Dave Feiler thinks his car has been phenomenal this season at the Slinger Super Speedway. Driving top notch equipment owned by Gerry Gunderman, Feiler is definitely a threat every week. He not only proved that with setting fast time for the third time in five weeks, he also notched his second feature win, holding off Steve Apel in the US Army Reunion Night 70.
“I got put on the outside on all the cautions and had to work hard again that way,” said Feiler. “The outside line is ok, but maybe once we get some rubber built up it will be better.”
If it is going to get better with even more rubber, coupled with the new tire that Slinger is switching to, then the rest of the competition is in trouble.
Josh Wallace and Tommy Hromadka led the field to the green flag with Wallace getting the jump. Hromadka had a hard time getting grip on the high side as the inside lane began to work its way past. Hromadka’s struggles led to an accordion effect with traffic, which resulted in the car of Jerry Eckhardt losing part of his left front fender bringing out the first caution on lap 1.
Wallace would once again gain the advantage on the restart, this time with Fred Winn and Jon Reynolds Jr. in hot pursuit. Conrad Morgan would get underneath Reynolds Jr. in turn one, opening up the door for Steve Apel and Dennis Prunty to also get by.
Meanwhile, Dave Feiler was beginning to assert himself and move towards the front from his starting spot at the back of the 8 car invert.
Morgan worked to the inside of Winn on lap 11, and brought Apel and Prunty with him. A few laps later, Feiler would also get by Winn, but on the outside. Jeremy Lepak, Feiler’s teammate with Gunderman racing would also use the high side to get around Winn and set their sights on the top five.
Conrad Morgan would get around Wallace for the lead on lap 25, and one lap later Apel would move into second place.
The second caution flag of the race would fly on lap 28, when Fred Winn spun down the front straightaway and came to a rest just off the racing line in turn one.
As racing resumed, Apel would get the jump on Morgan, and it looked like Feiler would as well, but Morgan was able to hold onto the second spot as he washed up the track in front of Feiler.
Lepak and Prunty were then able to bypass the car of Wallace and climb into the top five. Apel was able to stretch his lead to a few car lengths while Feiler was working to get around Morgan. Once Feiler finally got by on lap 33, Apel had a five car length advantage. Lepak would get around Morgan and into third place, making a two car Gunderman assault on Apel.
Feiler was fixed on Apel’s rear bumper on lap 42, and was trying to get underneath in every corner. Coming off of turn four on lap 47, Feiler tapped Apel’s rear and got him sideways. Feiler slowed to allow Apel to right his car and make another attempt at taking over the top spot.
A lap later Feiler was able to get underneath Apel again, but this time made it stick and finally gained the lead. Feiler was able to pull away from Apel slightly, but the race was still far from being over.
Feiler encountered heavy traffic on lap 60, and masterfully worked his way past. Meanwhile, Apel struggled just enough to let Feiler stretch his lead.
Apel was trying to mount one last attack on Feiler, and perhaps got a little over zealous in his efforts. Coming off of turn four, Apel brushed the front stretch wall upsetting his car. He tried to catch it, but ended up spinning to the high side in turn one right into the path of the oncoming Jeremy Lepak. Lepak had nowhere to go and drilled Apel square in the driver side door, suffering enough front end damage to drop out of the race. Conrad Morgan also had nowhere to go, but spun to the inside to avoid contact.
Ordinarily, by rule at Slinger, when a driver is involved in an incident that results in a yellow flag, those drivers are sent to the rear of the field. However, in this instance, Apel was inexplicably given his spot back, along with Morgan. Instead of restarting at the rear of the pack, Apel would now have the chance to steal a victory.
When the cars got the one to go signal, the cars were scrubbing their tires one last time before going green. Conrad Morgan and Jon Reynolds Jr. got caught in a situation of one car zigging while the other was sagging, and both cars made heavy contact under caution. Both cars suffered damage and pulled off the track.
Apel’s new lease on life was short-lived, as Feiler would get the jump on the restart and pull away to three car length victory over Apel.
“I could’ve started in the back with 25 laps to go and I think I could’ve passed everybody from the back all the way to the front,” said a confident Feiler. “That’s how good the car was.”
Apel seemed somewhat relieved and fortunate to bring it home in second place.
“We had a second place car again tonight and those 40 cars are hard to beat,” said Apel.
As for the infamous incident, Apel had his own take on what happened.
“I got pushed up by lapped traffic and pushed into the wall,” said Apel. “I could have leaned on the lapped traffic, but I didn’t really want to. You try to give them some room and got washed out and hit the wall and spun out. I got my spot back I think because the track thought that because of lapped traffic. It’s kind of a tough situation and I feel bad for Lepak.”
Josh Wallace rebounded to finish third with Rob Braun coming home in fourth. Mike Egan rounded out the top five.
Mark “Kurly” Kissinger made his 2011 Slinger debut a winning one, as he took the checkers in the Super Late Model semi feature. Kissinger got the jump from his outside front row starting position to lead flag to flag over Brad Dahmer and Jerry Eckhardt. Randy Schuler finished in the final transfer spot. Of the top four finishers, only Kissinger declined to advance into the main event.
Dan Jung captured the Late Model feature event holding off Jerry Mueller and Alex Prunty.
Jung, who only a year ago suffered a serious back injury and is fortunate to be able to continue his racing career, came back to Slinger in style capturing both fast time and the feature win.
“I was the only car with four new tires so I had a little advantage over everyone,” said Jung. “It’s huge to have a weekend like this after being hurt and coming back from the injuries. It’s great to be back.”
James Swan wouldn’t let his one race losing streak at Slinger stop him. Although his streak of four straight fast times was ended by Andy Haver, Ryan Farrell, and Danny Church, Swan was able to work his way through the field to pick up his fifth feature win in the six weeks of racing so far.
Jack Stern and Ryan Farrell finished second and third respectively, while Bret Widdis made the trek from upper Michigan worthwhile as he would wind up in fourth. Chris Storey completed the top five.
The Thunderstocks division saw Rick Schaefer declared the winner, when leader John Daley was black flagged for rough driving. Daley was pursuing leader Tyler Schley as the laps were winding down. As the leaders were coming to the white flag, Schley got loose in turn four right in front of Daley. Instead of backing off and letting Schley right himself, or simply go to the outside, Daley merely drilled Schley out of the way in taking the lead. Flag man Roger Miller immediately threw the black flag for rough driving, giving the win to Schaefer. Andy Welter, Ken Schraufnagel, Jerry Kulas Jr., and Jake Larson rounded out the top five.
Braison Bennett picked up his first victory of the season in the four cylinder Slinger Bees division, with a convincing victory over Brittiny Helmers. Points leader and quick qualifier Nick Wagner started shotgun on the field and made his way back up to finish in third place. Dustin Ostberg and Brandon Tackes rounded out the top five. Marty Tackes originally crossed the finish line in fourth place, but was penalized two positions for the two positions he gained by passing before the start/finish line at the start of the race.
Scott Sauer captured the win in the Speedway Guest cars, while Pete Bryce took top honors in the Spectator Eliminators.
Willy Van Camp scored his second straight Figure 8 feature win holding off Shane “The Shark” Becker and Brandon Wolf. Defending track champion Scott Goetzke finished in fourth, while Russ Lorbiecki rounded out the top five.
Results of the US Army Reunion 70
1 40F Dave Feiler
2 16A Steve Apel
3 8W Josh Wallace
4 98B Rob Braun
5 89E Mike Egan
6 2B Lowell Bennett
7 26B Chris Blawat
8 3H Tommy Hromadka
9 61E Jerry Eckhardt
10 72S Randy Schuler
11 40L Jeremy Lepak
12 92M Conrad Morgan
13 10R Jon Reynolds Jr.
14 42P Dennis Prunty
15 75W Fred Winn
16 48K Brad Keith
17 45D Brad Dahmer