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Hayek Returns To Victory Lane On The High Banks Of Black Track

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Jackson, WI – It was a night of firsts in the IndySlotCar Series at the Black Track for the Jackson 500. Matt Hayek took home the trophy for the first time this season and the first time since his victory in the West Bend Grand Prix in October of 2020.

It was also the first time the Black Track had a race scheduled early in the season with this race moving from its normal January timeframe.

Mike Kristof kicked off the theme of the evening by taking pole position for the first time this season. Kristof’s four-lap run around the high-banked oval took just 5.632 seconds topping always quick qualifier Steve Rist by just 46-thousandths of a second. Ev Kamikawa was third with Hayek and Pete Dorn rounding out the top five. John Wiedemann had the quickest lap at 1.357 seconds but a spin in the run eliminated his shot at the pole.

Heat races were set up randomly and the first group to challenge the high banks were points leader Dean Strom, his Squirrel Shagged Enterprises teammate Rist, Kamikawa and Hayek. Kamikawa looked like the man to beat early as he quickly pulled away from the pack with Rist closing in the late stages of the half. But with lane changes at the break, everything turned around as Hayek quickly erased a six lap deficit and brought along rival Strom to the front of the pack. Hayek took the victory with Strom settling for the provisional transfer spot just a short ways behind.

The second heat had CBD Racing teammates Bill Black and Brad Core taking on Wiedemann and team CBD showed quickly that early season testing at the Black Track was about to pay off. Wiedemann continued to struggle with handling as the CBDers took off. Black captured the victory and Core snatched the transfer spot away from Strom to make his first career final.

The final heat featured pole-sitter Kristof against the third CBD Racing driver, Pete Dorn and defending Husarsbilt Cup champion Mike Lack. Again the CBD team showed their speed with Dorn taking the early lead and never looking back. Kristof tried to keep his qualifying pace going but in the end it was not enough and he finished two laps behind Core’s transfer winning run from the earlier heat.

For the first time in their short history, all three CBD Racing teammates made the final. Joining them was Angry Squirrel Speedsport's Hayek for 500 laps on the high banks. During the final all drivers would run one time in each of the four lanes for four 125 lap segments.

Black, comfortable at his hometown track, took the early lead in segment one with teammate Core and Hayek chasing him about eight laps back. But the drama kicked into high gear when Dorn slammed the wall running through turn two and damaged his ride. While he worked on repairing the damage, the field spun past running laps in just over a second and by the time Dorn returned to the track for segment two, he was 44 laps down. Black continued his torrid pace in segment two, pulling away from the pack with the only driver quicker than him being his teammate Dorn. Dorn was able to make up six laps but still found himself in a deep hole. Segment three found Black in the most difficult lower lane and that gave the other drivers a chance to make up some laps. Dorn again was able to close in a bit further to now 35 laps back behind leader Black but it was Hayek and Core that closed the gap, big time. Core had a great run and picked up 10 laps to 21 behind the leader. Hayek’s pre-race lane picking strategy was working well for him as he finished segment one, eight laps down, and then segment two, in the low lane, 15 laps down. After a strong third segment and one to go, Hayek was just seven laps behind the leader.

With the leader and closest challenger in the middle lanes, the final segment looked ready to be a knockdown drag-out fight to the finish. And that it was. With both Black and Hayek running about the same pace, it came down to who would make fewer mistakes. Black started having issues with handling and Hayek pounced making up laps quickly, able to get on the same lap. Then, with thirty laps to go, another spin by Black was the nail in the coffin as Hayek was able to shoot past and take the lead. As Black tried to pick up the pace to catch Hayek, the handling issues just got worse. When lap 500 came, it was Hayek first to the line with Black falling seven laps behind. Core with his first podium in third and Dorn was left to wonder what could have been and a fourth place finish.

Hayek’s victory was the eighteenth of his career and moves him one spot ahead of Hall of Famer Jim Iverson into ninth on the all-time list. Hayek also jumped up to eighth in the point standings with five of the sixteen races in the books. Strom continues to hold the lead in the point standings by eight points over Lack who moved into second place over teammate Wiedemann by one point. Black with his second place finish closes in on the top three in the standings, now eighteen points behind third place. Kristof holds down the fifth spot, eleven points behind Black.

If you thought the Halloween Havoc and high banks of the Black Track weren’t scary enough, the series heads next week to a race that is sure to put fear in drivers – a de-slot race. Thought to be banned from the series years ago, a de-slot race is always ready to trash a driver's season. The Turkey Trot at the Infield Road Course at South Shore Speedway is up next on November 18th. Dan Margetta is the defending champion and three-time winner of the race but is not yet on the entry list. Stay tuned.