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(Wauwatosa, WI) -- While the weather could not be colder, the IndySlotCar championship could not be hotter, with John Wiedemann scorching the field the last two races, with the first back-to-back wins of his career with a victory at Quarryfest Deslotmania.
The night started with the commissioner reminding drivers that an open cockpit car in below zero weather would create dangerous wind chills of a thousand below zero, but after that warning, the drivers clearly paid no heed as veteran Dan Margetta set a blistering pace in qualifying breaking the track record early in the session, but then Wiedemann would come along and tie that time, right down to the third decimal point. However, the rule book says, if two drivers match times in qualifying, the driver who set the time first, gets the higher position. Margetta would score his 47th pole position of his career, leaving him just one behind the all-time qualifying leader, Phil Cianciola, the only major statistical category where Margetta does not hold the series record.
JW's #17 Air Force Dallara-Honda would have to settle for the front row on the grid and was placed in the opening heat race against hometown favorite Matt Hayek, PenskeHO driver Ev Kamikawa and Bill Black in his #6 Lucas Oil Dallara-Honda. Black and Kamikawa would battle for the lead early on, eventually, suffer the consequences of the de-slot race format and end their nights early, finishing eighth and tenth respectively, while Hayek opened a sizable lead that Wiedemann would have to settle for scoring as many laps has possible to hope to claim the transfer spot to the final.
Points leader Mike Lack had a terrible qualifying run but ran out to a comfortable lead in the second heat over Pete Dorn and Tom Spehert, Spehert having problems even before the green flag as Lack offered to be "helpful" only to tear the left front wing off the Spehert Autosport #28 Dallara-Honda leaving the DHL car with handling problems and eventually maxing out on "de-slots" and ending the night dead last. Lack would take the heat win, Dorn would be the only driver who completed his heat, not to make the final and finish fifth on the night.
The third heat saw carnage almost from the start, fast qualifier Dan Margetta struggled with handling and had bad luck, getting caught up in a spin out by Mike Kristof, which cost each driver a "de-slot", shotly Margetta's #13 Go Daddy car would crash out going from first to ninth on the night, Dean Strom in the #64 Manitowoc Dallara-Honda also struggled with the format and would max-out on de-slots and finish seventh leaving rookie sensation Joe Heitz and Mike Kristof, who had won both events in Wauwatosa this season. In the second half, Kristof began to close on the #20 Fuzzy's Vodka car, but a couple of de-slots while trying to push it, cost him his night and allowing Heitz to move to his second straight final. Kristof's #60 SiriusXM car would park it in sixth place.
The final matched the top two in points as Wiedemann came into the event 14 markers arrears of Lack, the teammates in the familiar position of battling for race wins and championships. Hometown favorite Matt Hayek hoping to salvage a good result from a disappointing season, would shoot out to an early lead but the handling would quickly go away on the #15 United Rentals Dallara-Honda and before half way, would find him out of the race settling for fourth. Heitz also saw the handle go away on his Fuzzy's with Angry Squirrel Speedsport car and leave the track with a second straight podium, a win is surely in the offing for this rookie. That left the to title contenders with the track all to themselves with Wiedemann out front with a three lap lead, Lack was unable to make up any serious ground until the #17 Air Force car had a spinout, gaining more than a lap back, but the clock would run out as Wiedemann still held more than a full laps advantage taking his third win of the season and 23rd of his career, pulling even with Hall Of Famer Jim Kaehny for seventh on the all-time victories list.
Of More immediate concern to Wiedemann is the fact that he pulled nine points closer to the "Champ" and with just five races left in the season, he sits just five points behind, each now having three wins and two poles. The battle resumes in three weeks at the only street circuit on the schedule, the Maytag Rapids Grand Prix.