Dennis Prunty’s last start at Wisconsin International Raceway ended before he even took the green flag. The Slinger, Wisconsin driver’s night ended early last August in the Dixieland 250 after hitting the wall following contact with another driver.
Fast forward nine months, and Prunty was in victory lane at WIR after winning the TUNDRA Super Late Model season opener for a second year in a row. The 2012 TUNDRA champion took the lead on lap 20 of the 50-lap feature and held off a hard-charging Casey Johnson over the final laps to pick up his fifth career TUNDRA win.
His race nearly went awry from the green yet again after front row starter Luke Fenhaus spun the tires and stacked the field up behind him. However, Prunty was able to avoid any damage and work his way through the field in a quick manner.
“We started sixth and I was a little frustrated after the first lap because the guy in front of me almost wiped out when we checked up, and for the restart we were eighth,” Prunty told Speed51.com. “So we came up from eighth place and I just picked them off one at a time.”
After two early cautions in the first four laps, the field settled and went the last 46 laps without incident. Prunty would quickly work his way through the field and would follow Alex Stumpf past Bobby Kendall and Jordan Thiel into second after 11 laps. After working the bumper of Stumpf for several laps, Prunty muscled by Stumpf on the dogleg to take the lead on lap 20.
“The 66 (Stumpf) car was running really good, but I was rolling through the center faster,” he said about the pass. “I didn’t mean to get to his bumper, I just got there enough to loosen him up and he was just in my mirror from then, on. We pulled away and there were no more cautions.”
Prunty was unable to put any considerable distance between himself and the rest of the field after taking the top spot. Meanwhile, fast qualifier and defending WIR and TUNDRA champion Casey Johnson was working his way through the field after a deep inversion put him 14thfor the start of the feature. The 2017 Dixieland 250 winner struggled but would get by Stumpf for second with five to go. With lapped traffic coming into play late, Johnson got to Prunty’s bumper in the final turns, but Prunty would hold him off for the win.
While being interviewed over the PA in victory lane following his win on Saturday night, Prunty talked about others having called him a one-track wonder after a season-opening win at Slinger Speedway in their weekly division a couple weeks prior. The defending Alive For Five Series champion at Dells Raceway Park talked about that moniker with Speed51.com after post-race festivities.
“Some guys get jealous and say that and stuff, but I’ve won here before, I won the Dixieland here,” he said. “I’ve won at Dells, I’ve won at LaCrosse. I’d love to win at Madison one of these days and at other tracks, but we’ll keep working at it, we’ll get it.”
Johnson, Stumpf, 2017 track champion Andy Monday, and multi-time Slinger Speedway champion Steve Apel rounded out the top five.
The next round of the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series will take the series to Marshfield Motor Speedway for the Bev Aschenbrenner Memorial on June 8th.
Race cans can view highlights from the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series season opener on the Speed51 Network by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo