Fitz Wins 25th HO Indy 500, Lack Takes Title Number Five

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(St. Francis, WI) -- The 25th running of the HO Indy 500 brings down the curtain on the 25th IndySlotCar Series season and Mike Fitzlaff took the last bow as his record setting performance to win the landmark event will be remembered for years to come. One of the largest fields in years showed up to attempt to qualify for the '500', including attracting a driver all the way from Great Britain, as Kishen Gohil became the latest driver to strap in to a car for the "greatest spectacle in HO slot car racing". The championship was a foregone conclusion so the only drama was who would drink the milk at the end of the day.

Qualifying is it's own drama and this year's 50 minute session was no exception as eleven drivers attempted to fit into the eight spots in the field. Mike Kristof would start things off and it soon became obvious his primary car's time was not going to withstand bumping. His Fitz-Matador Racing teammate, Mike Fitzlaff, had no such problems as he ripped off a four-lap time of 9.376 seconds and no other driver would come close with their primary car. Kristof and the two Spehert Autosport drivers, Tom Spehert and rookie Kishen Gohil hoping to find a faster back-up cars, watched Angry Squirrel Speedsport driver John Wiedemann take Dan Margetta's Team Castaway car to second on the grid and Pete Dorn after being bumped found pace in his back-up to put him solidly in the field leaving Mike Lack on the bubble, every other back-up car was used by the three on the outside, including Kristof who used four back-up cars and could not find the speed needed to get back into a race he felt owed him something after the disappointing way he was knocked out of the race while leading by a ton last year. 

With the field set, the heats showed how fast Mike Fitzlaff was, he lapped the field early and often while Matt Hayek easily moved into the final as well, while Husarbilt Cup champion Mike Lack's three race winning streak would come to a close as he would finish a season-low eighth. John Wiedemann had to work to keep Ev Kamikawa behind him right at the end of their heat, but Dan Margetta attempted to keep pace but handling would not let the Direct Supply car stay on track enough, he would finish a solid fifth, both would move on while Black-Atom Racing's Bill Black and Pete Dorn would finish sixth and seventh respectively.

The 1000 lap final was never in question as Fitz ran away and hid and the only question was who would finish second, Wiedemann and Kamikawa dueled early but eventually JW's Team Lotus car would move well ahead of the Ferrari of Kamikawa, neither of which had anything to worry about from Hayek, who would have to make multiple late race pit stops for extra high-octane pit stops, but the fuel would not help and he would finish 167 laps down, one of the lowest lap totals for a car still running at the finish of the HO Indy 500.  Fitzlaff would set a new race record completing the marathon event in 40 minutes, 26 seconds, erasing the old mark by a full 25 seconds. In addition he would clinch the Founder's Five, Cianciola Trophy for scoring the most points in the five events that have survived from that first season 25 years ago, missed the Oval track trophy by way of a tie-breaker with Mike Lack, who had two oval track wins this season to Fitzlaff's one. Winning from the pole also meant the cash, 45-thousand IndySlotCar-bucks.  A popular victory at the end of one of the best seasons for participation and attendance as the series celebrates it's history.

Next up the drivers and teams will gather for the annual Awards banquet where, in addition to the prizes earned by on track activity will be augmented by awards voted on by the drivers themselves. Watch here for all the updates on April 20th followed by a one-time 25th season reunion of every driver who has ever competed in the series, the next day at Bermuda Raceway and the Shrine Desert Road Course.


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Matt Hayek

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