Super Late Models
Watch the 2023 Slinger Nationals on Racing America
Jul 9, 2023
Byron, Elliott, Jones, Kenseth and other NASCAR stars will compete in Tuesday's 44th Annual Slinger Nationals live on Racing America.
The NASCAR Cup Series spent the weekend thrilling fans on the high banks of Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400, but three of those drivers will shift gears and head to the high banks of Slinger Speedway for the 44th Annual Cobblestone Hotels Slinger Nationals Presented by Lynch Buick GMC West Bend.
Race winner William Byron, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, and Legacy Motor Club’s Erik Jones are headed to central Wisconsin for one of the year’s biggest Super Late Model events on the schedule.
The trio of NASCAR Cup Series stars have already been hard at work behind the wheel at short track events this season, with all three competing at North Wilkesboro in May, with Byron and Elliott finishing second and third, respectively, to race winner Bubba Pollard in the ASA STARS National Tour race on May 17.
Less than 10 days later, Byron and Elliott were back behind the wheel of their Super Late Models at Hickory Motor Speedway for the Tar Heel 200 ASA STARS National Tour event on May 25. While Elliott finished sixth, Byron nearly scored the victory and was beat to the line by Gio Ruggiero by a mere 0.036-seconds, finishing in the runner-up position.
Byron is heading into Slinger coming off Sunday’s rain-shortened victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his fourth NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, but also as the defending winner of the Slinger Nationals. Byron was the fastest qualifier last year and took the lead from Ty Majeski for the final time on Lap 186 of 200 to earn the victory over Luke Fenhaus and Derek Thorn.
Following Sunday’s win in Atlanta, Byron admitted he is still “a bit pissed off” about how the Hickory finish happened with Ruggiero but is eager to get back behind the wheel of the No. 24 Anthony Campi Racing Super Late Model.
“I think the Slinger Nationals is going to be really competitive this year. I think Erik is running well. He's got his stuff good. Chase is going to be up there, Matt (Kenseth). Then the whole cast of characters up there,” said Byron.
There's a lot of local guys that are fast, too, and I think the thing I learned last year is just to try to keep my heart rate in check. It's easy to get worn out there.”
As Byron mentioned, joining the current Cup drivers at the Slinger Nationals will be eight-time Slinger Nationals winner, NASCAR Hall of Fame member and 2003 NASCAR Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth. The Wisconsin native finished fifth in the 2022 running of the Slinger Nationals and is always a factor in the event. With victories in 1994, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2019, you can bet Kenseth will once again be in contention on Tuesday evening.
“The Slinger Nationals is one of the most well-known short track races in the country. I’ve been fortunate enough to win it a few times,” said Kenseth. “Last year we didn’t perform as well as I’d like. So, I’m looking forward to going back and trying to redeem myself.”
These are not the only NASCAR stars that are scheduled to compete this week at Slinger, however. Joining them will be short-track ace Ty Majeski, 2016 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter, as well as 2021 Slinger Nationals runner-up and current NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series driver Derek Kraus.
Majeski dominated the 2022 Slinger Nationals, leading 102 of the 200 laps until a battle with Fenhaus allowed Byron to sneak by for the victory. The former Kulwicki Driver Development Program driver eventually fell to 13th at the end of the night, and the two-time Slinger Nationals winner is looking for more this year. Majeski currently has two victories on the ASA STARS National Tour this year, with wins coming at Madison International Speedway in May and Milwaukee Mile in June, as well as a SRL National Late Model win at Citrus County Speedway in February.
The stars of NASCAR are going to have to give it their all to compete against the short track regulars and former Slinger Nationals champions. The 2021 winner, Fenhaus, is back in the field and better his second-place finish last year. In four starts in the Slinger Nationals, Fenhaus has one win, three top-five and four top-10 finishes with 111 laps led.
In addition to Fenhaus, the 2017 Slinger Nationals winner Bubba Pollard is also in the field for Tuesday’s race. Pollard scored the ASA STARS National Tour win at North Wilkesboro in May over Byron and Elliott, and the Georgia native is looking to keep the momentum going. He already has one ASA STARS National Tour victory, as well as three SRL National Late Model Series wins, and one ASA CRA Super Series win so far this year.
While the NASCAR stars have brought increased attention to the short track events this season, the short track regulars have been tough to beat. Byron may be the defending champion of the Slinger Nationals, but can he hold off the likes of Majeski, Fenhaus and Pollard, or will another contender step up and etch their name in short track history?
There is only one way to find out, and that is by watching the 44th Annual Slinger Nationals on Tuesday, July 11, live only on Racing America.
Entry List: 44th Annual Cobblestone Hotels Slinger Nationals Presented by Lynch Buick GMC West Bend
Images courtesy Will Bellamy, Racing America
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