It is safe to say that Dennis Prunty can be an enigma. He always has something to say for anyone who wants to listen. While there may be naysayers and detractors, it is also safe to say that he has let his driving do the talking. Such was the case as Prunty captured his fourth feature win of the season in the US Army 60 at the Slinger Super Speedway.
“If you boo me it doesn't matter,” said Prunty from Victory Lane. “It just means you want to see me race, 'cause you want your guy to beat me.”
Race is exactly what Prunty did, especially after a late race caution helped him close the gap on leader Lowell Bennett.
Brad Keith and Mike Egan led the field to the green, with both drivers maintaining their side by side postions through the first five laps. One famous saying rang true as “rubbing is racing”, as both cars leaned on each other from the drop of the green flag. However another famous saying that “eight tires corner better than four” was proven wrong when both cars hooked together and wouldn't turn off the middle of turn two. Both cars pushed up towards the outside wall and came to a stop bringing out the first caution.
Randy Schuler and Tommy “Hollywood” Hromadka inherited the top spots as racing resumed, with Schuler getting the jump. Brad Dahmer soon ducked underneath Hromadka to pick up second place. Dahmer would try the outside groove to pressure Schuler for the lead, however, Lowell Bennett seized the opportunity to dive under Dahmer and take over second place.
While this was going on, Dennis Prunty methodically picked off cars one by one since having to start at the back of the invert due to his win the previous week. By lap 18 he made is way up to fourth place.
Meanwhile Bennett closed the gap on Schuler and eventually used the outside to gain the lead on lap 23. Bennett would stretch his lead to the length of a straightaway and seemingly had the race well in hand. Josh Wallace and Dennis Prunty also got around Schuler and set their sights on Bennett.
Prunty would work his way around Wallace on lap 34, but Bennett had built up a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Prunty would need a break to catch Bennett, and would get that break in ironic fashion. Austin Luedtke, who is Bennett's young protégé, spun in turn three bringing out the caution. This allowed Prunty to start right next to Bennett, thanks to the double file restarts.
Once the green flag came out, Prunty made short work in clearing Bennett on the high side. As the cars came off of turn two, Bennett appeared to slow allowing Prunty to take over the lead. Prunty would stretch his lead by several car lengths, as Bennett's car just wouldn't turn throught the corners.
Prunty would pace the final 15 laps in notching his fourth win of the season beating Bennett to the stripe by .397 seconds. Six time track champion Conrad Morgan would work his way past Wallace for third place, while Jeff Holtz would round out the top five.
Prunty felt he had to defend himself over comments made about the legality of his car.
“If anyone finds anything illegal on this car, I'll pay them $1000,” said Prunty.
Bennett on the other hand, couldn't understand what went wrong.
“I really thought we had a right front tire going down,” said Bennett. “My spotter said it looked like it was down and I really expected to find it down on pressure, but when we got it back to the pits it was fine. The car just wouldn't turn in the corner.”
Despite the win, Prunty couldn't make up any ground on the points chase, as Bennett scored points in qualifying to help equal the points Prunty scored by winning the feature. It appears to truly be a two man race as Bennett leads Prunty by a scant 8 points. Mike Egan is a distant third, trailing Bennett by 151 points.
Pat McIntee picked up his third feature win of the season in the Late Model division.
McIntee started from the outside of the front row alongside Dave McCardle Jr., with McCardle Jr. getting the early jump. As McCardle and McIntee pulled out to a few car lengths advantage over third place, things got interesting in that battle for third. John DeAngelis held third, but four different cars tried to grab fourth. Chris Blawat, Rob Braun, Wayne Freimund, and Ryan DeStefano Jr. tried to make it four wide going into turn three. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and disaster was averted.
However, this allowed McCardle Jr. and McIntee to pull away by several car lengths. McCardle Jr. was able to hold the lead through lap 21. Going into turn one, McIntee would nudge McCardle Jr. just enough to get him to move up the track and slow him down. McIntee ducked to the inside and grabbed the lead he would never relinquish.
Rob Braun would make his way up to third place, while Chris Blawat and Wayne Freimund would round out the top five.
Jake Larson captured his first feature win of the season in the Thunderstock division. Larson started from the pole and would lead flag to flag. Nathan Fick would come home in second place, with Andy Welter in third. Ryan Farrell wound up in fourth, while fast qualifier Eric Lingford finished in fifth.
Nick Wagner made it a clean sweep in the 4 cylinder Slinger Bees division by capturing fast time and the feature. Alex Prunty, who by rule had to start shotgun on the filed by virtue of his win last week, made a strong run to wind up in second place. Eric Long finished a season's best third, with Taylor Gehrke and Joe Lang rounding out the top five.
A brief on track altercation between Lang and Long broke out, after Lang was forced high into turn three after a three wide maneuver. Lang, who thought he was forced high by Long, attempted to retaliate by running into the back of Long's car.
The Speedway Guest car feature was won by Sean Kohl.
“Slingshot” Scott Shambeau was declared the winner of the Mid-American Sportsman feature, when the rains came after only five laps of racing. Shambeau was fortunate to pick up the win, after an aborted start to the race.
Shambeau started from the pole, but Jimmie Evans would get the jump from the outside at the drop of the green flag. As the cars headed down the back stretch, Andy Haver got into the back of Shambeau spinning him out and bringing out the caution. Per track rules, since no lap was completed, a restart from the top was ordered and Shambeau was allowed to regain his starting position.
This time when the green flag flew, it was Shambeau who got the jump. Shambeau would pace the first five laps until the yellow would fly on lap five when Tom Elsinger lost a motor coming off of turn four. During the subsequent yellow flag, it began to rain. Unfortunately the rains came strong enough to completely lose the track and the rest of the evening's racing was cancelled.
Shambeau was declared the winner, with Jimmie Evans taking second. Andy Haver would wind up in third, while Tom Elsinger would get fourth, despite blowing up his motor. James Swan would complete the top five.
The rain would cancel both the Spectator Eliminators and the Figure 8 features.