SLINGER, Wis. — Dale Prunty held off Steve Apel to win the 60-lap super late model feature that was the third round of the Pepsi Challenge Series Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.
Apel’s second place finish netted him the overall Pepsi Series championship.
“It’s great to be back here. We’ve had some bad luck the last two weeks, “ Prunty told the crowd from victory lane.
“If he (Apel) wanted to go to the outside he could, “ Prunty continued. “I held the bottom and I know he’s racing for points so if he turned me he would have went to the back (of the field). Low and Slow I guess wins tonight.”
“Dale (Prunty) did everything he could to win tonight,” Apel stated after being crowned the Pepsi Challenge Series champion. “I just couldn’t get him on the outside, he did what he had to do and we just came up a little short.”
Chris Blawat led the opening laps over Fred Winn and Lowell Bennett while just outside of the top five, Brad Mueller and Dale Prunty worked the high lane to gain positions. While Blawat began to stretch his lead, Bennett moved up to the high lane and he along with Mueller and Prunty all made their way around the second running Winn who raced in the inside lane. Conrad Morgan, Steve Apel, and Dennis Prunty also used the high groove advance into the fifth through seventh positions while Blawat remained comfortably out front.
Blawat suddenly slowed on lap 24 with a flat tire, handing the lead over to Bennett with Dale Prunty chasing him and Mueller, Morgan, and Apel close behind. Morgan and Apel worked their way around Mueller in the low lane while Prunty began to pressure Bennett for the lead. Bennett’s car began to wash up exiting the corners and Prunty was able to turn down to the inside to pull alongside as the leaders sped off turn two. Bennett and Prunty traded the lead through several laps of side by side racing and their battle soon drew Morgan and Apel to their bumpers, setting up a four car tussle for the lead.
Dale Prunty edged slightly ahead of Bennett at the stripe on lap 37 with Morgan and Apel breathing down their tailpipes when suddenly Morgan’s car snapped around on the backstretch after suffering a broken axel and spun into the infield with the caution waving. Prunty and Bennett renewed their lead battle when racing resumed before Prunty prevailed on the inside lane and a few laps later, Apel also used the inside to race into second place. Brad Mueller and Dennis Prunty likewise advanced past Bennett and into third and fourth respectively before Bennett could get back toward the inside groove.
Once into second, Apel tried to look both to the inside and outside in a bid to get by Dale Prunty for the lead, but each time Prunty was able to turn back the challenges. Dale Prunty remained glued to the bottom groove in the closing laps and he drove to his second feature win of the season while Apel took the checkered flag in second to win the Pepsi Challenge Series overall title and build on his track points lead with one week remaining to decide the track championship.