SLINGER, Wis. — In the midst of his 45th and final season of racing, Rich Bickle won the 75-lap super late model feature Sunday night at Slinger Speedway to extend his lead in the championship standings.
The victory was Bickle’s second Slinger main event triumph this season.
“It was just the luck of the draw we started up front and it was kind of like a dirt race because the guy on the pole won,” Bickle joked in victory lane. “You know, being 60 (years old), my buddy Lowell Bennett won at Kaukauna Thursday and he was saying this is one for the old guys, so here’s another one.”
Bickle, who last won the Slinger track championship 32 years ago and leads the point standings this season, led all 75 laps on Sunday as he widened his points margin against his rivals.
“The last time I tried to win the points here was 1989 and we won it,” Bickle continued. “We drove back from Concord, N.C., seven times that year because we won the Big 10 Championship there then drove all night to get back to Slinger and we won both championships. I don’t think that’s ever been done before and if I happen to win Slinger’s championship this year it will be 32 years between championships and I don’t think anyone will be able to do that.”
Brad Keith kept Bickle honest as he remained glued to Bickle’s rear bumper for most of the race and while he made several challenges to unseat the leader, he couldn’t find enough momentum to get by as he came home with a respectable second place finish.
“I don’t think there was much we could’ve done as we about mocked him every lap and that was all it had,” Keith stated afterwards. “After the Nationals where we ran so terribly bad, we went back to the drawing board and changed all the front geometry, springs, shocks, and bump stops, The set-up we had in it tonight was way different than what he have been running and I think it just needs a little tuning and we’ll be getting a trophy here sometime soon.”
Steve Apel forged his way through the field to finish third and afterwards stated he was pleased with his team’s steady progress the last few weeks.
“It’s getting closer and helping R.J. Braun this year and helping Gabe Sommers tonight, we’ve learned a little bit,” Apel said, “So we’ve been gaining some traction and hopefully we can find victory lane pretty soon,”
Alex Prunty held off Luke Fenhaus to finish fourth and Fenhaus finished fifth in his first race back since gaining national attention in the Camping World SRX Series event a week ago. Dennis Prunty turned in a sixth place result while Gabe Sommers and Rich Loch battled hard all race long for the seventh and eighth positions respectively. Ryan DeStefano and R.J. Braun rounded out the top ten finishers.
Keith was the winner of the super late model fast dash and Fenhaus was the fastest qualifier after touring the speedway in 11.255 seconds.
Jordan DeVoy captured his first feature win of the season by winning the 40-lap late model main event. Jack Stern finished second ahead of Ryan Craine in third. Ryan Gutknecht took the checkered flag in fourth place ahead of Tom Berens in fifth. Tyler Schley finished in the sixth position followed by Zach Prunty and Jerry Eckhardt in seventh and eighth respectively. Brian Holtz and Scott Shambeau rounded out the top ten. Jerry Eckhardt added to his record as the oldest winner in speedway history as the 78-year-old won the first late model heat race. Ryan Gutknecht won the second late model heat race and Tyler Schley set fast time with a lap time of 12.156 seconds.
Dan Calhoun worked the outside groove during the 30-lap sportsman feature to secure his first career Slinger main event victory. Jake Schraufnagel finished second ahead of Andrew Meyerhofer and Paul Wagner in third and fourth. Scott Scholl finished fifth. Jake Schraufnagel won the sportsman heat race and was the fastest qualifier with a lap at 12.822 seconds.
Evan Hassler won the 25-lap Slinger bees feature over Carl Benn and Brady Held. Marty Tackes took the checkered flag in fourth and Kevin Lentz finished fifth. Al Strobel and Tom Elsinger won the Slinger bees heat races and Brandon Mennicke was the evening’s fastest qualifier in the division after circling the speedway in 15.248 seconds.
Brandon Tackes won the Slinger sixers main event over Mark Fogel Jr. and Rick Buss. Joshua Zacharias finished fourth and Steven Mueller was fifth. Rick Buss won the Slinger sixer heat race and fast qualifier honors went to Steven Mueller.
Scott Goetzke topped a strong field of Figure 8 cars to win the 10-lap feature in the final event of the evening. Bill Shavlik finished second and Rick Bruskiewicz was third. Nick Ostberg and Eli Gorecki rounded out the top five finishers.