Apel Beats Swan For Slinger Glory
SLINGER, Wis. — The two most successful super late model drivers of the season to date at Slinger Super Speedway battled it out for the win in the YP.com 60 lap super late model feature Sunday night, with Steve Apel besting James Swan to capture his third feature victory of the year.
“We had a mishap last week and the guys really stuck it out this week and put in the time in the shop and made some changes,” Apel told the crowd from victory lane, “And in the long run, that’s what did it. If it wouldn’t have been (James) Swan, I probably would’ve went to the outside. My car is good on the outside but I knew Swan would be fast.”
“I got more than I thought I did,” Swan stated afterwards describing his attempt at using the outside lane in the final laps, “I didn’t think I had much and I was lucky to be third, fourth, or fifth, so I’m really happy with second.”
Lowell Bennett led the opening laps from the pole and brought Conrad Morgan along with him and into second while outside front row starter, Dan Jung battled with Jeff Holtz, Michael Bilderback, and Apel over third. Holtz, Apel, and Bilderback all worked their way under Jung for the third through fifth spots while Bennett maintained his lead over Morgan. Morgan had difficulty keeping his car down off the corners and both Holtz and Apel took advantage of that by sweeping by into second and third respectively in the inside lane.
While Bennett continued to show the way, Apel and Holtz formed a side by side battle over second as the caution flag waved on lap 15 when Dale Prunty spun around in turn four while racing with Dave McCardle. Holtz took the outside lane and lined up alongside Bennett for the restart and as racing resumed, launched into the lead with a strong run to the green flag. Conrad Morgan also took to the top lane and raced his way into second, edging Bennett for the position while Apel and Bilderback fought over fourth just before the caution waved again on lap 18 after Nick Wagner’s car turned around after contact with Dan Jung.
This time Holtz chose the inside lane for the restart and he was able to outgun Morgan at the restart to maintain the lead while behind them, Apel went to work on Bennett for third while James Swan moved around Bilderback to enter the top five. Apel completed the pass for third and then swept around Morgan for second with an inside move a few laps later. Apel rapidly closed in on Holtz for the lead as the event neared the halfway mark and after numerous attempts at finding an opening on the inside, he jumped to the high lane and completed the pass for the lead on lap 31.
Once out front, Apel began to increase his lead as Holtz dropped back a bit as Morgan ducked his way by on the inside for second with Swan knocking on the door in fourth. Nick Wagner looped his car directly in front of the leaders on lap 51, sending the front runners scattering as the caution flag waved with nine laps to go and Apel leading over Morgan, Holtz, Swan, and Michael Bilderback. Morgan chose the high lane for the restart and made an attempt at the lead as the green flag waved.
Apel proved to be too strong however and as Morgan’s outside lane bid fell short, he attempted to slide to the inside gap behind the leader as they entered turn three, but that space was occupied by the nose of Holtz’s third place car and Morgan’s car swapped ends, stacking up the field behind them with the caution waving once again. The incident moved Swan up to second place behind the leader, Apel while Bennett advanced to third place after Bilderback left the speedway during the caution period.
Swan tried his hand at the outside for the restart and was able to hold his ground for a lap before moving to the inside behind Apel as racing resumed. Behind the top two, Bennett secured third place as Rob Braun and Chris Blawat raced door to door over fourth. Apel pulled away in the closing laps and drove to his third feature victory of the season while Swan settled for second place at the checkered flag.
Bennett crossed the line in third followed by Rob Braun and Chris Blawat who rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Jeff Holtz finished in sixth place and Brad Keith was seventh while Conrad Morgan raced up to eighth at the finish. Mike Egan and Dale Prunty rounded out the top ten finishers.