Bennett Takes 25th Annual
Miller Lite Nationals!!
By Dan Margetta
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.
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 thats 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 Bennetts 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 shouldnt 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 didnt think I could get by him without giving him the door and I dont
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 well take
From where we started, Im 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 didnt 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 theres 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 didnt have the car exactly the way we wanted it, Busch said.
This place is a wild ride and you cant back off here. Its more of a
workout than Bristol is.
Dick Trickle ended up in 14th place after having to exit with handling problems and Chris
Wimmers 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
Colin Bamke swept around Jimmy Evans to take the lead at the start with Dennis Prunty,
guest-driving Ron Weyers 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.
results from the RACESTAT computer CLICK HERE
Camera Case & TV Night at the
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 areas only short track racing facility, is located 15 minutes north of
Milwaukee, ¼ 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.