Dennis did a Black Flag Memorial lap in memory of Paul Posnanzki, who worked for Pepsi.
Paul was a fan of Slinger Speedway and Dennis Prunty.
Dennis started the Pepsi Challenge, round 2, in the 4th position, and finished 4th. See story below.
Written By: Gregg Paul
Steve Apel has had a challenging season at the Slinger Super Speedway in 2012. The challenges of gambling on different setups. The challenges of dealing with adversity. The challenges of worrying about his father’s illness. As well as the challenge of proposing to his long time girlfriend.
Each and every time Apel has survived those challenges and thrived on it. Not only did he take each challenge head on, he took the checkered flag in the Pepsi Challenge 60.
When things are going well it looks easy and when they are not it’s been a struggle. Apel’s answer to that is just as straightforward as his driving.
“Just trying stuff,” said Apel. “You gotta try stuff to stay ahead and we tried a new set up at the beginning of this year and we did good. Then everyone started catching back up to us. We keep trying stuff to make sure because everybody is going to get faster.”
Gregg Pawelski and Mike Graczkowski led the field to the green flag with Graczkowski getting the early jump. The inside line took off before the outside as Mike Egan and Al Schill quickly got around Pawelski. A little further back Lowell Bennett and Steve Apel began to work their way towards the front.
Graczkowski quickly stretched his lead to a half a straightaway as behind him cars ran side by side. Lowell Bennett worked his way past Egan and Schill on the outside, and paved the way for Apel to follow.
By lap 14, Bennett and Apel worked into second and third place respectively and started to run down Graczkowski. Six laps later Bennett ducked to the inside of Graczkowski to take the lead with Apel glued to his rear bumper. The duo began to put some distance between them and Graczkowski, as he was now doing battle with Egan for the third spot.
Bennett and Apel were a half straightaway ahead of that third place battle, and Apel began to mount his charge. Apel would get to Bennett’s inside and run alongside for a lap before clearing him for the lead off of turn two on lap 27.
Once Apel took the lead he took off and left Bennett in his wake. Until lapped traffic played a role that is. Apel came up on the lapped cars of Curt Tillman and Jake Vanoskey as those two battled side by side in front of the leaders. Apel caught a break when the lapped cars got back single file, but Bennett wasn’t as fortunate. Bennett caught them in turn one, and lost a ton of momentum trying to get around.
That allowed Apel to open up his lead once again. While Apel pulled away, the best battle on the track was for the third spot between Mike Egan and Dennis Prunty. Egan and Prunty didn’t seem to fare any better with the lapped traffic, and continued to lose ground to the leaders.
Apel was seemingly on cruise control as the laps were winding down, yet Bennett was closing the gap considerably. The race was almost slowed for a caution when Jake Vanoskey spun off of turn two on lap 42. However, Vanoskey spun harmlessly into the infield and the race remained under green.
Apel was again hampered by lapped traffic and Bennett capitalized and got back to within striking distance. However it was clear that Apel had a stronger car coming off the corners and reclaimed the advantage he had lost as Bennett was closing.
The laps wound down quickly as the race stayed green the entire distance, as Apel took the twin checkers a mere 1.32 seconds ahead of Bennett. Mike Egan held off the challenge of Dennis Prunty to wind up in third, while Conrad Morgan rounded out the top five.
For Apel it was a rewarding win considering all the challenges he has faced this season.
“When you try stuff it can go either way,” said Apel. “It can go good like tonight or it can go really bad like a couple times before. It also depends on how good of a break you get with which way Lowell goes, who’s in front of you, who’s harder to pass than some guys, and when you burn up your tires and when you don’t.”
Lowell Bennett may have burned up his tires more than Apel, but always gave it everything he had.
“It was just the best we had,” said Bennett. “That 16 car is mighty good and we just didn’t have it for him. We’ll come back next week and try even harder. We just keep on trying. You know we’re having fun.”
Yet has it been a disappointing year at Slinger?
“We got wrecked really hard earlier and this crew has been working their tails off between this car and the Kaukauna car, we’re leading the points up there but I am confident we’ll get a win for this car yet.”