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Brad Mueller Declared 45th Annual Slinger Nationals Winner

Brad Mueller won the 45th Annual Cobblestone Hotels Slinger Nationals on Tuesday night at Slinger Speedway, as Andrew Morrissey was disqualified in post-race technical inspection.

Mueller, a three-time track champion at Slinger Speedway, had never won the Slinger Nationals. Previously, he had seven top-five finishes in the Slinger Nationals since its move to a single event in 2000, with two runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2004.

An emotional Mueller tried to put into words how much winning this race meant to him. Mueller’s first attempt at the Slinger Nationals crown came in 1995, pursuing the title for nearly 30 years since then before Tuesday night.

“I’ve been dreaming of winning this race,” said Muller. “I hate that it happened like this, but a rule’s a [expletive] rule. These guys work so hard on this stuff, so [expletive] hard. It’s unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Oh my God, I can’t believe it.

“I’m floored right now. I am absolutely floored. We had such an amazing car the second half. We didn’t have enough to catch Andrew, but it was an amazing car. We passed a lot of cars tonight and made a lot of progress.”

Morrissey started Tuesday evening with the fastest lap in qualifying for the Cobblestone Hotels 45th Annual Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway. However, his No. 39 was light as it crossed the scales for technical inspection following the qualifying session.

This relegated the Wisconsin veteran to the last starting spot in the Qualifying Race. He finished fourth in that 20-lap race, then drove from 20th place to cross the finish line first in the 200-lap feature before the disqualification.

“At the end of the Slinger Nationals, an overall template was placed on the body of the 39 car,” said technical director Jason Schultz. “The template did not fit in a significant manner. The remainder of the body of the 39 car was inspected for potential on-track damage. No on-track damage was found sufficient to cause the deficiency in the template that was observed. Based on that, the 39 cars has been disqualified. The 89 car is the official winner of the Slinger Nationals.”

“We came in through tech, they put a center-line template on it,” said Morrissey. “We just raced 200 laps. Center template didn’t fit right. Then they made us tear the car completely apart, checked everything else, and then DQ’d us for a center-line template that they signed off on before practice, before qualifying. After we run 200 laps and smash it all to hell, they DQ me.”

Coincidentally, both Mueller and Derek Thorn were also in the Qualifying Race, finishing second and third, respectively. Those were also their running positions after 200 laps on Tuesday night before being elevated to first and second in the official rundown.

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Derek Thorn led 43 laps, including a $5,000 lap sponsored by Soda Sense that was not unveiled until post-race festivities. Thorn battled a poor-handling race car in the second half and racing under the weather to finish second officially.

“The guys did a really good job carrying me,” said Thorn. “I messed up a lot in qualifying, which put us behind the eight-ball. Fortunately, the first 100 laps went really well. These guys did a really good job. This FURY car was on rails.

“This set of tires, I had a feeling we were going to be in bad shape for these 100 laps because we scuffed these today in practice and they did not have any speed or feel to them at all. They were good for a while in the second half, but about 40 or 50 laps in, they just gave up on me.”

Thorn also had a couple of run-ins with the backstretch wall, but didn’t suffer significant damage as a result. In fact, he wondered if an early brush with the wall might have improved his race car.

“The backstretch has a bow to it,” explained Thorn. “Luckily, it was just a glancing blow, I didn’t climb it. Didn’t seem like it really hurt the car at all. At one point, I thought it might have actually helped it in the first 100. The last 20 laps of that first 100, this car was just on rails.”

Derek Kraus finished fourth, with six-time Slinger Super Late Model track champion Steve Apel rounding out the top five.

An early incident collected several competitors, including Ryan Preece, Ty Majeski, Gio Ruggiero, Austin Nason, Rich Bickle and Levon Van Der Geest. The incident started as the field completed the sixth lap, with Preece collecting the outside wall and creating an accordion effect on the frontstretch.

Video: Ryan Preece, Ty Majeski Involved in Early Incident at Slinger Nationals

While Majeski was able to continue on following the lap seven incident, the three-time Slinger Nationals winner retired after 60 laps and finished 23rd. Another former Slinger Nationals winner, Luke Fenhaus, finished 21st after losing power during the first half of the race.

As for NASCAR Cup Series competitor Ryan Preece, he continued on following the early crash, only to be collected in another incident on lap 145 to end his night with a 15th-place showing.

-Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

45th Annual Slinger Nationals Results

Fin No Driver Laps
1 89M Brad Mueller 200
2 7T Derek Thorn 200
3 9K Derek Kraus 200
4 51A Steve Apel 200
5 92B R.J. Braun 200
6 80F Ryan Farrell 200
7 42P Dennis Prunty 200
8 15S Gabe Sommers 200
9 25N Willie Nelson 200
10 48K Brad Keith 199
11 38D Jordan DeVoy 199
12 7D John DeAngelis 145
13 40L Jeremy Lepak 145
14 62P Ryan Preece 145
15 28B Jesse Bernhagen 145
16 17K Max Kahler 134
17 17G Grant Griesbach 109
18 1D Steve Dorer 99
19 23V Levon Van Der Geest 90
20 4F Luke Fenhaus 77
21 11P Alex Prunty 76
22 91M Ty Majeski 60
23 5S Johnny Sauter 52
24 45B Rich Bickle, Jr. 19
25 22R Gio Ruggiero 6
26 14N Austin Nason 6
27 39M Andrew Morrissey 200 (DQ)
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