Jesse Bernhagen remained perfect in 2023 Uptown Motor Cars Pro Late Model competition at the Slinger Speedway as he drove to his fifth consecutive 50-lap feature victory Sunday night.
Bernhagen started from the eighth position and methodically worked his way forward from the drop of the green flag, first passing Zach Prunty for second and then Billy Braun for the lead on lap 13. Prunty also was able to get around Braun for second while Bernhagen began to pull away out front. The driver on the move in the second half of the race was Zack Riddle who started last but charged into third place in the closing laps. Riddle caught up to Prunty for second as the two of them tried to erase Bernhagen’s advantage out front. The caution needed by Prunty and Riddle to catch Bernhagen never materialized as the race ran caution-free and Bernhagen cruised to his fifth consecutive feature victory. Prunty was able to fend off Riddle for second, leaving Riddle to settle for a third place finish. Tyler Schley was on Riddle’s bumper during the final laps and finished fourth while Ryan Gutknecht was fifth. Tom Berens finished sixth followed by Billy Braun in seventh and Jacob Vanoskey in eighth. Jakob Hassler and Brad Hetzel finished ninth and tenth respectively.
“The car was really hooked up the first fifteen laps and that’s what allowed us to get there,” Bernhagen stated from victory lane, “If we had a caution later in the race, I don’t know, because Zack (Riddle) was really fast.”
“It’s hard to compete with that 28 car, he’s got that think hooked up,” Zach Prunty said following his second place result, “This is a car we built over the winter and we are still trying to get things figured out and we’re getting closer each week so hopefully we will finish P1 one of these weeks.”
“You kind of get in that mode where you think you will get a caution instead of trying to run him (Bernhagen) down,” Riddle explained after finishing third with the fastest car at the finish, “I kind of put in on cruise control and tried saving then we tried going and nothing was working so third is where everything settled in.”
Pro Late Model heat races were won by Brad Hetzel and Jesse Bernhagen. Zack Riddle was the fastest qualifier after turning in a qualifying lap time of 12.147 seconds.
Brandon Tackes turned back challenges from Alex Lopacinski and Paul Wagner following a late caution to win the 35-lap Sporstman feature. Jake Schraufnagel finished fourth and David Teske was fifth. Brandon Tackes also won the first Sportsman heat race and Dale Lecus Jr. took top honors in the second Sportsman heat race. Brady Held set fast time with a lap time of 12.667 seconds.
Nick Schmidt drove to a convincing win in the 25-lap Super Beez feature over Al Strobel and Todd Buckley in second and third respectively. Paul Reagles finished fourth and Brian Hillringhouse was fifth. Al Strobel and Nick Schmidt were the Super Beez heat race winners and Paul Reagles was the fastest qualifier with a time of 13.704.
Ayrton Brockhouse won the 25-lap Legends feature over Dylan Schwanbeck and Tyler Ledbetter while Lincoln Cain and Ayden Brockhouse finished fourth and fifth respectively. Ayrton Brockhouse was the winner of the Legends heat race and Tyler Ledbetter was the fastest qualifier at 13.371 seconds.
Penn Sauter and Jayden Johnson swapped the lead of the 15-lap Bandolero feature numerous times in the closing laps before Sauter was able to charge to the victory. Johnson settled for second followed by Bentley Thompson in third and Paegen Ellingson in fourth. Harley Johnson finished fifth. Bandolero heat race victories were scored by Lincoln Johnson and Jayden Johnson. Jayden Johnson was also the fastest qualifier with a qualifying lap of 14.578 seconds.
Sportsman – Feature 35 Laps 1. 24B-Brandon Tackes , West Bend, WI, 2. 89L-Alex Lopacinski , West Bend, WI, 3. 53W-Paul Wagner , Iron Ridge, WI, 4. 29S-Jake Schraufnagel , Slinger, WI, 5. 51T-David Teske , Richfield, WI, 6. 01B-Carl Benn , Lisbon, WI, 7. 8K-Dale Kiley-Schaefer , Allenton, WI, 8. 88H-Brian Holtz , Muskego, WI, 9. 9S-Simon Seyfert , Saukville, WI, 10. 33E-Tom Elsinger Sr, West Bend, WI, 11. 04H-Brady Held , Iron Ridge, WI, 12. 99L-Dale Lecus Jr, Caledonia, WI, 13. 32S-Ryan Sielaff , North Prairie, WI
Super Beez – Feature 25 Laps 1. 09X-Nick Schmidt , Watertown, WI, 2. 14S-Albert Strobel , Iron Ridge, WI, 3. 8B-Todd Buckley , West Bend, WI, 4. 25R-Paul Reagles , Colgate, WI, 5. 84H-Brian Hillringhouse , Oak Creek, WI, 6. 14M-Mitchell Strobel , West Bend, WI, 7. 15N-Tracy Neu , Watertown, WI, 8. 24M-Marty Tackes , West Bend, WI, 9. 11S-Rick Schaefer , West Bend, WI, 10. 01B-Carl Benn , Lisbon, WI, 11. [DNS]24B-Brandon Tackes , West Bend, WI
Legends – Feature 25 Laps 1. 12B-Ayrton Brockhouse , Shakopee, MN, 2. 27S-Dillon Schwanbeck , Poynette, WI, 3. 64L-Tyler Ledbetter , Stillwater, MN, 4. 5C-Lincoln Cain , Slinger, WI, 5. 18B-Ayden Brockhouse , Shakopee, MN, 6. 7M-Benjamin Massman , East Troy, WI, 7. 41M-Tony Moyer , Allenton, WI, 8. 76W-Mark Wellman , Slinger, WI
Bandoleros – Feature 15 Laps 1. 5S-Penn Sauter , Deforest, WI, 2. 8J-Jayden Johnson , Ixonia, WI, 3. 22T-Bentley Thompson , West Salem, WI, 4. 27E-Paegan Ellingson , Watertown, WI, 5. 7J-Harley Johnson , Ixonia, WI, 6. 93O-Mason Obermeyer , Union Grove, WI, 7. 29O-Axel Oldenhoff , Lake Mills, WI, 8. 707G-Hunter Graham , West Bend, WI, 9. 44OMarkus Obermeyer , Union Grove, WI, 10. 000J-Lincoln Johnson , Ixonia, WI, 11. 11S-Carter Stein , Germantown, WI
Pro Late Models – Feature 50 Laps 1. 28B-Jesse Bernhagen , Willard, WI, 2. 39P-Zach Prunty , Lomira, WI, 3. 14R-Zack Riddle , Brooklyn, WI, 4. 55S-Tyler Schley , Colgate, WI, 5. 01G-Ryan Gutknecht , Oak Creek, WI, 6. 99B-Tom Berens , Slinger, WI, 7. 31B-Billy Braun , Wales, WI, 8. 84V-Jacob Vanoskey , Hartford, WI, 9. 6H-Jakob Hassler , Colgate, WI, 10. 68H-Brad Hetzel , West Bend, WI, 11. 16D-Mitchell Delcamp , Germantown, WI, 12. 3H-Tyler Hromadka , Colgate, WI, 13. 61E-Jerry Eckhardt , Johnson Creek, WI, 14. 49M-Jerry Mueller , Richfield, WI
-Slinger Speedway Release
-Photo credit: Ron Erstad, Jr.