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Weidemann Strikes Back

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(Jackson, WI) -- After being punted out of the Raven 250 while leading his heat race, winding up dead last, John Wiedemann found himself relegated to fourth place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship, but it only took the next race to jump right back into the thick of the title fight after winning the Jackson 400 in convincing fashion and seeing the points leader, Mike Lack stumble to allow the margin to close.

The night started out promising for Wiedemann as he held the provisional pole in qualifying for much of the session, as the last place finisher at the previous event he was first out in qualifying, but it was rookie sensation Joe Heitz who took the bonus point for the pole position with a lightning fast four lap run of 6.474 seconds, clipping Wiedemann by a tenth of a second, the two would start on the front row.

In the heats, grouped by qualifying, again saw Wiedemann and his nemesis Mike Lack in the same heat, along with the pole winner, Heitz. The three put on a great show, however, Lack would struggle in the blue lane and fall back while Wiedemann eventually had to concede his #17 US Air Force car could not keep up with the Fuzzy's Vodka #20 of Heitz, but still needed to stack up the laps for a change to grab the transfer spot into the final. By securing second in the heat, JW locked Lack out of the final and would cut into the points deficit.

Ev Kamikawa entered the night third in the championship, having just missed the final at the previous round, the PenskeHO driver was also looking to make up ground on Lack, having seen the champion miss the final, he knew what his mission was in the second heat. With a field of drivers he should be expected to handle, Kamikawa did not disappoint. Early on, hometown hero Bill Black put up a fight, but Kamikawa's pace was just too much to keep up with, Black tried to make a run at the transfer lap total and although he came up short, he would pass Mike Lack and take fifth for the night, matching his best effort of the season and bumping Lack's #1 SealMaster car back to sixth for the night. Meanwhile, Tom Spehert's car had major overheating issues, one of the track marshals was burned trying to deal with the Spehert Autosport #28 DHL car after a crash, eventually the veteran would jump out of the car after the heat, with a real hot seat.

The third heat was a bit of a mess, mainly due to Mike Kristof falling hard back to earth, the #60 SiriusXM car had been in three finals in the last five races including two wins, but the Black Track was too tough to tame and his constant spinouts collected the other drivers, including Pete Dorn, who through sheer will, managed hold out for the heat win ahead of Dan Margetta and Matt Hayek and the mess his fellow competitors threw at him.

The 400 lap final went by in a flash, but featured good racing early as rookie pole sitter Joe Heitz dueled with John Wiedemann for most of the first half while Ev Kamikawa and Pete Dorn had their own battle for third place going on. Heitz, Angry Squirrel Speedsport satellite team, Fuzzy's, was clearly told to make way for the championship contender, a sloppy pitstop allowed Wiedemann to open up a sizable lead and cruised to an easy 15 lap lead in just over 12 minutes to complete the 400 laps, while Dorn would climb up to his third podium of the season as Kamikawa had over heating issues in the second half. It should be noted however, that Joe Heitz is having one of the great rookie debut seasons, now having two pole positions and a second place in just three starts.

With just 6 races left, the seesaw nature of the championship continues, as Mike Lack's points lead shrinks down to 14 ahead of John Wiedemann, with Ev Kamikawa now 21 back and Mike Kristof the only one of the three chasers to lose ground on Lack's poor finish, dropping from second to fourth and 30 points out.

Next up the challenging Quarryfest Deslotmania at Quarry Heights Raceway, the "de-slot" rules can shorten a lot of nights for some, but there can be big rewards for those that survive.


Matt Hayek

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