Super Late Models
Erik Jones Paces Slinger Nationals Practice Day
Jul 10, 2023
At a surface level, Monday’s Qualifying Draw for the 44th Slinger Nationals determined the order in which the 30-plus Super Late Model teams will take the track at Slinger Speedway during Tuesday’s single-car qualifying session.
However, it also provided a fun yet insightful look at what brings racers to the Slinger Nationals, and what they expect going into Tuesday’s 200-lap Super Late Model showcase.
Erik Jones was the first to take the Billy Brown Insurance Victory Deck for the qualifying draw. The 2022 Southern 500 winner drew the 7th spot in the lineup after setting fast time in Monday's practice sessions.
“It’s been a good day. It’s been a long day, with the travel and everything, but it was good," said Jones. "It was fast, and it was good. Happy with the speed, happy with the car, and hoping we have a good day tomorrow.”
Jones looked back on his 2016 appearance, when he finished second to Matt Kenseth. Jones has not had the success he has hoped for in his last two Slinger appearances, but thinks his car for Tuesday's race can get him closer to the front.
“We had a good car, for sure. We led a lot of laps and were up front, and had a shot to win, for sure. The last couple of times we’ve been here, I didn’t feel like we were that good. We were in the show, but we weren’t in contention. I just want to be up front and have a shot to win tomorrow night.”
William Byron enters Tuesday's race as the defending Slinger Nationals champion. He is looking forward to tackling the high banks once more and gunning for another Slinger Nationals triumph.
“I love coming here. Last year was a lot of fun and it has a lot of similarities to Bristol," said Byron. "I didn’t know what to expect coming here. This year, things make a little bit more sense. I love the race track and the competition, so it will be fun.”
Two-time Slinger Nationals winner Ty Majeski was also quick on practice day, but he was hesitant to consider that a sign of good things to come on Tuesday.
"This place is always challenging," said Majeski. "The track changed quite a bit throughout practice. Sometimes we come here, we think we're pretty good, then the track changes and we end up flogging on the thing all day.
"That's just a normal Slinger Nationals for us. We'll be okay. We've just got to make the show and go from there."
Of course, the Slinger Nationals draws talent from all over the country for the marquee event. Stephen Nasse has made the trip up to Slinger each of the past four years. He has enjoyed taking part in the event and meeting racers and fans in Wisconsin, although he hopes this is the year he can score his first top-five finish in the Slinger Nationals.
“I like the track. I haven’t liked my results so much," said Nasse. "We’ve definitely struggled. I like to have a good time, and the people up here know how to do that. I’ve made some good friends with the Apels and Pruntys.
“I wish we could get the car going a little bit better. We were consistent today, so hopefully tomorrow we can find a little bit more speed.”
Another Florida driver, Michael Hinde, is making his first appearance at the Slinger Nationals. Hinde is used to close-quarters racing, but the high banks of Slinger threw a new challenge his way.
“This place is awesome. I don’t get to run a lot of quarter-mile stuff. I’ve never had to remember to breathe at a track before, so that’s a little different for me. It’s a really awesome track.
I’ve never had to remember to breathe at a track before, so that’s a little different for me. It’s a really awesome track.
Hinde will be studying video Monday evening, hoping to find some extra speed behind the wheel going into Tuesday’s on-track activity.
“I tried watching a lot of in-car videos and a lot of races on the way up, during the flight and stuff. That’s the only way for me I’ve been able to prepare. I’m going to watch a little more video tonight, see if I can pick up anything else.”
Others, such as 2015 Slinger Nationals winner Dennis Prunty, were more candid about their frustrations coming out of practice day.
“I’m probably the only person that’s going to be honest, my car is absolutely horrible,” said Prunty. “I was not impressed with my speed today.”
And what were his plans to make it better, at least for a little while on Monday evening?
“I guess we’re going to drink this beer.”
Fans unable to attend the 44th Annual Slinger Nationals can watch all of the action live on Tuesday, July 11 on Racing America. Tuesday's broadcast will begin at 4:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. ET for the start of Super Late Model qualifying. For more information, click here.
Fans attending Tuesday's Slinger Nationals can find more information about the event and order tickets by clicking here. Spectator gates will open at 11:30 a.m. CT ahead of Super Late Model practice. The Uptown Motorcars Pro Late Models will also be in action alongside the Super Late Models competing in the Slinger Nationals.
Super Late Models
Five Star Race Car Bodies Presenting Sponsor of Slinger Nationals Broadcast
Jul 10, 2023