The Race Tightens
(Wauwatosa, WI) -- It was a familiar scene at Quarry Heights Raceway Thursday night as three-time reigning IndySlotCar champion Mike Lack put his JAM Racing Dallara-Honda #1 car on the pole, moved through his heat race and was never challenged to win the Quarryfest Deslotmania. But Lack's second win of the season was not the real focus of attention by the assembled masses as the championship battle between John Wiedemann and Dan Margetta continued with Margetta continuing to shave the margin down to just three points after this 12th round of the season.
The night opened with a true shoot-out in qualifying as group after group went out setting faster and faster times, at one point even Mike Kristof entertained the idea he might score the Chick-fil-A Brookfield P1 Award, but the final qualifying group featured Matt Hayek, Amy Butler and Lack and each driver set a new low time each time they ran in the blue lane. Ultimately the champion did what we have seen him do so often and slip by everyone to set the fastest time, his second pole position of the season.
Heats were set by speed, which put Lack, Hayek and Kristof in the first group, but the hometown favorite, uncharacteristically, could not get a handle on his very fast car and was out in just 33 circuits, which left Lack and Kristof to duel it out, which they did for the entire first half as they passed and re-passed each other lap after lap, but the champ kept cool and Kristof cracked as he went off the track, picked up some debris in the car and soon was parked, ending his night and moving Lack onto the final.
Dan Margetta took an early lead in the second heat and never looked back while Amy Butler ran a solid second and sat in the transfer spot and had to watch the third heat nervously. Meanwhile, Target Fitz Ganassi Racing's other driver, Mike Fitzlaff, followed Kristof out of the race early and then the two received a call in the paddock from the owner who was watching at home made a call to the two drivers, live on TV, Fitz Ganassi fired both of his under-performing pilots and had the Target sponsorship cancelled on the spot!
There was no such drama in the third heat as John Wiedemann was able to hold off Bill Black to take the heat win, but Black would break Amy Butler's heart as he drove past the lap total needed to advance in the Transfer spot. Pete Dorn had a solid performance and finished sixth on the night, his best result of the season.
Margetta took an early lead in the 20 minute final, but a couple of quick de-slots moved him back behind Lack, who never looked back. That left all eyes on the championship as Wiedemann seemed to struggle for pace and sat in fourth place, many laps down to Bill Black, but the pace of Black's #25 Spehert Autosport car came with a price, as he could not keep the car on track and just past half-way, the buffer Margetta was hoping for that would have left him tied for the championship, was gone and "JW" was promoted to third, at the checkers it took five points off Wiedemann's Husarsbilt Cup championship points lead. Lack had his second win of the season and 25th of his career.
Just four races remain as three points separate the top two, while Lack is starting to move into the conversation, sitting just 32 points behind his JAM Racing teammate. The series goes back to oval racing next, at the Stardust 500.
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