The Prunty name is synonymous with success at Wisconsin’s Slinger Super Speedway, with multiple track championships and two Slinger Nationals to their name. The latest Prunty to make a name for himself at the high-banked quarter-mile bullring is defending track champion and 2017 Slinger Nationals runner-up Alex Prunty.
The 2016 Kulwickl Driver Development Program champion joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring to talk about Tuesday’s Slinger Nationals. He currently sits third in points at Slinger, but despite the vast amount of talent expected next week, he can always be considered one of the favorites going into the Nationals with his home track knowledge.
With his recent hot streak in local competition at the track, he is as ready as ever for the Nationals.
“We started out playing with some different setups and really trying to make gains,” said Prunty. “We won the championship, but you’re always trying to get better. We kind of struggled the first couple weeks, ended up fourth a couple times and got into a chain reaction, but in the last three weeks we’ve gotten two seconds and a win.
“Things are starting to come together, summer’s finally here,” continued Prunty. “I don’t know what happened, it’s been sixty-eight degrees and all the sudden we’ve gotten pounded with eighty-five degrees and full humidity. Just in time for the Slinger Nationals, we’re getting heated up and just starting to get into a hot streak.”
The Prunty family has long been a mainstay at the high-banked quarter-mile first with his dad, and now with Alex himself having won a Super Late Model track championship. He says he would not want anything to be different than how the family dynamic runs now.
“My dad was actually one of the first ones to start running Slinger full-time and he won his first two championships in his first three years,” he said. “I came along in 1992 and he retired and started helping my three uncles David, Dennis, and Dale. I forget the number, but I know we’re up to over 20 championships as a family. It’s just something we’ve always done, I don’t know anything different. To be able to keep carrying on the name is a mission for me, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a goal to win championships and keep making the family proud.
“I basically see my family every single day, we’re all based out of the same garage,” he added. “David’s retired but now he’s doing tires for me, I started as a kid working on David’s car and now he’s doing tires for me. It’s neat to think back and say wow, I started my career being David’s tire guy and now he’s my tire guy. It’s a big family deal, we see each other every week and it’s a lot of fun working with them.”
Spending a big part of his childhood at Slinger has led to memories he still cherishes to this day. It also helps him put everything into perspective with big name drivers coming in to compete with the track regulars and putting on a show for the fans in attendance.
“For me, it’s really neat,” Prunty said. “I’ve been going to Slinger ever since I could basically walk, so I can remember growing up and specifically one memory that jumps out at me is my dad took me into the pits, I had three uncles racing the Super Lates back at that time, and he just started introducing me to Matt Kenseth, and I got to meet Kenny Wallace. You really learn to appreciate just where as a kid, I used to be that five-year-old kid just wandering around the pits getting autographs.
“I took a PFC brake rotor one year that’s sitting in my house today when I was five years old and had all these NASCAR guys autograph it that came to the Slinger Nationals,” he added. “For me, it means a lot just because I’ve pretty much watched every single Slinger Nationals for the last twenty-five years. To have those big guys come in and for us to be able to compete and put on a national stage with those guys and have an opportunity to make a name for yourself, it’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
To become the third Prunty to win the Slinger Nationals following uncles David (2001) and Dennis (2015) would be the biggest accomplishment of his career. He has extra motivation after his second place run two years ago to complete the deal and park it in victory lane in front of the hometown crowd and would add an extra piece of the Prunty family legacy.
“I’d definitely think it would be the biggest mark on my career,” he said. “We’ve come close, when Bubba won two years ago, I finished second and we had a damn good car and that’s one you look at that got away. My power steering pump was cracked inside and I was physically binding up the steering coming up in the corners and we were fighting it. To come back after being close two years ago and finally getting us one would be huge to me and my sponsors and my family. We’ve had two people in the family already win it and for me to become the third, it would just be a real good day for me.”
Nothing ever beats going to the track and taking in the Slinger Nationals in person, but for those unable to make it, Speed51.com will be offering live PPV coverage for just the second time in the race’s history. Prunty made his pitch to fans while on the Morning Bullring to attend the Slinger Nationals.
“If they’ve never been there then they’ve got to get there because there’s nothing else like it,” said Prunty. “It’s one of the few tracks where you’re pretty much wide open center off and you’re pretty much holding on. The banking has so much grip, there’s a lot of times when new drivers come and have no idea what the car’s capable of just because of that banking. It took me a long time to be able to get used to it.
“The one neat thing for me is when you take a step back and watch the race, how much side-by-side battles we have just with the outside lane being so grippy now with the traction compound,” he added. “It’s a lot of fun now and I don’t think there’s anything else like it, get out there and come see us.”
Fans unable to make the trip to Slinger can click here to order Tuesday’s broadcast of the Slinger Nationals.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Alex Prunty Twitter