It seemed like de ja vu Tuesday night at Slinger Speedway (WI) as Dennis Prunty quickly worked his way to the lead of the Super Seal Slinger Nationals and appeared to have a car to dominate the race. One year ago Prunty had the field covered, but with just over twenty laps to go his car shut off, forcing him into the infield to watch Chris Wimmer take the checkered flag. Fortunately for Prunty, this year played out differently, and he stayed strong on a late restart to win his first Slinger Nationals.
“I tried to get to the lead as quickly as I could because you just never know what’s going to happen, but I just can’t explain how good it feels. It feels awesome,” said Prunty in Victory Lane, “I’m going to take that big check. I’m going take it to work with me. I’m going to drive all over town with that big check for two weeks I think. I’ve always wanted to win a big check and we finally won one.”
Conrad Morgan jumped out to the early lead of the Slinger Nationals 199-lap event, but it took Prunty just 13 laps to slice his way from his sixth starting position to the front and take the lead from Morgan. Fast qualifier Dave Feiler was on the move as well, making his way to second on lap 34.
Feiler was able to hang with Prunty for about three laps on two consecutive restarts, but after that Prunty’s no. 22 was able to pull away and put some distance between himself and the rest of the field.
Another caution flew on lap 69 involving Michael Bilderback and Paige Decker. Bilderback suffered heavy damage and was forced to retire for the night. Johnny Sauter also received damage from the incident, which ended his night early.
Feiler challenged Prunty for three laps once again on the restart as the two raced side by side, but again, Prunty was able to regain the lead and take it into the 10-minute break at lap 100.
During the first 100 laps 2014 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion Ty Majeski was the biggest mover in the field. Majeski was forced to use a provisional and started 20th after a poor qualifying effort, but he worked his way into the top five by the halfway break.
For 10 minutes, drivers and crews made adjustments to their cars and were able to put on two new fresh Hoosier racing tires.
When the green flag dropped to signal the start of the final 99 laps, it was all Prunty again. He grabbed the lead right away and stretched his lead to almost a straightaway over the rest of the field.
Majeski continued his march to the front, moving into fourth on lap 127, third on lap 144 and passing Feiler for second on lap 152. With the laps winding down and a big lead, it looked doubtful Majeski would have enough time to catch the Prunty.
However, lapped traffic became heavy for the leader and as he navigated his way through, Majeski closed little by little on that top spot. With just under ten laps to go all that separated Prunty and Majeski was a string of three lapped cars. Prunty worked his way around them and back into clear air, while Majeski got hung up a bit behind them.
“I was nervous, and thought ‘I just led this thing for how long and now am going to lose it with less than ten laps to go,?'” said Prunty. “I don’t know, maybe I would have held him off, maybe I wouldn’t have, I’m just glad I’m standing where I am right now.”
With six laps to go Majeski made contact with the lapped car of Greg LaMonte, sending him spinning into the infield. It appeared at first Majeski would keep his second-place position and get a chance to restart right next to Prunty in the final laps of the Slinger Nationals, but after a debate in the tower, however, Majeski was signaled to fall back to the last car on the lead lap because of his involvement in the caution.
“It was a tough deal,” said Majeski, “Last night I was up late watching videos of Slinger in the past and a guy named Matt Kenseth got into a lapped car and spun him out and he didn’t go to the back, he got his spot back, so I thought that was interesting for sure, but it is what it is. It’s frustrating, having a car that maybe could have won the race. It would have been a good restart and I wanted to see it as bad as the fans did.”
– By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com