He's made a name for himself in the Upper Midwest by winning three late model championships at Slinger Speedway, and now Alex Prunty hopes to conquer "The Last Great Colosseum" at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Pinty's U.S. Short Track Nationals presented by Vore's Welding and Steel on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26.
Prunty, from Lomira, Wisconsin, is teaming-up with Highlands Motorsports to drive the Concord Wealth Partners, Food Country USA, No. 96 Ford Mustang in the 100-lap Super Late Model portion of the U.S. Short Track Nationals. The Abingdon, Virginia-based team has enjoyed success in the past at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," with Josh Reeves winning the Pro Late Model race in 2018.
"I'm very excited having the opportunity with Highlands Motorsports to race in the U.S. Short Track Nationals," the 27-year-old Prunty said from his home in Wisconsin while preparing to make the trip to Northeast Tennessee. "Just knowing the history of NASCAR racing at Bristol Motor Speedway over the years and all the legendary drivers who have competed there, it's going to be a very special deal and I'm looking forward to it. It's going to really be a stacked field with a lot of very talented Super Late Model drivers. I'll have Josh Reeves serving as crew chief and overseeing preparation of the race car in the shop leading into the event. Josh knows what it takes to win at Bristol and that in itself is huge.
"We'll have practice on Friday and that will be crucial in getting myself adjusted to running laps around the high banks, and then hopefully we'll qualify well on Saturday and lock into a good starting position for the race. With the speed and lap times you run around Bristol Motor Speedway, a hundred-lap race really isn't that long. As a racer you always hope you can win anytime you get in the car, but being this is my first time ever racing at Bristol, you want to be competitive and and have a good run. I'll give it my 100 percent best effort driving the car and I know I've got a really good race team supporting me."
You might say Alex was "born to race," after all it's definitely in the Prunty family's blood with his father, Daniel, along with uncles Dennis, David and Dale, each racing over the past 30 years in Wisconsin. The four Prunty brothers set the bar high for young Alex, winning many races and total of 11 Slinger Speedway championships.
One of the most prestigious short-track races held annually in the United States is the Slinger Nationals, with the event having been won over the years by Matt Kenseth (8-time winner) and Alan Kulwicki, both Wisconsin natives, along with Kyle Busch – each former NASCAR Cup Series champions. Other drivers who went on to make names for themselves in NASCAR racing that also won the Slinger Nationals include Mark Martin, Dick Trickle, Butch Miller and Rich Bickle Jr. ... You can also add Prunty brothers Dennis (2015) and David (2001) to the list as Slinger Nationals winners.
The racing journey for Alex began as a young boy helping his father and uncles in the race shop. He began racing stock four-cylinder cars in 2010 at age 17 and the Prunty family racing talent was evident as Alex won the Slinger Bees track championship.
Prunty made the move into the Late Model class in 2011 and was rookie-of-the-year. That paved the way to winning Slinger Speedway Late Model championships in 2012 and 2015, winning 20 races along the way.
Alan Kulwicki, who tragically died in a plane crash en route to Bristol Motor Speedway in 1993, rose to national stardom in NASCAR racing from his grassroots beginning in the Midwest. Kulwicki won the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1992. Alex Prunty captured the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program title, founded in honor of 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Kulwicki.
Prunty began racing Super Late Models in 2016 and finished third in Slinger Speedway points with two feature wins, and in 2017 also finished third in points and visited victory lane on three occasions.
In 2017 and 2018 Prunty wrote his name in the record book at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway by winning the National Short Track Championship event, competing against best-of-the-best in Midwest Super Late Model racing.
Alex captured the 2018 Slinger Speedway Super Late Model championship and also won the track's Triple Challenge Series.
With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting everyday life in the United States this year, racetracks, if they even opened, only ran abbreviated schedules. That was the case at Slinger Speedway. Prunty won the first race of the season back in May and went on to finish second in Super Late Model points.
Highlands Motorsports' Josh Reeves is looking forward to working with the talented wheelman Alex Prunty at Bristol Motor Speedway in the U.S. Short Track Nationals.
"Alex Prunty is the real deal – he's a proven race winner and champion up in his home-state of Wisconsin at Slinger Speedway – and we've got a hot rod for him to drive in the U.S. Short Track Nationals," a smiling Reeves said yesterday while taking a break preparing, fine-tuning the Highlands Motorsports No. 96 Ford Mustang that Prunty will chauffeur. "Alex, his younger brother and their dad, came down last week for a couple of days and we got the driver's seat fitted in the car for him and worked on some other details. This is basically a brand-new Super Late Model. I raced it once last year at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and that's it.
Reeves, the 2018 U.S. Short Track Nationals Pro Late Model winner gives his thoughts on race car preparation and also discusses a possible scenario with tires this weekend at Bristol.
"I know just from being a racer myself it all begins in the race shop with preparation," Reeves stated. "If you want to run well and be competitive, you've got to work on your equipment. I'm very particular with details in preparing a race car. I also work alongside Chris Carrier (longtime NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck crew chief) in the shop on the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series No. 75 Food Country USA Toyota, and he's just a wealth of racing knowledge and I've learned so much from him. With all three NASCAR national touring series having raced last weekend at Bristol, something to consider for the U.S. Short Track Nationals is the rubber laid down plus the PJ1 Traction Compound applied to the racing surface, will that factor in? This event has never been held so close following NASCAR racing at BMS.
"I'm just really excited about working with Alex and our chances of being very competitive at the U.S. Short Track Nationals. There's no doubt about it, when we make the short drive from our race shop here in Abingdon down to Bristol Motor Speedway, we're arriving with a well-prepared race car. Front to back, under the hood and on all four corners, I've gone over every thing. It's really going to be a loaded field of top-name Super Late Model drivers, and hopefully we're a top-five car and to win would be huge. I know the feeling of pulling into victory lane at Bristol, and I hope Alex and this race team gets to experience it again."
Fans interested in attending the U.S. Short Track Nationals on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26, should visit the Bristol Motor Speedway website at www.BristolMotorSpeedway.com
for ticket information. While many fans are planning a visit to Thunder Valley, those unable to be present in Northeast Tennessee can watch all the action live on www.Speed51.tv.
To contact Highlands Motorsports team manager Josh Reeves, call (276) 451-5888.
Highland Motorsports PR