Zach Prunty Gets First Slinger Feature Victory as Bernhagen is Crowned Champion
Zach Prunty held off a determined Mike Held to capture his first career Uptown Motors Pro Late Model feature victory while Jesse Bernhagen was crowned the 2023 Pro Late Model track champion.
Zach Prunty held off a determined Mike Held to capture his first career Uptown Motors Pro Late Model feature victory in the 50-lap main event Sunday afternoon at the Slinger Speedway while Jesse Bernhagen was crowned the 2023 Pro Late Model track champion.
“It’s about time we get a win here,” an excited Prunty stated from the victory deck after coming close many times in the past before finally breaking through for the victory, “We unloaded and ran eight laps of practice and knew the car was good so we figured why go out to work on it and screw it up.” Prunty’s crew decided to skip the final practice session earlier in the day.
“I think I did the math and I’m the only driver to have raced against all the Pruntys.” Held told the crowd after finishing a close second, “I’ve raced against them all and have been fortunate to beat them a few times but I’m super proud for Zach (Prunty) today because this is a big win for them and they needed it.”
“I was messing around with him because I knew nobody was coming,” Held continued, “I was going to wait until around fifteen laps to go when I drove myself right into the backstretch wall and destroyed the right side of the car, but we made a show of it either way.”
Drew Bernhagen turned in his best run of the season with a solid third place finish while Mitchell DelCamp finished fourth and Ryan Gutknecht was fifth. Mark Eswein made his first trip to Slinger this season and finished in sixth place followed by Tyler Hromadka in seventh and Billy Braun in eighth. Jerry Eckhardt and Jakob Hassler finished in ninth and tenth respectively.
Jesse Bernhagen, who won eight feature events this season, held a healthy points lead in the championship standings and he wrapped up his first track championship despite finishing eleventh after exiting early with mechanical problems after running over the choose cone during an early caution period.
“I heard people say I destroyed the class this season so I guess I had to destroy the choose cone to make it even.” Bernhagen joked afterwards, “Thanks for all the fans coming out and thanks to everyone with Slinger Speedway as they have been great to work with all season.”
Billy Braun held off Tyler Hromadka to win the 15-lap Pro Late Model bonus race while Mitchell DelCamp finished third. Jerry Eckhardt and Drew Bernhagen completed the top five finishers. Jesse Bernhagen was the fastest qualifier with a qualifying time of 12.094 seconds.
Vincent Jung captured his first career Slinger feature victory by winning the 25-lap Modified main event. Justin Okruhlica finished second which secured the 2023 track championship in the division. Austin Powers finished third ahead of John Henning and Justin Poenitsch in fourth and fifth place respectively. Steven Schulz finished sixth. Schulz also won the Modified heat race and Justin Poenitsch was the fastest qualifier with a lap time of 12.112 seconds.
Mason Wilcott also won his first career feature Sunday afternoon at Slinger by winning the 25-lap Slinger Bees main event over Brandon Mennicke and Jason Clope. Scott Emrich Sr. finished fourth and Allen Maher was fifth. Tom Elsinger Jr. finished sixth and wrapped up the 2023 Slinger Bees track championship. Brian Stanczyk took the checkered flag in seventh place ahead of Ricky Gebhard in eighth and Brandon Tackes in ninth. Matthew Elsinger finished tenth. Carl Benn won the Slinger Bees 15-lap bonus race over Jason Clope and Brian Stanczyk. Scott Emrich Sr. was fourth and Kendall Becker was fifth. Brandon Mennicke was the fastest qualifier with a lap time of 15.206 seconds.
Michael Rose edged Brandyn Wind to win the 25-lap American Super Cup feature in a thrilling finish. Nathan Feary finished a close third while Giovanni Sallee and Shane Davis completed the top five finishers in fourth and fifth respectively. American Super Cup heat races were won by Brandyn Wind and Autumn Rendina and Michael Rose was the fastest qualifier with a qualifying lap time of 15.083 seconds.
Bill Shavlik won the Figure 8 main event and with the victory the 2023 track championship for the Figure 8 division. Scott Goetzke finished second and Rick Bruskiewicz was third. Chad Snuggs took the checkered flag in fourth followed by Ryan Lovald in fifth.
Pro Late Models – Feature 50 Laps 1. 39P-Zach Prunty, Lomira, WI , 2. 72H-Mike Held, Hartford, WI , 3. 27B-Drew Bernhagen, Markesan, WI , 4. 16D-Mitchell Delcamp, Germantown, WI , 5. 01G-Ryan Gutknecht, Oak Creek, WI , 6. 71E-Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids, WI , 7. 3H-Tyler Hromadka, Colgate, WI , 8. 31B-Billy Braun, Wales, WI , 9. 61E-Jerry Eckhardt, Johnson Creek, WI , 10. 6H-Jakob Hassler, Colgate, WI , 11. 28B-Jesse Bernhagen, Willard, WI , 12. 22L-Nick Lemberger, Germantown, WI 
Slinger Bees – Feature 25 Laps 1. 09X-Mason Wilcott, Watertown, WI , 2. 11M-Brandon Mennicke, Slinger, WI , 3. 3C-Jason Clope, Racine, WI , 4. 21E-Scott Emrich Sr, Milwaukee, WI , 5. 43M-Allen Maher, Lisbon, WI , 6. 33E-Tom Elsinger Jr, Germantown, WI , 7. 23S-Brian Stanczyk, West Bend, WI , 8. 10G-Ricky Gebhard Jr, Oconomowoc, WI , 9. 24B-Brandon Tackes, West Bend, WI , 10. [DNS]33M-Matthew Elsinger, West Bend, WI , 12. [DQ]20X-Kendall Becker, Hartford, WI , 13. [DQ]20K-Travis Kreuser, West Bend, WI , 14. [DQ]18B-Carl Benn, Lisbon, WI , 15. [DQ]14S-Albert Strobel, Iron Ridge, WI , 16. [DQ]19B-Misty Benn, Lisbon, WI , 17. [DQ]52L-Dylan Lemberger, Menomonee Falls, WI , 18. [DQ]08W-Matthew Wandrey, Germantown, WI 
Figure 8’s – Feature 10 Laps 1. 0S-Bill Shavlik, West Bend, WI , 2. 4G-Scott Goetzke, Kewaskum, WI , 3. 17B-Rick Bruskiewicz, Mayville, WI , 4. 96S-Chad Snuggs, Dalton, WI , 5. 67L-Ryan Lovald, Burlington, WI , 6. 1O-Nick Ostberg, West Bend, WI , 7. 80W-Jim Ward, West Bend, WI 
American Super Cups – Feature 25 Laps 1. 01R-Michael Rose, Grafton, WI , 2. 41W-Brandyn Wind, Woodridge, IL , 3. 53F-Nathan Feary, Chadwick, IL , 4. 6G-Giovanni Sallee, Rockford, IL , 5. 8D-Shane Davis, Huntley, IL , 6. 16L-Max Labak, Rockford, IL , 7. 31EMick Ellis, Schaumburg, IL , 8. 60H-Lindsey Herwald, Lake Geneva, WI , 9. 5L-Kevin Langenecker, West Bend, WI , 10. 27R-Autumn Rendina, Merrillville, IN 
Modifieds – Feature 25 Laps 1. 67J-Vincent Jung, Iron Ridge, WI , 2. 54O-Justin Okruhlica, Jackson, WI , 3. 45P-Austin Powers, Baraboo, WI , 4. 9H-John Henning, Saukville, WI , 5. 87P-Justin Poenitsch, Richfield, WI , 6. 45S-Steven Schulz, Lisbon, WI 
-Slinger Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Ron Erstad, Jr.