Braun Tops Slinger LM Battle
SLINGER, Wis. — Rob Braun drove to his second super late model feature victory of the season Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway in the 60-lap round two of the Pepsi Challenge Series.
Braun charged into the lead from outside the front row at the drop of the green while polesitter Nick Wagner slotted into second ahead of Fred Winn, Lowell Bennett, and Dalton Zehr. The field quickly fell under the caution flag on lap three when Nick Ostberg spun off turn four. Braun edged ahead on the restart as Mike Egan swept into second after choosing the outside lane on the restart, leaving Wagner to settle into third.
Behind the top three, Bennett and Winn raced side by side in a tussle over fourth with Zehr, Dennis Prunty, and Steve Apel close behind. With the leaders beginning to draw away slightly, Bennett finally broke through on the top lane and passed Winn for the position, bringing Prunty along with him and into fifth. Apel and Zehr also worked their way around Winn as well while Braun continued to show the way over Egan and Wagner.
Further back, Dale Prunty and Dan Jung leaned on each other heavily for the seventh spot, exchanging door dings in the process which led to the caution flag waving on lap 27 when Jung’s car spun around off turn four and came to rest against the frontstretch wall as the result of a cut tire.
Braun once again held off Egan on the restart as racing resumed for one lap before Wagner’s car slowed suddenly off turn two from third causing Dennis Prunty, Apel, and Dale Prunty to all pile into each other accordion-style on the backstretch to draw the yellow flag once again. Dale Prunty and Apel had to leave the speedway for repairs as Dennis Prunty continued while the field formed for the restart with Braun leading over Egan, Bennett, Dennis Prunty, and Zehr.
This time, Braun chose the outside lane and it nearly cost him as Egan got a good jump and led two laps briefly at the stripe for Braun was able to power by for the lead off the top lane. Bennett used the low groove keep third place away from Prunty, who was unable to gain ground on the high side. Prunty aggressively dropped to the inside in front of Zehr off turn four, receiving a slight clip in the rear bumper cover from Zehr which drew a hand out the side window from Prunty’s car at the flagstand.
When the cars entered turn one, a harder tap from Zehr sent Prunty’s car spinning around, producing another caution flag on lap 35 and sending both driver’s to the rear of the field.
The race went back to green conditions with Braun leading over Egan, Lowell Bennett, Winn, and Braison Bennett who worked his way to fifth after converting his late model to run with the super late model class and starting at the rear of the field. The final caution of the event waved on lap 36 when Dennis Prunty’s car came to a halt in turns three and four and the field once again lined up for a restart.
Braun executed a good restart and charged into the lead from the inside as Lowell Bennett also worked the inside lane to take second from Egan. Egan’s car wouldn’t hold on the outside and Fred Winn moved up to challenge him for third while Bennett tried to track down Braun for the lead. Winn took the third spot from Egan and Michael Bilderback also raced by Egan to take fourth as Braison Bennett began to fade back with power steering issues.
Bennett was unable to close on Braun over the final laps and Braun drove under the checkered flags to capture his second super late model feature victory of the season. Lowell Bennett finished in second while Fred Winn turned in one of his strongest performances in recent memory by crossing the finish line in third place. Michael Bilderback and Mike Egan rounded out the top five while Nick Wagner and Dave McCardle were sixth and seventh respectively. Dalton Zehr finished eighth while Braison Bennett was ninth ahead of Mike Graczkowski in tenth.
Dave McCardle won the first super late model heat race over Michael Bilderback and Nick Wagner while Lowell Bennett edged Fred Winn and Dennis Prunty to win the second super late model heat. Steve Apel was the fastest qualifier after turning in a lap of 11.521 seconds.
Braison Bennett won the 40-lap late model feature after battling for the top spot with Jerry Mueller.