Mid-American Stock Car Series Points Leader Jeff Holtz took the lead from Kenny Joosten on lap 29 of the inaugural Slinger 48 during the Prelude to the Nationals. From there, the Franksville, Wisconsin veteran drove away victory in the first appearance by the series in its 22-year history at the legendary 1/4 mile high-banks of Slinger Super Speedway (WI).
“We had a great car. I was just biding my time waiting for everyone to sort themselves out and then I just wanted to pick them off when I had the chance.” Holtz stated in victory lane following the 48-lap main which was one half of the event with the Big 8 Late Model Series. “We got by Kenny (Joosten) with about 20 to go and was able to keep (defending series champion) Brad (Keith) behind us. That last restart with two to go I was a little worried, but we got a good jump and here we are.”
It was the third win of the season for Holtz, who is having a career season at this point. He scored his initial Mid-Am victory on April 13th in the Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway (IL). He backed up that win up with the biggest victory of his career at the famed Milwaukee Mile (WI) on June 7th.
After original pole-sitter, 1996 series champion, Mark Pluer went pit side before the drop of the green, Holtz’s brother; Brian Holtz inherited the p1 starting spot next to Joosten. After trading the lead back and forth for the first four laps, it would be Joosten leading the way as the rest of the pack jockeyed for positions behind him.
The most serious incident of the night occurred on lap 13 when Eric Lingford slammed the front stretch wall, climbed on top of it, rolled over on his roof and slid down the embankment into turn one. That brought out the red flag, but Lingford was fortunately uninjured.
On the ensuing restart, Joosten continued to lead when J. Holtz began his charge to the front from his seventh starting spot. He was up to second at the halfway through the race and five laps later, he made what would be the winning pass. Defending series champion Brad Keith would also get by Joosten and together, Hotlz and Keith would pull away from the field.
A late restart with two laps to go proved to be Keith’s final chance at Holtz, but he was up to the challenge and drove his number-38 entry into victory lane.
Finishing in the runner-up spot was Keith. The Slinger, Wisconsin native posted his best result of the season in defense of his title.
“The way the season has been, we’ll take a second. The car is in one piece. We haven’t had many good runs at all this year,” stated Keith. “We were just lacking that last little bit. Hopefully this is a sign of our luck turning around a little bit.”
Joosten, who came into the night fourth in the series points, settled for third after leading on two different occasions for a total of 27 laps.
“We had a good run, but we just didn’t have enough for Holtz. We got used up by Keith a little bit. A top three is good, not where we wanted to be, but it was good.”
Ryan Gutknecht finished fourth over State Park Speedway (WI) winner from just three days before, Lyle Nowak. Cody Erdmann, Dan Gilster, Scott Dunning, Jeremy Spoonmore and Erik Pierce, who both had to run the Last Chance Race to get into the main, rounded out the top 10.
Three-time series champion, Bill Prietzel out-qualified the 32-car field in time trials with a lap time of 12.773 which established the Mid-American Stock Car Series Track Record at Slinger. Lingford, Spoonmore and Dunning won the qualifier heat races while Jimmie Evans scored the victory in the 20-lap last chance race over Spoonmore and Pierce.
The next race for the series will be on Saturday, August 16th at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, located east of the Minnesota / Wisconsin state line in West Salem, Wisconsin.
By Matt Prieur – Speed51.com correspondent