Margetta's Revenge

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(West Allis, WI) -- One year ago Dan Margetta was marching towards his first Husarsbilt Cup championship, the only driver to compete in all 24 seasons in IndySlotCar Series history had never claimed a title, but during a heat race at the Black Track, Dean Strom took a shot at Margetta that sent him hurling off the banking of turn three and out of the race, giving him a tenth place DNF, the 30 point difference between that finish and first place would more than have covered the deficit Margetta had to Mike Lack at the end of the season. So the return to the Black Track for the Dan Gurney Memorial 400 was more about score settling than any championship or even race considerations. 

The field was full to bursting with 13 drivers trying to qualify for 12 grid positions, one driver was going to qualify and then be done for the night, it was the first time in almost three years that bumping would come into play. With MaD Motorsports adding a third car for second generation driver Alex Hayek and all 12 of the regulars on hand, the single-car four-lap qualifying was quite dramatic as each driver attempted to stay clean to avoid being last on the grid. Alex set the bar high early with a new track record, single lap time of 1.997 seconds and on the provisional pole, leaving veteran driver Amy Butler on the bubble, but Pete Dorn of Black-Atom Racing struggled on his teammate's home track and fell to the bottom, followed by Mike Fitzlaff who has struggled in qualifying of late, zoomed to the top of the list, but held the provisional pole for only a minute as the very next attempt from John Wiedemann bumped him back to second as "JW" set a new track qualifying record of 7.972 seconds, a time that would stand up to take the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award. While Wiedemann watched to see if anyone could beat his time, Ev Kamikawa made a hash of his run after reducing the single lap track record below Alex Hayek, to 1.966 seconds, a spin-out on the next laps dropped his total time to 10.468 seconds, a full half second more than Dorn and what seemed like a sure early trip to the hauler. But hometown hero, Bill Black, coming off his first career victory at the last race, would have to qualify last, since the order was reverse of the previous event, could not handle the pressure and had two devastating spins in the four laps and wound up on the outside looking in at his own track.

Heat racing was messy with many drivers having a hard time handling the difficult turn 4 in the red lane, grouped by qualifying order Margetta would hold off Matt Hayek, who just squeaked past John Wiedemann, who ran second for much of the first heat. Hayek would advance to the final in the "transfer" position. The second heat was dominated by Dean Strom who was never challenged, and Amy Butler also easily outdistanced the competition in the third heat, which was a mess of crashes throughout.

With Margetta and Strom both advancing to the final it was all eyes on what would happen next. While there was plenty of close racing and even some banging of wheels, the big moment never came and the two rivals would chase each other through all 400 laps. First Strom opening up a sizable lead that Margetta would eventually close after pit stops, the change in the pits clearly improving Margetta's Fuzzy's Vodka car. Amy Butler's car would expire during her pit stop, the top finishing member of Angry Squirrel Speedsport was still disappointed by the thought of what could have been, her retirement promoted Matt Hayek to third. Strom could not get a handle on the outside red lane in the second half and fought to stay close to the leader at the finish, but eventually Margetta would finish just under a lap ahead for his series-record extending 44th career win and the second of the season. 

Margetta has been on a tear since the Turkey Trot at his home track, the infield road course at South Shore Superspeedway, where he made his first final four of the season, since then he has made every one of the five finals and scored two wins advancing from 11th in the Husarsbilt Cup standings to fifth and just nine points out of third. Stay tuned for the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix next, at Rapids Raceway to see if Margetta stays hot.


The Founder's Five Announced

IndySlotCar Series Founder Phil Cianciola

Wauwatosa, WI -- As IndySlotCar nears the beginning of the 25th season, it seemed only appropriate to highlight the long history of the series by naming a trophy for the man who is responsible for the whole thing even being in existence, Phil Cianciola. With the blessing of the retired five-time series champion, the Founder's Five for the Cianciola Trophy will be a championship within the championship this season based on the points collected at the oldest events on the calendar. As Cianciola himself agreed, these events present a classic mix of the fun and competition that has been the hallmark of series he founded as the PPPG HO IndyCar Series. Starting with the season opener, The Trokan Cup 500 (a trophy named for Phil's maternal grandfather, Joe Trokan) a race that has been held on the Mini Milwaukee Mile for 22 seasons, followed by the holiday races: which were the impetus for the series' original schedule 25 seasons ago, Halloween Havoc (23 previous Halloween races have been held), the Turkey Trot and the Christmas Classic (22 yuletide races run) and finally the grand-daddy of them all the HO Indy 500! Only the 500 and the Turkey Trot have survived to be run in all 25 IndySlotCar seasons. With the teams and drivers free to run any car that has entered an IndySlotCar race from the previous 24 years, it should be exciting and memorable season, starting in just 14 days!


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Matt Hayek

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