Adam Bleskan won the Area Sportsman heat race and Nick Egan was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 13.130 seconds.
Heather Stark captured the first feature victory by a female driver at the Slinger Speedway in over a decade as she led start to finish to win the 25-lap Slinger Bee feature. EJ Waldron finished second and Jacob Schraufnagel was third. Dale Kiley-Schaefer and Tom Berens rounded out the top five.
Steve Zoromski won the Slinger Bee semi-feature over Jakob Hassler and John Daley. Misty Benn finished fourth and Tristan Dorzok was fifth. Brandon Tackes was the fastest qualifier with a lap of 14.754 seconds.
Kyle Pritchard won the Spectator Eliminator races and Scott Goetzke was the winner of the Figure 8 race to close the evening.
– Slinger Super Speedway Release
Bob Schneider Jr. Photo