Slinger Speedway closed the month of July with a new track record, late-race drama, and a lot of action Sunday. A bonus was the giant trophies for each feature winner in honor of Kim Parsons, whose father Steve is a track announcer elsewhere. His daughter passed away in 2008, but left behind a legacy because she was an organ and tissue donor. After an initial huge outpouring of donations from the race community, Parsons now has an ambitious schedule of nearly 30 race track visits this year to highlight the importance of becoming a donor.
Danny Church topped the super late model qualifiers with fast time Sunday, and heat wins were earned by Mike Egan Steve Apel and Johnny DeAngelis. The 60-lap feature invert placed Lowell Bennett and Apel in the front row, followed by Rob Braun, DeAngelis, Tim Lampman and Conrad Morgan. Apel got ahead of Bennett at the start, the duo leaving a gap between themselves and the rest. That advantage disappeared before twenty laps were complete with a caution for a spun car. The field chose their lanes for the restart and Apel fended off new challenger Dennis Prunty, who began in the fourth row. On lap 25 the next yellow flag waved for a multi-car incident that ended with Dale Prunty on the hook.
Apel chose the inside lane with Prunty on the outside, and stayed ahead at the next restart. Prunty settled in behind Apel and pressured the leader from behind. After a few reminders to the rear bumper, Prunty achieved his goal and got past Apel with eighteen laps remaining. Apel stayed with Prunty to the end, crossing the finish line with Bennett, DeAngelis and Church completing the top five. Dennis Prunty has won every Sunday in July and seven times this season in his chase to the championship. Asked about his challenging race, Prunty stated, “I was all over the place I was trying so hard.” Concerning the point battle, Prunty added, “It’s getting close. It’s a lot of fun.”
Alex Prunty topped the limited late model qualifiers, with heat wins posted by Scott Patrick and Brian Holtz. Tyler Schley and Tyler Hromadka were involved in a practice accident that delayed their qualifying while they fixed their mounts. Andy Evraets, Steven Schulz, Matt Rowe, Holtz, Schley and Al Stippich began the 50-lap feature in the front three rows. After the green flag Evraets was barely ahead before Schulz took the point and everyone followed past the halfway mark. A spun car forced the first caution, but three laps later top runners Holtz and Jordon DeVoy got together and had to restart at the back. Lanes were chosen again for the next green flag, which was quickly replaced with the yellow banner after a multi-car tangle.
The third time was the charm for Mike Held, who had worked his way up from the fifth row and could now start outside the leader. Held held the top spot, ready to receive the white flag when Evraets and Grant Griesbach tangled for a second-place finish. Instead, the pair had to restart at the rear of the field, which had to take the final green flag in single-file order this time. Held led the dash to the finish line, closely trailed by Jake Vanoskey, Prunty, Stippich and DeVoy. This closes the gap in the point standings between Prunty and Held as the final weeks begin.
Andy Welter led the area sportsman in qualifying and Scott Hoeft posted the heat win. The 30-lap feature started with Adam Bleskan and Paul Wagner sharing the front row. Joe Shelby, Nick Egan, Welter and Brad Hetzel followed when the green flag waved. Without one delay, this contest ended in minutes. Wagner was passed by Prunty, who held the point past the midway mark. Egan worked his way past with twelve circuits remaining, and Prunty faded back in the outer lane. At the checkered flag Egan was followed by Shelby, Welter, Prunty and Wagner, remarking, “It was a long race. It was a long, hard-fought battle with the 53 car (Wagner). Patience is definitely the name of the game.” Egan’s point lead over Welter grew by a bit more in the championship chase.
Tom Berens not only leads the point charts in the Slinger Bees, but posted a new track record in qualifying Sunday. Heat wins were earned by Dave Schmidt, Nick Schmidt and EJ Waldron, and Nick Schmidt led the final four transferees from the semi. The 25-lap feature started Waldron and Heather Stark in the front row, Paul Reagles, Dale Kiley-Schaefer, Isaac Daniel and Emery Waldron following. Kiley-Schaefer never got the chance to race, losing a wheel before the event began. EJ Waldron took charge of the contest at the green flag but was greeted by the yellow after three laps for a stopped car.
The next green was replaced by the white and checkered banners with Waldron earning his second career win at Slinger. Nick Schmidt had come from the eighth row and reached sixth place when his engine erupted on the backstretch, the penultimate lap clouded by the dense cloud of smoke. At the finish line Waldron was followed by point-leader Berens, Jake Schraufnagel, Stark and Daniel. It was announced that Waldron had posted faster laps in the race than the new track record set earlier, the teen taking it all in stride.
David Prunty is a former super late model champion at Slinger, tonight returning with his personal car to win the street eliminations. The Figure 8 finale provided some extremely close calls, but avoided collisions as Scott Goetzke won the final event of the evening. It was not yet ten o’clock when the entire program was done, plenty of time for visiting afterwards. When we return it will be August and the frenzy to the point championships begins in earnest.
-By Fay Hendricks. Photo Credit: Fay Hendricks