Hayek Runs The Rapids

Driving through the canyon of tall buildings in Rapids.The Rapids Porsche dealer.The hairpin around the blue Rapids Museum.
See the full box score here.

Rapids -- Matt Hayek took a step toward announcing his intention to challenge for the Husarsbilt Cup championship this season with a solid victory at the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix at Rapids International. But the night started with all talk about tires, as the series had egg on it's face for supplying the teams with tires that simply would not stay on the rims, requiring extra practice as well as pit crews constantly scrambling to find rubber for their cars. Eventually, it appeared everyone had sufficient supplies to get through the qualifying and racing but there is no doubt some drivers suffered due to the lack of proper equipment.

Dan Margetta followed up his win at the Trokan Cup 500 with an amazingly fast qualifying session that set a new track record of 5.569 seconds undercutting the previous record, set my Mike Fitzlaff last season, by one and a half seconds. The speeds at Rapids can be demanding and it eventually bit Spehert Autosport driver Pete Dorn when he crashed out with just 54 laps complete to finish tenth on the night. The other Spehert car on track had a solid but unremarkable evening as Bill Black finished seventh, while Mike Fitzlaff struggled with handling and his Target Fitz Ganassi teammate, Mike Kristof, also couldn't keep pace with Dan Margetta in the first heat race as the teammates finished eighth and ninth.

Hayek never had a problem in his heat, out distancing hometown favorite Ev Kamikawa, who finished sixth. But it was John Wiedemann who had the toughest time in the heats, while leading late in the third heat, technical problems with the team tracking his scoring then the transmission failed with about 30 seconds left while leading allowing his JAM racing teammate Mike Lack, to advance to the final along with Hayek's JAM racing teammate to the final.

There was little drama on the track in the final as Hayak scooted out to an early lead and never looked back, but his teammate left the track early with a spectacular crash that left Strom just off the podium. The battle of the night was for second, as Lack, making his first start of the season, overcame illness to eventually hold off Margetta. The main issues in the scheduled 20 minute race were technical and the race was shorted to 17 minutes and 5 seconds.

With Margetta scoring the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award, it's that one bonus point that has him leading Hayek in the early championship. Next, the series moves north to the Lack Track for the West Bend Grand Prix.

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Wauwatosa, WI -- For three straight seasons Mike Lack has dominated the IndySlotCar Series standings and with the opening race at the Mini Milwaukee Mile, he will attempt to go where only two other IndySlotCar champions have been and that is to become a four-time champ. With his teammate and closest rival John Wiedemann looking to stop the Lack express, coming off a career season, "JW" is expectinng big things, as are several other contenders who would like to see their names etched into the Husarsbilt Cup. 

A two-time Cup winner himself, Ev Kamikawa looks to continue the momentum he had in the last half of last season and perhaps regain the title for the first time in 15 years. 

Ev Kamikawa wins the pole for the 2016 HO Indy 500

Teammates Matt Hayek and Dean Strom battled for contention throughout the 15-16 tour, each garnering one victory last year, while the only multiple winners were the JAM Racing drivers who finished at the top of the points, it shows how deep the field is that eight different drivers went to the top step of the podium. 

Matt Hayek

That depth is only expected to be plumbed further this year, with Rookie of the Year Pete Dorn and his Spehert Autosport teammate and rookie rival from last season Bill Black, both expected to be improved over their initial campaigns. Tom Spehert, from that same stable, saw a marked improvement over previous seasons and his fuller participation clearly paid off on the track. 

Rookie of the Year Pete Dorn accpets the trophy

Meanwhile, the Target Fitz Ganassi boys, Mikes, Fitzlaff and Kristof expect to step up from their results last season, especially Kristof whose sponsor will be pulling out of the sport after this year, may be driving to save his job.  

Miek Fitzlaff, winner of the 2016 Larry Rotter Memorial Grand Prix

Dan Margetta and Amy Butler are always entertaining when they strap in their cars, both won last season, Margetta keeping a streak of 17 straight seasons with at least one win alive and Butler scoring her first win in many years, expect both to make some noise on and off the track this year.

Amy Butler

Get ready for the 24th season of IndySlotCar to commence Thursday, September 8th at the Mini Milwaukee Mile with the traditional outdoor opener, the Trokan Cup 500! It looks to be a great season with competition as close as it's ever been from the front to the back of the grid! 

Podium: (l-r) Matt Hayek, third; Dan Margetta; Mike Lack, second

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