Slinger Supper Speedway - Race Report

logosm.gif (6163 bytes)

Bennett Takes 25th Annual Miller Lite Nationals!!
By Dan Margetta

July 13, 2004; Slinger, WI -Lowell Bennett had things go his way Tuesday night in the 25th Annual Miller Lite Nationals at the Slinger Super Speedway as he chalked up his third Nationals title by driving to the win in the 250-lap feature.

Photo Highlights

5901a.jpg (13981 bytes)
Lowell Bennett (#2) surely has this victory placed atop his achievement lists as he topped the 24th Annual Miller Lite Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway.
5901a.jpg (13981 bytes)
Lowell Bennett (#2) worked by Rich Bickle Jr. (#45) on his way to winning the 24th Annual Miller Lite Nationals.
5901a.jpg (13981 bytes)
Brad Mueller (#89) had mechanical problems early, needing to pit for repairs.  He stayed on the lead lap, and charged through the field to finish second.  He is shown passing Nathan Haseleu (#87).

5901a.jpg (13981 bytes)
Austin Konetski (#13) and multi-time track champion Conrad Morgan (#92) do battle during the 250 lap main event.
5901a.jpg (13981 bytes)
Andrew Morrisey (#39) led the first half of the 250 lap main event.  He would eventually finish fifth in the contest.  He is shown doing battle with Eric Fransen (#16).

Bennett bided his time during the first half of the race and then turned back a late challenge by Brad Mueller before driving away to an eight car-length victory. Mueller had to settle for second place while David Prunty, Eric Fransen, and Andrew Morrissey rounded out the top five finishers.

“That was fun and that’s the way we like to race,” Bennett stated afterwards. “Somehow I had a feeling this was going to come down to Brad and I and what an awesome race, it was just a lot of fun.”

The four-time Slinger Speedway champion took the lead on lap 135 after Conrad Morgan and Austin Konetski tangled while battling for the lead, triggering a multi-car incident that also took out Rich Bickle, who was running third. Bennett inherited the lead from the fourth position for the restart and was never headed, leading the final 115 laps.

“I was committed to the high side and it just worked out,” Bennett told reporters as he explained the circumstances of avoiding the incident. “My spotter called me and a I saw the smoke and went high and it worked out for the best.”

Mueller, who spent the first half charging through the field after having to leave the track during the first caution period on lap 24 to replace a plug wire that had fallen off, looked poised to challenge Bennett for the win as he pulled to Bennett’s rear bumper late in the race, but the handling on his car eventually went away and he was forced to settle for second.

“My car was good in the first half and I could wheel around anybody but we made a spring change at the halfway point that we probably shouldn’t have.” Mueller said. “I used the car up and the brakes went away. In the end I was just trying to hold on.” “Lowell was better than me on the top and even if I could get along side, I didn’t think I could get by him without giving him the door and I don’t race like that.”

Prunty and Fransen were relatively quiet in the first half, using the later stages to make their move forward and both came away with good finishes in third and fourth respectively.

“We came here with no idea what the car would do,” stated Prunty. “Our car was real good for 60 laps and not quite good enough for 250, but we’ll take third.”

“From where we started, I’m happy with fourth,” Fransen exclaimed after having to make the feature via the last chance race. “That was all we had. We just used up the right front (tire) and didn’t have anything left.”

Morrissey dominated the opening half, leading all 126 laps but a costly mistake during the ten minute half time break, damaged his chances for a win. Morrissey was deemed to have not made it back on the track within the allotted time and was placed at the end of the lead lap cars for the second half restart.

“I guess we were late getting out and there’s not much we could do about it,” a dejected Morrissey stated. “I think if we stayed in front we maybe could have gotten the win, but we used the tires up getting back to the front.”

Nathan Haseleu finished in sixth place and Scott Wimmer faired the best among the visiting NASCAR drivers with a respectable seventh place finish. Chad Barker finished eight ahead of NASCAR Busch Series star Kyle Busch, who debuted at Slinger with a ninth place result. Brad Dahmer was tenth.

“We really didn’t have the car exactly the way we wanted it,” Busch said. “This place is a wild ride and you can’t back off here. It’s more of a workout than Bristol is.”

Dick Trickle ended up in 14th place after having to exit with handling problems and Chris Wimmer’s night also ended early with an 18th place finish. Rich Bickle ran with the leaders for most of the race before becoming involved in the lap 135 incident which relegated him to a 20th place finish and defending NASCAR Cup champion Matt Kenseth finished 23rd, leaving the race early with suspension problems on lap 74.

“I felt something rubbing in the right front earlier,” Kenseth explained. “We got the car running good in the beginning but then felt it rubbing again.”

In preliminary action, Al Schill won the 30-lap last chance race over Fransen and Jeremy Lepak. Dennis Prunty and Donavan Morgan completed the top five. Todd Kluever was victorious in the 35-lap semi-feature, holding off Mike Strupp and Ryan Mathews for the win. Chris Ratajczyk finished fourth ahead of John Mueller in fifth. The 18-lap consi was won by John Zimmerman over Dale Prunty and Frank Kreyer. Jerry Eckhardt and Bill Shavlik were fourth and fifth respectively. Mueller was the fastest of the 51 cars that timed in, touring the speedway in 11.349 seconds.

Gary LaMonte drove to the win in the 40-lap Midwest Sportsman feature over James Swan and George Schultz.

Colin Bamke swept around Jimmy Evans to take the lead at the start with Dennis Prunty, guest-driving Ron Weyer’s car, also got by Evans to take second. Two laps later, Prunty took command of the race by charging around Bamke while Schultz battled with Mike Graczkowski and LaMonte for third. Schultz moved into second place by lap nine and Graczkowski faded to fifth as both LaMonte and Swan passed by to take third and fourth respectively. Greg Herrmann spun on the backstretch to bring out the caution flag and on the restart, an accordian-like effect jammed up the field, causing Brad Keith, Dave Obermeyer, and Dave Thomas to collide in turn three.

Once racing resumed, Prunty held the lead for three laps before Schultz worked his way around on lap 12. Prunty continued to fade as LaMonte and Swan were able to pass him for the second and third positions by lap 15. Once in second, LaMonte tracked down Schultz for the lead and made the move into the top spot on lap 20 with Swan, Prunty, and Josh Bauer racing for position behind the top two. Swan was able to overtake Schultz for second on lap 25 while Bobby Gutknecht entered the fray, racing with Bauer and Prunty for fourth place. LaMonte, Swan, and Schultz eventually began to ease ahead of Prunty and Gutknecht, who were racing very hard for position. The hard racing resulted in a caution flag on lap 30 when the cars made contact and Gutknecht spun and both he and Prunty were sent to the rear of the field for the restart. LaMonte was able to hold off the charges of both Swan and Schultz over the last ten laps and he scored the win. Swan finished second and Schultz was third. Graczkowksi moved forward in the later stages and took the checkered flag in fourth while Bamke was fifth.

Earlier, LaMonte became the fastest Midwest Sportsman qualifier of the night after turning in a lap at 12.495 seconds.

For Complete results from the RACESTAT computer CLICK HERE

Camera Case & TV Night at the Races
By Lanae Weyer

Slinger, WI June 23,(Spl.) – This Sunday Night July 18th, is Authorized US Cellular Agent Camera Case & TV Night at the Slinger Super Speedway. The evening will be highlighted by a 75-lap late model feature along with a full racing program in all divisions, plus fans will have the opportunity to meet the Modified and Midwest Sportsman drivers. Camera Case & TV located in West Bend and Hartford is your electronic playground, featuring U.S. Cellular, the areas leading wireless service provider. Time trials begin at 5:15 and racing at 7pm. The Slinger Super Speedway, the Milwaukee area’s only short track racing facility, is located 15 minutes north of Milwaukee, mile west of Highway 41 on Highway 144 in Slinger.

The Slinger Super Speedway Sunday night racing action runs through September 19, 2004. For sponsorship opportunities including track signage and billboards contact the Public Relations Department at (262) 628-7929.