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Strom Drinks Milk, Clinches Cup

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Saint Francis, WI - In dramatic fashion, Dean Strom won his first HO Indy 500 and clinched his first Husarsbilt Cup championship.

The battle has been going on all season long, mostly with Strom chasing seven time IndySlotCar series champion for the point standings lead. A breakthrough happened at the Shrine Cup race where Strom was able to take the lead away from Lack when Lack was unable to attend the race. Strom went into the 29th annual HO Indy 500, the final race of the season, with a 15 point lead. With the HO Indy 500 paying double points, that lead wasn’t very comfortable.

Qualifying fired up the drama with ten drivers aiming for the eight spots available to try to race into the 500. Once all drivers had a run with their primary cars, Steve Rist had scored the pole and CBD teammates Pete Dorn and Brad Core were the two drivers on the outside looking in. Rist, the Squirrel Shagged Enterprises teammate to Strom, ran his four laps just a tenth of a second quicker that Matt Hayek’s four lap total to grab his first Indy 500 pole. Followed by Hayek were his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate Lack, veteran Dan Margetta and then Strom in fifth. Mike Kristof was on the bubble in eighth.

Bumping began as John Wiedemann was unhappy with his ride and started to search for a better one. The big bump took place when Core took Margetta’s back up car to the track and ran the fifth quickest four lap run. Wiedemann went through his backup, Rist’s backup and then Dean’s backup to finally push his way to seventh. At the end, when no “available” backups were left, Kristof and Dorn ended up in ninth and tenth respectively.

The first heat had Hayek, Lack, Bill Black and Margetta racing for two spots in the 500. Hayek and Lack took control early and cruised their way into the 500. Heat two had Rist, Strom, Core and Wiedemann. While Strom cruised to the win, Rist seemed to have the second place spot wrapped up. But, a strong run by Core in the second half had Rist worried. In the end, it was Rist taking the second transfer spot to the 500 by just a single lap over Core.

The 500 turned into a battle for the championship and a battle between the top teams in the IndySlotCar series, Squirrel Shagged Enterprises and Angry Squirrel Speedsport. The teammates chose their starting lanes for the race with the championship battle in mind with Rist deferring to Strom and Hayek deferring to Lack. When the green flag flew, it was Rist in the lead from the inside lane and Hayek close behind. Hayek would take his turn at the front as well as the race went on as would Strom, but Lack remained in fourth after starting in the first half in the most difficult lanes. After halfway, Lack started to make his move, as did his championship rival Strom. Entering the final 250 laps of the race, Strom had the lead with Lack in second. With Lack in the second groove and Strom outside of him in the third lane, the chase was on. Lack pushed for all his worth and continued to speed past Strom to get his laps back. But Strom had the steady steely pace and a final spin by Lack with under ten laps to go sealed the deal. Strom took the checkers by two laps over Lack to win his first HO Indy 500 race and his first season championship in the IndySlotCar series. Hayek captured third and Rist finished fourth for the second 500 in a row.

With Hayek’s third place run, he captured the Foyt/Mears Award season oval championship.

Black finished fifth overall and third place in the season championship. Kristof was fourth overall for the season and Wiedemann was fifth in the point standings.

Following the summer break, the IndySlotCar drivers will return for the 30th season of the series kicking off with the Trokan Cup 500 on September 8th.

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